Major Manga News from VIZ
Latest News Includes New Manga Titles for 2009, an Eisner Award, and the Launch of Stan Lee & Hiroyuki Takei’s ULTIMO
Source: VIZ Media
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment for audiences and consumers of all ages.
VIZ has made several recent announcements about new and upcoming projects that includes an Eisner Award win for Tekkonkinkreet: Black & White, the launch of several major titles in 2009 (such as Naoki Urusawa’s 20th Century Boys and the Astro Boy update Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka), and the new Shonen Jump magazine series ULTIMO, which was co-created by comic book legend Stan Lee.
TEKKONKINKREET BY TAIYO MATSUMOTO WINS 2008 EISNER AWARD
Edgy Series About Two Miscreant Boys’ Adventures In A Surreal Metropolis Is The Only Japanese Manga Title To Win This Year
The VIZ Media manga, Tekkonkinkreet: Black & White, by acclaimed creator Taiyo Matsumoto, won a 2008 Eisner Comic Industry Award for the Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Japan. Named for pioneering writer and comic artist Will Eisner, the awards recognize exemplary comics, graphic novels and other pop writings and are given each year as part of the annual Comic-Con International convention.
The manga, which is published by VIZ Media under its Signature imprint, was also the inspiration behind the TEKKONKINKREET animated feature film from Sony Pictures directed by noted visual effects artist and producer Michael Arias (THE ABYSS, PRINCESS MONONOKE, THE ANIMATRIX).
Tekkonkinkreet: Black & White presents a gritty depiction of urban and social chaos surrounding a pair of outcast kids. Orphaned on the mean streets of Treasure Town, Black and White steal and fight to survive but remain fiercely loyal to each other. The result? The citizens of Treasure Town are afraid of them, the police are afraid of them, and even the local yakuza gangsters are afraid of them…and when a crime boss known as the “Rat” returns to Treasure Town, a confrontation is set to occur.
VIZ Media released Tekkonkinkreet: Black & White in August 2007 and bundled all three volumes of the original series into a new, premium omnibus edition that includes a color poster insert and 12 additional full-color manga pages – the first time these pages were published in the U.S. An insightful interview with Michael Arias and screenwriter Anthony Weintraub is also featured in the foreword. Tekkonkinkreet: Black & White is rated “M” for Mature Audiences and has a Suggested Retail Price of $29.95. In addition to Tekkonkinkreet: Black & White, Matsumoto’s other notable works include Blue Spring and No. 5 (both published by VIZ Media) and Ping Pong, which was also adapted into an award-winning live action film that is available domestically from VIZ Pictures.
“We are extremely honored to have Tekkonkinkreet: Black & White recognized by the comics industry with this notable award,” says Alvin Lu, Vice President, Publishing, VIZ Media. “Taiyo Matsumoto has won international critical acclaim for his honest and unflinching depictions of young peoples’ lives and for his unique, immediately recognizable art style that blends both Japanese and European influences. We invite everyone to explore this award-winning series now available in a gorgeous omnibus edition from VIZ Media!”
VIZ MEDIA PREVIEWS DRAMATIC NEW MANGA TITLES SET FOR RELEASE IN 2009
Eight Series Announced Including New Shojo Stories And Two New Award-Winning Titles From Creative Mastermind Naoki Urasawa
VIZ Media, LLC has provided a preview of a variety of compelling new manga titles set to debut under the VIZ SIGNATURE, VIZ MEDIA and SHOJO BEAT imprints in the first half of 2009.
VIZ SIGNATURE releases will include two new series from manga mastermind Naoki Urasawa, and include Naoki Urusawa’s 20th Century Boys and Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka, which offers a unique collaboration between Urasawa and manga titan Osamu Tezuka. New releases from the VIZ MEDIA imprint will include Shirow Miwa’s series Dogs and Mase Motoro’s Ikigami. Four new SHOJO BEAT series round out the first quarter releases and will feature Miki Aihara’s Honey Hunt, Izumi Tsubaki’s The Magic Touch, Aya Kanno’s Otomen and a new VIZBIG Edition of Miki Aihara’s acclaimed series Hot Gimmick.
“Monster-creator Naoki Urasawa’s two new series, 20th Century Boys and Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka, which is based on Osamu Tezuka’s classic manga Astro Boy, show this master artist at the height of his powers. Those wondering what are the manga equivalents of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns need look no further,” said Alvin Lu, Vice President, Publishing, VIZ Media. “In Japan, these two series are considered masterpieces of the form, along the lines of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira and Takehiko Inoue’s Vagabond. With our other new releases for 2009, we’re extremely excited this season to be presenting some of the absolute best the manga medium has to offer.”
