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VIZ Media Announces Pre-Orders For JoJo’S Bizarre Adventure Home Media Debut

VIZ Media excites anime and action/adventure fans as it announces preorders for the JoJo’S Bizarre Adventure Season 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray Set.

The set is scheduled for retail release on July 25th and features the entire first season, Episodes 1-26, of the acclaimed multi-generational fantasy action series. The anime is based on the Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency arcs of the renowned long-running manga series created by Hirohiko Araki (and also published by VIZ Media; rated ‘T+ for Older Teens). The Limited Edition Blu-ray Set for JoJo’S Bizarre Adventure Season 1 will carry an MSRP of $69.99 U.S. / $81.99 CAN.

Fans that order the set from online retailer The Right Stuf will receive a “Word Effects” print, deep-purple cotton bandana as a special gift with purchase.

Blu-ray episodes will be presented in full 1080p HD, 16×9 video and stereo audio featuring English and Japanese dialogue options. Notable bonus content includes a 168-page booklet, a digital character art gallery and collectible art cards.

The opening season of JoJo’S Bizarre Adventure is set in late 19th century England, where rivals and surrogate brothers Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando discover a mysterious stone mask. The mask is an artifact of an ancient Central American culture and is capable of granting its wearer eternal life, but only at a heavy price. As the dark powers of the Stone Mask are unleashed, the brothers’ actions will define legacies that span generations.

VIZ Media Announces Manga in Theory and Practice How-To Book

VIZ Media offers fans and budding artists tremendous insight into the art of creating manga with the June 6th release of Manga in Theory and Practice: The Craft of Creating Manga.

The new hardcover release features unique instructions on drawing techniques, as well as fascinating explorations of character development, conceptualizing storylines, and scripting dialogue as set forth by Hirohiko Araki, one of the most esteemed creators at work today. Manga in Theory and Practice: The Craft of Creating Manga published in a deluxe hardcover print edition under the Shonen Jump imprint and will carry an MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $26.99 CAN.

Hirohiko Araki is the author of one of the longest-running and most beloved manga of all-time, the epic fan favorite JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (also published in English by VIZ Media). According to him, “manga is the ultimate synthesis of all forms of art,” and in this book he reveals the secrets behind how to make the magic happen using concrete examples from his own work. Read all about his “golden way” of manga: the character histories he draws up for each of the characters he creates, his methodology for storytelling inspired by the great Ernest Hemingway, and many other aspects of manga creation in this how-to guide penned by an industry legend.

Manga creator Hirohiko Araki made his professional debut in 1981 with the Wild West inspired story, Buso Poker. He experimented with several genres, including mystery (Mashonen B.T.) and action-horror (Baoh), before beginning JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in 1986. Propelled by imaginative storylines, weird imagery and individualistic artwork, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of the longest-running and most popular shonen manga ever. Araki’s current works include a new series set in the JoJo universe, JoJolion.

VIZ Media Expands Bleach Anime Series On Blu-ray Home Media

bleach-bluray-set02-3dVIZ Media, LLC has released the latest edition of the Bleach anime series on Blu-ray with the home media release of Set 2 on January 31st.

Bleach Set 2 includes four-discs, covering Episodes 28-55, and will carry an MSRP of $54.97 U.S. / $63.99 CAN. Episodes will be available with dialogue selections for dubbed English as well as subtitled, Japanese 2.0 audio, with episodes presented uncut and in their original 4:3 format. Special bonus content includes a “Behind the Scenes of BLEACH” segment that features interviews with the English voice cast.

In the latest episodes, having been separated and now pursued by Soul Reapers, Ichigo and his friends, race towards the Shishinro Repentance Cell where Rukia awaits execution. With the help of Squad Four’s Hanataro, who risks imprisonment himself, Ichigo is led through an underground sewer system toward her cell. Will Ichigo have the strength to defeat the Soul Reaper Renji, who bars the way? In the midst of the chaos, the sudden murder of one of their own has the Soul Society in upheaval.

