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Anime Expo 2007
Viz Entertainment

by Mikhail Koulikov,

Panelists: Wendy Shimamura (associate product manager, home entertainment) Annette Roman (managing editor) Miki Makausa (television anime production) Reginald Rhodes (Animerica)

Highlights Version
Complete Version
The first upcoming title under the Viz Signature line, which is devoted to manga that feature a "unique combination of creativity, vision, and excellence" will be the reissue of Spiral (Uzumaki, not to be confused with Spiral ~ Suiri to Kizuna, which is being released in the US by Yen Press). The first volume of Spiral is scheduled for October 2007 and the subsequent Two Will Come out in two-month intervals. Viz will also re-release [author of Uzumaki]'s two-volume Gyo. The first volume is also scheduled for October 2007, and the second for January 2008. The final Viz Signature manga Roman talked about is Tekkonkinkreet, the basis for the Studio 4°C anime feature directed by Michael Arias. Viz originally brought out this manga in 1994 as Black and White. The new release will package all three original volumes into one oversize anthology that will retail for $29.99.

Under Viz's Shōjo Beat line, the two new upcoming titles will be Sand Chronicles, the winner of Shogakukan's 50th Manga Sho competition, and High School Debut. The first volume of Sand Chronicles will be released in January and further volumes will come out every four months. Kazune Kawahara's High School Debut is also slated to start in January. It is set to continue on a bi-monthly release schedule.

Under the Viz Media imprint, the two new titles are Brave Story (originally announced last year's San Diego Comic-Con), which will be priced at $23.99 and Noriko Ogiwara's Dragon Sword and Wind Child ($16.99). Based on Shinto mythology, this novel was originally released in English in 1993 by Farrar Strauss & Giroux, but that edition has long been out of print.

Between September and December of this year, Viz will release a total of twelve volumes of Naruto. Volumes 18, 21 and 24 will include special character stickers. This accelerated release schedule will allow the Naruto manga to catch up with and go beyond the events in the anime. A new manga series will launch in Shonen Jump in November. On the other hand, Shaman King will drop out of the magazine, and will be available in graphic novel form only. Two other Viz Manga (Death Note and I's) are now reaching their final volumes.

Viz's plans for anime releases through the rest of 2007 include the fourth Naruto uncut box set, which is scheduled for August, and the first Naruto movie. It will be released on September 4, and later in the summer, there will be one more theatrical showing at the UA Horton Plaza Theater. The DVD release of the film will include the Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival short, and numerous retailers will be offering various extras with the film, including a lunch box, mousepads, and OST samplers.

Viz's final anime release of 2007 will be Death Note. Volume one will be released on November 20, and further volumes will follow each month. Both a standard DVD-only edition and a collector's special box will be available. The collector's box will include a limited-edition Ryuk figure, which will also be offered for stand-alone purchase via the Viz website. Viz is hoping to also have Death Note air on Adult Swim, but no specific details of any arrangement have been confirmed yet.

This report has been verified with a studio representative.

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