Viz Graphic Novels for the Holiday Season

Oct 12th 2004
VIZ OFFERS DIVERSE COLLECTION OF GRAPHIC NOVEL TITLES FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON

Manga is this year's most unique gift idea for fans of all ages

San Francisco, CA, October 12, 2004 – VIZ, LLC, one of the leading publishers and distributors of manga and anime for North American audiences, has announced a multitude of forthcoming manga titles that will make unique gift ideas for the 2004 Holiday season.

Manga is the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry and a phenomenon embraced by a diverse range of readers of all ages. VIZ has a long legacy of publishing graphic novels for English-speaking audiences and its titles regularly top many national bestseller lists.

Manga promises to be one of the hottest items for the 2004 Holiday season and VIZ will meet the demand with a dynamic array of new and existing titles by some of the most popular artists within the genre. VIZ is pleased to announce the release of the following titles in time for the holidays.

The following ‘A’ rated titles are appropriate for any age group:

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, Volume 1 · MSRP: $9.99 · Available November 9, 2004

Hayao Miyazaki is the most renowned animator in Japanese history. He won an Academy Award™ in 2002 for the film Spirited Away, for which VIZ also published the Ani-Manga™. MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, is a critically acclaimed manga about childhood innocence, friendship and the belief that magic is all around us. Breathtaking artwork and magical adventures is what readers will find in this title from the Studio Ghibili Library.

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO opens with Satsuki and Mei's move to the Japanese countryside with their father. Although Satsuki and Mei are at first frightened by their new surroundings, they quickly discover a magical presence in their midst, they meet their new neighbor – a tree guardian named Totoro who lives in the forest behind their house. Soon a wonderful adventure begins.

MEGAMAN NT WARRIOR, Volume 4 · MSRP: $7.95 · Available November 2, 2004

Inspired by the popular television series currently seen on Kids WB, MEGAMAN NT WARRIOR transports readers to the year 200x. Lan and Megaman are back doing their best to thwart World Three's never-ending quest to take over the world. In this volume, Lan and Megaman finally achieve PerfectSynchro but the pint sized NetNavi flips out. Can Lan bring Megaman back to his old self before he's destroyed by the NetPolice?

BEYBLADE, Volume 1 · MSRP: $7.99· Available October 20, 2004

Tyson is a boy with a passion for Beyblades. His enemies are the Blade Sharks, a militant Beyblade group who use aggressive tactics to win at any cost. Tyson has been given a special Dragoon Beyblade from a mysterious stranger and the Blade Sharks are determined to get. Beyblade battles abound in this fantastic first volume!

The following titles are rated ‘T’- recommended for early to mid-teens:

ONE PIECE, Volume 5 · MSRP: $7.95 · Available November 9, 2004

As a child, Monkey D. Luffy was inspired to become a pirate by listening to the tales of a buccaneer. His life is changed when he accidentally eats the cursed Gum-Gum fruit, and gains the power to stretch like rubber at the cost of never being able to swim again! Years later, still vowing to become the King of the Pirates, Luffy sets out on his adventure in search of the legendary "One Piece," the greatest treasure in the world. ONE PIECE is consistently the No. 1 selling manga in Japan, and the related anime series began airing in the U.S. on FoxBox in September 2004.

In the latest volume of this best selling SHONEN JUMP manga, wannabe pirate Usopp's village is under attack by the Black Cat Pirates, one of the most well known and feared crews on the high seas. Usopp now is about to find out how an imaginary pirate stacks up against the real thing and what it really means to be a pirate.

BLEACH, Volume 3 · MSRP: $7.95 · Available October 12, 2004

Ichigo Kurosaki has always been able to see ghosts, but this ability doesn't change his life nearly as much as his close encounter with Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper and member of the mysterious Soul Society. While fighting a Hollow, an evil spirit that preys on humans who display psychic energy, Rukia attempts to lend Ichigo some of her powers so that he can save his family, but much to her surprise, Ichigo absorbs every last drop of her energy. Now a full-fledged Soul Reaper himself, Ichigo quickly learns that the world he inhabits is one full of dangerous spirits. Along with Rukia, who is slowly regaining her powers, its Ichigo's job to both protect the innocent from Hollows and to help the spirits themselves find peace.