In the Bleach anime series, for as long as he can remember, Ichigo Kurosaki has been able to see ghosts. But when he meets Rukia, a Soul Reaper who battles evil spirits known as Hollows, his life is changed forever. Now, with a newfound wealth of spiritual energy, Ichigo discovers his true calling – to protect the world of the living and the dead as a Substitute Soul Reaper. When Rukia is taken away to face the ruthless justice of the Soul Society, Ichigo and his friends must cross over and do battle in the spirit world…

The Bleach animated films and TV series (distributed in North America by VIZ Media, rated ‘TV-14’) are based on a smash hit manga series created by Tite Kubo (also published in North America by VIZ Media, rated ‘T’ for Teens).

Monday Manga Review: Haikui!! Vol. 1

haikyu-vol-1Ever since he saw the legendary player known as “the Little Giant” compete at the national volleyball finals, Shoyo Hinata has been aiming to be the best volleyball player ever! Who says you need to be tall to play volleyball when you can jump higher than anyone else?

After losing his first and last volleyball match against Tobio Kageyama, “the King of the Court,” Shoyo Hinata swears to become his rival after graduating middle school. But, what happens when the guy he wants to defeat ends up being his teammate?!

Just like Shoyo Hinata I’m not the tallest, in fact I’m pretty short at 5’6″. I also love playing volleyball and have fond memories playing it during the summer with friends even briefly considering attempting to join a team. All of that had me excited to check out Haruichi Furudate‘s volleyball manga Haikyu!!. And, I was pleasantly surprised as to what I found.

The manga begins setting up the Shoyo/Tobio dynamic as the two face off in a tournament in middle school. The story is a bit choppy which made it a little hard to follow but the flow felt a little like the beginning of a film setting up the main story to come. But, once that main story starts going it’s really good and not at all what I expected.

I didn’t read the blurb of the manga so seeing the story actually being about these “rivals” having to work together is a chance. I went in expecting an action filled manga filled with action scenes of matches, imagine the end of the first Karate Kid with all of the different matches, but volleyball. But no, the story really is about two people having to work together and get along, not the actual matches and action.

There’s something that feels very “Japanese” about the story as it is about stamping out individualism, working as a team, and falling in line with leadership, all characteristics I’ve come across in my dealing with the corporate culture.

The art by Furudate is fantastic. Even when characters are arguing and not playing there’s something that’s captivating about it and what I really enjoyed is that Furudate makes sure to emphasize how much smaller Shoyo is compared to everyone else. It’s an important part of the story and the art reiterates that.

If you like volleyball, this is one to check out and shows there’s manga for everyone. It’s not the action filled focus I expected, instead, its heart is about what it takes to create a team.

Story: Haruichi Furudate Art: Haruichi Furudate
Story: 7.95 Art: 8.05 Overall: 7.95 Recommendation: Read

Monday Manga Review: One Punch-Man Vol. 1

one-punch-man-vol-1_cA manga series that packs quite the punch!

Nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem—he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on! Every time a promising villain appears, he beats the snot out of ’em with one punch! Can Saitama finally find an opponent who can go toe-to-toe with him and give his life some meaning? Or is he doomed to a life of superpowered boredom?

From the web to the printed page (and to the screen in an anime) One and Yusuke Murata‘s One Punch-Man definitely delivers a punch in this first volume. For a while now I’ve heard about this manga series and hadn’t taken a look, so it felt like a smart idea to dive into the first volume for a “Manga Monday” review.

I honestly knew very little going in other than it stars a bald-headed character that packs a punch. And after finishing the first volume, I’m not sure there’s a lot more than that. One Punch-Man feels like it has a goal to spoof Western superhero comics and over the top manga. The character literally just walks up to the enemy and punches him.

It’s pretty straight forward, yet there’s still something deeper that can be debated about the series. Is it really about a search for purpose? For challenge? For satisfaction? Or is it just about punching things? It’s hard to say if the series gets much deeper than this since I just read the first volume, but on the surface, it’s not too deep… but could be.

There is a choppy flow to the manga which I wasn’t too keen on. I’m not sure how much of that was the original writing and how much is the translation by John Werry. It’s been years since I could read Japanese, so can’t really say, but it’d be interesting to see how the flow of the narrative differs between the Japanese and English dialogue.

Murata’s art is dynamic though. For as sparse as the dialogue is at times, the art speaks for the story. The power of the punch, the flow of what’s going on, it’s all there in the art. There’s sections where the comic is silent it feels like, but the story of the battle is still conveyed.

