Viz announces plans for 2000 at Katsucon 6

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Viz's resident producer Toshifumi Yoshida appeared before a group of rabid anime and manga fans to detail Viz's plans for the year 2000 at Katsucon (Feb. 11-13, 2000). Senior Editor Trish Ledoux couldn't make the scheduled appearance, but the dynamic and always entertaining Toshi managed to handle the crowd just fine on his own.

Among the things fans can look forward to this year is a West Coast appearance by manga artist Rumiko Takahashi to celebrate 10 continuous years of her work being available in English. Other noteworthy news includes:

* The debut of Aqua Knight, a new 6-issue monthly series by Battle Angel Alita creator Yukito Kishiro premiering in April. Aqua Knight follows the saga of a young hero trying to become a knight.

* Just when you thought Pokémon couldn't get any cuter, Magical Pokémon Journey appears in March. This monthly, 4-issue mini series contains multiple 4-panel tales told in the shojo style.

* Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President is a 14-issue series by Kaiji Kawaguchi. Each issue is in the graphic novel format and retails for $6.95 for over 100 pages of story and art.

This series, by the creator of Silent Service, was dubbed "Sanctuary without the sex," by Toshi. As the title implies, it's the story of the first Asian-American running for president of the United States. The current president is named "William Creighton" and the vice-president is referred to as "Albert Knorr".

The story is told from the point of view of a Japanese reporter sent to chronicle the candidate's presidential bid. It turns out both men have a shared secret in their past. This series is geared for adults and has a realistic tone. Viz had to obtain clearance from CNN since the first issue uses imagery captured from the network.

* This year Viz celebrates 10 years of Ranma 1/2. January saw the publication of the last issue of Maison Ikkoku. The final graphic novel is set for a May release. But fear not Takahashi fans, Viz is bringing Rumiko Takahashi back to the United States later this year. The exact date and convention has yet to be announced, but it should take place later this summer on the West Coast.

* Animerica Extra will be adding a new serial to its line-up. Marionette Generation is a popular manga series that ran for 8 years in the anime magazine Newtype. Marionette Generation is by famed character designer Hal Mikimoto (Macross, Orguss, Megazone, Gunbuster) and tells the tale of a high school girl who serves as a caretaker for a lonely artist. When a doll in his house comes to life, the girl must compete with "her&qout; for his affection.

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