Now that the final chapter of Bakuman has been featured in the pages of Shonen Jump Alpha, the big question many readers had was, 'What new Shonen Jump series will take its place in the weekly manga magazine?'
The answer? A series that's both new and old at the same time: Rurouni Kenshin Restoration, a.k.a. Rurouni Kenshin Cinema-Ban by Nobuhiro Watsuki. It made its debut in the June 2012 issue of Jump SQ in Japan, and the first chapter will be featured in the May 21, 2012 issue of Shonen Jump Alpha.
Originally published in Japan from1994 - 1999 in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump, and later collected in 28 volumes, Rurouni Kenshin was published in North America by VIZ Media between 2003 - 2006, and more recently as 9 omnibus editions under VIZ's VIZ BIG imprint from 2008 - 2010.
This historical drama set in Japan's Meiji Era about a traveling swordsman who tries to redeem his past sins by helping others has been adapted as an anime series, feature-length anime movies, video games and novels. It's mix of action, drama and romance made it a fan favorite in both Japan and North America. But why is Rurouni Kenshin returning now?
The short answer is because Rurouni Kenshin has been adapted as a live-action movie from Warner Brothers Japan. The Rurouni Kenshin movie is directed by Keishi Otomo and stars Takeru Satoh (Kamen Rider Den-O) as Himura Kenshin. The film is due to be released in theaters in Japan on August 25, 2012, and with an eye towards a possible North American release. You can see a trailer and see photos from the film at Warner Brother's Rurouni Kenshin movie website.
I wanted to know more about this new/familiar addition to the Shonen Jump Alpha line-up, so I shot a few questions to the editorial team at Shonen Jump, and got replies from Editor-in-Chief Andy Nakatani. Here's what he had to say:
Q: Can you share a little info about this "new" Rurouni Kenshin series? Is it a continuation of the old series? a prequel? or something else?
Andy Nakatani: This will be something completely new. The series promotes the upcoming live action Rurouni Kenshin movie which will hit theaters in Japan on 8/25 (I believe), but the storyline will be different from the movie.
Q: As I understand it, this Rurouni Kenshin series will be featured monthly in Jump SQ magazine in Japan. So will new chapters be featured weekly in SJ Alpha, or monthly?
Andy Nakatani: It will appear monthly in Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha, or to be more exact, a couple of weeks after each chapters appear in Japan. So, just like the other series, if it takes a break in Japan, it won't appear in the corresponding issue of Alpha.
Q: I'm assuming that the first chapter of Rurouni Kenshin will be featured in the May 21 issue of SJ Alpha -- is that correct?
Andy Nakatani: Yes, correct.
Q: Could you, or any of the other editors share a comment or two about why they selected this series to fill the slot in Shonen Jump Alpha?
Andy Nakatani: We want to put cool stuff in Alpha, and Rurouni Kenshin the first time around was such a great series!
Also, I wouldn't necessarily call it "filling a slot." Sure, Bakuman ended and that left Alpha with only five instead of six series, but at the same time, I wouldn't equate a monthly series (albeit with a slightly higher page count) to a weekly series. We want to keep making Shonen Jump Alpha better, and adding this new Rurouni Kenshin series is just one of the things we have in store...
Nakatani also went on to explain that VIZ will be launching a landing page for Rurouni Kenshin Reboot in a few days that will have even more details for readers.
Shonen Jump Alpha will be taking a break, so you won't see a new issue on Monday, May 14 -- but look forward to checking it out when it returns on May 21 and get your first look at this new Rurouni Kenshin series. Visit the Shonen Jump Alpha website for more updates, and visit VIZManga.com to read the latest issue today.
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So now that we know what the latest addition to Shonen Jump Alpha will be, what do you think? Add your comments below!
Image credits: RUROUNI KENSHIN © 1994, 2012 by Nobuhiro Watsuki/SHUEISHA Inc., © Rurouni Kenshin Film Partners / Warner Brothers Japan