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Viz Media Elaborates On Pokemon Black & White Release Info

My recent post about Viz Media’s recent license announcements spurred a number of comments and a slew of off-site commentary about the fact the company would be releasing Pokemon Black & White. With lots of people asking questions, I passed them along to Viz Media and they promptly got back to me with some answers.

The version of Pokemon Black & White being published is the edition currently being published in Japan as Pokemon Special. Though currently being serialized, none of the chapters being published by Viz Media in their Black & White books have been released in Japan as tankobon yet (meaning full collected volumes). Currently Viz Media doesn’t know when (or if) the chapters will be collected into volume-editions in Japan but are working with the license-holders in Japan to compile the content for English readers.

Viz Media’s editions of Pokemon B/W will be a new format from their usual Pokemon releases with each volume being approximately 80-96 pages each to accommodate the content available. Because of this they are being sold at a lower price point of only $4.99/US. They’ll be releasing two volumes at a time – the first two in July, and then volumes 3 and 4 in November.

So I hope that clears up many of the questions folks had! While the material hasn’t yet been released compiled in Japan, Viz Media has been given permission to do so to ensure we get our Pokemon manga fix of the newest series. My thanks to Viz Media’s Jane Lui for answering our questions and elaborating on the license news.

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.



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5 Responses

  1. ~Dakota says:

    If you don't mind me asking, why did they reply to you and so quickly? (no offense) Do you work for them or something? Or are you an insider for them or something? Lol. The reason I'm asking is because although I have found a contact form on their website, I've never heard of anyone getting a reply from them, let alone an almost immediate one. In fact I've often been told not to not even bother sending in any questions, comments or concerns because they don't even read them. So I was wondering if you have connections with them which is the only reason why they replied, or if you are supposed to contact them another way or something. If it's neither of those though I would love to know since it means there would be hope for us after all. So any info and confirmation on that would be really appreciated.

    And thanks for posting their reply. Surprising it doesn't really say anything new, because believe it or not fans already predicted all of this. (that it was Special, that it was the magazine chapters, that the lower price was because the chapters would be released in smaller volumes, ect.) The only thing we didn't know was that volumes 3 and 4 will be released in November. Still, thanks for posting though as it is nice to have confirmation on all of this. I must say I (along with a lot of other fans) are still disappointed though. It would have been so much better if instead of releasing BW Adventures they would have released one of the other Pokemon BW manga series in Japan, since there are plenty to choose from. Or if they really wanted to please us Special fans and make us happy, a better thing to do would have been to speed up the release on the old volumes instead so we'd catch up quicker. That way we'd catch up quicker and be happier, and plus if they did that instead it would have prevented Special here from becoming even more confusing and messy with a THIRD separate but related series now. Most of all though with this being the magazine chapters we definitely know this won't be a good thing.

    Hopefully with this being released as mini-volumes though it means they might still release the ACTUAL BW volumes once they come out in Japan. If they do that then it might not be too bad. Hey, speaking of this, I don't suppose you could ask them if they still plan to release the actual BW volumes when they're released in Japan could you? I would but if my messages to them might not even be read, I think it would be better for you to just pass the comment onto them.

    I must say though, it's kind of surprising Viz Media doesn't know when (or if) the BW Special chapters will be released in tankobon form. XD Especially since us fans already have a general idea. We do know for a fact though that BW chapters of Special WILL be collected into volume-editions in Japan eventually, just not right now. You see, in Japan they release four volumes a year, and they have just finally finished the DP arc volume-wise and have just started on the Platinum arc volume-wise. So it'll still be a while yet before they get to it. But based on our estimates, after the Platinum arc (which will probably be three or four volumes) will be the HeartGold/SoulSilver arc

    (which will also probably be around three or four volumes) since they release their arcs in order. And then finally after that, the Black/White arc will FINALLY start getting released in tankobon form after that. So it probably won't be until late 2012 if not early 2013 before Black/White starts getting collected for volume release in Japan. It's funny — the fans actually know something that the official manga company doesn't know! XD (feel free to share that with them as well, since it might help them to know that)

    Oh, one final thing. There has been something I always wondered about Viz's release of Special, and I was wondering if you have any info on it. (or if you don't, if you could ask them) Why did Viz stop their original release of Special after the Yellow arc all those years ago? Was it because of poor sales? Complaints? Or what?

