VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, made a series of notable announcements of several highly anticipated new anime and manga properties at the recent 2007 Comic-Con International. The convention, which is the premiere event for the comics industry in North America, drew more than 120,000 attendees.
On the anime front, VIZ Media’s SHONEN JUMP™ Home Video line will offer the DVD release of NARUTO™ THE MOVIE: NINJA CLASH IN THE LAND OF SNOW in September. DEATH NOTE, which is presently available for digital download, will be released on DVD in November with subtitles and newly dubbed audio, and a special limited edition will also be issued that features a collectable figurine of the shinigami Ryuk. Later volumes of the collector’s edition will include figurines of Light, L, Misa, and other popular characters. The first BLEACH™ DVD Box Set is set for release in October. VIZ Media’s newest anime acquisitions also expand the SHOJO BEAT imprint. It was announced that the NANA anime series is being prepared for domestic release and HONEY AND CLOVER has also been licensed. A trailer for HONEY AND CLOVER was screened for excited fans during the VIZ Media anime and manga panel.
Announcements were also made on a host of new manga titles for the coming year to be offered by the VIZ Media imprint, as well as the company’s SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT imprints.
Among the new VIZ Media imprint titles will be SWITCH, set to debut in March. The new series is an action crime drama centering on narcotics investigator Kai Eto, who looks like a squeaky clean kid but hides a violent alter ego and a dangerous past. Together with his stoic partner Hal Kurabayashi, the detective must track down and stop the distribution of a dangerous new drug, Dragon Speed.
NIGHTMARE INSPECTOR: YUMEKUI KENBUN will debut in April 2008 and will captivate fans with gothic shojo-style of artwork mated to a supernatural mystery story in the tradition of great comics like Sandman and House of Mystery/House of Secrets. For those who suffer nightmares, help lies in wait at the Silver Star Tea House, where patrons can order much more than Darjeeling. Hiruko is a special kind of private investigator. He’ll enter his clients’ dreams and rid them of their darkest visions - but only at the risk of exposing their darkest secrets!
THE RECORD OF A FALLEN VAMPIRE will launch in May and tells the story of a Vampire King that has lost his kingdom and his queen. A thousand years ago, humans took the queen hostage during an attempt to kill the king. Trying to protect him, the queen unleashed her power, nearly destroying the world in the process. Unable to kill the queen, the humans sealed her away and erected thousands of fake seals so that the king can never find her. The king’s search continues even today.
SHOJO BEAT was pleased to announce the forthcoming releases of paperback versions of romantic novels including KAMIKAZE GIRLS (Jan. 2008), SOCRATES IN LOVE (Feb. 2008), and BE WITH YOU (Feb. 2008), with a subsequent BE WITH YOU manga series also set to debut in February 2008.
New SHOJO BEAT manga series for 2008 will include HONEY AND CLOVER, a slice-of-life story set at a Tokyo art college, and MONKEY HIGH!, a story about a teenage girl that falls in love while dealing with a new school and family problems, both set for March release.
April will offer HARUKA - BEYOND THE STREAM OF TIME, a coming-of-age fantasy tale about a teenage girl named Akane who is sucked into a mysterious well that brings her back in time to the Heian period of ancient Japan! There, Akane learns that she is the Priestess of the Dragon God and the only one who can stop the notorious Demon Clan from taking over the capital city. Action-and romance-ensues when Akane meets the Eight Guardians: young men who have sworn to protect her as she completes her destiny!
May will bring the debut of Kaori Yuki’s FAIRY CUBE. The popular creator of ANGEL SANCTUARY, GODCHILD and THE CAIN SAGA offers a new supernatural adventure story about a teenage boy whose life is being taken over by a renegade evil spirit. Trapped in the mystical land of Faerie, Ian must figure out how to return to his own world and stop the lizard spirit from stealing his life, his family and his girl.
