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Comic-Con International 2007
Viz Media

by Carlo Santos,

Viz Media opened its panel with the announcement of "Viz Big," an omnibus line that collects long-running series into three-in-one volumes. This new US$17.99 format offers new illustrations on paperback covers with gatefold flaps, color page inserts, and a larger print size (5.75 by 8.625 inches, like Vagabond). The May 2008 launch titles under Viz Big include Rurouni Kenshin, Dragon Ball, and Dragon Ball Z.

A new title for February 2008 is Ral Ω Grad (based on the Blue Dragon Xbox 360 role-playing game), with art by Death Note's Takeshi Obata. Also coming in February is the Death Note 13: How to Read story and character guide, as well as Death Note: Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Case, a spinoff novel in hardcover about the detective L's murder investigation with the Los Angeles police.

Some of the novels in the Shojo Beat line will be published in paperback in January and February of 2008, including Kamikaze Girls, Socrates in Love and Be With You. The Be With You manga is also due next February. Other new Shojo Beat titles for the coming year include Honey and Clover (March), Haruka (April and every four months thereafter), Monkey High! (March, quarterly), and Kaori Yuki's Fairy Cube (May, quarterly).

Spring 2008 will also see the release of more new manga titles: March's Switch by the artist duo naked ape (Saki Otoh & Tomomi Nakamura), April's Yumekui Kenbun: Nightmare Inspector by Shin Mashiba, and May's The Record of a Fallen Vampire by Kyo Shirodaira and Yuri Kimura.

On the anime side, the Shonen Jump Home Video line will have the Naruto Uncut Box Set Vol. 4 coming in August 2007, and Naruto the Movie in September. Death Note, which has already been available for digital download, hits DVD in November; the first 15,000 copies of each volume will also come with collectors' figurines for $39.98. The final Inuyasha box sets (TV series and movies) will arrive in September 2007, and the first Bleach box set comes out in October 2007. Later volumes of the collectors' edition will include figurines of Light, L, Misa, and other popular characters. Viz Media is welcoming suggestions for the character of the last volume's figurine.

Viz's newest anime acquistions both tie in to the Shojo Beat line—the NANA anime is in the works (although there is no production schedule yet), and Honey and Clover has also been licensed. A trailer for Honey and Clover was shown at the panel.

At this point the panel was opened up to questions, most of which were series-specific. Of particular interest was the Death Note anime dub cast in English; an announcement is forthcoming since not all the actors have been cast yet. The series starts airing on Canada's YTV channel in September.

This report has been verified by a company representative.

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