    • Not a lot of new information but there isn’t really a whole lot more to know facts-wise, but in this instant confirming the information fans were speculating seemed prudent. I wanted to get the confirmed info up as soon as I heard back from them. Seems every site linking to me had every single line beginning with “IF this is Pokemon Special…” so now the if’s need be no more!

      And no, I don’t work for Viz Media (or any manga company) and I’m no ‘insider’ (whatever that is xD). I’m just a person who buys and reads a lot of manga. I think they likely saw the attention the Pokemon news was getting – I linked to your comments on my site for example – and knew that I’d post the clarified info on my site where the Pokemon fans reacted to the news in the first place. I wasn’t the first site to report on the license but definitely seem to be the one that got the biggest reaction from the community. Asking questions of any company is always hit or miss because your question is one of thousands going into them and they don’t have time to address them all, especially when the information many ask can be found by searching on sites that’ve already posted it. In this case since the news was new, there wasn’t anywhere that had the info clarified so they reacted well and got it out there for the masses. I’m very grateful they were able to respond so quickly.

      Something I think a lot of people reacting negatively to this news aren’t taking into consideration is that Viz Media doesn’t get to call all the shots on how or when they release the Pokemon manga. It’s much more likely that the original license orders dictate when the titles are released and in what order, and how they’re titled. Viz Media needs to go along with this in order to be allowed to keep releasing the series to readers – it’s all a part of license agreements. It’s the same for information about the manga being released in tankobon format in Japan. I’ve no doubt Viz Media knows every bit as much as fans and more but as a company they’re not allowed to say it. Anything they say can be taken as fact and with final dates and formats not done in Japan, if Viz Media said anything based on ‘maybes’ then they’d get in a whole lot of trouble!

      I think it makes complete sense that they’re releasing the Pokemon Black & White manga when they are because that’s the series that’s relevant right now and the owners of the series know that too (plus who wants to wait until 2012/2013 to get the books?!). All companies need to publish not just for the hardcore fans but for the thousands of people out there currently playing Pokemon B/W who’ve never read a volume of manga before. That’s the bigger audience and that’s who they need buying the books. There simply aren’t enough of us manga fans to support it on our own, especially with so many opting to just read scanlations over buying the books. I’d love to see the Pokemon volumes consistently get on the Bestseller’s list with the other manga titles someday.

      That being said it’s incredibly impressive Viz Media is releasing as much of the manga as they are, and several series on-going on the same time too. Very few of any of their series have ever gotten that much attention before. They’re putting out those books faster and more consistently than almost any of their series I’ve ever seen (and I’ve been collecting their books since they started!). I know nothing’s perfect but believe me, Pokemon fans have it good and I’m really grateful to Viz Media for getting it out there so fast. I can’t even keep up! But at least it means I’ll always know there’s more out there for me to buy and read so that’s always an upside ;)

      As for Pokemon Special years ago, I’d imagine it was simply because of the way the manga market was changing. Around that time manga hit a boom and releasing books uncensored, unflipped and in the smaller formats was the way that worked and readers were demanding it. It was also around the same time Pokemon’s popularity started tapering off. Viz Media shifted their focus to what people wanted and then when the license-holders and Viz Media felt it was time and they had lots of content under their belts, they went back and started releasing the entire series from the beginning in the thicker, more compact, unflipped versions. This is just me speculating on probable reasoning.

      And thanks for your comments – it’s always wonderful hearing from the passionate fans, especially on titles that don’t always get a lot of attention from the mangasphere ^^

  2. […] Pattillo gets some more information on Viz’s upcoming release of Pokemon Black and White. And Lori Henderson wonders whatever happened to Magical Pokemon […]

  3. ~Dakota says:

    That's true, actually. Or at least I think it's true, since I don't remember anything else the fans really want to know at this moment besides whether or not they'll publish the actual volumes as second-editions later on. (but that's pretty likely) That and people are also complaining since there are chapters missing in-between the chapters out in Japan right now, and unless they come out soon (which doesn't seem likely) then Viz's release will have missing chapters, which would be bound to be annoying, confusing and turn-off of buying them. Other than that, I believe that's everything. (then again I'm tired, so I might be forgetting something…) And that's also true. I want to sincerely say "thank you" from all of us wondering for going out there and getting confirmation on things we really needed to be confirmed. We really appreciate it. ^^ And that's true, haha! Glad the if's need to be no more!

