San Diego Comic-Con 2011
Shonen Jump Industry Panel

by Carlo Santos, Jul 22nd 2011

A full-capacity crowd was on hand for the Shonen Jump panel, which featured a dramatic entrance by the panelists complete with theme music.

The panel began with a brief look at the next issue of the US Shonen Jump magazine, which will be their first ever "Pokémon issue."

Fans were invited to check out the Shonen Jump website, sj.viz.com, which features exclusive content such as an interview with Genkaku Picasso's Usamaru Furuya. Subscribers to the magazine also get the added bonus of being able to read new manga chapters online. In addition, readers can get connected through the Shonen Jump Twitter account (@shonenjump)

The current Shonen Jump anime line includes online streams for the new season of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Reborn! and Blue Exorcist. Also newly added is Blue Dragon: Uncut, the first five episodes of which are now online. Three new episodes of Blue Dragon: Uncut will go up every Friday.

Naruto: Shippuuden the Movie: Bonds will be Shonen Jump's first anime offering on Blu-Ray, in addition to a DVD and digital release. A "Heroes of Anime" sweepstakes is also currently being held, with the grand prize being a trip to New york Comic-Con for the premiere of the movie.

One of the most anticipated releases in Shonen Jump's video game line is Naruto: Shippuuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations for Xbox 360 and PS3. After a trailer for the game, panelist Urian Brown "summoned" Hiroshi Matsuyama, the president of developer CyberConnect2 and the man responsible for the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm line of games.

Matsuyama had a brief Q&A with the panelists where he spoke about the making of Generations, which brings together characters from the different time periods of Naruto. Among other things, Generations will feature a story mode that that Matsuyama said will be "quite different" from the previous installment, Ninja Storm 2. After a question about the rising popularity of crossover fighting games, Matsuyama joked that a Naruto vs. Dragon Ball Z game "might happen if everyone from Viz Media and Funimation go up to each other and make friends."

Finally, the highlight of the panel was the arrival of Shueisha manager and editor Hisashi Sasaki. Sasaki jokingly apologized for not looking exactly like his character in Bakuman., a series about the business of manga publishing. After that, the panelists reminded the audience about the Shonen Jump Storyboard Contest, a compeition for aspiring manga-ka in the US. The deadline for the contest is August 15 and winning entries will be featured in "the Bakuman. issue" (January 2012) of the US Shonen Jump magazine.

Sasaki spoke about what he as a judge was looking for in the Storyboard Contest. Sasaki wanted to see artists come up with something creative within a 4-page limit and with a specific premise—a true test of manga-ka skill. A number of sample contest entries were shown, with Sasaki offering a critique on each one. Many of Sasaki's comments focused on the aspect of visual storytelling and how to make the action on each page clear and entertaining to the reader.

The panel ended with some brief questions and answers for Sasaki. One attendee asked, "How close to real life is Bakuman.? Is making manga really that hardcore?" to which Sasaki responded, "It's neither fiction nor non-fiction ... I leave it to your imagination." On the subject of looking for inspiration and getting work done, Sasaki said "Just go read Dragon Ball." Another audience question was about how to get a job as a manga assistant; these openings are usually posted in the Japanese Shonen Jump magazine, and candidates must succesfully pass a portfolio review as well as a trial run with the artist.


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