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New York Comic Con
Viz Media

by Mikhail Koulikov,

Viz Media

Mark Chang, Director of Marketing, Publishing & Home Entertainment
Candice Uyloan, Senior Product Manager
Nichole Beaulieu (Simon & Schuster)

Undoubtedly, one of Viz's major properties right now is Bleach. The success of this series both on DVD and in manga form will be expanded further with the December release of volume 25 of the manga, the October theatrical release of the Bleach movie, and the October street date for the Bleach character profile book and the All Color but the Black art book.

For Viz's other brand-name title, Naruto, two upcoming releases will be the second movie, on July 29, and the third, on October 11.

Viz will also be putting out more works from the shoujo manga creator Arina Tanemura. The one-volume Time Stranger Kyoko is scheduled for July, and Short-Tempered Melancholy for August. In the fall, Viz is planning to publish a Tanemura art book.

Vagabond, by Slam Dunk author Takehiko Inoue is coming in September, in a $19.98 Viz Big edition that will package together three volumes of the manga for the prices of two. This will be preceded by his Real, in July, while Slam Dunk itself is also set for September. As with Tanekura, Inoue's art books Sumi and Water are also set to be published.

June 3 will mark the release date for the VIZBIG editions for Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, but Akira Toriyama is the creator of many more titles beyond these. More than 10 years ago, his Cowa! ran in two issues of Japan's Shonen Jump magazine. In July, Cowa! will be brought out as a stand-alone volume. July will also see Viz returning to an older title: Rumiko Takahashi's One-Pound Gospel. Since she finally completed the fourth and final volume of the series in Japan, Viz will republish the three volumes of the manga that it had originally brought out, and also add the fourth, concluding volume. One-Pound Gospel, second edition, volume 1 is scheduled for July, with new volumes coming out every two months thereafter.

Other summer releases will include a new Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo volume, as well as the initial volume of Black Lagoon, which will be distributed to stores shrink-wrapped, while the second Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is set for November. It will ship along with an exclusive Yu-Gi-Oh! card. Finally, the Pokémon: Rise of Darkrai is set to come DVD on May 27, and Viz will follow with a tie-in children's book in August.

Viz's home entertainment division is looking forward to bringing out the Hunter x Hunter season box sets, the first of which is on schedule for the fourth quarter of 2008. A new box will be released after every two months. Blue Dragon, which is currently airing on Cartoon Network, is on track for a September DVD release. After evaluating the sales potential of Full Moon wo Sagashite, Hikaru no Go, and Prince of Tennis, Viz has decided to hold off releasing any further volumes of these three series.

Going over all of these left only a few minutes of the panel for audience questions. Viz's speakers did, however, have time to mention that while the Oishinbo manga is licensed for North America, it is not likely that the full 100+ volumes will ever actually be published. Right now, there are no news to announce regarding Viz's line of Japanese novels, but several major acquisitions will be made in the coming months and into 2009. The answer to a question about whether Viz has plans to publish any more works by “God of manga” Osamu Tezuka, was also negative

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