Also set for a May debut is B.O.D.Y. Everyone thinks 16-year-old Sakura has weird taste in guys because she can’t stop drooling over Fuji, the strong silent type who sits next to her in class. When she discovers he works for a host club-where women actually pay men to date them-will she finally wise up? Only one thing’s for sure in B.O.D.Y.-you can’t put a price on love! She could hire him to date her, but she’d rather win his heart.
VIZ Media’s SHOJO BEAT magazine was also pleased to welcome renowned manga creator Arina Tanemura for a special discussion on her work. Several new titles by the creator of popular shojo series like FULL MOON and THE GENTLEMEN’S ALLIANCE † , both published domestically by VIZ Media, will include I.O.N in April 2008. The series centers on a high school girl that meets the president of the Psychic Powers Research Society, and discovers when she touches a mysterious substance he made, that it gives her telekinetic powers when she chants the letters of her first name, I-O-N.
TIME STRANGER KYOKO will be released in July. The story is about a princess in the 30th century who has been happily living among the commoners until age 16, when she is supposed to ascend the throne. The king will let only Kyoko continue living as a commoner if she can revive her twin sister who has been trapped in time since birth. August will offer SHORT-TEMPERED MELANCHOLIC AND OTHER STORIES and, later in the year, a gorgeous presentation of THE ART OF FULL MOON, compiling a variety of Arina Tanemura’s vivid artwork from the series, will be released.
The SHONEN JUMP panel offered more news on DEATH NOTE, now one of the hottest manga and anime series in North America. New DEATH NOTE print titles for 2008 will include DEATH NOTE HOW TO READ 13 in February, which is the ultimate encyclopedia of all things DEATH NOTE. Readers will even discover the mysterious character L’s real name on a special trading card included with the edition. February will also see the release of DEATH NOTE: ANOTHER NOTE THE LOS ANGELES BB MURDER CASES. This is an original novel based on characters and concepts from the manga, anime and movie that takes place in Los Angeles with detective L working with a former FBI agent to help the LAPD investigate grisly serial killer crimes.
New SHONEN JUMP manga will include the release of RAL ?© GRAD in February. The series features artwork by DEATH NOTE creator Takeshi Obata and tells the story of a young boy named Ral who was locked in a world of darkness for 15 years because the villagers were afraid of him. When Ral was an infant, a dragon-shaped Shadow named Grad living inside of him destroyed his village. Shadows have no form but when they emerge into the world of light, they take over the body of a living creature. Set free after the Shadows invade the kingdom, Ral is released into the world of light and quickly discovers women. He’ll do anything for them and his main goal is to protect every beautiful female in the world.
Other SHONEN JUMP debuts include GUN BLAZE WEST by Nobuhiro Watsuki (creator of RUROUNI KENSHIN and BUSO RENKIN) in April. A Wild West action and gunplay manga about a boy who befriends a vagabond in search of the sacred land named Gun Blaze West, where only the strong can set foot.
SHONEN JUMP rounded out its announcements with news of a special NARUTO™ Deluxe Box Set, going on sale the week of Thanksgiving, containing the first 27 volumes of the NARUTO manga series along with several limited edition premiums. In February, NARUTO: THE OFFICIAL FANBOOK debuts, filled with artwork created by the fans of the series. The new story arc for NARUTO also begins in March of 2008 with volume 28, which finds the main characters two and a half years older.
‘This year’s Comic-Con International was a tremendous success for VIZ Media,’ states Liza Coppola, Sr. Vice President, Marketing, VIZ Media. ‘Comic-Con is a major event for us and the opportunity to meet with the fans and preview forthcoming titles is always a welcome one. Thousands came by our booth throughout the show to sample the latest in anime, manga and related gaming titles, and we were also pleased to use Comic-Con to announce more than twenty exciting new series set for release in 2008. Our roster for next year will notably expand the VIZ Media, SHOJO BEAT and SHONEN JUMP imprints with some of the most innovative and compelling anime and manga properties yet. We look forward to fans discovering them!’