In conjunction with the return of the Legend of Zelda comics in Japan, Viz Media is re-releasing the first ten volumes of the series as omnibus editions in time for the holidays this year. This seems like a good idea as it drops the series down to 5 volumes and gives it a bigger trim size, but with an MSRP of $17.99, this makes the series more expensive than the box set now available, even at full price. Most omnibus editions re-releases are priced lower than the original release. This is the going in the opposite direction. While I hope Viz picks up the returning Legend of Zelda manga, this isn’t the way to get fans back.
Viz Media’s digital strategy and I have not gotten along very well. For the longest time after Viz released their Vizmanga app, I couldn’t install it because Google Play kept saying it wasn’t compatible with my Android tablet. I finally had to go through Amazon’s App Store and install it through there. I had something to say about that.
The updates are sparse this month. Most have been covered in separate press releases, except for the debut of Boruto, the Naruto spin-off series that features Naruto’s son Boruto and the kids of his generation. I haven’t checked out the previous one shot featuring those characters, so I don’t know if it’s something to get excited about yet. Not sure what’s up with the Anniversary Sale, since the PR doesn’t really say anything, and there hasn’t been anything on the site yet. I’m intrigued to see what it will be.
Free Comic Book Day started as a way to promote western comics to the uninitiated. It’s a chance to pick up an interesting title for free that (hopefully) represents what the title is about and stir up some interest in new readers. In the last few years manga publishers have been joining in with their own samplers. This year, Viz Media has two to check out. Pokemon Pocket Comics are short strips with a lot of humor and not necessarily a lot of words, so it’s perfect for the young and/or emerging reader. Older Readers wondering what Japanese superheroes look like can pick up the Shonen Jump Sampler which features One-Punch Man and My Hero Academia. Get there early as these books tend to go fast!
I love historical manga, so I’m always interested when a new series comes out. There have been a couple of titles set in the Taisho era, but I’m always happy to see more. The fact that it’s only two volumes increases my interest, as that is something I can easily fit into my bookshelf, both digital and physical. I’m looking forward to reading this series.
Sakura was never a character that interested me in the original Naruto manga, as she appeared to be more interested in Sasuke as husband material than really making it as a ninja in her own right. This may have changed later in the series, but this novel definitely does, as it give her not only the spotlight, but a mystery to solve!
Dragon Ball has become a classic title here in the west just as it is the Japan. Viz Media has published several different editions of the series, including a VizBIG and 3-in-1 omnibuses. Now, they’re taking it a step up with color editions of this long and seemingly unending saga. Sadly, the color editions are starting with Dragon Ball Z, the part of the series I would argue is not as strong as the first. But that’s just me.
Not a lot of new titles coming to Viz digitally, but I am looking forward to Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter, and learn more about the Monster Hunter universe. What I’m not thrilled about is the return (again) of Hunter x Hunter. The series has been on hiatus more than it’s been in print. Fool me once… The digital bundles are all foodie manga, so if you don’t mind your manga making you hungry, or you’re looking for meal ideas, be sure to check them out.
Back in December Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump announced that the creators of Beet the Vandel Buster, Riku Sanjo and Koji Inada, would be returning to the manga after a ten-year absence. The manga, previously serialized in the now-defunct Monthly Shonen Jump would return in the spring in Shueisha’s monthly Jump SQ Crown.
Viz Media made their debut at Anime Boston this year, snubbing the closer west coast con Wondercon for an east coast outing. They brought some new licenses including two new hardcover deluxe releases. Tomie is a horror manga by the master Junji Ito that hasn’t seen print in over a decade. It truly deserves the deluxe treatment. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 3: Stardust Crusaders already had a print run here in the US, where it barely made an impression. Just a decade later, the stardust has been re-ignited with Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1 and 2 not only selling gangbusters, but as deluxe hardbacks as well. It seems only right that Part 3 get the same treatment. Not having matching releases on the bookshelf can be maddening, and you don’t want to make Jojo fans mad. They might pose furiously at you.
While Monster Hunter is a well-known franchise in video game circles, it’s certainly not unknown to manga readers. We were given a taste of the franchise when Kodansha published the 4 volume series Monster Hunter Orage by Hiro Mashima, the creator of Fairy Tail. Now Viz is taking it from taste to full meal with the licenses of this 10 volume series. I enjoyed Orage and the world, so I’m looking forward to the debut of this series.
Judging by the reaction from social media after it was announced, Goodnight Punpun is something readers have been waiting licensed in the West for a while. It appears to be a polarizing title that readers will either love or hate. But Viz Media really deserves credit for picking up the series that has a Mature rating, and deals with serious issues as a coming of age story that doesn’t guarantee a happy ending.