Naoki Urusawa’s 20th Century Boys • Rated “T+” for Older Teens • MSRP: $12.99 • February 2009
Considered by manga cognoscenti as one of the absolute masterpieces of the medium, Naoki Urusawa’s 20th Century Boys is this critically acclaimed creator’s magnum opus. A sprawling decades-spanning saga about a group of childhood friends who are mankind’s last hope against an apocalyptic religious cult, Naoki Urusawa’s 20th Century Boys combines elements of brain-bending science-fiction, Stephen King novels, Bob Dylan songs, and straight-up rock ‘n’ roll to create one of the most addictive manga reads ever. Find out why this title may be one of the greatest comics of all time.
Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka • Rated “T” for Teens • MSRP: $12.99 • February 2009
A darkly-lit science-fiction thriller set in a cybernetic future reminiscent of BLADE RUNNER and I, ROBOT, Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka takes a storyline from Osamu Tezuka’s classic manga Astro Boy and radically retrofits Tezuka’s space-age optimism for a more chaotic age. Somebody is out to kill the world’s most powerful robots—including Astro Boy! A cyborg detective must investigate the robot-murders and solve them, before they come after him. Serialized at the same time as Naoki Urusawa’s 20th Century Boys in Japan, Pluto exhibits Urasawa’s narrative skills at the top of their form, taking the thrilling plot twists of Monster to a new level. As a radical reimagining of a classic comic character, Pluto: Urasawa X Tezuka is to Astro Boy what The Dark Knight Returns was to Batman.
The Magic Touch • Rated “T” for Teens • MSRP: $8.99 • February 3, 2009
The star of her high school’s Massage Research Society club, Chiaki Togu is otherwise a normal, quiet girl until she falls in love at first sight with a gorgeous back – a back that happens to belong to Yosuke, the hottest guy at her school! Unfortunately, Chiaki’s attraction to Yosuke is thwarted by her own insecurity and the scheming of other girls – especially her twin sister Saya!
Otomen • Rated “T” for Teens • MSRP: $8.99 • Available: February 3, 2009
Asuka Masamune is the coolest, manliest guy in his whole school. He’s a kendo master and even excels in judo and karate…but he has a secret! He loves girly things – sewing, knitting, making cute stuffed animals and reading shojo comics. Unfortunately, in a world where boys are expected to act manly, Asuka must hide his beloved hobbies and play the part of a masculine jock instead. Ryo Miyakozuka, on the other hand, is a girl who can’t sew or bake a cake to save her life. Asuka finds himself drawn to Ryo, but she likes only the manliest of men! Can Asuka ever show his true self to anyone, much less to the girl that he’s falling for? Find out in this new SHOJO BEAT manga series by Aya Kanno.
Dogs • Rated “M” for Mature Audiences • MSRP: $12.99 • April 14, 2009
Boasting furious action, switchback plotting, magnetic characters and dazzling art, Dogs tells the story of four individuals struggling to survive a dystopian urban future by gun and sword and courage and luck. Haine, the “Stray Dog”: a cipher of a young man with a mysterious metal collar bolted to his neck and a serious taste for mayhem. Badou: a hired gun for petty jobs legal and not, whose reckless façade hides a serious intent. Naoto: a preternaturally skilled swordswoman searching for the assassin who cut down her family and mentor. Mihai: a middle-aged former hitman, now trying live a quiet life but haunted by the deaths of his lover and protégé. Driven by their ghosts—both dead and alive—and a desire for truth, all are inexorably drawn to the “Underground,” the dark and dangerous sector below the city that holds all the secrets—but secrets that can only be had for a price.
Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit • Rated “M” for Mature Audiences • MSRP: $12.99 • May 12, 2009
“Dear Citizen: You’ve no doubt noticed that the world is a troubled place. People are apathetic, lazy, unmotivated. You’ve probably asked yourself: Why isn’t anything being done to stop this systematic decline? Well, you’ll be happy to know measures are being taken. We, your government, have decided society needs a wake-up call. So beginning today, we will randomly select a different citizen who will be killed within 24 hours of notification. We believe this will help remind all people how precious life is, and how important it is to be productive, active members of society…CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE BEEN RANDOMLY SELECTED BY THE GOVERNMENT…TO DIE IN 24 HOURS!”
