Otakon 2012: Viz Media Industry Panel

The presenters were the marketing manager to Shonen Jump Alpha and the digital content manager for the site. They had a quite a few games to give out, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations for both the PS3 and the Xbox360 as well as some PSP games. The games were won by answering questions thrown by the presenters throughout the panel.

To begin, they asked the audience a question:

    Q: How much is a subscription to Shonen Jump Alpha for a year?
    A: $25.99

    Q: For $45.99, you get 48 issues, it’s about $.99 an issue. If you subscribe, how much is per issue?
    A: $.50 an issue.

Then they turned to the announcements. They introduced ‘Neon Alley’ which showcases dubbed, uncut anime. It is a 24 hour channel of anime in the US and Canada that can be streamed from a video game console. This is for a following of fans who missed the anime block on tv (the older incarnations of Adult Swim) and prefer dubs. The content will not only have anime content, they will also premiere movies and live action shows. They presented a trailer to introduce the various anime series which includes, Busou Renkin, Larange, Blue Exorcist, Vampire Knight, Naruto Shippuden, Tiger & Bunny, Inuyasha: The Final Act, Death Note, Kekkaishi, Beserk and Bleach: Fade to Black the movie. All in HD! The audience cheered for their fav shows. I’m especially looking forward to Vampire Knight and Tiger & Bunny dubbed. The date and console have not been announced yet, but info will be posted on their site.

Their physical releases were shown next, starting with Naruto Shippuden BD and dvd sets which was released on 7/10/12. Featuring ep. 127-140 on 3 discs and includes production art and clean OPs and EDs for $49.95. (Unlike the dvd set, the BD cover does not feature ‘super sexy Sasuke’. Perhaps people will get the dvds intead?) Bonus includes ‘Tales of the Gutsy Ninja: Jiraiya’s Ninja Scrolls’.

The third set of Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl Sinnoh League will be out in 8/2012. It includes ep. 23-34 on 2 discs for $19.97. The first of the Inuyasha: The Final Act BD and dvd set will be released in 11/2012 on 2 discs for $49.95.

Their attention turned to print media starting with Mameshiba. They show the PV of the English song to the laughter of the crowds. They quizzed the crowd for another prize giveaway.

    Q: What is a mameshiba?
    A: ‘It is not quite a dog and not quite a bean.’

Mameshiba manga have already been released. The activity book, ‘How to Be the Best Friend Ever’ will be released on 8/7/12 while ‘We Could Be Heroes’ has already been out on 7/3/12. For Miyazaki fans, the Nausicaa two manga boxset will be out on 11/6/12 with color pages, a fold out poster for $60. It is quite amazing since the manga themselves are very hefty readings. The price for the series is truly an acceptable one. The presenters note that the manga continues forward past the story of the anime. Being Miyazaki’s singular manga, it is definitely a mustbuy. The first volume of Jiu Jiu by Tobina Touya-sensei was out on 7/3/12. (The presenters would also like to announced that ‘jiu’ is banana in Cantonese. Odd triva to note, but true. XD To celebrate the series, Viz is holding a Pets-in-cosplay contest to win a $250 Petco giftcard. They encouraged people to enter. ‘We only have 7 entries…but they’re really good ones.’ XD

    Besides the OfficialVizMedia facebook page, there is also the new OfficialShojoBeat where the people behind the scenes can answer questions posted online.

    License rescue! Announced in NYAF 2011, Loveless vol 9 will be released on 9/11/12 with the omnibus of vol. 1 and 2 released 10/12. For $9.99 and $14.99 respectively, the price for both is definitely reasonable.

    Neon Genesis Evangelion vol. 13 will be released on 11/2/12 with the 3-in-1 omnibus vol. 1 released on 11/13/12. They note that since this series is released erratically in Japan, Viz will release whenever anything new pops up.

    Surprise acquistion, the newest in the Hello Kitty crossovers, Street Fighter x Sanrio merch will be out on 11/13/2012 beginning with a sticker book.

      Q: Why doesn’t Hello Kitty have a mouth?
      A: Ummm…. *trails off*
      Host: Yup, that’s right! *hands over prize*

    That has got to tbe easiest answer yet. *audience laughs*

    Digital VizManga includes the manga being accessed on the web, the ipad, the android and the iphone. The digital releases for the week include HunterxHunter vol. 12 by Togashi Yoshihiro-sensei, Hikaru no Go vol. 11 by Hotta Yumi-sensei and Toriko vol. 10 by Shimabukuro Mitsutoshi-sensei which is simply ‘Fist of the Nort Star meets the Food Network.’ *audience laughs* The end of July shows the releases of Kimi ni Todoke vol. 10 by Shina Karuho-sensei, Stepping on Roses vol. 8 by Ueda Rinko-sensei and Yu-gi-oh GX vol. 8 by Kageyama Naoyuki-sensei. One of the pros to reading in digital rather than print is the two page spreads of pictures: the print would generally have the line in the middle and the digital version would seamlessly join the two pages together to reveal the complete picture. The digital releases also include the color pages.

