You know, the anime and manga industry has been pretty beat up over the past few years. It's probably not an over-exaggeration at this point to say there are probably more dead companies than active ones in the translation and distribution game in the U.S. at this point, and even if it's not, it's certainly been a downward trend.
However, with the recent announcement that Tokyopop will be shuttered at the end of May, and with 4Kids' recent bankruptcy filing, we're suddenly back to 2009, an era where, in the wake of the financial meltdown, we saw a number of iconic companies critical to the popularization of anime in the U.S. go under, or get reformed under various new names at a greatly reduced strength.
Now, both 4Kids and Tokyopop faced similar external problems their respective business models had difficulty dealing with. In 4Kids case, Saturday morning cartoons are all but dead, and the cable networks are leaning away from acquisition and back towards total property ownership again. Bad news for any localization house, but worse if you're basically counting on that exposure to sell tie-in merchandise. Similarly, Tokyopop saw it's key venues for exposing new titles to readers disappear as well as Borders shut down countless store fronts, and as more and more readers move to digital readers.
The thing is, this is stuff anyone paying attention would've seen from a mile away.