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San Diego Comic-Con International 2009
Viz Anime and Manga

by Evan Miller,

Panelists: Candace Uyloan, Traci Todd, Mike Montessa

Uyloan began the panel by thanking people for attending and quickly moved on to an introduction of the new Shonen Sunday logo and mentioning the famous manga authors who have appeared in the Japanese Shonen Sunday, such as Akira Toriyama and Rumiko Takahashi. Montessa discussed the new titles under the imprint, which include Rumiko Takahashi's RIN-NE, Kekkaishi, Yuu Watase's shonen project Arata: The Legend, Maoh: Juvenile Remix, and Hyde and Closer. They also announced the launch of ShonenSunday.com, which will feature advance copies of chapters that people can read online before they even go to print. The first chapters of all series are available on the site right now.

Montessa discussed three of the Shonen Sunday series in detail. A teaser for one of the new series, Arata: The Legend, was screened, and the first volume of that series is due out in March 2010. Montessa described the fantasy adventure series as "Yuu Watase drawing in a Shonen style." The story focuses on two boys named Arata (which can also mean "new" in Japanese) living in the real and fantasy world respectively, and how their worlds cross when they change places. Maoh: Juvenile Remix was described as a psychothriller about a junior high student named Ando who is able to force people to state their actual thoughts. Consequently, he gets forced into situations that reawaken his power. "The storytelling in the manga is really strong," said Contessa. Finally, Hyde and Closer was described to the audience. The story focuses on a kid who's grandfather was world's greatest sorcerer, which means that other sorcerers are coming after him to take his grandfather's powers. Fortunately for him, he is guarded by an enchanted stuffed animal companion named Hyde. The story contains not only sorcery elements, but moments of slapstick involving weapons like chainsaws.

Next, the official site for Rumiko Takahashi in English, TheRumicWorld.com, was mentioned. The site has free online previews of the RIN-NE manga, which was described as a comedy with a few similarities to other shonen titles, but is quickly developing a "flavor" all its own. The first volume of the series will be out in October. The title will be the first manga in history to get a simultaneous release in both North America and Japan. Montessa also mentioned the skins for the series that are available on Google's iGoogle customizable online platform. In other Takahashi-related news, the newest volumes for the Inu Yasha manga, which will read right to left, will be released on July 14 (Volume 38) and August 11 (Volume 39) respectively. The "digital edition" of the Inu Yasha anime were also advertised; the dubbed version is for sale on iTunes, while the subbed versions are broadcasting on Hulu. The final Inu Yasha announcement of the panel was for the license of the anime Inu Yasha: The Final Act, which concludes the anime series. The license was picked up by Viz recently, and a release date has yet to be announced, but that didn't stop the audience from giving the license announcement a wild round of applause.

In another license announcement related to an existing Viz Manga property, the license for the Kekkaishi anime was officially announced. The anime is slated for release in 2010. A trailer for the anime was screened as well.

The next set of announcements concerned the Studio Ghibli Library line of releases from Viz. The first is a film comic for Ponyo to correlate with the release of the film on August 14. The first two volumes of the comic will be released on August 4, and the second two will be released on September 1. Picture and film books about Ponyo will also be released on August 4. In other Ghibli news, Viz will be releasing Hayao Miyazaki's book Starting Point, which covers his work from 1979 until 1996. Translated by famed translator Frederik L. Schodt, the book discusses the differences between the entertainment industry in the US and Japan, Miyazaki's "rivalry" with Osamu Tezuka, the creation of Studio Ghibli, and Miyazaki's views on animation. The book will be released August 4.

Next, the panelists announced releases for their Vizkids line, which is aimed at children ages 12 and younger. One new title in the line is Dragon Ball: The Adventure Begins, a series of prose adaptations with illustrations from the manga adapted for a younger audience.Volumes 1 and 2 of the series will be released August 4, and Volumes 3 and 4 will be released on September 1. The books feature covers that are, in many cases, presented in color for the first time. Other new titles coming out under the Vizkids imprint include The Legend of Zelda, Let's Find Pokemon! (a picture book similar to Where's Waldo?), Dinosaur Hour, Choco Mimi, Happy Happy Clover and Leave it to PET!, which follows the adventures of a plastic bottle who is recycled into a robot.

Moving on to discuss the Viz Shojo Beat line, the panelists announced the release of the novel series Missin', which was described as an intriguing look into the world of love and relationships. The next announcement came as a bigger shock, when Viz announced that they had licensed the anime based on the manga series Vampire Knight, which Viz is already releasing. The anime license is relatively new, but the panelists are optimistic that the anime will be released in 2010. In other anime release news, box sets for Honey and Clover and NANA will be released this September. Dubbed versions of both shows will be available on iTunes, with subtitled versions of the shows streaming on Hulu.

The panel finished with an introduction of titles from the Viz Signature line. The first volume of Shirow Mina's Dogs: Bullets and Carnage will be released on August 12, with Volume 2 due on December 8. The first two volumes of Inio Asano's next series, What a wonderful world!, will be released on October 20. Finally, two series by Naoki Urasawa, Pluto and 20th Century Boys will also see new volumes released in the coming months. The anime based on Urasawa's famous series Monster will also be released this winter, with the first box set of the series due for release this December.

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