Viz Media Announces the Debut of New Works from Famed Manga Artist Takehiko Inoue Including Slam Dunk and Real Manga Series and Sumi And Water, the Vagabond Art Books

Aug 19th 2008
Rounding Out the Takehiko Inoue Releases -
The Critically Acclaimed VAGABOND Published Under The VIZBIG Imprint

San Francisco, CA, August 19, 2008 – Viz Media, LLC (Viz Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced the publication of a diverse new collection of manga (graphic novel) and art books by famed artist/creator Takehiko Inoue.

The new titles include the manga series REAL (rated T+ for Older Teens) and SLAM DUNK (rated T for Teens), which depict the sport of basketball in two vastly different but equally exciting ways, as well as the publication of SUMI and WATER, a pair of lavishly illustrated art books that capture the essence of Inoue's techniques in black and white and color.

Takehiko Inoue is a skilled artist whose intricately detailed and lifelike visual style has raised the manga genre to a new level. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Tezuka Osamu Culture Award and the Media Arts Festival Award. Inoue's highly acclaimed series VAGABOND (Rated M for Mature audiences and published domestically by Viz Media) is a fictional account based on the life of legendary 17th century samurai Miyamoto Musashi. Without question, his most successful work to date is SLAM DUNK, which has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. Viz Media complements this release of SLAM DUNK with the debut of REAL, a riveting manga series about the sport of wheelchair basketball. Inoue is a self-professed fan of basketball and also worked on the character designs for the PlayStation video Game one On One among others. SLAM DUNK has been credited with introducing basketball to millions of Japanese readers. Legions have taken up the sport after becoming captivated by Inoue's series.

REAL • Rated “T+” for Older Teens • MSRP: $12.99 US / $15.99 CAN •
Available Now!
REAL is a gritty drama that offers a unique twist on the sports manga genre as it focuses on wheelchair basketball. A motorcycle accident, bone cancer, and a speeding truck crashing into a boy on a stolen bicycle all present tragic, life-changing events that turn the worlds of three young men upside down in this gripping new series. These three characters with very different personalities have only one thing in common – their passion for basketball.

SLAM DUNK • Rated “T” for Teens • MSRP: $7.99 US / $9.50 CAN •
Available September 2, 2008
SLAM DUNK is the highly anticipated 31-volume basketball drama that has been a smash hit in Japan. Sakuragi Hanamichi's got no game with girls – none at all! It doesn't help that he's known for throwing down at a moment's notice. A hopeless bruiser, he's been rejected by 50 girls in a row! All that changes when he meets the girl of his dreams, Haruko, and she's actually not afraid of him! When she introduces him to the game of basketball, his life is changed forever. Selected volumes of SLAM DUNK features a profile of a specific NBA player, their stats, and their signature on-court move. The profiles begin with Volume 1, which features the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James and his signature move, the Slam Dunk as a bonus excerpt.

VAGABOND VIZBIG Volume 1 • Rated “M” for Mature Audiences •
MSRP: $19.99 US / $23.50 CAN • Available September 16, 2008
Viz Media is re-releasing VAGABOND in the VIZBIG format featuring three volumes in one oversized edition with bonus content and new cover art. Bonus features in Volume 1 include character concept sketches, interview with Takehiko Inoue and special author comments not previously included in previously published manga from Viz Media. Graphic novel aficionados who are just discovering Takehiko Inoue's work will be able to enjoy his art in the larger trim size (5.75” X 8.25”) while existing fans will appreciate the added bonuses included in this particular volume. The schedule for the single volume editions of VAGABOND will continue with the publication of Volume 28 in October 2008.

SUMI: VAGABOND ILLUSTRATION COLLECTION • MSRP: $34.99 US / $39.99 CAN •
Available September 16, 2008
This gorgeous oversized (8.86" X 11.42") art book captures Inoue's magnificent pen and brush work in black and white. It will include a behind-the-scenes look at VAGABOND with rough sketches and photos of Inoue's studio.

WATER: VAGABOND ILLUSTRATION COLLECTION • MSRP: $34.99 US / $39.99 CAN • Available September 16, 2008
WATER captures Inoue's masterful work in color and contains artwork only published in this volume. Oversized (8.86" X 11.42") contains dozens of lush watercolor depictions of samurai Miyamoto Musashi in various garments and settings.

Takehiko Inoue's skill as both an artist and dramatic storyteller have catapulted him to the uppermost echelon of Japan's manga artists,” says Alvin Lu, Vice President Publishing, Viz Media. “His samurai action series, VAGABOND, first introduced his flair for historically-based sagas to domestic readers and his dynamic and realistic style shines in a completely different arena with the debuts of REAL and SLAM DUNK. Readers will delight in Inoue's comprehensive knowledge of the sport of basketball and tributes to many great NBA players. The further release of THE ART OF VAGABOND: SUMI and WATER showcase Inoue's pure skill as an artist and will be a must-have for serious fans of this celebrated series.”

About Viz Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Viz Media, LLC (Viz Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan's largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha, Inc., Shogakukan, Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., Viz Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment for audiences and consumers of all ages. Contact Viz Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and web site at www.VIZ.com.

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