Honey Hunt • Rated “T+” for Older Teens • MSRP: $8.99 • April 7, 2009
At last, the new series from Hot Gimmick creator Miki Aihara! Life’s not easy when you’re living in the shadow of your famous parents. Can shy Yura, the daughter of an award-winning composer and a world-renowned actress, find the courage to step out on her own now that her super-celebrity parents are getting divorced? Find out in this new SHOJO BEAT series.
Hot Gimmick Vizbig Edition • Rated “T+” for Older Teens • MSRP: $17.99 • March 17, 2009
A new omnibus edition bundling the first three volumes of the critically acclaimed manga series by Miki Aihara, Hot Gimmick introduces readers to a company-owned rabbit-hutch apartment complex filled with tenants who can’t afford to live anywhere else. High-school girl Hatsumi Narita resides in this complex, which is ruled over by the rumor mongering, self-righteous Mrs. Tachibana. Get on Tachibana’s bad side, and life becomes hell. When Hatsumi has to buy a pregnancy test because her popular sister Akane is late, Mrs. Tachibana’s son, Ryoki, who used to bully Hatsumi as a kid, promises not to tell the world about Hatsumi’s secret, only if she becomes his slave. Suddenly Azusa, Hatsumi’s protector in their youth, reappears to save her again! He’s moving back into the neighborhood! Despite the budding romance between Hatsumi and Azusa, Ryoki has control over her through the secret that could ruin the lives of everyone in Hatsumi’s family, and he hasn’t forgotten who his slave is!
NORTH AMERICAN DEBUT OF STAN LEE AND HIROYUKI TAKEI’S ULTIMO IN SEPTEMBER ISSUE OF SHONEN JUMP MAGAZINE
Historic Collaboration Bridges Western And Eastern Popular Comic And Graphic Novel Traditions
VIZ Media, LLC, in conjunction with Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment has announced the North American debut of the exciting Prologue Chapter of ULTIMO in the September 2008 issue of Shonen Jump magazine, which hits retail outlets nationwide on August 5 for $4.99. ULTIMO is the result of a historic collaboration between comics legend Stan Lee, creator of many iconic superheroes including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men, and Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of the popular Shaman King manga series.
The ULTIMO story: High above Farmless City, citizens are stunned by the sudden appearance of two floating figures. Are they human boys, monolithic robots, or something much more strange? As the battle ensues between them, destruction and devastation falls on the hapless city. One figure is Vice, and seems to be as evil as his name implies. The other is Ultimo, intent on trying to stop Vice from wreaking more havoc. But who are Vice and Ultimo really? Where did they come from? A new mystery begins with the fate of the world possibly hanging in the balance! The ULTIMO Prologue Chapter recently debuted in a special standalone issue Jump SQ. published by the Japanese manga magazine Jump SQ., the sibling publication of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump, which is historically the best-selling manga magazine in Japan.
“Wow! This is just what I’ve been waiting for!” says an excited Stan Lee. “For the very first time I’m able to create superheroes in the fantastic Japanese manga style thanks to my lucky partnership with the great Hiroyuki Takei. What a kick it’ll be to join Hiroyuki-san in offering brand new, action packed stories to an army of readers in both the Eastern and Western worlds!”
“Word of ULTIMO’s development and subsequent debut in Japan led many domestic fans to wonder when they would get a chance to read it so we’re very excited to offer the North American debut in the upcoming September issue of Shonen Jump,” says Shonen Jump Editor-in-Chief Marc Weidenbaum. “ULTIMO was developed as a true collaboration with Stan Lee sending his initial story idea to Takei-san, who developed artwork and characters and reworked the plot to fit into the Japanese manga storytelling style. The result is something extremely compelling and we invite everyone to check out this historic release in our upcoming issue!”
For over half a century, Stan Lee has been synonymous with superhero comics. In addition to creating countless memorable series and characters, including Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and Daredevil, he served as the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics. Lee remains a hugely respected and dynamic figure in the entertainment industry and continues to develop a variety of film, television and video game properties.
Unconventional author/artist Hiroyuki Takei began his career by winning the coveted Hop Step Award (for new manga artists) and the Osamu Tezuka Award. After working as an assistant to famed artist Nobuhiro Watsuki (RUROUNI KENSHIN), Takei debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1997 with Butsu Zone, an action series based on Buddhist mythology. His multicultural adventure manga Shaman King debuted in Japan in 1998 and has been adapted into a popular animated television series. The Shaman King manga series is also published in North America by VIZ Media; for many years it was serialized in English in Shonen Jump magazine.