    I didn't think so, but I wasn't sure. It just surprised me when I heard you got a response, and so quick! Now that I think about it though it's probably since you're a fairly popular blogger, so you seem a bit more important than just one person voicing their opinion. (As for the 'insider' thing, I'm not really sure what that is either! xD I wrote that comment while I was tired so I'm not sure what I really meant to say, but I believe by insider I meant 'someone who works for Viz Media to gather opinions about Viz's business ventures' or something. xD) And you're right that they likely saw the attention the news was making too, I hadn't thought of that. And that since you were the one who helped stirred up the news people would check back for whatever they had to say back. Makes a lot of sense now that I think about it. (and thank you for linking to my comments! Although now I wish I could have made them better and added a few other things I wanted to say… xD; ) And yeah you were the one who got the biggest reaction for some reason — goes to show you're popular! I didn't know some other sites had done it first though, just assumed you had since you were the only blog I saw linked to about all of this.

    That's true. That's what I've always heard too (aside from the it can possibly be a hit part xD), but I never heard that you actually stand a chance. That makes me a bit more hopeful then and I might send in a couple things sometime to see if I can luck out and get a response. Not to brag but I do seem to be lucky with that, so who knows… And that's also true and makes perfect sense. I'm very grateful too, and grateful for you posting it!

    While that may be true, at the same time that isn't always the case. So this very well could be one of those exceptions, especially since some of Viz Media's decisions seem too bad to not be their own, since I doubt the Japanese license holders would tell them to do some of the things they're doing since they should know better. (unless they just care more about money than what it means…) Not only that, but while I know Viz Media doesn't have control over everything, I'm fairly certain their releases and how they release things are very much their own decision. I mean you even said yourself that this release in particular for example, was most likely to release something up to date to 'please the fans' and to focus on the most recently released games, so I'm pretty sure that was Viz's idea since it sounds like something they'd come up with their selves. Not only that, but even their reply back to you only seems to suggest that they are just working with the license holders on getting things ready for their release, not that it was their idea or a mutual idea or anything. And well, that might be the case, but they have already shown they don't know as much as the fans and more. Perfect example is their DP release, and I'll explain why. Now, while they didn't know this at the time they announced their decision to start releasing the DP volumes, they most definitely should have found out before the release of their first volume. (since they would have noticed in November, or at the very latest late February right before the release of the first volume) You see, there is a silhouette of all the Dexholders up to Emerald and a character from some previous arcs reappearing in volume 37, which is of the DP arc. While that isn't much of a bother, the reappearance continues into volume 38, and also does a lot more than that. The character explains everything they've done in the past two arcs, including giving big spoilers as to what happens in the end of one arc and part of a spoiler of the ending of another. Just thinking about it, it doesn't sound like too big of a problem granted Viz releases the volumes with those spoilers before then right? Well wrong, it IS a problem since based on Viz's release dates, they will release these two volumes BEFORE these arcs, which means by the time people get to reading those two arcs they'll be majorly spoiled, and on big stuff like on endings too, which is annoying. Not only that, but it will confuse readers who don't know better since they won't know who all that silhouette was showing and what all that character was talking about. That goes to show right there that Viz doesn't know more than fans or even as much when it comes to some things. And the only hope we have that this won't happen is for Viz to realize this (or for us to point it out to them) and hope they either slow down the DP volume releases (which I hope they won't do) or speed up the older volume releases (which I would love for them to do) since I doubt they would cancel the release now that the first volume has come out.

    I can understand that. That said however, I still think it's not a maybe but a soon-to-be fact that that will be the case with the volume releases in Japan. So I think it would have been fine to say that, since it's what's almost 100% going to happen. But like I said, I do understand what you're saying that they don't want to risk anything since whatever they say can be taken as fact.

