Tag Archives: Viz Media

San Diego Comic Con: Viz Media Panel

The Viz Media panel was the only manga related panel I chose to go for a few reasons.  One, we were short on time since we were commuting, Thursday only had two that held any relation to manga, and none of industry, and I wasn’t impressed with the Shonen Jump Panel last year.  It was all cheer leading, and no real news.  And they tricked me this year!  Last year the Viz industry panel was on Thursday, thus one of the impetus to change to going on Thursday.  Instead, they put both the Viz panels on Friday, and nothing on Thursday!  Why SDCC??

Continue reading San Diego Comic Con: Viz Media Panel

Jenny's Journal: Pokemon: Rise of Darkrai

Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai

By Ryo Takamisaki
Publisher: Viz Media/VizKids
Age Rating: All Ages
Genre: Game/TV Tie-in/Action

Price: $7.99

Rating: ★★★★★

Storyline:

Ash and his friends have discovered that they’re walking toward the ancient Alamos Town after befriending a girl named Alice. Once they’ve arrived, they find out that the sacred garden of Alamos town has been ransacked, the mysterious Darkrai appears, appearantly not pleased and tells Ash and everyone else to leave immediately. Strange things have been happening as well…

What I liked about this manga:

Practically everything. The best parts were Brock (he’s so loveable) and the Palkia, Dialga and Darkrai battle scenes. Being that I’m a great Pokemon fan, that adds to the liking of this manga.

What I did not like about this manga:

Almost nothing. The great graphics and how it’s extremely alike to the movie makes it hard not to like the manga.  Although, the character’s scripts make it really obvious to what just happened. It makes me want to say “Dur da durrr.”

Nope, not even a script change. Baron Alberto is quite annoying, however.

Krissy's Korner: Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai

Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai
By Ryo Takamisaki
Publisher: Viz Kids
Age Rating: A (All Ages)
Genre: Game/TV tie-in/Action

Price: $7.99

Rating: ★★★★★

What is the story about?

It’s about Ash, Pikachu, and Darkrai.  Darkrai fights both Dialga and Palkia before he disappears into space.

What did you like about the story?

I liked the fight against Dialga and Palkia.  I also like the pokemon Dialga.

What did you dislike about the story?

I hate it when Baron turned into Lickilicky, because it is freaky.  I also hate the way they drew Infernape.

Would you recommend the story to kids your age?

Yes.

Inubaka: Crazy For Dogs Volume 8

Worried that she’s been far too lenient with Lupin, Suguri starts him on a strict training regimen.  But then Lupin disappears, and Suguri blames herself.  When standard search methods fail, it’s time for some creative problem solving.  With a little luck and a little talent she just might be able to find her precious pooch!

By Yukiya Sakuragi
Publsiher: Viz Media
Rating: Teen+
Genre: Slice of life
Price: $9.99
Rating: ★★★½☆

Lupin runs away during a thunder-storm, and jumps into a moving truck just as its finished packing.  Lupin is whisked away from Suguri, who has been searching for him.  Arriving in another perfecture (county), Lupin has his own set of adventures as he tries to find his way home.  Suguri, devastated by Lupin’s disappearance, goes to any extreme to find him.

I want to be honest here. I’m not a big dog person. I don’t mind having one around, but I’m much more of a cat person. This preference seems to have colored my view of this manga, as I just didn’t care for it. Not because it was badly done, I just wasn’t interested in the dogs or their owners. Neither the characters nor dogs really endeared themselves to me. Suguri was just annoying. She naive and an air head. Lupin wasn’t as bad. The white female dog that took to him, Natsuko was more interesting though. It’s really all a shame too, since I wanted to like this series. I love animals, and would like to see more animal manga.  But this one isn’t it.

Another thing that bothers me about this series is all the panty shot/up skirt shots we get of Suguri. Does a title about dog lovers working in a pet store really need at least one shot for every page Suguri is on? And it’s mainly just her that’s gets this treatment. These just turned me off the book even further.

It wasn’t a complete turn off though. The last two stories were more to my liking. The first dealt with Baby Boomers, and the “empty nests” their homes have become. This issue hits home for Teppei when his mother comes looking for a puppy to fill her home again. And the final story, where the fan service has a point, has the girls going to the beach on their day off. Suguri really wanted to go with Teppei, as an almost date, but Teppei is too dedicated to his store and spends his days off seeing breeders to find more different puppies. This one is filled with rumors as the girls speculate what Teppei does on his day off, but the truth makes Suguri all the more happy.

If you’re an animal lover of any kind, you will be able to relate to the feelings expressed in this volume of Inubaka. If you are a dog lover, then this story will really hit home. If you like cats, and can take or leave dogs, and/or fan service, then you may want to skim through this before buying.

News in Review

While going through some old ANN news feeds, I picked up a few news items I want to comment on:

DS Vision to go live in June: This just sort of passed right by in one of thier Daily Brief posts, but I want to give it more attention. This was first announced last November, and now it seems to be coming to fruition. Continue reading News in Review

Viz! Rescue City Hunter!

Some company needs to step up to plate and rescue the City Hunter manga from license hell.

