At VIZ Media's first panel at Comic-Con, editors announced five new shojo manga titles, three new VIZ Media manga titles, several novels and a new imprint, VIZ Big.
VIZ Big presents new omnibus editions of popular manga titles including Dragonball, Dragonball Z and Rurouni Kenshin. These new deluxe editions will reprint three volumes in one book, in a larger, deluxe format version for $17.99 per book. As marketing lead Wendy Shimamura pointed out, this is like getting three books for the price of two.
But VIZ Big is more than just a reprint -- these new editions will feature new cover art, additional color pages, interviews and character design sketches that were unavailable in the original English editions of these titles. Look for these books to start rolling out to bookstores in 2008, with Rurouni Kenshin first to the shelves in January, with Dragonball and Dragonball Z to follow in May.
Confirming what VIZ editors hinted at earlier this month at Anime Expo, VIZ will be releasing Death Note Volume 13, the "how-to-read" companion to the recently completed manga series. This will appear in February 2008, and will include lots of background info about the characters, their relationships and numerous details that will help readers appreciate this complex (but very enjoyable) shonen manga series.
In other Death Note-related news, Enos also announced the upcoming release of Ral Ω Grad, which features artwork by Takeshi Obata, the artist for Death Note and Hikaru no Go.
The VIZ editors also announced five new shojo manga series for 2008:
- Honey and Clover by Chika Umino, a josei manga title about friends going to art school. This series will serialized in Shojo Beat magazine next month and Volume 1 of the graphic novel is due out in March 2008
- Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time by Tohko Mizuno, a new shojo title due out in April 2008. Described by editor Amy Yu as "a cross between Fushigi Yugi and InuYasha," Haruka features a modern girl who goes back in time to become a priestess of a dragon god, and is assisted by eight hunky priests.
- Monkey High by Shouko Akira is a shojo story about a girl who transfers to a different high school and thinks that her classmates' high school hijinks as being just like "a bunch of monkeys on a hill." Look for it in March 2008.
- Fairy Cube by Kaori Yuki is "for those people who will be suffering God Child withdrawal when the series ends in February," says Enos. Set to debut in May 2008, this new series by the creator of God Child, Angel Sanctuary and The Cain Saga is about child who's murdered but comes back to find that no one has noticed that he's dead. A lizard spirit has taken over his body and life, and now he has to work with fairies to get his life back.
- Be With You by Takuji Ichikawa, which will also be co-released in February 2008 with the novel version of the story.
Also announced were three new releases for the VIZ Media imprint:
- Switch by naked ape: (a.k.a. Saki Otoh and Nakamura Tomomi) is about two narcotic detectives and their search for a mysterious addictive drug, DragonSpeed. This one's due out in March 2008.
- Yumekui Kenbun: Nightmare Inspector by Shin Hashiba is described by Enos as "a dark story." Set in ancient Japan, the story centers around a dreameater who goes into customers' dreams to help them solve their problems. Look for this one to show up in bookstores in April 2008
- The Record of a Fallen Vampire by Kyo Shirodaira and Yuri Kimura, a title originally published by Square Enix. This vampire manga will see the light of day in May 2008.
The VIZ editors also announced two newly-acquired anime licenses in the works: Ai Yazawa's Nana and Honey and Clover. While they're in the production queue, no release dates are set for either title.
So lots of great new manga titles on the horizon for 2008 -- but this panel was no walk in the park for the VIZ editors. They faced a bunch of pointed questions about a variety of subjects, including:
- Dissatisfaction with the dubbing on Naruto anime
- Vagueness about release dates for many hotly-anticipated properties including the Death Note live action movie
- and publication lag-time between Japan and the U.S. for heavily-scanlated (scanned fan-translated) manga series, including Bleach and Naruto
For more about the new manga titles announced for 2008, visit VIZ Media's official San Diego Comic-Con news page.