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San Diego Comic-Con 2012
VIZ Media Panel

by Todd Ciolek,

Viz Media's panel at the San Diego Comic-Con saw little in the way of new announcements. Instead the company showcased its upcoming titles, gave a glimmer of hope to Shojo Beat readers, and hinted at actual new announcements in the future.

A collaboration between CAPCOM's Street Fighter and Sanrio's Hello Kitty turned heads elsewhere at Comic-Con, particularly when an official Hello Kitty Chun-Li wandered the show floor. VIZ is also part of the project, and they'll release two Street Fighter Sanrio books on November 13. One will include details about the games alongside art of the Sanrio cast gone Street Fighter, while the second book will be a collection of stickers.

VIZ discussed several upcoming new ventures, including a line of anime-based goods called Toshin. VIZ hasn't yet disclosed just which anime series will inspire the merchandise, but a Facebook group already exists for the brand.

Also mentioned was VIZ's new Neon Alley channel, a service that streams anime series through a particular game console. Which console? VIZ isn't saying right now, but they've revealed that Neon Alley will be available in the U.S. and Canada for $6.99 a month. All series on Neon Alley will be available dubbed and uncut.

VIZ also highlighted several releases in the second half of the year. Most prestigious is a box set reissue of Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which VIZ publishing sales assistant Mark de Vera called “one of the most beautiful books I've ever see.” Available November 6, the set includes color artwork and a fold-out poster. Neither was included in VIZ's original release of the manga in the 1990s.

Shonen Jump Alpha, the digital version of VIZ's Shonen Jump, received some attention, and VIZ representatives noted that the publication now receives new chapters two weeks after they run in their Japanese anthology. Shojo Beat has yet to be revived in such a fashion, but fans can still check out its dedicated Facebook page.

During the Q&A session that concluded the panel, one attendee asked if VIZ would consider releasing any Tiger & Bunny manga in North America. A VIZ representative would only state that the company is “looking into” the prospect.

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