As part of the ramp-up to the launch of Shonen Jump Alpha, their all-digital, weekly edition of Shonen Jump Magazine, VIZ Media has released the digital edition of the latest volume of Naruto almost two months before the print edition is due to hit the stores in January 2012. You can now buy and read Naruto Volume 54 for your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, or read it on your computer via VIZManga.com for $4.99, almost 50% off the $9.99 cover price of the print edition. Naruto Volume 55 will follow on November 21, 2011, almost 3-1/2 months prior to the March 6, 2012 release date for the print edition.
A few weeks ago, VIZ also offered the digital edition of Naruto Volume 53, a full month before the December 6, 2011 release date of the print edition. Naruto Volume 58 was just released in Japan on November 4, so North American fans are getting closer and closer to the storyline that's currently running in Japan.
Why the accelerated releases? To get North American fans caught up with the storyline that's currently running in the Japanese edition of Weekly Shonen Jump before the January 31, 2012 launch of Shonen Jump Alpha, which will feature the latest chapters of Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Toriko, Bakuman, and Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan every week, only two weeks after they are published in Japan.
VIZ is offering current Shonen Jump subscribers a special offer to get them on board with Shonen Jump Alpha. If you sign up at http://shonenjump.viz.com/WeeklySJ before the January 31, 2012 launch date, you're entitled to three digital volumes of Shonen Jump manga of your choice.
To learn more about Shonen Jump Alpha, check out my interview with Alvin Lu from VIZ Media and Sasaki Hisashi from Shueisha, and my follow-up interview with Brian Piech, VIZ Media's Vice-President of Digital Publishing.
Also added to the VIZ Manga line-up is Ristorante Paradiso and Gente by Natsume Ono (due for release on November 14, 2011). Don't have the VIZ Media apps for the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch? Go to http://www.viz.com/apps to download them today!
Image credits: NARUTO © 1999 by Masashi Kishimoto/SHUEISHA Inc.