The first volume is interesting and I can see the appeal of the manga. There’s a goofy simplicity and innocence to it all that’s entertaining and fun. It’s a quick read, though you’ll linger staring at the art, and most importantly it’s entertaining and has me wanting to check out more.

Story: One Art: Yusuke Murata
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Viz Media provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Monday Manga Review: School Judgement Vol. 1, Gakkyu Hotei

school-judgement-vol-1-gakkyu-hoteiAt Tenbin Elementary, there is only one way to settle a dispute – in a court of law! All quarrels bypass the teachers and are settled by some of the best lawyers in the country… who also happen to be elementary school students.

The accused this time is a boy named Tento. His crime? The murder of a beloved member of the classroom! Luckily for him, the state has sent him a defense attorney – Abaku Inugami. But is this wild young lawyer skilled enough to ronpa his client off the hook?

Kids acting like lawyers? The concept might sound bizarre, but the manga works for so many reasons and I found myself wanting more immediately when I finished this first volume. Thankfully there’s a few more already released for me to dive into.

Written by Nobuaki Emoki, School Judgement: Gakkyu Hotei takes mock-trial to a whole new level with what feels like real stakes, but what could be a serious tone has enough weird thrown in (baby judges!) to get you to smile and laugh. Emoki has put together what feels like a real world with a set of rules and a system of how to deal with everything that feels fleshed out and has had some real thought put into it.

The dealing with witnesses and gathering of evidence feels like it’s out of Sherlock Holmes, but the excitement amps up every time as scenes, like witnesses on the stand, feel like a battle is being waged. The manga has visuals worthy of any “battle” comic out there, except in this case it’s a battle with evidence and through words.

That excitement and battle sense is due to artist Takeshi Obata‘s work which just looks amazing. There’s an energy and excitement about the entire comic and the panels that I found myself really enjoying the series. And the infusion of style by Obata had me actually contemplating cosplaying as Abaku Inugami by the time I got to the end of the first volume.

And thankfully there’s more to come! More ronpa, more mystery, more manga please! No excuse me while I figure out how to get my hair right…

Story: Nobuaki Emoki Art: Takeshi Obata
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Viz Media provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

VIZ Releases The Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition Omnibus on November 1

zelda-legendary-edition-01-ocarina-of-time-3dVIZ Media, LLC delights fantasy, action, adventure and video game fans with the release of The Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition Vol. 1, Ocarina of Time on November 1st.

The Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition adapts the 10-volume manga series based on the classic Nintendo role playing, puzzle-solving, action video game into a line of deluxe omnibus 2-in-1 releases. Each release features stunning new covers and color illustrations by creator Akira Himekawa. The Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition Vol. 1, Ocarina of Time is rated ‘A’ for All Ages and carries a print MSRP of $17.99 U.S. / $21.99 CAN. Future omnibus volumes will be released in print three times a year.

The battle for Hyrule and the Sacred Realm has begun! A young boy named Link must defeat evil on his long, perilous quest to find the spiritual stones that hold the key to the Triforce, and deliver them to Zelda, princess of the land of Hyrule. In the opening volume of the Legendary Edition, young Link embarks on a perilous quest to find three spiritual stones that hold the key to the Triforce, the wielder of which will rule the world! Link’s plan is to deliver the stones to the Princess of the mystical land of Hyrule, Zelda. But obstacles abound and his long journey has only just begun!

The Legend of Zelda manga series was created by Akira Himekawa, which is the pen name of two women known simply as A. Honda and S. Nagano. The pair created The Legend of Zelda manga series which was inspired by several games and story arcs in the Zelda video game series.

Yo-Kai Watch Comes to Viz’s Perfect Square

YO-KAI_Watch-LogoVIZ Media has announced the acquisition of a new manga (graphic novel) property – Yo-Kai Watch.

The supernatural comedy adventure series is inspired by the explosively popular YoKai Watch video game created by LEVEL-5 for the Nintendo 3DS and launched to wide acclaim in Japan in 2013. The Yo-Kai Watch manga will be published under the company’s Perfect Square imprint, written and drawn by Noriyuki Konishi under the guidance of the LEVEL-5 team. This September, the phenomenal franchise is finally coming to North America with the launch of the Yo-Kai Watch manga series, fueled as well by the debuts of anime and toy products around the same time.

