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NYAF 2011: Viz Media

Viz Media at NYCC

Manga programming was light after Friday at NYCC, but Sunday had Viz Media‘s panel with a big announcement to share and some licenses worth getting giddy for. I’ve included the full write up of the panel in my post here, including the anime-related news instead of just the manga. Since the post is so lengthy, however, here’s a quick summary of the event manga-wise:

New licenses:

Jiu Jiu – Toya Tobino
Loveless – Yun Kouga

Announcement:

Shonen Jump print magazine to be discontinued in March 2012; replaced by digital edition that will come out weekly and feature new chapters of titles from Japan within weeks of their release. Graphic novels of these titles will be released digitally to allow readers to get caught up before the new chapters begin. Viz Media is calling this their ‘digital warp’.

You can read the full details and anime news under the cut!

The panel began with a video showcasing some artwork from a Viz project titled Art for Hope. Multiple artists from around the world created artwork that will be published in an eBook of the same name. The book will be released on VizManga.com and their iPhone/iPad app for $4.99 (price may vary) in December. All money made from the sales will go to Architecture for Humanity, “A volunteer non-profit organization set up to promote architecture and design to seek solutions to global social and humanitarian crisis.”

Eager to get to their new licenses, Viz Media announced their two new titles next:

Jiu Jiu – Toya Tobina
Release Date: Summer 2012

Jiu JiuJiu Jiu is a shojo manga about a girl born into a family of exorcists. To protect her and give comfort after her twin brother passes away, she is given two pet demon wolves. The white wolf and black wolf have the ability to transform into human forms and insist on following their ‘master’ to high school to take care of her.

The manga is currently on-going in Japan and has four volumes currently released. Tokyopop released the first volume of Toya Tobina’s Mr. Clean: Fully Equipped series just prior to their shutdown. At the end of the announcement, Ryan Brown assured us “there will be hi-jinks!”.

Loveless – Yun Kouga
Release Date: June 2012 (Vol. 09), October 2012 (Vol. 10)

Loveless (Vol. 09)A license ‘rescue’ from Tokyopop, Viz Media is releasing the last two volumes of Loveless that Tokyopop never published. It didn’t sound like there were any plans to release the original eight books. The out of print status of them makes this rescue a benefit almost predominantly to those who already own them, which is a bit unfortunate.

The series is about a boy named Ritsuka Aoyagi who is trying to solve the murder of his older brother. He reluctantly teams up with a mysterious man named Soubi and the two battle together in a system of partner-based supernatural duels. The story takes place in a world where everyone is born with cat-ears and a tail which they lose along with their virginity. The series is very popular in the BL fandom because of plenty of pretty boys and heavy-laid innuendo. With Viz Media having plans to release BL titles, I think Loveless seems like a good way to break the ice before announcing more BL-heavy titles in the future.

Viz Media also announced a new sci-fi novel license, MM9 by Hiroshi Yamamoto. It will be sold as both a printed novel and an eBook for $14.99 in January 2012. The eBook will be available in Apple’s iBook service and through Kindle.

Next the Viz reps went through their original licensed properties, such as a new entry into their Mr/Miss line-up of children’s books and their releases of Voltron Force graphic novels based on a new cartoon running in the United States. These books will be full-colour and all original, sporting a different artist for each release.

Viz’s Mameshiba license was next to be talked about. It’s a strange little property about colourful creatures who are “…not quite a dog, not quite a bean…”. They played a cute little trailer promoting the different characters. Viz Media has been releasing graphic novels and sticker books based on this franchise with new childrens’ books coming Summer 2012 and new sticker books being released that following Autumn/Winter.

The anime side of their business came up next with release dates for a number of already licensed titles:

Pokemon DP Sinnoh League Victors – January 10, 2012 (DVD)
Blue Dragon: Trials of the 7 Shadows – December 16, 2011 (Streaming)
Naruto Shippuden: Boxset 9 – January 2012 ($49.95/US, DVD)
Inu-Yasha: The Final Act – Mid-2012 (Dubbed/Subbed, Blu-Ray & DVD)

They also announced that all Naruto episodes prior to the Shippuden series are now available to stream on Netflix in the United States.

The biggest news of the event (which was originally revealed on Saturday) is Shonen Jump Alpha – the new incarnation of Viz Media’s Shonen Jump magazine. The new magazine – which will be entirely digital – will have the titles Bakuman, Bleach, Naruto, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, One Piece and Toriko available to read only a couple weeks after the newest chapters are published in Japan.

