San Francisco, CA, January 3, 2008 – Viz Media, LLC (Viz Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, brings a new perspective to the manga marketplace with the launch of a new imprint called VIZBIG Edition. The new imprint will release omnibus editions of top-selling manga series in a larger 5-3/4 x 8-5/8 size (larger than the standard 5 x 7-1/2 manga) with special premium presentations including new cover art.
Rurouni Kenshin will be the first series to receive the VIZBIG Edition treatment this month, with Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z set for May release and Takehiko Inoue's Vagabond will follow in Fall of 2008. These VIZBIG Edition titles have an anticipated initial cover price of $17.99 and will be released quarterly. Several other titles are also presently being considered for future VIZBIG Edition publication.
Each debut VIZBIG Edition will contain the first three volumes of the original graphic novel series presented with larger trim size, bonus color pages and added content such as author interviews, updated text and character art. The new editions serve as ideal comprehensive introductions for new readers to some of manga's best-known titles, and a great way for seasoned fans to see their favorite titles in a new perspective.
Rurouni Kenshin, the internationally bestselling series created by Nobuhiro Watsuki, depicts the adventures of Himura Kenshin, a “rurouni,” or wandering samurai, who was once an assassin of ferocious power but now fights to protect the honor and safety of those in need. The story, set during the Meiji era of Japan during the 1800s, has been adapted into a hit anime series, three films and several novels. This title was also the first manga to be placed on the notable USA TODAY top 150 list.
Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, created by Akira Toriyama, are universally recognized as modern manga classics. With a unique blend of martial arts, science fiction and memorable characters, they update the classic Chinese legend of the Monkey King. Dragon Ball follows the life of a monkey-tailed boy named Son Goku in a 16-volume series that has since become one of the most successful manga properties ever created. Goku's life changes when he meets a girl named Bulma and sets out to help her gather all seven Dragon Balls, which are scattered all over the world. If all seven are gathered, a powerful dragon will appear and grant one wish. The 26-volume series sequel, Dragon Ball Z, picks up when Goku has grown up. Earth's ultimate warrior now has a son named Gohan who is even more powerful than his father. Together they use martial arts and other powers to battle time travelers, aliens, deities and the mighty Super Saiyans to save the universe. Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z together have sold more than 500,000 copies in North America and the 400+ episode anime series was a consistent ratings winner on Cartoon Network.
Also coming out in a VIZBIG Edition in September 2008, Vagabond is an action-packed portrayal of the life and times of the quintessential warrior-philosopher--the most celebrated samurai of all time! Striving for enlightenment by way of the sword, Miyamoto Musashi is prepared to cut down anyone who stands in his way.
Alvin Lu, Viz Media Vice President, Publishing, is excited about the debut, saying, “VIZBIG Editions are more than just an alternative format to read your favorite manga — with full color pages, eye-opening larger trim size, and a premium presentation – they change the very experience of reading manga. For fans of these series, they are a great opportunity to relive their favorite stories from a completely new perspective, and for new fans, this is a great way to jump in and quickly get up to speed on what everyone's been talking about – the world-renowned stories and characters behind Rurouni Kenshin, Dragon Ball, and Dragon Ball Z.”
About Viz Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Viz Media, LLC (Viz Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan's largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan, Inc., and Shogakukan Production Co., Ltd. (Sho-Pro Japan), Viz Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America and a global licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including, magazines such as Shonen Jump and Shojo Beat, graphic novels, videos, DVDs and audio soundtracks and develops and markets animated entertainment from initial production, television placement and distribution, to merchandise licensing and promotions for audiences and consumers of all ages.Contact Viz Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and web site at www.VIZ.com.