Yo-kai, inspired by the yokai of Japanese folklore, are not ghosts or monsters or creatures. They can’t be seen by the human eye, but they’re everywhere, and whether they’re phantoms or everyday objects discovering their higher purpose, Yo-kai personalities are distinctly humanlike!

The Yo-Kai Watch manga will be rated ‘A’ for All Ages and will be available exclusively in print on a bi-monthly basis. In Japan, the series originally appeared in Coro Coro Comic magazine, published by VIZ Media parent company Shogakukan, and won both the 60th Shogakukan Manga Award in 2015 and the 38th Kodansha Manga Award in the Best Children’s Manga category in 2014.

Nathan Adams is just an average kid until the mysterious Whisper gives him a device that allows him to see what others cannot, Yo-kai of all shapes and forms!  Now, armed with the Yo-kai Watch, Nathan, Whisper and their new invisible friends embark on an all new supernatural adventure!

 

VIZ Media Previews the Upcoming Hello Kitty Graphic Novel Box Set

HelloKitty-02-DeliciousVIZ Media has a special treat for the ardent Hello Kitty fans and pop culture aficionados with the release in September of the first-ever Hello Kitty Graphic Novel Box Set.

Set to be published under the company’s Perfect Square imprint, the forthcoming Hello Kitty Box Set will contain all six Hello Kitty original graphic novels released to date and will come packaged in an illustrated slip case. The Hello Kitty Original Graphic Novel Box Set is rated ‘A’ for All Ages and will carry an MSRP of $39.99 U.S. / CAN.

Perfect Square’s Hello Kitty titles depict whimsical, full-color adventures of the iconic Sanrio character and her friends created by the talented artistic team of Jacob Chabot, Ian McGinty, Jorge Monlongo, and Giovanni Castro, along with an array of special guest artists featured in each edition.

The Hello Kitty Original Graphic Novel Box Set will contain the following titles:

HELLO KITTY: HERE WE GO!

Join Hello Kitty in her first comic book adventures as she explores an underground realm, moonlights as an international super spy, climbs the Himalayas, travels back in time, and discovers that sometimes, the best place to get away from it all is between the pages of a good book.

HELLO KITTY: DELICIOUS!

Hello Kitty is serving up some extra special treats! What’s on the menu? Something sweet, something spicy, and a pie that’s out of this world! Plus, Dear Daniel’s making dinner, but…you might want to make other plans. And Hello Kitty makes a new friend with a HUGE appetite!

HELLO KITTY: SURPRISE!

Expect the unexpected! A day at the beach is more than just fun in the sun. A mysterious egg holds a tiny secret. Mama and Papa have a few secrets of their own. And a quiet afternoon with a good book is more enchanting than Hello Kitty ever could have imagined!

HELLO KITTY: JUST IMAGINE…

Hello Kitty and her friends are letting their imaginations run wild—dreaming up rainy day adventures, inventing amazing machines and solving problems in the most inventive ways. When creativity and friendship combine, the possibilities are endless!

HELLO KITTY: WORK OF ART

Picture this: Hello Kitty and her friends are making music, producing plays, snapping photos, solving mysteries and…playing with dragons? Art is all around, and Hello Kitty and her friends know exactly where to find it!

HELLO KITTY: IT’S ABOUT TIME

Let the good times roll! It’s time for beach parties, dance contests, last-minute birthday gifts and time machines! Plus, journey inside a cuckoo clock and much, much more! Past, present or future, Hello Kitty and her friends are having a blast!

VIZ Media Acquires Junji Ito’s Fragments of Horror

VIZSignature-LogoVIZ Media expands its catalog of horror manga (graphic novel) titles with the acquisition of Junji Ito’s Fragments of Horror.

The title marks the creator’s return to the horror following an eight-year break from the genre, and it will receive a deluxe hardcover treatment for the North American release. Fragments of Horror will debut in the Summer of 2015 under the company’s VIZ Signature imprint, and is rated ‘T+’.

Fragments of Horror is the brand-new collection of delightfully macabre tales from the celebrated master of Japanese horror. An old wooden mansion that turns on its inhabitants. A dissection class with a most unusual subject. A funeral where the dead are definitely not laid to rest. Ranging from the terrifying to the comedic, from the erotic to the loathsome, these stories showcase Junji Ito’s long-awaited return to the world of horror.

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