Shonen Jump Ties Manga with Sports at Comic-Con Int'l

posted on by Egan Loo
Viz Hosts NBA's Oden, Lakers Girls; 10 Japanese fans win trip to CCI, Mariners games

Viz Media is co-hosting several sports-related events next week to mark its release of Takehiko Inoue's Slam Dunk basketball manga and the 40th anniversary of Japan's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. Greg Oden, the center of the National Basketball Association's Portland Trail Blazers, will be appearing at Viz Media's booth on July 27 at Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. Oden was the first overall pick of last year's NBA draft, and he is slated to play his first professional game next season after being sidelined during the 2007-2008 season due to knee surgery. Viz Media also contributed manga to Oden's charity, Oregon Mentors, as part of its ongoing literacy efforts. On July 25, Viz will host two members of the Los Angeles Laker Girls cheerleading team at its Comic-Con booth. Viz will ship its first compiled volume of the Slam Dunk manga on September 2.

Before Comic-Con International begins next week, the Japanese publisher of Weekly Shonen Jump magazine and Viz will be hosting 10 kids from Japan who won a trip to America to see Major League Baseball games and Comic-Con International. Each child won the trip from Shueisha by writing an essay that was 400-600 Japanese characters long (roughly equivalent to 200-300 English words long). The winners will be seeing the Seattle Mariners' home games against the Boston Red Sox in Washington state next week. Nintendo of America owns the Mariners, who are arguably the MLB's highest profiled team in Japan because of eight-time All-Star outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. The Red Sox's roster includes pitching ace Daisuke Matsuzaka, who helped the team win the World Series last year. The American edition of Shonen Jump will be celebrating its own fifth anniversary by sending two winners to Japan and the Jump Festa manga event in a sweepstakes promotion later this year.

After the games, the Japanese kids will head to San Diego for Comic-Con International. In addition to seeing everything else at the convention as fans, they will be helping out at Viz's events for Tite Kubo, the creator of the Bleach supernatural fighting manga who is making his first North American convention appearance. Kubo will be appearing at a July 25 screening of Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody in San Diego, and then appearing at Comic-Con International for a panel with his editor Atsushi Nakasaki and two signing sessions on July 26.

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