On Friday morning, while the rest of the hardcore anime fans were in line for the Disney Animation panel at San Diego Comic-Con International to see Hayao Miyazaki, I hung out at the second floor of the San Diego Convention Center to see what's new in manga with the Shonen Jump crew.
While Shonen Jump editors Grant Lowery, Joel Enos, Urian Brown and VIZ Media online marketing manager Lex Scheuble only announced two new titles, what they did announce got the crowd cheering.
Bakuman by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata - 2010 TBA
From the creative team that brought you Death Note comes a story that isn't terribly supernatural, but offers readers a glimpse into the world of making manga, as two high school students embark on a journey to become manga artists.
"You'll see how manga is actually made," said Shonen Jump Magazine Editor in Chief Grant Lowery.
Toriko by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro - 2010 TBA
There's cooking manga for grown-ups (Oishinbo) and cooking manga for girls (Kitchen Princess, Mixed Vegetables) -- but has there ever been a cooking manga like Toriko? In this unconventional shonen manga series, the hero is a "gourmet hunter" who seeks to defeat monsters who just happen to be excellent cooks. Why? "Because food taste better when you have to gather it with your blood, sweat and tears."
Also spotlighted as new and notable was this series that was recently spotlighted in the August 2009 issue of Shonen Jump:
Waq Waq by Ryu Fujisaki - August 2009
From the creator of Hoshin Engi comes a new series set in a desolate desert world where giant robots are out to kill humans, and dangers lie around every sand dune. Shio is a young boy who travels with his father Al, who is a guardian, a powerful warrior who protects humans from these deadly machines. Then through a series of tragic circumstances, Shio must take up the mantle of guardian long before he is ready.
"It's got lots of battling robots -- it's amazing!" said VIZ Editor Joel Enos.
The other announcements for the morning were regarding a farewell to a regular series in the monthly Shonen Jump line-up, one that has been a part of this manga magazine since it made its U.S. debut over five years ago: YuYu Hakusho by Yoshihiro Togashi. Unlike other series that leave the pages of Shonen Jump in mid-stream to continue its serialization in graphic novel format, YuYu Hakosho is ending its run in the magazine because its final chapter is finally upon us -- or at least it will be when this last part appears in the September 2009 issue.
But while it's good-bye to YuYu Hakusho, it's hello x 30 to One Piece in 2010.
"We accomplished our second Naruto speed-up, to bring the latest storylines from Japan to you as fast as humanly possible," said Lowery. "We've seen your letters and seen the forums, and we'll be bringing you 30 volumes of Eiichiro Oda's pirate adventure series between between January and June 2010 (that's five volumes per month!) staring with the Impel Down Saga in January.
"Impel Down is an undersea prison that Luffy has to break into," said Lowery. "I've read it, and it's outstanding. If you haven't been keeping up with One Piece, this is a great time to start."
It all kicks off in December 2009 with the arrival of One Piece Volume 23 and a treasure chest of special One Piece features in the December 2009 issue of Shonen Jump Magazine. It fun keeps coming fast and furiously until Volumes 49 through 53 hit the stores in June 2010. Are you ready for this massive infusion of pirate fun, because it's comin' soon. You can stay on top of all this One Piece news at onepiece.viz.com.
Also on the Shonen Jump horizon is a celebration of 10 years of Naruto in the November 2009 issue. If you're not already a subscriber, all Naruto fans should pick this issue up from their local newsstand because it will include:
- a special double-sided commemborative pinup poster
- a character relationship chart
- a feature article that looks back at 10 yrs of Naruto
- character popularity polls
And Bleach fans are not left out in all of the Shonen Jump fun. Between now and August 10, 2009, and September 8 - October 31, 2009, you can win one of two custom Bleach guitars that will be autographed by Tite Kubo, the creator of Bleach. If you're at Comic-Con, you can check out one of the guitars in person at the VIZ Media booth (#2813). To find out how to enter, go to bleach.viz.com/rockstar.
The rest of the panel focused on special guests Stan Lee and Hiroyuki Takei, the creators of Ultimo. I'll cover what these two had to say at the panel when I post the interviews I had with them this weekend. Stick around -- more to come!
Image credit: © Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata, © Deb Aoki