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NYCC2009: VIZ Media Panel Report

Hosting the VIZ Media panel at the 2009 New York Comic Con was Mark Chang and Candice Vyloan, presenting a combination of manga and anime-related news and announcements. New information was relatively light, but there were a few surprises and one big announcement near the end of the panel.

Stan Lee and Hiroyuki Takei’s Ultimo manga will be coming to VIZ’s Shonen Jump magazine, with a tentative July release date. Ultimo #0 will be VIZ’s offering for this year’s Free Comic Book Day on May 2, 2009, and attendees got to watch a video of Stan delivering a message plugging Ultimo to his Japanese fans.

Unsurprisingly, Naruto will be getting a lot of attention from VIZ in the coming year, even though the manga will be taking a break from Shonen Jump for March and April before returning in May. The first 7 chapters of volume 45 of the manga is online for free at ShonenJump.com, and a password in the May issue of the magazine will contain a password for special bonus content. A whopping 11 volumes of Naruto manga will be released between February and April, with VIZ aiming for near-simultaneous releases of the manga in Japan and the US. The schedule will be:

  • FEBRUARY: Volumes 34-37
  • MARCH: Volumes 38-40
  • APRIL: Volumes 42-44

Different volumes will come with exclusive bookmarks or stickers, and the bookmarks will contain information on a test of Ninja Knowledge at ShonenJump.com for exclusive Naruto bonuses.

As for the Naruto anime series, Naruto Shippuden will continue getting 8 new episodes per week at naruto.com until they catch up with Japan. March will begin a “Watch-and-Win” contest where being able to answer a question about the episode that was just watched can get you entered into a contest to win a prize. New Naruto DVD boxed sets are also on the way, with volume 12 available now, vol. 13 coming on May 7, and vol. 14 on May 26. Each boxed set will contain special US-exclusive “mininja” figures, with Rock Lee in volume 12 and Kakashi in volume 13.

The pair then ran down several new DVD boxed sets. I”s is a new series about a love triangle in high school that’s a little different from their usual Shonen Jump titles. The 2-disc set of 8 episodes will be released on March 24 with a retail price of $29.92. Other titles will continue, including:

  • Hunter x Hunter vol. 2 (3-discs, 15 episodes, SRP $49.95) on April 7
  • Death Note vol. 2 (5 discs, 17 episodes, SRP $49.97) on April 14. Volume 9 of the single-disc releases will be the last volume and is scheduled for release on February 24.
  • InuYasha vol. 7, the last boxed set (4-discs, 21 episodes, SRP $99.94) on April 28. This set will include a US exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the finale and an exclusive InuYasha figure.
  • Death Note Relight will be a feature-length retelling of Death Note from Ryuk’s POV. The disc will street on June 16, with an SRP of $24.92.

VIZ moved to publishing plans next. A posterzine, poster book, and junior novel adaptation are all coming on March 9 for the upcoming Dragon Ball Evolution movie. However, VIZ was very proud to detail the first releases from their Haika Soru imprint of contemporary Japanese science fiction novels, described as “pulp fiction with a pulse and a brain.” The first in the series will be Lord of the Sands of Time by Issui Ogawa, which will go on sale in July 2009. A cyborg travels back in time to avert a global holocaust, while wondering what will happen to the love that he left behind in the future. All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka was described as “a really violent version of Groundhog Day,” when a soldier dies in battle over and over again until he sees a female soldier on the battlefield, who may be a harbinger of his final death. This book will also be out in July. Usurper of the Sun by Housuke Nojiri will arrive in September. The novel involves some unknown force constructing a ring around the sun, which causes catstrophic global cooling on Earth. A scientist named Aki is sent on a mission to find out who’s building the ring and how she can subvert it. Zoo by Otsuichi is a collection of dark fantasy stories that will be arriving in September. All the Haika Soru books will be shelved in the Science Fiction section of bookstores.

Finally, the panel shifted to the upcoming manga titles from VIZ:

  • Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee by Hiroyuki Asada. Vol. 1 will be arriving in September 2009. VIZ is hoping to bring the anime adaptation of this steampunk-inspired manga to the US soon.
  • DMC (Detroit Metal City) by Kiminori Wakasugi arrives in June 2009. This offensively comedic series is for the thick-skinned only and will be shipped shrinkwrapped with temporary tattoos packed in with the first volume.
  • Gestalt by Yun Kouga (Loveless) arrives in June 2009. Creator of RPG-elements are incorporated in a story about a priest’s crisis of faith. And lots of very sexy elves.
  • Dogs by Shirow Miwa arrives in August 2009, with a prelude coming in April. A science fiction tale of genetically altered people trying to figure out what’s been done to them and why.
  • Children of the Sea Vol. 1 by Daisuke Igarashi comes in the VIZ Signature line in June 2009. $14.99. The VIZ Signature series manga are shipped in a slightly larger format than a normal manga digest and also gets color printing and a fold-in page. The beautifully drawn story follows several children who were raised by dugongs.
  • Ooku: The Inner Chambers by Fumi Yoshinaga will also come under the VIZ Signature line in August 2009. This alternate history story of 17th Cent Japan turns the shogun into a woman with a harem full of the most beautiful men in Japan.
  • Ponyo film comics will adapt the new movie by Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki, with volumes 1 and 2 coming in July and volumes 3-4 following in August. July will also see the Ponyo Picture Book and The Art of Ponyo book.
  • Choco Mimi by Konomi Sonoda will be in the VIZ Kids imprint, with vol. 1 coming in July 2009. The adorable 4-panel comic strip style manga is geared towards girls and will include recipies and sticker pages.
  • Missin’/Missin 2: Kasako by Novala Takemoto is a 2-novel boxed set coming in August 2009. A young girl gets obsessed with a pop singer, which leads to dark consequences.
  • YuGiOh! R manga by Akira Ito will be arriving in October 2009. All the volumes will have cards as well.
  • Boys Over Flowers: Jewelry Box by Yoko Kamino will also arrive in October 2009. This is the same as volume 37 in Japan, and takes place 1 year after vol. 36 ended.
  • The Gentleman’s Alliance Cross Art Book will contain all illustrations from the series (including 2 exclusive pieces of art), artist commentary, and a poster. The book will be arriving in November 2009.
  • Beast Master by Kyousuke Motomi will arrive in November 2009. This title has nothing to do with the 80′s movie of the same name, but is about a new boy at a school and a girl who’s drawn to him and his affinity with animals.
  • Butterflies, Flowers by Yuki Yoshihara comes in December 2009. This mature relationship manga wraps in social class and office romance for an M-rated audience.
  • Jormungand by Keitaro Takahashi arrives in November 2009. This series, described as similar to Black Lagoon, follows mercenaries where death is their business and business is good.
  • What a Wonderful World by Inio Asano will get its first two VIZ Signature volumes released in October 2009.
  • GoGo Monster by Taiyo Matsumoto (Tekkon Kinkreet) arrives in November 2009, also from VIZ Signature. The story involve a boy with a very over-active imagination — but what he sees may be real.
  • All My Darling Daughters by Fumi Yoshinaga goes on sale in January 2010. This josei title follows Yukiko a salarywoman in her 30′s.
  • Not Simple by Natsume Ono is another VIZ Signature volume going on sale in January 2010, and is a deep slice-of-life manga.
  • Natsume’s Book of Friends by Yuki Midorikawa comes in January 2010. The main character can see spirits and demons that hide with humanity, and must use this gift responsibly.

The biggest announcement was reserved for last: famed mangaka Rumiko Takahashi (InuYasha, Ranma 1/2, Maison Ikkoku) is coming out with a brand new series — her first since InuYasha concluded. The series was published in Japan in Weekly Shonen Sunday and VIZ and Shogakukan will be bringing the new series to US in 2009. VIZ couldn’t reveal much more than that for now, but stay tuned.

The panel was then opened for Q&A:

  • VIZ would love to bring more mangaka to the US for conventions and signings, but they are usually too busy to come. However, Tite Kubo loved attending the San Diego Comic Con last year.
  • After a long delay, the Nana and Honey & Clover anime should definitely be coming out in boxed sets this year.
  • The studios are working as quickly as possible to get Naruto dubs out, but VIZ is opting to get the subtitled version out as fast as possible.
  • The third live-action Death Note movie will be released some time this year, with tentative plans for a limited theatrical release.
  • Releasing 11 volumes of Naruto in 3 months may overwhelm the bank accounts of Naruto fans, but VIZ is trying to get as much as they can released so they can be as close to the Japanese manga releases as possible.
  • Stay tuned for more information about the Monster anime. VIZ hopes to have an announcement very soon.
  • There is not much news about the Full Moon anime at this time, but stay tuned for that, too.
  • As far as they know, the Switch manga will run in its entirety despite the change in magazines in Japan.
  • Expect to see more American comic book artists doing covers to Shojo Beat.
  • Despite the aging of the characters and the more edgy nature of the show, Naruto Shippuden will not come close to an M rating.
  • Described as “an awesome stay tuned,” VIZ is working on an initiative for Hikaru no Go. Lot of awesome shonen jump anime coming.
  • There are no plans at the moment to translate any of the One Piece fanbooks.

Return to Toon Zone News’ New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage Round-up

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