    It makes sense from a business standpoint, but not when you take everything into account. Of course it makes sense to release what's relevant right now, but when you take into account what happens with Special's magazine chapters as a whole it doesn't, but I won't get into that again since I (and some others) have already covered that with some previous posts on your blog. (on the first post announcing that Viz planned to release this) And actually, while the owners (Kusaka and Yamamoto) know that, this is actually a bit surprising for them too. Usually they don't start work on their respective arc for a game until about a year or so after it's already been out, but them starting up so unusually early goes to show that they were forced to do so (probably by their company and/or the magazines that their series runs in) since like I said, it's not like them and they were busy working on other arcs (DP, Platinum and HGSS) before this. …If by owners you were referring to the license holders though, then nevermind that deal about Kusaka and Yamamoto, lol. And well, no one wants to wait until then to get the books, but any fans who knows better would be willing to since they'd realize the quality of the books would be better. Only fans who are too impatient to wait until then, don't know better, or just don't care will be the ones who are truly happy about this announcement and the ones who will buy it anyway. I, however, along with quite a few others, shall save my money to buy the actual volumes when they're rereleased here as the 'second edition'. (or Chuang Yi's, if Viz doesn't release them) And well, I understand that, but Special just isn't the right series to do this with. If they really wanted to give those thousands of people out there currently playing Pokemon B/W who've never read manga a Pokemon B/W manga they should have chosen one of the others. It'd give them money, something for those fans, but at the same time not do what it's doing with Special and also give us more manga than just Special here. But since they just went with Special instead it shows they're caring more about the money than anything. And I disagree. While I don't know who the bigger audience is (Special is the most popular Pokemon manga *or at least one of them* with a plethora of fans and a lot of those do buy the Viz release), I do know that there is definitely enough of us supporting in on our own. The fact that Viz is choosing to release three arcs of the SAME series simultaneous shows that the sales and demand for these series are big enough and that it's popular enough to survive on it's own, even with a lot of people opting to just read scanlations. And what a great dream! I too would love to see Pokemon "Adventures" consistently get on the Bestseller's list with the other manga titles someday.

    I have to agree that it's incredibly impressive that Viz is releasing as much of the manga as they are and several series on-going at the same time too! I just wish instead of several series they could have kept it the one big series it's supposed to be and just get through every arc quicker, not just some. That way we could catch up sooner but still be getting the same amount of awesomeness. But that's just me. And I know! The only series I know of that happening with tend to be their bigger Shonen/Teen titles, like Naruto, Bleach or One Piece. It's impressive that a manga on their kids line is apparently doing well enough to garner that same kind of attention. (even if it is to a lesser extent) And that's true, very few if any of their series have ever gotten that much attention before, so it's quite impressive to see them giving that kind of attention now and that Adventures is getting it. (rightfully so, in my opinion) And that's also true! They’re putting out the books faster and more consistently than almost any of their series I’ve ever seen as well! (I haven't exactly been collecting their books since they started since I didn't really get into manga until a few years ago, but I have been collecting books from them a long time as well, and multiple series too.) I agree that we have it pretty good and I'm grateful for it as well, but I still wish they could have done some things different and better. You are definitely right that nothing's perfect. And aww, I'm sorry that you can't keep up! One thing about them doing it this way is it's hard to keep up. But that's a nice way of looking at it! ;) That's a perfect upside!

    Ah, I see. That makes perfect sense then. Thanks for giving me your take on things, I appreciate it and the insight it gave me. :) The only other thing I could add to your insight is that it probably didn't help that they weren't on the latest generation either, lol. (since I read that by the time they were releasing Yellow the GS games were already the focus; although the arc was out *currently going on* in Japan already.)

    Although you have me curious, you think that Viz still had the license all along? I suppose that's kind of obvious, but I always assumed that once their release stopped out they eventually lost the license, and didn't get it back until they decided to do the rerelease. Even if that wasn't the case though, I'm pretty sure the time and content under their belts wasn't an issue and it didn't have anything to do with license-holders. I'm not for sure of course, but I get the feeling that Viz realized the popularity of the series online (since some scanlators said they got cease-and-desist orders from Viz since they were considering bringing back the series) and from Chuang Yi (their Singaporean branch that also publishes the manga in English, and their releases are pretty popular) and realized what an opportunity they missed and decided to bring it back. Though, that's just speculation on my part as well so it might not be anymore right than yours is, but it seems kind of likely based on my research on their rerelease. The only thing though, is regardless of the reasons and how they decided and whatever, it doesn't make sense they waited so long. Mainly just because now they have almost too much stuff to release, and unless they add more releases or speed up their current ones they won't get caught up to Japan's current volumes until 2014, and by then Japan will be even FARTHER ahead. To be honest while I'm happy with the rerelease I wish they would have started it a year or two sooner.

    And no problem! I was glad to comment. ^^ I'm also glad you appreciate my passion and comments on a title such as Special (it doesn't bother that I call you that, does it?), that doesn't always get a lot of attention from the mangasphere. ^^ (although in my personal opinion I think it should) Especially since I always fear my comments aren't that good. ^^; I really appreciate it.

  4. […] of the first collected volume of Pokemon Adventures: Black & White. Viz Media has been releasing mini volumes of this series since July 2011 to keep in close proximity to the original Japanese serialized […]

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