In the latest action-packed volume of this supernatural smash hit series. it's the anniversary of Ichigo's mother's death and the entire Kurosaki clan has gathered at the cemetery to pay their respects. Sleeping demons rarely lie still and Ichigo and Rukiasoon find themselves facing the Grand Fisher, an evil spirit that may be responsible for the death of the young boy's mother.

Rated ‘T+’ - recommended for older teens and adults. VIZ offers the latest volumes of two of the most popular series in graphic novels today:

INUYASHA, Volume 19 · MSRP: $8.95 · Available Now!

The manga inspiration for the popular Cartoon Network TV series! Lingering lust of the weak human form gives life to the evil demon Naraku. The evil mastermind is unable to kill the priestess Kikyo – a fact that she taunts the demon with. Furious, Naraku intends to prove her wrong, and sends a Giant Soul Skimmer to destroy her. Inuyasha comes to the rescue and his friend and sidekick, Kagome, returns from her own era in the distant future just in time to see Inuyasha and Kikyo embrace. Can such a bizarre supernatural love triangle possibly have a happy ending?

RUROUNI KENSHIN, Volume 8 · MSRP: $7.95 · Available November 9, 2004

Action, romance, and historical intrigue help make Nobuhiro Watsuki's RUROUNI KENSHIN, the best selling manga series in the popular SHONEN JUMP graphic novel line. The tale of a wandering swordsman set against the backdrop of the Meiji Restoration, Himura Kenshin who was once an assassin (or hitokiri) of ferocious power now fights to protect the honor of those in need.

The latest volume opens with the shocking mid-day murder of Department of Internal Affairs Chief Ôkubo. A faint accompli, Kenshin leaves for Kyoto where the murder occurred, against the wishes of his friends who know him as the gentile “Rurouni.” Awaiting him there is Sushio Makoto, the hitokiri who replaced the cold-eyed assassin Himura Battôsai once he swore off further killing. But does Kenshin go to Kyoto for a duel or for a death match?

Also rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens–the perfect Holiday gift for a WOLF'S RAIN fan:

WOLF'S RAIN, Volume 1 · MSRP: $9.95 · Available November 5, 2004

WOLF'S RAIN, Box Set · MSRP: $14.99 · Available November 5, 2004

Four wolves on the run from mankind answer the highest, most dire calling – they seek the legendary Paradise. From the creators of the popular Cowboy Bebop anime series seen on Cartoon Network, comes this new manga take on the hit suspense anime WOLF'S RAIN. Humans thought the wolves died off two centuries ago in this bleak post-apocalyptic wasteland. But some survivors lurk among the humans by mentally cloaking their animal bodies. One white wolf, Kiba, scours the land for the scent of the Lunar Flower that will lead them to Paradise.

WOLF'S RAIN is somber, uncompromising and thought-provoking science fiction. This graphically stunning title is also available in a box set, which includes the first volume in the series and a collectible 3D lenticular card.

VIZ rounds out the collection of graphic novels for Holiday gift giving with the following two titles rated ‘M’ for Mature readers - recommended for adults.

SAIKANO, Volume 2 · MSRP: $9.95 · Available October 12, 2004

Shuji and Chise are high school seniors in a small town who have just started dating when Shuji discovers that Chise has been engineered by the military so that she can transform herself into a powerful weapon. While Shuji and Chise keep trying to nurture their relationship, Chise continues to grow more powerful as the Ultimate Weapon, and becomes increasingly torn between being a destructive fighting force and remaining an ordinary teenager.

In this volume, the city of Sapporo is attacked from the air and Shuji discovers Chise's terrible secret. Now she is summoned on a classified mission and Shuji must brace himself for what might happen to his true love.

SENSUAL PHRASE, Volume 4 · MSRP: $9.95 · Available OCTOBER 12, 2004

Up until recently, Lucifer has been the hottest band on the radio. The combination of Sakuya's good looks and Aine's sexy lyrics has shot them straight to the top of the hit parade. But that's all about to change. A new group by the name of Jesus is creeping up the charts. They've got the tunes and the sex appeal to rival even Lucifer's scorching popularity. It's the ultimate battle of the bands – Jesus vs. Lucifer! Who rocks harder?

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.shonenjump.com, and its corporate site, www.Viz.com.

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