VIZ Announces Four New Shojo Manga Titles for Q1 of 2005

Dec 14th 2004
VIZ FURTHER EXPANDS ITS SHÔJO LIBRARY WITH FOUR INNOVATIVE TITLES SET FOR RELEASE IN EARLY 2005

DOUBT!!, HAPPY HUSTLE HIGH, SOS AND TIMES TWO are among the new titles that depict the trials and tribulations of adolescent romance


San Francisco, CA, December 14, 2004 – VIZ, LLC, one of the leading publishers and distributors of manga and anime for North American audiences, has announced four new shôjo manga set to debut in March of 2005. These will include TIMES TWO, HAPPY HUSTLE HIGH, SOS and DOUBT!!

The popularity of shôjo manga, or graphic novels for girls, continues to grow at a remarkable rate domestically, and VIZ has demonstrated its commitment to the genre by offering one of the largest and most diverse collections of shôjo manga of any North American publisher. The company continues to regularly deliver a multitude of new shôjo titles by leading artists that feature a variety of dramatic and comedic plots, characters and settings, ranging from the realistic to the fantastic. Many male fans have also become avid supporters of shôjo manga and its stylish presentation.

VIZ is pleased to further expand its shôjo manga library with these four latest offerings,” says Liza Coppola, vice president of sales and marketing for VIZ. “Female readers in the United States and Canada have strongly demonstrated that manga is now a medium to be enjoyed by both sexes. To meet this demand, VIZ is committed to bringing the best and most diverse collection of shôjo titles to North American shores.”

This latest collection of lighthearted and romantically themed stories will resonate with high school readers who will relate to the ups and downs of the characters portrayed in these new graphic novels. High school is an important time for every young person and readers should delight in discovering these realistic stories built on universal themes of acceptance, popularity, and discovering how to express one's desires and affections to the opposite sex.

TIMES TWO
Rated for Teens; MSRP: $9.99
Release date: March 2005
TIMES TWO is a collection of five manga short stories about budding high school romance by Shouko Akira. The stories each explore the exhilaration and confusion of falling hard for a new flame – because when you're in love, life feels like it's multiplied Times Two! The stories include “Frequency,” in which an accidental knock on the head gives a loudmouthed high school smart-aleck girl named Kaori the ability to hear the private thoughts of the school's model student, a young boy named Morihiro. Along the way, Kaori learns that Morihiro may not be so perfect after all, but that he might be just perfect for her.

The following VIZ titles are rated T+ for Older Teens:

HAPPY HUSTLE HIGH
Rated for Older Teens; MSRP: $9.99
Release date: March 2005
HAPPY HUSTLE HIGH is a captivating story about a 16-year old tomboy named Hanabi Ozora, who is always happy to stick up for her friends — as long as they buy her lunch. Things change dramatically when her all-girl high school is integrated with an all-boy school and young Hanabi falls hard for Yasuaki Garaku, the hunky, but aloof Student Council Vice President. The problem is that Yasuaki maintains he isn't interested in girls, but when the council becomes integrated, its male members start to take a romantic interest in Hanabi. Readers will delight in seeing what spunky Hanabei does to remedy the dilemma and make her own feelings known. HAPPY HUSTLE HIGH is a lighthearted romantic comedy with a strong willed and tough heroine that will bring laughs and smiles to readers of all ages.

HAPPY HUSTLE HIGH is written and drawn by Rie Takada and was originally serialized in Japan's Shojo Comics magazine. The title still enjoys a large following and regularly appeared on Japan's Books Nippon Top Ten sales charts for 2003-2004.

SOS
Rated for Older Teens; MSRP: $9.99
Release date: March 2005
Will anyone answer love's urgent distress call? Find out in SOS, a funny and poignant collection of three romantic short stories by Hinako Ashihara. In the title story, a group of students launch a secret dating agency at their school, but things quickly take a turn for the worse when one of their clients needs rescuing from a date gone dangerously wrong. Problems compound when a teacher finds out about the adolescent matchmaking service, putting the Junior Cupids in very hot water.

DOUBT!!
Rated for Older Teens; MSRP: $9.99
Release date: March 2005
The classic story about the ugly duckling that transforms into a beautiful swan receives a shôjo manga treatment in DOUBT!!, by Kaneyoshi Izumi. In volume 1 of this 6-volume series, readers are introduced to Ai Maekawa, an unremarkable junior high school student. Life for Ai goes on in relative anonymity until the day she gets “pantsed” by a bitchy girl named Yumi, right in front of the boy Ai has a crush on. Utterly humiliated, Ai transforms herself into a stunning beauty and transfers to a new high school where no one knows about her former persona as a homely loser. Immediately, she attracts the attention of Sô, the most handsome boy in the entire school. But Ai's exterior beauty cannot compensate for the shy and self-doubting girl that still remains within. Ai Works hard to live down her embarrassing past, but rumors persist and she must also find a way to deal with the other jealous girls in her class. Ai's problems only increase when her old nemesis, Yumi, shows up and threatens to reveal everything.

DOUBT!! was originally serialized in Japan's monthly Betsucomi magazine, the same publication that launched HOT GIMMICK, which is also published by VIZ. DOUBT!! is a proven favorite with readers for its realistic depiction of the trials and tribulations of high school life and one girl's struggle to reinvent herself.


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 a large 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.

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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