Shonen Jump Alpha will be launched January 30th, 2011 with 48 issues a year as the magazine goes weekly. An annual fee of $25.95 will get you a year’s worth of issues available to read for 52 weeks. Readers will also be able to rent a single issue to read for four weeks for only $0.99. Once purchased, these rentals will be available on VizManga.com and an the account holder’s VizManga app.

Because the Japanese releases are so far ahead of where they currently sit in English publication, Viz Media will be doing a speed-up of the titles that will be released in the new magazine. Currently these speed-ups are digital only, with plans for speeding up hard-copy graphic novels to come later. Naruto (Vol. 53) was just released digitally for readers to purchase, with Bleach (Vol. 49) coming very soon. The most recent volumes of Naruto and Bleach to be released in English print are volume 52 and volume 36.

The schedule of digital speed-ups is available to view on their website.

Bleach (Vol. 49)Viz Media reps emphasized the importance of this move, including the necessity that it’s done digitally. They said there is no way to have fully translated printed editions that can keep up with the Japanese magazine and that continued publication of the graphic novels still allows readers to own the hard copy books. Because of this, the downside of this big announcement is that the print edition of Shonen Jump will be coming to an end with the April 2012 issue. This will be released in March.

Current subscribers of the print magazine will have their subscriptions shifted to the digital edition and can contact customer service if they have issues. They’ll be informed of the changes via information on Viz Media’s website, Twitter, Facebook and in the remaining print editions of the magazine. Current subscribers to the magazine will receive:

“6 of your Favorite SHONEN JUMP Series Every Week
FREE Alpha Membership for up to 1 year
3 FREE Digital SHONEN JUMP Graphic Novels
EXCLUSIVE BENEFITS for Alpha Members”

With the Shonen Jump Alpha news completed, the panel moved onto the Q&A session. No surprise that a lot of the questions pertained to the magazine news which was certainly a lot to take in. I didn’t include questions and answers below that were answered in my write-up of the Shonen Jump Alpha announcement above or questions that were incorrectly directed to Viz (questions re: titles owned by someone else).

Q: Will Inu-Yasha: Final Act be dubbed?
A: Yes.

Q: Will Tiger & Bunny be dubbed?
A: They don’t know for sure. (Note: It was announced during NYCC’s Tiger & Bunny was already in the process of being dubbed.)

Q: Will the rest of Monster be released in DVD boxsets?
A: No answer to this right now but they noted one of the biggest issues was trying to put together a box set that would be affordable to buyers.

Q: Will about bonus content that used to come with the print edition of Shonen Jump?
A: Viz Media is currently in negotiations to continue offering bonuses. Yu-Gi-Oh cards in particular were referenced.

Q: Can you buy-to-own Shonen Jump Alpha or just rent?
A: The new magazine will be rent-only but subscribers have access to issues for an entire year.

One Piece (Vol. 48)Q: Any plans to release Naoki Urasawa’s Billy Bat?
A: Viz Media reps implied that the title had already been licensed by another North American company. (Note: As a Kodansha title, it’s likely Kodansha Comics or Vertical Inc but these are guesses only!)

Q: Will there be VizBig editions of Eyeshield 21?
A: No plans currently, but maybe in the future.

Q: Will there be reprints of Maisson Ikoku?
A: No plans at this time.

Q: Will Skip Beat be made available digitally?
A: No plans at this time but it’s possible.

Q: Are there plans to release the 13th OVA of Ranma ½?
A: No plans at this time but they’ll take it into consideration.

Q: Will the entire Full Moon anime be released on DVD?
A: No, not at this time.

Q: Will Viz Media be including new shonen jump titles in the new magazine?
A: No plans at this time – “We’ve got such good stuff already!”

Q: Will be Shonen Jump Alpha be available on Kindle?
A: Viz is working on making SJA available on as many platforms as possible, including Kindle.

Q: Is there a possibility for a Shoujo Beat magazine to return digitally like SJA?
A: Viz Media reps said they’d like to but there are no concrete plans. They encourage those who are interested to contact them and let them know what titles they’d want.

Q: What is Viz doing about reprints such as Evangelion and Monster?
A: There are no plans for reprints of Neon Genesis Evangelion and Monster is currently having distribution issues.

Q: Has Viz Media considered print on demand?
A: It’s been in consideration for three years and is still on the table. It has its share of issues though so nothing has been determined yet.

Q: Will Shonen Jump Alpha be available globally?
A: No, SJA will only be available to the US and Canada.

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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2 Responses

  1. [...] Pattillo reports on the Viz Media, Vertical, Inc., and Yen Press panels at [...]

  2. [...] releases (**), all of which will be available worldwide. This in contrast with their recent Shonen Jump Alpha news which was restricted to those residing in North America only. Interestingly, these digital [...]

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