Japan Expo USA 2013
by Lynzee Loveridge,
Viz staff Alexis Kirsch, John Bae, Eric Eberhardt, and Andy Nakatani hosted the panel on the history of the Weekly Shonen Jump from launch in Japan to the digital English edition published by Viz Media.
The series launched over 40 years ago with three main series: Mazinger Z, Barefoot Gen, and Kochikame. Kochikame is still running in Shonen Jump to this day. These hits were followed by Space Adventure Cobra in 1978 and Kinnikuman in 1979. These two series launched a tie-in toy line. Kinnikuman toys were released in the U.S. under the name Ultimate Muscle.
Akira Toriyama launched his first series in Shonen Jump in 1980 called Dr. Slump. The series is available and in print from Viz. In 1981, Youichi Takahashi launched Captain Tsubasa as the magazine's big sports manga. The next hit for the magazine was Buronson and Tetsuo Hara's Fist of the North Star manga. Another first for the magazine was Kimagure Orange ROad which set the stage for romantic comedies for years to come.
1984 was a big year for Weekly Shonen Jump with Akira Toriyama's fighting series phenomenon Dragon Ball manga. In 1998, Viz released the series in comic singles unflipped. Toriyama insisted they did not change the artwork which lead to the unflipped edition.
The next slide introduced Hirohiko Araki's JoJo's Bizarre Adventure manga. In the next few weeks Viz will release JoJo's Bizarre Adventure in digital format. The release is limited to what Viz has released in print but if the demand is high enough, the company might publish more.
The panel moved into series released in 1990, including Rurouni Kenshin, Yu-Gi-Oh!, I"s, One Piece, Whistle, and Hunter x Hunter. 1998 saw the premiere of the Dragon Ball Z television anime on Toonami in the United States. The decade ended with Masashi Kishimoto's launch of Naruto in 1999.
In 2001, the long-running shonen series Bleach launched in the magazine. The following year the American edition of Shonen Jump launched with Dragonball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, Sandman, and One Piece. The staff stated the only reason the print magazine does not exist anymore is because of their desire to release thing simultaneously with Japan. Other landmarks in the last ten years include the launch of Death Note, the U.S. television premiere of Naruto, Toriko, Bakuman, and Viz's digital-exclusive Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan.
Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha launched in 2012 with the intention of simultaneously releasing with Japan. Shuiesha asked for Viz to prove themselves first, so Alpha launched with a two week delay. After Shueisha was confident in Viz's release, they were able to switch to simultaneous release in January 2013. A current series in the magazine is One Punch Man by One and Yusuke Murata. The series started as a web comic and then was adapted into the manga. The magazine is also running Daisuke Ashihara's sci-fi series World Trigger and Akira Toriyama's Jako the Space Patrol Man. The staff teased that in two weeks the magazine will have the One Piece World Z tie-in manga chapter. The chapter takes place 20 years before the current series timeline.
Readers who missed issues can now buy the past three months online at Vizmanga.com. The magazine is also now available to readers in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa through the Shonen Jump app.