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Big Changes Coming to Viz Media? Let the Theories Fly!

Staffers at Viz Media used Twitter for some teasing today, posting the following on their different imprint accounts:

“Keep your eyes peeled, HUGE news from VIZ coming next week. This changes everything! Any guesses?”

And guesses there were, as Twitter was quickly full of theories and ideas of what this could be all for good fun and curiousity. For a fairly good overview of who’s saying what and the various ideas brought to the table, I recommend a Viz_Media Twitter search.

A move to digital distribution of some kind was and remains the most seriously presumed of the theories. Will Viz Media be following the recent wave of digital distribution for comics on the iPad/iPhone? Will they begin to offer some multi-device eBook options? Will they reveal an online portal site to read their series via browsers? Old series? New series? All series?

Then there was the thoughts of more simultaneous releases such as what Viz Media has been doing with Rumiko Takahashi’s Rinne. Will we be seeing more simultaneous releases? Single series or multiple magazine-style? Could their existing Shonen Jump start accommodating such releases via subscription service online? Could Shonen Jump go completely digital all together such as Yen Press’s Yen Plus has?

Other theories, hopeful-wishes and amusing-WTFeries included new license announcements, a speed-up of another popular series such as what was done with One Piece and Naruto or Viz Media announcing it’s first boys’ love title (couldn’t help but toss this one in the ring myself).

So what do you think it could be? (Or think would be the most entertaining but improbable!)

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Kuriousity.ca. Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

Kuriousity does not condone or support the illegal distribution of manga online.
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17 Responses

  1. Bereal says:

    "Viz media will now be giving each and every imprint the signature treatment."

    I'd love to see the day that happens..

    The first BL book thing I'd change say more of a, "Viz starts a BL imprint", guess.

    Or even a, "Viz starts a Josei line imprint"

    Another guess, "Viz announces the revival of the Shojo Beat magazine", in the form of the current online Yen Plus?

  2. Aaron says:

    I could hope they try to resurrect Shojo Beat as a magazine. Or get wider distribution or reprint some of the older titles they have licences for because paying 60 bucks for a used copy of volume 3 of Knights of Zodiac is ridiculous.

    I hope they don't switch over to a completely digital format because there's just something so cold and impersonal about reading a book on a hand held device or online.

  3. Queen says:

    “Viz starts a BL imprint” that was the first thing that came to my mind, mostly wishful thinking :)

    • It'd definitely be a shocker for sure! Unlikely but still fun to think about ;) I'd be most excited for Viz releasing the more niche stuff, as they do with their Sig line, because of the high quality but good prices.

      "If you thought Banana Fish was intense, wait until you see some men finally get down to real Viz-ness!"

  4. Queen says:

    I was hoping for the same and talking about it with some friends these days. I made a couple of suggestions to DMP for licensing but there are some titles that I really don't see them releasing. For example, Sakura Gari…now, if Viz were to license niche stuff! Welcome est em, basso, Kunieda Saika, Nakamura Asumiko…and let's stop there or I'm not going to finish.

    “If you thought Banana Fish was intense, wait until you see some men finally get down to real Viz-ness!”

    Oh my god…hahahah. I like your way of thinking. Banana Fish was a masterpiece, and even if nothing really happened between them I am still dreaming about their love.

  5. […] were dropping some hints on Twitter that big changes are afoot, and Lissa Pattillo sums up the frenzy of speculation that followed; digital distribution seems to be looming large on everyone’s […]

  6. JRB says:

    Considering the awesome BL titles Shogakukan is sitting on, “Viz starts a BL imprint” is my #1 wish, although it's low on the list of probabilities. Some sort of digital things would be my guess.

  7. Oliver says:

    If it's anything to do with digital, I'm not interested. If it's to do with adding a Josei or BL imprint, than I'm interested. Although it seems the Josei they release under Shojo Beat does better than any other Josei out there, so a Josei line seems counter-intuitive.

  8. […] leading some to speculate the manga publisher will announce digital distribution. [Kuriousity, via […]

  9. bahamut says:

    Blue Exorcist is on Amazon for April 2011…maybe they'll be doing an online Jump SQ? Or it could also be an online Shonen Jump. Every volume from 17 on of Reborn has disappeared from Amazon and the like, and Psyren was supposed to have come out by now but also disappeared, so they might be part of a new online Jump thing akin to Shonen Sunday. Or an online return for Shojo Beat is also very possible.

    If they say it "changes everything", then it might not have to do with any one imprint in particular. So it might be a major online push for every Viz category, possibly with the most recent Japanese chapters?

    Either way I'm quite excited to find out what it is.

