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New York Comic-Con 2011
Viz Media Panel

by Crystalyn Hodgkins,

Cadice Uyloan, Director of Marketing, Traci Todd, Senior Editor of the Viz Kids line, and Ryan Brown hosted the Viz Panel on Sunday morning. All attendees to the panel got a special giveaway bag that contained the Naruto Shippūden Ultimate Ninja Impact game for the PSP.

Uyloan started the panel by discussing the Art of Hope project, which is an artbook featuring art created using the Autodesk software program. All the art was inspired by the earthquake in Japan, and proceeds from the book's sales will go to Architecture for Humanity, which is taking downed trees from the earthquake and tsunami and using them to rebuild building in affected prefectures in Japan. The e-book will be released on December 1 and will retail for US$4.99. Viz is taking donations at their NYCC booth and those who donate will get an Art for Hope poster.

Viz then announced new acquisitions. It announced Jiu Jiu by Touya Tobina. Volume 1 will be released on July 2012 and volume 2 will be released in October 2012. Viz also licensed Yun Kouga's Loveless series. Volumes 1-8 were published by Tokyopop. Viz will release volume 9 in June 2012, and volume 10 in October 2012.

Viz also announced it will release the science-fiction novel MM9 by Hiroshi Yamamoto. The book will be printed in e-book (iBooks and Kindle) and print formats in January.

Next Viz discussed its Viz Kids line. Todd discussed Mr. Men and Little Miss, which will launch in April 2012. Then Todd discussed the Voltron Force full-cover graphic novels, which will launch in April 2012. A Voltron panel will be held at NYCC later on Sunday.

Todd then showed a video for Viz's Mameshiba line of books. Mameshiba: On the Loose was released this summer. Mameshiba We Could be Heroes will be released in July 2012, Mameshiba How to be Best Friends Ever will be released in August 2012. Mameshiba Heart Winter will be released in November. A Mameshiba Heart Fall will be released in fall 2012.

Next Viz moved on to its animated properties. First, Brown talked about Hero 108. Season 1 volume 4 will be available December 6. Pokémon DP Sinnoh League Victors is coming January 10, 2012. Blue Dragon: Trials of the 7 Shadows will be streamed subbed and dubbed on VizAnime. Brown revealed that all of the classic Naruto episodes are streaming on Netflix. Also streaming is Bleach: Memories of Nobody, and Inuyasha films 1-4 are streaming on Netflix.

Naruto Shippūden box set #9 will be released on DVD on January 2012, but will be available on download-to-own on October 24. He then revealed that Inuyasha: Final Act will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2012.

Then Uyloan discussed the previously-announced Shonen Jump Alpha magazine. Shonen Jump Alpha is a digital magazine which will publish One Piece, Bleach, Naruto, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, Toriko, and Bakuman. chapters two weeks after they are released in Japan. The magazine is available for a year-long subscription of 48 issues for US$25.99, or for a rental per issue for four weeks for US$0.99 each. The first issue will launch on January 30. Available on vizmanga.com, and on the apps for iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone. Uyloan also mentioned that the print version of the magazine will end in March 2012. Uyloan explained the "digital warp" speed up of titles that Viz will feature in Shonen Jump Alpha, so that readers can be completely caught up on those titles before Shonen Jump Alpha launches. For example, Naruto volume 53 was released digitally on Friday, and it won't be released in print until December. Viz will also release Bleach volume 49 digitally before the end of the year. Bleach 28 and 29 will be out in digital form on Monday, and Bleach volume 36 came out in December. Volume 49 starts the new arc that is still running in Japan.

Brown then spoke a bit about the digital switch and the cancellation of Shonen Jump Alpha. He said that Viz cannot keep up with Japan in the print format with the print Shonen Jump. He asked fans to keep an open mind and to "believe in the power of Shonen Jump."

Then the panel moved into a Q&A session. Viz confirmed in that session that it will dub InuYasha: The Final Act. When asked about what will happen to the Yu-Gi-Oh! cards that come with Shonen Jump print volumes, Viz said it is working with Konami on what to do after that switch to digital. Viz could not give an answer yet on the rest of Monster on DVD, on a potential dub for Tiger & Bunny. Viz mentioned that anything fans want to get a digital release, they should write Viz about it on their Facebook page. Regarding those who have just renewed their subscriptions to the print Shonen Jump, Uyloan said that for those who have more than 6 months left on their subscriptions, Viz will offer them a free year subscription to Shonen Jump Alpha. It isn't automatic, however, and Uyloan said that subscribers should go to the subscriber section of Viz's Shonen Jump website.

Uyloan mentioned that Viz is working on getting Shonen Jump Alpha on as many platforms as possible. She also said that Viz has been looking into print on demand for three years, and it is still on the table.

Regarding those in the U.K. or Australia who want access to Shonen Jump Alpha (Shonen Jump Alpha will only be available in the U.S. and Canada), Uyloan said that VIz's rights are for the most part focused on North America only, and that's all she can say at this time.

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