Viz Announces Shonen Jump Advanced

Dec 20th 2004
New imprint to offer cutting-edge manga titles

San Francisco, CA, December 20, 2004 — VIZ, LLC, one of the leading publishers and distributors of manga and anime for North American audiences, has announced the launch of SHONEN JUMP ADVANCED, a new imprint under the company's SHONEN JUMP brand that will present the latest cutting-edge manga stories offering titles with progressive storylines and characters to older teens and young adults.

The first three titles to be offered by SHONEN JUMP ADVANCED will include EYESHIELD 21, HUNTER X HUNTER, and I''S. The trio of titles are each rated "T+" for older teens and will hit store shelves in April of 2005 with an MSRP of $7.99.

EYESHIELD 21, HUNTER X HUNTER and I''S are all hugely successful in Japan and have been serialized in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump, the country's leading manga anthology that reaches close to 3 million readers each week. In North America, SHONEN JUMP titles like RUROUNI KENSHIN, YU-GI-OH! and NARUTO regularly top national sales lists for the manga and graphic novel categories. As the popularity of the manga genre proliferates among older teens and young adults, the English debuts of these new titles will further validate VIZ and SHONEN JUMP's mission to bring the latest manga stories aimed at these demographics to North American.

EYESHIELD 21, Volume 1 · MSRP: $7.99 · Available April 2005
The growing success of sports-based manga stories continues with EYESHIELD 21, the first American football graphic novel to appear in North America. The manga, by creator Riichiro Inagaki and artist Yusuke Murata, tells the story of Sena Kobayakawa, a high school freshman who has been bullied all his life. The sadistic captain of the football team discovers Sena and his lightning fast speed and forces him to join the team. A wacky cast of characters rounds out this bone-crushing and ridiculously silly slapstick comedy about a young man's struggle to overcome obstacles and develop self respect. In Japan, EYESHIELD 21 is a popular ongoing series that has sold more than 5 million copies and spawned an original video feature.

HUNTER X HUNTER, Volume 1 · MSRP: $7.99 · Available April 2005
A highly anticipated release from Yoshihiro Togashi, the creator of YUYU HAKUSHO (also published under the SHONEN JUMP brand and serialized in SHONEN JUMP Magazine), HUNTER X HUNTER focuses on the fantastic adventures of Gon, the son of a famous Hunter. Wanting to follow in his father's footsteps, young Gon works hard to learn how to track down monsters, seek treasure and cast magical spells. But in order to truly become like his father and become a licensed Hunter, Gon must also pass the arduous and dangerous Hunter Exam. Gon quickly befriends two other Hunters-in-training that include Kurapika, who is motivated by vengeance for his murdered family, and Leorio, who simply wants to get rich. Action begins quickly in Volume 1 of HUNTER X HUNTER when the trio must survive in a forest infested with dangerous animals, and even more dangerous rivals that want to kill off any competition.

Yoshihiro Togashi is a prolific manga creator, since his first manga for Weekly Shonen Jump appeared in 1988, Togashi has impressed fans with his signature style and fluid character movements. The HUNTER X HUNTER series has developed a fanatical following in Japan and spawned several original video features, an animated series, video games and trading cards in Japan. In Japan the sales of the graphic novels has surpassed 36 million copies.

I''S, Volume 1 · MSRP: $7.99 · Available April 2005
Sixteen-year-old Ichitaka Seto is a completely normal Japanese boy who has a crush on Iori Ishizuki, a girl in his class who has become so popular since she posed for a swimsuit layout in a magazine that she now has her own fan club at school. Ichitaka is afraid to make his feelings known, lest Iori think he is just another sleazy creep hitting on her, but when he's randomly selected to work with her on the two-person Freshman Committee, he sees an opportunity. Things grow more complicated when Ichitaka's childhood "girlfriend," Itsuki, returns from the U.S., and ends up living in his house! Itsuki is no longer the shy young girl Ichitaka remembers. Now he must reconcile his feelings for each and work hard to make sure that his angst-riddled high school life doesn't get any more dramatic.

Author Masakazu Katsura, has created other popular titles such as VIDEO GIRL AI (also published by VIZ), WINGMAN, SHADOW LADY, art books and a postcard book, all published in Japan with over 9 million copies of the graphic novels sold to date. Katsura's quirky sense of humor, penchant for O'Henry-like plot twists, lush screen tones and depiction of nubile young ladies is celebrated in manga fan circles.

"The launch of SHONEN JUMP ADVANCED further defines SHONEN JUMP's commitment to offer current and cutting edge stories straight from Japan that are aimed at the growing legion of older teens and young adults that have embraced the manga genre," states Yumi Hoashi, vice president of SHONEN JUMP. "In Japan, manga readers range in all ages and walks of life. The debut of these three titles by SHONEN JUMP ADVANCED will now provide North American fans with progressive stories aimed specifically at older teen readers at a highly attractive retail price."

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.

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