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VIZ Launching Digital Supplement for Shonen Jump Subscribers

In the December 2010 issue of Shonen Jump USA, VIZ makes a major announcement with a splash page in the opening pages, and a small blurb in the  next issue previews  indicating-

“Subscribe NOW and next month you’ll get to read:

  • Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan
  • Bakuman
  • Toriko

Available exclusively for subscribers online @shonenjump.com

VIZ already operates a digital preview of monthly issues of the print magazine at on the Shonen Jump website along with sample  of chapters of its ongoing graphic novel series. It appears this feature will launch next month, as there’s no news on VIZ’s Shonen Jump homepage as of yet.

Update: Shonen Jump Online Ad 01 | Shonen Jump Online Ad 02
(Editor’s note: Text is bottom of second image typed out for clarity.)

Shueisha themselves also have many sample chapters at their official English Shonen Jump homepage with sample chapters of their most popular series, and revolving samples of series unlicensed in the US like the currently showcased Light Wing. I’m assuming that VIZ’s site address in the magazine was a typo, though it would be interesting if they took over or merged with Shueisha’s shonenjump.com.

Whether the chapters of the three titles will simply be the usual 2-3 chapters of manga we see each month in Shonen Jump USA,  chapters running simultaneously with the Japanese edition similar to Shonen Sunday’s Rin-Ne , or simply the usual 3-chapter preview we normally get for new manga in Shonen Jump  is also unclear. At the moment, VIZ simply advertises it as an “online preview for subscribers only”. As such, it might be that these previews will be rotating series, though Toriko, Nura and Bakuman would make excellent ongoing additions if VIZ is planning longer runs. As both Toriko and Bakuman have already had short runs in the magazine, one would assume these online chapters will be from later in the series.

Nonetheless, this sounds like a major step forward for VIZ, adding a number of popular series that expand their offerings to their subscibers, and finding a way to potentially capitalize on digital manga by giving subscribers both a print and digital edition of the magazine with different sets of content. Given how lowpriced VIZ’s subscriptions are, around the same as 3-4 issues of the print magazine, this looks to be an excellent value for potential subscribers, and a different take from other initiatives not just by charging a subscription fee, but also by teaming it up directly with the print edition.

As a digital edition won’t be limited by page numbers, it also gives VIZ lots of room to grow in terms of adding further content. Personally, I hope fans support this iniative and encourage VIZ to build upon it. It’s a different approach with a more tangible value, a smart move to convince readers into boosting their magazine’s circulation, an inventive way to build on their existing digital anthologies, and a definite treat for those already subscribing to the magazine.

This is a small, but bold step for VIZ, considering the popularity of Bakuman, with Nura‘s anime being simulcast by their anime division, and Toriko also having a sizeable cult following. When one considers that there are only four regular ongoing series in the print edition currently, having three additional chapters online is a considerable boost, and the range of themes adds some diversity. Toriko‘s strange combination of First of the North Star style heroes and the cooking manga genre, Bakuman‘s manga about making manga aspect and Yura‘s anime tie-in make for an excellent range of titles. This will apparently be further augmented by the addition of print chapters of YuGiOh 5D‘s and Psyren, which appear to be ongoing additions rather than previews. It’s been awhile since VIZ added an ongoing series to the book, and these two should help break up the  Naruto/OnePiece dominance the magazine has had lately.

I imagine some might quibble over the subscription aspect, but this is a move that serves their artists and subscribers well – rewarding their existing readership, and setting up a system that will potentially allow more content and profitability than an advertisement focused website like Shonen Sunday and SigIkki.

It 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 major step forward considering up until now, the majority of VIZ’s digital content came from Shogakukan. Having access to Shueisha’s titles for digital editions opens a lot of opportunities, and I hope fandom will move forward with VIZ on their new venture, and help stabilize manga in what have been uncertain times for the industry.

Andre Paploo

About the Author:

André is a long time comics and animation fan who draws assorted webcomics like Jeepers, and designed the mascots for the Maritime provinces' anime convention, Animaritime. He has a scary anime collection including about 900 dvd’s and tapes, and has been reading comics for 15 years. Somewhere in there he got an English degree, but spend most of my time now reading comics and fantasy novels. He's a fan of cheesy anime, Disney, X-men stuff, Transformers, and CLAMP.



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13 Responses

  1. bahamut says:

    I don't think Nura will be just a preview. They use the word "preview" for Toriko and Bakuman, but not for Nura. So I think Nura will be serialized online. Possibly weekly, as well. On Amazon, it seems like the volumes will come out bimonthly, which would mean a new chapter every week.

  2. […] it seems that was the right answer. Lissa of Kuriousity broke on her blog that the newest issue of SJ has an announcement that digital supplemental material will be […]

  3. DeBT says:

    I saw the announcement at a library's early Shonen Jump prescription, and figured this MUST've been what the big announcement was going to be about. I was holding my reservations in stock until I knew for SURE.

    The fact that two new series, Psyren and another Yu-Gi-Oh! title was going to be in the next issue, and Bleach wasn't, seemed to be another big deal. It means that Bleach isn't going to be in the magazine anymore, which is kind of a relief. The fights at that point were bordering on being incredibly long and dull. They were probably felt that after Nel's big reveal, it was safe to continue the series' popularity in volume form, where scantly clad adult Nel was shown on the 34th cover.

    I'm still waiting for when they'll announce an online Shojo Beat equivalent.

  4. […] has a major announcement in the December Shonen Jump: They are planning an online manga site for subscribers to the […]

  5. […] manga supplement for magazine subscribers. Andre Paploo has the sparse details and speculation. [Kuriosity, via […]

  6. Sesame says:

    Oh I guess that would explain why Viz was looking to hire a Magazine Sales and Marketing Associate, eh?

  7. Andre says:

    VIZ's sales on SJump on newstands are pretty massive compared to most comics, so I'm not sure if they'd need help with sales on it. Though you pointing that out now makes me curious if they're launching another magazine- in the past, they've also published the manga antholgies Shojo Beat, Pulp [a spiritual predecesor to SigIkki], MangaVizion, and Animerica Extra, as well as anime magazine Animerica. And of course, I wonder if they'll be pushing subsriptions more with the new digital aspect?

  8. Andre says:

    Yeah, I hadn't noted Bleach's discontuation since it wasn't 100% clear- I'm guessing they might be leaving it out to speed up the GN release, and add it back later maybe?

  9. […] “Get ready for some online manga eatin’,” says manga blog Kuriosity (which, for some reason, has a dash between the “i” and the “o” in the URL … so be careful when typing that into the address bar). It turns out that manga anthology magazine Shonen Jump is adding digital comics to its arsenal: Subscribe NOW and next month you’ll get to read: […]

  10. Andre says:

    For anyone reading this, I've sent some scans to Lissa to help confirm things. (Editor's note: Scans added to article) Also, looking over things again, it seems that Nura will be an ongoing series online ["new online series for subscribers only!"], while Bakuman and Toriko are listed as previews. I imagine we'll get a clearer idea how everything works once the next issue hits or when VIZ releases their PR for the title.

  11. […] the SigIkki manga titles come from Shogakukan's Weekly Shonen Sunday and Ikki magazines.) Source: Kuri-Ousity and ANN PM  Reply With Quote  Top « Previous […]

  12. […] with confirmations and press releases coming Monday and Tuesday. Viz was going to debut a supplemental website with exclusive manga for subscribers of Shonen Jump. Titles mentioned include Nura: Rise of the […]

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