VIZ To Release Legendz and Dr. Slump Manga in 2005

Dec 16th 2004
VIZ ANNOUNCES NEWEST ADDITIONS TO
THE SHONEN JUMP GRAPHIC NOVEL LINE

New fantasy role-play title and witty comedic manga will be offered in English for the first time in the U.S.

San Francisco, CA, December 16, 2004 – VIZ, LLC, one of the leading publishers and distributors of manga and anime for North American audiences, has announced two new manga titles to be released early next year by the company's SHONEN JUMP division. LEGENDZ will hit store shelves in March of 2005 and is rated “A” for all ages, while DR. SLUMP will debut in May 2005 and is rated “T” for teens.

LEGENDZ, Volume 1 • MSRP: $7.99 • Available March 2005
LEGENDZ is one of the latest Japanese graphic novel series to blend the manga format with fantasy monsters and role-playing games. The story presents a world where mythical creatures like mermaids, dragons and werewolves, called Legendz, actually exist. Better yet, they can be raised and trained to play the ultimate role-playing game. Master trainer Ken Kazaki and his loyal Windragon, named Shiron, are the main characters in LEGENDZ and action abounds when the duo takes on other skilled Legendz players who will stop at nothing to win. Unlike most players, Ken knows that taking care of his Legendz will increase Shiron's power and skill level. In the debut volume of the series, readers will meet Ken and his friends, and the fabulous creatures they seek to train. The plot thickens when Ken must take on a school bully who is plotting to rig the school's Legendz tournament to win the coveted Golden Soul Figure.

This highly anticipated release is the first phase of the Legendz brand's foray into North America. Drawn by Makoto Haruno and written by Rin Hirai, LEGENDZ is currently a popular ongoing manga series in Japan, with volume 3 recently released. The title is also serialized in the pages of the Japanese comic anthology, Monthly Shonen Jump. A hit anime series, video games, action figures, and related trading cards have also become very successful.

DR. SLUMP, Volume 1 • MSRP: $7.99 • Available May 2005
DR. SLUMP is a madcap series about a blustering inventor, who creates the “perfect” android girl, only to discover that he may have created a monster instead! Volume 1 introduces the precocious Arale to Penguin Village, where she wreaks havoc with her superhuman strength and oddball ways. Each volume of the series focuses on Arale's childlike misunderstandings of humanity and Senbei's inventions, rivalries and romantic misadventures. Aside from its episodic storyline, DR. SLUMP is also notable for its puns, scatological jokes and parodies of both Western and Japanese pop culture. A manga classic by Akira Toriyama, the creator of DRAGON BALL and DRAGON BALL Z.
DR. SLUMP was Toriyama's first weekly manga series, debuting in Japan's Weekly Shonen Jump anthology. The series became a huge commercial success, spawning an incredible ten feature films, a pair of popular anime series that totaled over 300 episodes, and an array of related toys and video games. The title has never been available in English until now. Following the success of DR. SLUMP, Toriyama went on to international fame with manga series like DRAGON BALL, DRAGON BALL Z and SAND LAND (all published by VIZ under the SHONEN JUMP brand.)

VIZ is excited to make LEGENDZ and DR. SLUMP available to audiences in North America,” states Yumi Hoashi, vice president of SHONEN JUMP. “Both are popular series that present fantastic alternate worlds filled with captivating and unique characters. LEGENDZ takes the concept of the role-playing game to an adventurous new level while DR. SLUMP blends laugh- out-loud comedy with lots of inside humor and observations on both American and Japanese pop culture and society. We are pleased to add both these titles to the SHONEN JUMP collection and look forward to both new titles developing enthusiastic fans.”


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. Each month, VIZ publishes three magazines – ANIMERICA, ANIMERICA EXTRA and SHONEN JUMP; over 20 graphic novel titles, including ALICE 19TH, BOYS OVER FLOWERS, DRAGON BALL Z, FUSHIGI YÛGI, GUNDAM, INUYASHA, RANMA 1/2, and YU-GI-OH!; and distributes 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 a large 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.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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