This series, written and drawn by Hojo Tsukasa, ran in Shonen Jump from 1985-1992, and has a total of 35 volumes. It’s about Ryo Saeba, a sweeper, or gun for hire, working inCity Hunter Vol 1 Tokyo. He is known as The City Hunter, the best shot in the Underground World, where he worked as an assassin for my years before becoming sweeper. Now, he works with a partner, Kaori Makimura, who is the younger sister of his former partner, Hideyuki Makimura. Hideyuki died, and asked Ryo to take care of Kaori. Together, they take on work to help people as body guards or private detectives. And even though he is wanted by the police, he sometimes helps out Saeko Nogami, a pretty detective wtih Tokyo Metro Police. There is alot of action in this manga, and lots of sharp shooting from Ryo, making nearly impossible shots to save the day. Ryo is a well muscled, good looking man, and the women are all shapely beauties. Sound like a typical shonen series? Well, it isn’t! This series is freaking hysterical!!

What makes City Hunter so funny? Ryo, for all his cool looks and serious demeanor has one weakness: beautiful women. When he sees a beautiful woman, he looses all control and his homones completely take over. The manga is more graphic about this, with Ryo getting a very visible erection, but in the anime, (which is what I’ve seen), but just acts goofy. But it’s not how Ryo acts that’s so funny. It what the women around him do to him. Most notable is Kaori, who is able to pull out a large mallet (min. 100 lbs.) to hit Ryo with. Not that other women don’t get him in their own way, usually with them just moving out of Ryo’s way so he hits a wall or something hard. If anyone said women shouldn’t watch this because of the womenizing, doesn’t realize the pure pleasure we can get from a man getting hit with a huge mallet engraved with the words “National Shame”.

This manga was brought to the US by Gutsoon! Entertainment, a company now bankrupt. Only 5 of the 35 volumes of City Hunter were ever released, and they are incredibly hard to find now. No word has come out about what became of the licenses they held, but Viz was able to acquire another series once held by Gutsoon!, Slam Dunk, and will start releasing it next year. Why should City Hunter remain in License Hell, never to see the light of day? This is a series that could so easily find a loyal core audience. If it is marketed right, it could even pick up some women fans! With an excellent balance of drama and comedy, both men and women can enjoy it.

Why do I call on Viz to do this? They have the connections to make this happen. Shueisha, the original publisher of the manga is a partner in Viz. They also have the money to subsidize a slower selling series. The Viz Signature line would be a perfect place for it, balancing against the mindless sex and violence of Golgo 13, and disturbing drama and horror of Monster and Drifting Classroom.

Viz, do the right thing! Rescue City Hunter from the darkness! Let him see the light of day again!!

De-Evolution Explained

A few things I want to get off my chest first.

Viz–

Afros are for frogs and fists get their strength from the North Star and not nose hair. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo must Gogogo-go Go-gogo!

Bleach may make your whites look good as new, but it’s not going to do the same for Shonen Jump. Recycling is for cans, bottles and newspapers, not manga!

I don’t know why, but these changes to Shonen Jump have really been bugging me. Why add these two titles? Why now? Bleach has been doing just fine on its own. It’s been making the USA Today Top 150. The only real logical reason to move it is to try to build Shonen Jump sales, if they are in fact slumping. (We don’t know SJ sales figures). And Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, I really can’t believe they had a huge amount of requests to add this to the magazine. Viz only put out one volume in 2005 (which you can’t even find on their website), and they’ve started it’s serialization at chapter 110? That doesn’t sound like a serious commitment to me. It really made me think. What was so special about these two titles? Then, it hit me. They’re both shown on Cartoon Network. With this realization, the changes suddenly made sense.

This is all about marketing. Anime showing on Cartoon Network has equated into better sales of manga, to the point that the effect has been given a name. The Cartoon Network Effect. Naruto and Bleach have seen the biggest boosts, shooting onto the USA Today Top 150 with each new volume. And here’s Viz, with a manga property that they seemingly couldn’t to get to go anywhere on its own, that suddenly has greater exposure through TV and DVD sales. The potential for sales was probably too great for them to ignore. Putting Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo in was probaby a cheaper way to get it out again and gauge reader reaction through their monthly polls. I really don’t think this manga would have made any kind of return without the anime being aired.

Bleach, on the other hand, was doing just fine before the anime, and has since exploded into a full merchandising property, like Naruto, Yu Gi Oh! and Dragonball Z. These heavy hitters launched Shonen Jump, and since, Dragonball Z graduated and finished, and Yu Gi Oh! is on the verge of ending, Viz needs another heavy hitter to keep driving the magazine. Bleach is the only title that fits this need right now. So, for the US version of Shonen Jump to continue to appear to be the home of “The World’s Greatest Manga”, Bleach had to be demoted. Now, Viz can put in more ads for other merchandising (such as toys, t-shirts and trading cards) and tie it more closely to the manga.

While I do understand companies want and need to succeed to survive, and that marketing is the best way to do that, it can also get out of hand. Inbreeding, no matter what medium only comes to no good. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo probably had to join Shonen Jump to drum up any kind of readership, and even though I don’t like it, I can’t blame Viz for wanting to get something back from their investment. But Bleach didn’t need to join the magazine. It has done just fine on its own. It should have been left to keep standing.

