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Otakon 2014
Viz Media

by Eric Stimson,

Viz Media's panel was conducted by Charlene Ingram, Viz's senior manager for animation marketing, and Mark DeVera, its publishing sales coordinator. They began by highlighting several currently available Viz Manga titles: Black Rose Alice, a dark shoujo vampire story by Setona Mizushiro; My Love Story!!, a shoujo comedy by Kazune Kawahara and Aruko about a thuggish high school boy who falls in love; Spell of Desire, a racy shoujo about a witches' coven and magical powers by Tomu Ohmi; Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma, a Weekly Shounen Jump series that combines fanservice of the culinary and sensual variety by Yūto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki; and Terra Formars, a science-fiction manga about mutant cockroaches that take over Mars by Yū Sasuga and Kenichi Tachibana.

As for upcoming releases, Viz presented the audience with Time Killers, a manga by Katou Kazue regarded as a template for her later Blue Exorcist; it will be released on September 29. Meteor Prince is a 2-volume manga by Meca Tanaka described as “bubblegum cute” about a man who literally falls from the sky. It is slated for release on January 6. Requiem of the Rose King is a gothic-flavored manga based on England's King Richard III and created by Aya Kanno; look for it in early March. The long-running manga version of Neon Genesis Evangelion by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto comes to a conclusion with its 14th volume on November 20. Gyo, a horror manga by Junji Ito about creepy fish with legs that invade Japan, splashes onto bookshelves in a deluxe hardcover this December. All You Need Is Kill, the manga version of the novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka that inspired this year's American live-action film Edge of Tomorrow, comes out on November 4.

Viz's proudest announcement is the forthcoming release of the first two arcs of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, of which only the third arc has been available in English until now. Arc 1 (“Phantom Blood”) goes on sale on February 3, while Arc 2 (“Battle Tendency”) will be published on November 3, 2015. They will be available earlier in their digital form – September and March, respectively. Viz's version will be based on the JoJonium release from 2013. Finally, new Hunter X Hunter chapters are slated to grace Viz's Weekly Shonen Jump manga magazine.

Viz next moved onto anime, and started by highlighting the Disney XD release of the mega-popular children's anime Doraemon this past July. The panelists announced that Neon Alley, Viz's anime streaming service, is now free, and reviewed noteworthy new anime releases: Sailor Moon every Monday, Naruto Shippūden every Saturday, Ranma 1/2 , Bleach (which has now reached the 100-episode mark), Death Note, Vampire Knight, InuYasha: The Final Act, and Blood Lad. Looking ahead, the science-fiction series Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet will be released in October along with Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals, a Naruto spin-off.

As far as DVD and Blu-Ray anime releases are concerned, Viz announced volumes 20 and 21 of Bleach, 18 and 19 of Naruto Shippūden, and the complete Vampire Knight series. Moribito, an acclaimed fantasy series, will be available on August 26. Volume 3 of Ranma ½ and the complete Blood Lad series, about a lazy otaku vampire who saves a human girl, will also come soon with a bevy of extra features and deluxe packaging. Naruto the Movie: Road to Ninja will hit select theatres this August. Finally, Viz trumpeted its release of Sailor Moon, which will be available in its entirety, including the Sailor Stars series, which has previously remained unavailable to North American audiences. A glimmering boxset of the first 23 episodes of Sailor Moon will go on sale on November 11, along with a bonus booklet, song lyrics in Japanese and English, and closed captioning, for $79.98

During the concluding question-and-answer session, Viz also disclosed that it is “currently working on” acquiring Coppelion, a post-apocalyptic manga series by Tomonori Inoue, and floated a possible release date of early 2015.

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