  10. Andre says:

    I'd have to say a JumpSquare online'ld be nice- I like VIZ's digital manga websites the best since you can preview a series, follow it weekly/monthly, and not have to worry about any plugin other than Flash, which works on most anything.

    It only seems to be an issue for those reading on cellphone and cellphone-esque doohickies, but I could see them making a "mobile version" app that offers the same content. That to me would be a nice, big announcement in and of itself- a free Shonen Sunday or SigIkki App for Iphone or Google Chrome and so on.

    The fact that the content is free and plentiful seems like a fair compromise to the fact that the content is often removed once the print ed is out [which makes sense to me- you want to make people buy the books]

    I think it'd be a fairly major thing to announce either Naruto or One Piece as having simultaenous, weekly updates on ShonenJump's website- given how closely the VIZ editions currently follow them, it'd would only take a short hiccup of book releases to catch up with Japan. Though since those are in the best-selling ShonenJump magazine, if they did, I imagine they'd make it a subscriber onlything. So I'm guessing it's more likely we'll see it for an assortment of SJump series that are not in Shonen Jump USA at the moment, but have big online followings, or are newly launched in Japan, thus allowing VIZ to pull a Rinne, and capture the online market for the title in it's entirety, and not have to compete with scanlation sites that also host copies of it. I imagine something new, and more exclusive would serve them well.

    Given VIZ already puts the monthly version of Shonen Jump online http://shonenjump.viz.com/onlinemanga/onlinemanga… with large samples from each series from the past 3 issues, I could see them building on that with a larger offering.

    So um yeah, I'm personally hoping/guessing for-

    – a small slate [3 or so titles] for a ShonenJump or JumpSquare website offering weekly manga chapters for new series or popular current series not running in SJUSA

    -some sort of Shojo anthology companion to the SJump, Sig Ikki and Sunday. I'd love to see a domestic version of Margaret, Shojo Comic [where FYugi ran] or Flowers and Dreams/Hana to Yume [Hakuensha, who aren't owned by VIZ, but were partners in the Shojo Beat brand while still licensing titles to Tokyopop and CMX- which probably made it the highest percentage of titles from one magazine getting translated for the past number of years]

  11. Andre says:

    For some reason it ate my post :( So I'm going to sum it up in a smaller, less rambling note-

    My personal guess-

    – a mobile app. version of the SigIkki/ShonenSunday websites for those using wireless internet devices like Ipads/Pods/Cellphones. This strikes me as a good idea, and a way to extend the reach of these sites, with their wealth of new content, and revolving door that sees content being removed once it's in print, thus enticing you to buy the books if you like the sample chapters and current updates.

    – I'm also hoping we'll see new online anthologies in the SigIkki/SSunday formats, like a relaunch of ShojoBeat [possibly with a new brand- I'd love to see HanatoYume with Hakuensha titles, or a ShojoComi or Margaret site] and an online companion to SJUSA- I'm guessing it's more likey we'll see new titles launched on it [or ones not in the US magazine, like say, Reborn], rather then titles from the US Magazine….

  12. Andre says:

    Oh, and another possiblity- VIZ's minions have killed off or are in the process of killing off a number of scanlation sites who haven't dropped or added back their titles. I imagine by year's end we'll see some sort of massacre of that sort. Which I imagine given the uproar of the last time they killed off one of those sites, will rock some of fandom's world [which wasn't a bad thing- rude awakening's are needed sometimes].

    But yeah, more likely it's an expansion of their digital platforms with more titles, more magazines, and some sort of apps that will allow those with mobile devices to enjoy what they're already offering as handy reads for those with computers/laptops.

  13. Bereal says:

    Now I'm starting to wonder if the big news has something to do with Viz joining Open Manga….It has been a while since we've heard something big from it hasn't?….

  14. Andre says:

    Another possibility that just occured to me- would VIZ be buying Funimation? They already have their own anime division, but Funimation's presence in the market is about 5 times theirs according to ICV2, so it might be a good option for them.

    I don't see why they'd join OpenManga, since they already have their own digital manga services, and have the resources and connections to make their own web manga sites. I imagine they'd be more likely to offer titles viz Kindle, Comixology, EManga or other ebook services that are already operational, in business, and don't have a past as a scanlation site. I wish Open Manga well, but think they have to start smaller first before they expand- big companies only jumped onto Crunchyroll *after* they'd proven themselves with some smaller offerings. So possibly VIZ might join them if their service becomes successful after it's launched, which might be a few years.

  15. […] remains unclear if this is the big news VIZ was touting as arriving this week, though the timing would indicate it just might be. This is a move with lots of potential, and a […]

  16. […] is a great place to get some hype going, and that seems to have been just what Viz was doing when it announced on it’s three feeds that “huge changes” were coming. Speculation abounded […]

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