Viz Announces New Manga for Q3

Jun 2nd 2004
VIZ ANNOUNCES NEW MANGA RELEASES FOR Q3

New titles to include CASE CLOSED, BEYBLADE and KARE FIRST LOVE


San Francisco, Calif, June 1, 2004 – VIZ, LLC, one of the leading publishers and distributors of manga and anime for North American audiences, announced today the upcoming release of three new manga titles for the Third Quarter of 2004.

Set for release are the first volumes of BEYBLADE, CASE CLOSED, and KARE FIRST LOVE. The first two titles are the latest additions to VIZ's extensive action manga collection, KARE FIRST LOVE debuts as the company's latest shôjo offering. All three graphic novels will ship in July and be available at retail outlets nationwide beginning in August.

VIZ is pleased to announce the new additions to our popular action and shôjo manga product lines,” states Alex Spence, product manager for VIZ. “The unique stories presented in each of these new graphic novels will attract readers from a variety of demographics. CASE CLOSED and BEYBLADE have both drawn legions of fans and are the origin for several popular anime series and related products, while KARE FIRST LOVE presents a realistic coming-of-age romantic story that shôjo fans are sure to embrace. This is the first time any of these series have been made available to domestic audiences in their original formats, these graphic novels are massively popular in Japan and I look forward to this trio developing new fans in North America.”

BEYBLADE
200 pages
$7.99
Category: ACTION
Available August 2004

Welcome to the intense and exciting world of Beyblading – a game that consists of two highly customized tops charging at each other with magical creatures called Bit Beasts emerging from them. These creatures each give the Beyblade and their operator more power to defeat an opponent. Mystical powers also lie within the Bits for those who are able to evoke their special energy. BEYBLADE, from creator Takao Aoki, follows a team named the Bladebreakers who battle a rival group called the Blade Sharks. The manga focuses on a teenager named Tyson, who together with his friends Kai, Daichi and Max, travel the world to exotic locales like China, America, London, and Russia on a quest to become the world's best Beybladers.

Even though Tyson is not very imposing in stature, he is strong willed and very little seems to frighten him. Together with his Bit Beast called the Dragoon, Tyson is a magnificent Beyblader. The pair soon wins the World Championships. Tyson continues to retain his title as the number one Beyblader as he fends off the jealousy of his teammates and also foils the aggressive attempts of the Blade Sharks to win at any cost.

Beyblade, with 12 volumes published to date, is an ongoing successful manga series in Japan. A popular anime series based on the Beyblade manga airs in North America on ABC Family, Toon Disney, and YTV, in addition to several home video volumes. In addition to a variety of Beyblade toys, there are several related videogames for Sony Playstation, Nintendo Game Cube and Game Boy Advance.


CASE CLOSED
192 pages
$9.95
Category: ACTION
Available August 2004

High-school mystery fan Shin'ichi Kudo is actually one of his high school's best minds, but he gets his reality checks from his childhood friend and almost-girlfriend Ran Mori. Nothing can keep Shin'ichi from a case until he follows a suspicious man into a park, is accosted from behind and fed a strange chemical, which renders him unconscious. When he awakens, he has been transformed into a puny grade schooler! The hapless boy finds a home with eccentric inventor Professor Agasa, who searches for a cure for his condition. While he's waiting to be restored to his adolescence, Shin'ichi takes on the name Conan Edogawa (borrowed from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the last name of the famous Japanese mystery writer Edogawa Ranpo). As Conan, he plays the part of the little brother that Ran never had, and helps her incompetent private detective father solve all of the murder mysteries that come their way.

Originally titled DETECTIVE CONAN in Japan, author and artist Gosho Moyama made his debut in 1992 with CHOTTO MATTETE (Wait a Minute) which won publisher Shogakukan's prestigious Newcomer's Award for Comics. Many of his follow-up titles have also won the Shogakukan's yearly manga award. The creator notes that his stories are greatly influenced by his boyhood love for mystery, adventure, and baseball. CASE CLOSED appeared in the pages of Shonen Sunday and one Conan file is still published weekly. To date, 44 volumes of the popular mystery series have been produced with an astounding 84 million copies sold. An anime television series with over 300 episodes and seven feature movies have also appeared, all based on the original manga serial.






KARE FIRST LOVE
184 pages
$9.95 Category: SHÔJO
Available August 2004

Life is pretty dull for four-eyed high school student Karin. She has never thought of herself as beautiful or glamorous, yet one day she finds Kiriya, the hottest guy in school, taking pictures of her in the subway. Karin is not sure if he actually likes her or if he just some kind of weirdo. Things are further complicated when Yuka, the most popular girl in Karin's school takes a romantic interest in Kiriya and views Karin as her rival. Karin tries build up her courage and self esteem and stand up to Yuka. A modern story inspired by the classic Ugly Duckling fairy tale, KARE FIRST LOVE, from Kaho Miyasaka, realistically depicts a young girl's path to discover her true self and her first experiences with love.

KARE FIRST LOVE is an ongoing series still published in the pages of Shôjo Comic in Japan and has sold over 1.5 million copies. This is the first time the manga will be offered to an English-speaking audience.

About VIZ, LLC
Founded in 1986, VIZ is a multi-media entertainment company specializing in Japanese entertainment properties for U.S. audiences. VIZ offers an integrated product line including magazines, graphic novels, videos, DVDs and audio soundtracks. Each month, VIZ publishes three magazines – ANIMERICA, ANIMERICA EXTRA and SHONEN JUMP; over 20 graphic novel titles, including Alice 19th, BOYS OVER FLOWERS, DRAGON BALL Z, FUSHIGI YÛGI, GUNDAM, INUYASHA, RANMA 1/2, and YU-GI-OH!; and distributes home video for BOYS OVER FLOWERS, HAMTARO, INUYASHA, POKéMON, PROJECT ARMS, and ZOIDS.

Based in San Francisco, VIZ is one of the top five comics publishers in the U.S. and a subsidiary of Shogakukan and Shueisha, Inc., two of the top publishers in Japan. VIZ is the leading publisher of manga for English speaking audiences, serving a growing market of dedicated fans of all ages. Estimating a core audience of nearly 15 million fans, the company holds more than a 50% market share of Japanese comics in the U.S. With some of the most innovative products in the industry, VIZ has expanded its offerings to its loyal fans through web sites such as www.Animerica-mag.com, www.shonenjump.com, and its corporate site, www.Viz.com.


Contact VIZ, LLC at: 655 Bryant Street, San Francisco, CA 94107-1612; Phone: (415) 546-7073; Fax: (415) 546-7086; Web site: www.VIZ.com

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