What Shonen Jump really needs is new blood, a new property. There hasn’t been a new series in the magazine since Hikaru no Go (I don’t count Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, as it’s just an extension of Yu-Gi-Oh!, and nothing really new). It’s new blood that gets people excited. Look at the sister publication Shojo Beat. It’s had just as many changes, but it keeps getting infusions of new series, and in long run will probably out shine it’s older brother. She’s treading new ground and evolving while He’s going in circles and devolving.

Shonen Jump De-evolution Con’t

I‘m back and mostly recovered from SDCC. I was there for three days, Fri, Sat, and Sun, with my family, so I wasn’t able to hit all the panels, but I did get to go to a couple of manga related. We got to the convention center and through registration just in time for me to go to the Shonen Jump Panel, one I was looking forward to go to. Now, I’ve talked about my feelings on the changes for Shonen Jump so far here. For over a month now, Viz has been hyping the new title to be joining Shonen Jump, with Shaman King leaving, Naruto winding down to normal, and another title ending naturally. Anyone reading the magazine knew what the ending title was, Yu Gi Oh!. That was no big surprise. And Marc Weidenbaum, editor-in-chief of the magazine didn’t leave us in suspense about what the new title was going to be. As everyone has heard by now, it’s Bleach.

I was ambivalent about this announcement at first. I like Bleach. I think it’s a really fun title, and would be a good fit with the magazine. But the more I thought about it, the less of a good idea I found this to be. Yes, I know Bleach is getting close to catching up to the Japanese releases. Eight more as of June. With the current release schedule that’s still over a year away from catching up. Not a good reason to put it in the magazine, I think. If they really wanted to slow the releases down, they could go to a 3 or 4 month release schedule just as easily. I don’t take this as a good reason. The reason given at the panel was because readers has requested it. Well, readers request a lot of things, and they aren’t always good. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is a really good example.

No, what really bothered me the about this over-hyped announcement, is that it’s just recycling a Shonen Jump title already available. I was expecting something new! I was under the impression that the changing out of titles would be for something new and fresh, not something I’ve been reading for the last two years! And it’s not like they don’t have plenty of titles to choose from either. There were plenty of manga announced licensed just before and at SDCC. The Blue Dragon manga tie-in Ral Ω Grad would have been a much better choice I think. It’s been announced for a 2008 release with only two volumes out so far. They’re going to have to space out the releases anyway, may as well have a good reason to. And at least it’s NEW!

This change really feels like a veiled attempt to get more people subscribing to Shonen Jump. Bleach is enjoying a lot of popularity right now, with the anime, and toys coming out for it. It’s following the path that Naruto did. And getting two heavy hitters in the magazine is how Shonen Jump started, with Dragonball Z and Yu Gi Oh!. But this isn’t the way the get new readers in. What worked once may not work again. We need new titles to get excited about, not something we knew we’re going to get either way.

Evolution implies something new and different occuring to move forward. This is a big step backwards. There is nothing new or exciting with the change. If our ancient ancestors chose to just keep treading over the same territory instead of expanding out all over the world and evolving, you would not be reading this blog right now. Please, Shonen Jump! Start taking steps forward again!

Shonen Jump De-Evolution

Now, I really don’t mind the recent changes that were announced in the recent issue of Shonen Jump. This certainly isn’t the first time that a series has been taken out of the magazine to continue in graphic novels. Dragonball Z left after just over a year, and Yu-Gi-Oh! took out the “Duelist” arc to continue with the shorter “Millenium World” arc. I really didn’t mind these changes, since the series’ brought in only improved the magazine. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Hikaru no Go when it was first announced, but it turned out to be an excellent series. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is not. I’m sorry, I didn’t like this series from the preview chapter they ran a year or so ago, and after reading the latest chapter, I still don’t like it.

I really enjoyed Shonen Jump magazine because it would have entertaining, quality series, and of late, the only squabble I had was that there were so many running that I was only getting one chapter a month instead of my usual 2-3. Lately, it’s been Naruto, One Piece, Shaman King, Hikaru no Go, Yu Yu Hakusho, Yu-Gi-Oh! Millenium World, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, and Gintama (another series I *really* didn’t care for). That’s 8 series when it’s usually only 5! But Yu-Gi-Oh MW is nearly over and Gintama is temporary, just through the first volume. I was really looking forward to getting thing back to normal (except for the expanded Naruto, which I don’t mind). Instead, I lose a series that I REALLY liked and have to wait 6 months for any new chapters and get stuck with a series that just plain sucks. I’m sorry, there is just nothing funny about Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. It’s stupid characters doing stupid things using stupid jokes.

With the whole library that Viz has access to, this is the best they can come up with, a series that was already being sold as graphic novels? Were sales of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo so bad that they thought this would improve them? Sorry Viz, but just because more people are exposed to a series doesn’t mean they’re going to like it. I hope Viz come to their senses soon and gives us readers back good, quality stories instead of mindless drivel. I get enough of that on TV. I want my reading to be a step up from that, not a step down.