Viz Media is the second manga publisher to rescue a license dropped by Tokyopop: They announced in their Sunday morning panel at New York Comic Con that they had picked up the license for the last two volumes of Yun Kouga's Loveless. The first eight volumes were published by Tokyopop before that publisher closed its doors last May. Viz Media marketing rep Candace Uyloan said "We have picked up volumes 9 and 10 for now," leaving open the possibility that they might republish the earlier volumes as well.
Uyloan also announced another manga license, Toya Tobina's Jiu Jiu, from Hakusensha's Hana to Yume magazine (also the home of Fruits Basket and Gakuen Alice). Jiu Jiu is the story of a girl who is born into a family of demon hunters and is given two shape-shifting dogs to protect her.
In addition to the manga, Uyloan had one new science fiction novel to announce, the monster-fighter story MM9, by Hiroshi Yamamoto, which will be released in e-book (iBooks and Kindle) and print form in January. She opened the panel with a presentation of Art for Hope, an e-book featuring art from all over the world, which will be available in December on the Viz app and via the Vizmanga.com website. The book will cost $4.99, and proceeds will benefit Architecture for Humanity.
VizKids editor Traci Todd had a number of new projects, all of them original content created by Viz rather than licensed manga from Japan. VizKids is about to launch a series of Mister Men and Little Miss graphic novels based on the classic children's books by Roger Hargreaves, and Todd said that the newest one will feature Mister Strong. She also announced two new Mameshiba graphic novels, Mameshiba: We Could Be Heroes!, due out in July 2012, and and How to Be the Best Friend Ever, which will be released in August. The books feature stories by James Turner and art by Jorge Monlongo, the same creative team that did the first book, Mameshiba on the Loose!
Also in the works: Voltron Force graphic novels, inspired by the Voltron Force cartoon on Nicktoons. The first two books are already out, and Viz was handing out posters of the cover art at their booth; volume 3, Voltron Force: Tournament of Lions, is due out in August 2012. "These books focus on three new cadets," Todd said. "The original team is in the graphic novel, but it takes a back seat." Each book in the series stands alone, and Viz has different art teams on all of the first six books.
Viz Editor Urian Brown at New York Comic Con
In anime news, associate editor Urian Brown announced that all Naruto Classic episodes are now available via Netflix, as well as the first Bleach movie, Memories of Nobody, and the first four InuYasha movies. Blue Dragon: Trials of the 7 Shadows, will start streaming on Vizanime.com on December 16. "The entire show has been revamped with new enemies, new powers, new secrets," said Brown.
Other news: InuYasha: The Final Act will be coming to BluRay and DVD in 2012, and the 9th Naruto Shippuden anime will be available as a box set in January and as download-to-own from Amazon, XBox, and others in October of this year. Pokemon DP Sinnoh League Victors will also be out in January, and vol. 4 of the first season of Hero: 108 will be available on December 6.
Uyloan then brought the crowd up to speed on the big news of the week, Viz's announcement that Shonen Jump will go from print to digital format and from monthly to weekly, publishing chapters of Bakuman, Bleach, Naruto, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, One Piece, and Toriko two weeks after they appear in Japan. "Some people go to pirate sites and they say it's because we can never deliver the content fast enough," said Uyloan. "Here is our answer to that. We are going all out right now." Viz will speed up their digital releases in order to sync the American and Japanese releases. On Friday, they announced that vol. 53 of Naruto would be available on their app immediately, and at Sunday's panel Uyloan told the audience that vol. 49 of Bleach, which starts a new story arc, will soon be available on the digital app. The series is currently up to vol. 27 on the digital app and vol. 36 in print, so this is a big jump.
Brown closed the panel with an impassioned defense of Viz's decision to take Shonen Jump from print to digital form. Times have changed, he pointed out, and this is what people want: To get the latest chapters straight from Japan. As much as everyone loves print, he feels that this is the best move for the future of Shonen Jump.