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Viz Announces Q1 Acquisitions



San Francisco, Calif, January 9, 2004 – VIZ, LLC, one of the leading publishers and distributors of manga and anime for North American audiences, announced today the acquisition of four new highly-anticipated manga titles. Included are RAHXEPHON, B.B. EXPLOSION, and SENSUAL PHASE, available in stores in April 2004, and MEGAMAN NT WARRIOR, available beginning in May. RAHXEPHON and MEGAMAN will be part of VIZ's action line, while B.B. EXPLOSION, and SENSUAL PHASE will be released as shôjo titles.

“I am pleased to announce the debut of the first volumes of RAHXEPHON, MEGAMAN, B.B. EXPLOSION, AND SENSUAL PHASE,” said VIZ president and CEO Seiji Horibuchi. “The release of these four titles further affirms VIZ's commitment to making the best manga titles available to English-speaking audiences.”

B.B Explosion, Volume 1
192 pages, $9.95 U.S.
April 2004

For main character Airi, the first step to fame and fortune is an appearance on an American Idol-like TV show called Boom Boom. But before that can happen, Airi and her three pop star wannabe friends must first enroll in a big city acting school where competition between classmates is ruthless and highly competitive. With the help of her guardian angel, Airi begins taking classes at the school. She wants a future in showbiz and also wants to fall in love and overcome her father's stern disapproval. No matter what, Airi is determined to make her Dreams Come True!

From creator Yasue Imai (KIMI GA IRU KISEKI, SENSHI NA YATSURA, and TOTTEMO B.B.), B.B. EXPLOSION originally appeared in the manga anthology Ciao and has sold over 350,000 copies to date in Japan. The VIZ incarnation will feature a one page commentary from English adapter Trina Robbins, the former WONDER WOMAN artist and writer for Marvel's BARBIE and THE LITTLE MERMAID titles.

MegaMan NT Warrior, Volume 1
192 pages, $9.95 U.S.
May 2004

The manga version of the hit TV series airing on Kids WB, set in the year 200X, when everyone is connected to the Cyber Network. Computers have turned the world into a bright and shiny utopia but trouble in paradise is not far away. While the invention of the PET (Personal Electronic Terminals) and NetNavis (an artificial intelligence program) has brought great benefits to the world, computer hacking, virus spreading, and other high-tech crimes are major problems. A sinister organization called the World Three has vowed to destroy this technological wonderland. Lan Hikari ― an intensely curious and cheerful fifth grader, synchronized with his NetNavigator called Megaman ― becomes a super-charged dynamo. Both in and outside the Net, Lan and Megaman do their best to thwart World Three's never-ending quest to take over the world.

Born on August 14, 1963, MEGAMAN creator Ryo Takamisaki grew up in Ibaragi watching combat sports and participating in motor sports. In addition to MEGAMAN (known as ROCK MAN EXE in Japan), Takamisaki's representative works include CHARGER 500, THE KING OF FIGHTERS G, GODZILLA vs. MEGAGUIRUS, and KAZE NO EL DORADO.

A 6-volume manga series with over 1.5 million copies sold per month in Japan, MEGAMAN is the manga version of the hit TV series on Kids WB. From Ryo Takamisaki and known as ROCK MAN EXE in Japan, MEGAMAN is based on the best-selling Megaman Battle Network video game from CAPCOM and is the inspiration for trading card games, toys and a full line of kids' apparel.

RahXephon, Volume 1
192 pages, $9.95 U.S.
April 2004

Set in 2001 A.D., a mysterious orb envelops the city of Tokyo, isolating it from the rest of the world. All forms of communication are severed, leaving the inhabitants of the newly dubbed “Tokyo Jupiter” ignorant to their fate. A clandestine organization known as TERRA is formed, with the mission to liberate Tokyo from the otherworldly Mu — the group responsible for Tokyo's capture. As a result of the calamity, young Tokyo inhabitant Ayato Kamina's life undergoes a drastic change when Mu agents in dark suits attempt to kidnap both him and his childhood friend Reika. Soon after escaping, a sassy TERRA operative brings him face-to-face with the mythical giant RAHXEPHON robot — a force he alone has the ability to control. With everything he has ever believed in falling to pieces around him, Ayato must fight the Mu and protect Reika at any cost.

From the popular mecha designer Yutaka Izubuchi (PAT LABOR), this 3-volume manga series will be available in Barnes & Noble stores beginning in April 2004 for a six month exclusive, and will be available channel-wide beginning in September. Also a popular TV series, a full-length RahXephon movie is currently in development.

Sensual Phrase, Volume 1
192 pages, $9.95 U.S.
May 2004

As a budding poet and lyricist, Aine is on her way to an audition one fateful afternoon. Absentmindedly stepping into the street, she barely avoids being struck by an oncoming vehicle. Not only is the cute teenager lucky to be alive, but her brush with death also turns out to be a date with destiny. The driver of the car just happens to be the charismatic and fabulously handsome lead singer for a band called Lucifer. Is this Aine's chance to fulfill her dreams and become a professional lyricist? Or is she about to dance with the devil?

Also known as KAIKAN PHRASE, the 17-volume series has sold more than 7.4 million copies in Japan, spawned a real spin-off band called Lucifer and a 44-episode anime program. SENSUAL PHRASE was created by shôjo artist Mayu Shinjo, who made her debut in 1994 with ANATA NO IRO NI SOMARITAI (I Want to be Dyed in Your Color) in the pages of Shôjo Comics and has created more than fifteen titles in addition to SENSUAL PHRASE.

About VIZ, LLC
Founded in 1986, VIZ is a multi-media entertainment company specializing in Japanese entertainment properties for U.S. audiences. VIZ offers an integrated product line including magazines, graphic novels, videos, DVDs and audio soundtracks. VIZ releases over 20 titles every month including graphic novels for DRAGON BALL Z, FUSHIGI YÛGI, GUNDAM, HAMTARO, INUYASHA, RANMA 1/2, and YU-GI-OH!; and home video for BOYS OVER FLOWERS, HAMTARO, INUYASHA, POKéMON, PROJECT ARMS, and ZOIDS.

Based in San Francisco, VIZ is one of the top five comics publishers in the U.S. and a subsidiary of Shogakukan and Shueisha, Inc., two of the top publishers in Japan. VIZ is the leading publisher of manga for English speaking audiences, serving a growing market of dedicated fans of all ages. Estimating a core audience of nearly 15 million fans, the company holds more than a 50% market share of Japanese comics in the U.S. With some of the most innovative products in the industry, VIZ has expanded its offerings to its loyal fans through web sites such as www.animerica-mag.com, www.shonenjump.com, and its corporate site, www.Viz.com.

Contact VIZ, LLC at: 655 Bryant Street, San Francisco, CA 94107-1612; Phone: (415) 546-7073; Fax: (415) 546-7086; Web site: www.VIZ.com

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