      Q: Does anyone know about Kimi ni Todoke?
      A: Highschool romance.

    Which it truly is, pure and simple. Special mention on Blue Exorcist vol. 8 by Kato Kazue released on 7/30/12 which will is 3 months before the print version.

    Throughout the panel, the presenters explain the series in funny voices, interesting phrasing and than go on delightful tangents. One of them mentioned that if the other presenter was not there, he would have gotten a sock puppet called ‘Narutoes’. *audience groans*

    More digital releases for the first week of August is Bakuman vol. 13 by Ohba Tsugumi-sensei and Obata Takeshi-sensei, Bleach vol. 44 and 45 by Kubo Tite-sensei, Ouran Highschool Host Club by Hatori Bisco-sensei, Tegami Bachi vol. 10 by Asada Hiroyuki-sensei, Hikaru no Go vol. 12 by Hotta Yumi-sensei and Obata Takeshi-sensei and more Yu-gi-oh GX.

      Q: What is Bleach about?
      A: A guy in trouble. XD

    VizManga will be holding an end of the summer sale: each manga is 20% off all manga online. The usual price of a volume is $4.99 making the sale price $3.99. ‘Great opporunity to read Naruto from the beginning.’

    Shonen Jump Alpha is a weekly digital version of the Shonen Jump magazine which allows for up-to-date releases with Japan as well as more new titles. With the current magazine releass, most series are only two weeks behind Japan’s Shonen Jump. *cheers* With the inclusion of 10 different series, the digital version is closer to the physical phonebook-sized magazines that are released regularly in Japan.

    Alpha will include Takama-Ga-Hara (a new series in both Japan and the US) and the latest Blue Exorcist.

      Q: Can you say Takama-Ga-Hara five times fast?
      A: Takama-Ga-Hara, Takama-Ga-Hara, Takama…. XD

    Takama-Ga-Hara is a series about a family of tough guys, but the main character wants to be a mangaka who aspire to win the Tezuka award. A comedy shonen that will definitely have funny situations. Back to Blue Exorcist. The reason why VizManga will be releasing the digital version before print is because vol. 8 will catch the readers up to where the series will be in Alpha. It will be a monthly series as per Japan.

    Shonen Jump Alpha garners series from the various Jump mangazines in Japan: VJump, Shonen Weekly, JumpSquare and compile them into Alpha. New series will be added. $25.99 for an annual membership includes extras. Yu-gi-oh TCG Promo cards will be mailed out 4 times a year, creator interviews and videos will be available as well as digital gifts of one-shot manga and invites to SJ meetups. (The promo cards are actually voted on by fans.)

    To add to the zany action at the panel, the presenter sang a short tribute to Naruto before the short Q&A started.

      Q: Do you know anything about the new Berserk movie that is being released?
      A: He has a giant sword. *laughs* Go to ‘Neon Alley’ or Viz site for more info.

    Q: How much do scanlations affect you?
    A: Scanlations? Never heard about them. We want to be as close as possible to the publication dates in Japan.

    Q: Can I get the last game?
    A: Yeah sure!
    Q: Can we get them too?
    A: Yes, only because you’re wearing Mario and Luigi colors. lol

    Q: How far back to the manga go on Shonen Jump Alpha?
    A: If you subscribe today, you will be getting the issues from today. You won’t be able to see back issues. We get questions like ‘How can we catch up on Kenshin?’ which is another monthly series that we’re running. It’s something we’re looking at since we get alot of questions from various cons like here.

    Q: How much interest does Viz have in going back and completing some of the anime series like Hikaru no Go?
    A: I’m not sure, but it depends on the popularity of the series.

    Q: Any chance you’ll release Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure?
    A: There really is not like that and there is amazing art. I don’t know what we’ll do yet, but with digital, there is the chance we can release it.

    Q: For Loveless omnibus are you going to include color pages? How about vol. 9?
    A: Omnibus will include color pages. Not sure about vol. 9. But vol. 10 will be released in 1/2013.

At the end, there wasn’t that much time to ask questions so I approached the presenter afterwards to inquire about Loveless. He was more than happy to share from his material about that. The omnibus editions of Loveless will have color pages and all the material from the Japanese limited editions which refers to the booklets. Unfortunately, color pages have not been confirmed for vol. 9 and 10 (which we will find out in a few months) but Viz is definitely looking for fan feedback on them. “The reason they picked this one [series] out of other potential ones that they could have picked from is because there are alot of people who are interested in it.”