Viz to Release Full Metal Alchemist

Feb 18th 2005
VIZ TO RELEASE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST MANGA

Original manga series that inspired popular anime program to be the first of several unique related offerings due for release this year

San Francisco, CA, February 18, 2005 – VIZ, LLC, which recently announced its upcoming merger with ShoPro Entertainment, Inc. to form one of the entertainment industry's most innovative, comprehensive manga and animation licensing and publishing companies, has announced the highly anticipated debut of the manga for FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST, due for release in May 2005. The graphic novel by Himoru Arakawa will be rated “T” for teens with an MSRP of $9.95.

FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST is one of the most successful and popular on-going manga titles, selling more than 8 million copies to-date in Japan. The mystic blend of art, magic and science that is alchemy is the basis for FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST. The story begins with two young brothers named Edward and Alphonse as they try to use an alchemy technique called "human transmutation" to raise their mother from the dead with tragic consequences. As a result of a miscalculation, fifteen-year-old Edward loses his left leg and fourteen-year-old Alphonse loses his entire body. Immediately after the accident Edward sacrifices his right arm to save Alphonse's soul, which is transmuted into a suit of armor that becomes his new body. Edward replaces his missing limbs with a biomechanical technology called auto-mail that gives him a new bionic arm and leg. The action begins as the pair heads to Central City in search of the Philosopher's Stone, an object of immeasurable power and the only thing that can return the siblings to their natural states. But in this futuristic alternate world, the use of alchemy is widespread. Evil forces seek the magical stone and will use any ruthless means to try and thwart the two brothers from reaching their goal.

FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST began in 2000 in the pages of renowned video game manufacturer Square Enix's monthly RPG (role playing game) manga magazine, Shonen Gangan. The popularity of manga, which is still ongoing, inspired the 51-episode anime series and a vast collection of related merchandise that include video games, action figures, apparel and a trading card game. A FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST video game for PS2 was released domestically in January 2005 by Square Enix and a full-length feature movie is now in production for future release.

VIZ is thrilled to have acquired the rights to bring the compelling action and drama of the FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST graphic novel series to North American audiences.” states Anthony Jiwa, director of marketing for VIZ. “Based on the success of the anime series in North America and the ongoing anticipation by fans for the release of the unique manga series that was it's inspiration, we expect FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST graphic novels will find success among teens and young adults and look forward to gaining the interest of new fans and delighting old ones.”

The anime series of FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST, based on the manga, currently airs on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim and has captivated a dedicated legion of fans in North America and generated great anticipation for the debut of this graphic novel. VIZ will further support the debut with a series of FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST novelizations due out in October 2005, and a hard cover, full color ART of FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST to be published in November.


About VIZ LLC/ShoPro Entertainment
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ, LLC and ShoPro Entertainment recently announced their upcoming merger to become one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. The new company, whose name will be announced shortly, will be owned by three of Japan's largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shogakukan, Inc., Shueisha, Inc. and Shogakukan Production Co, Ltd. (Sho-Pro Japan).

VIZ/ShoPro Entertainment is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America and a global licensor of Japanese animation. The new company offers an integrated product line including magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, videos, DVDs, audio soundtracks and develops and markets animated entertainment starting from initial production, television placement and distribution, to merchandise licensing and promotions for audiences and consumers of all ages.

Contact VIZ/ShoPro Entertainment at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086 and web sites at and www.Sho-Pro-entertainment.com and www.VIZ.com.

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