I’m so much more of a manga fan than an anime partisan, but I do like to track publisher efforts to minimize the allure of pirated content, so I’m running this press release on the new Viz Anime portal after the jump. One thing does strike me, and that’s how un-sexy the adjectives are for this kind of initiative. I mean, “official” and “licensed” and “legitimate” just don’t set the pulse racing, you know? Of course, I’m also opposed to stupid lingo development, so I’m not about to suggest “hipper” alternatives. It’s just something that occurred to me.



Optimized Technology Allows Fans To Connect And Interact And Spend Less Time Looking For The Latest Anime Episodes And More Time Enjoying Them

San Francisco, CA, March 15, 2010 – In a significant news announcement, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has detailed the launch of VIZ Anime – a brand new, free-to-use interactive web destination that will become a permanent home to some of the company’s best-loved animated series as well as new content which will be added on a weekly basis. VIZ Anime is accessible at:

VIZ Anime kicks off with more than 400 episodes from hit series such as BLEACH, BUSO RENKIN, DEATH NOTE (complete series), HIKARU NO GO, HONEY & CLOVER, INUYASHA (complete series) and INUYASHA: THE FINAL ACT, NANA, NARUTO (complete series) and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN as well as THE PRINCE OF TENNIS. The site will also be the future web home for many other eagerly anticipated anime series set to launch later this year

Episodes can be streamed for free with new ones being added weekly. A variety of interactive social networking tools and features also help foster an official online home and community for VIZ Media anime fans allowing them to connect on and discuss favorite shows, and offer ratings and opinions of various episodes. New functionalities will be added regularly.

  • Users can “follow” as many series as they like and choose to be notified each time a new episode is released, as well as keep track of the last episode they’ve watched. This makes it easy to stay current on series like INUYASHA or NARUTO, which feature more than 100 episodes.
  • Users can comment on individual episodes and also meet and interact with other fans, invite friends to join, ask questions and debate plot twists and characters, voice their opinion on what’s happening in a particular series, and also find out what else is going on across the anime and manga spectrums.
  • Users can rate their favorite episodes by using a “Like” button on each episode page. They can quickly access a list of all the episodes they’ve similarly liked to compare how other users have liked an episode.
  • Users can make a personalized profile page to keep track of the episodes they’ve watched and enjoyed, the series they’re currently following, and comments they’ve made. Mail tools can also be used to send private messages between individual users. Privacy controls let users decide what information is shared publicly and who is able to send them messages.
  • “We’re committed to developing VIZ Anime as a premiere online destination, and hope to offer a real community for VIZ Media fans to interact with each other and share their love of anime,” says Ken Sasaki, Senior Vice President & General Manager of VIZ Media. “We will also utilize the site as a means of two-way communication to better understand what our fans enjoy most and want, and how they engage with anime and manga online. With a lot of content to select from, VIZ Anime will become a favorite site to visit again and again!”

    For more information on VIZ Media or VIZ Anime, please visit

    PR: I'm not normally an anime fan, but…

    I’ve heard that the animated version is even better than the comic, and I love the comic. Can this be true?


    honeyclover01_boxSan Francisco, CA, September 17, 2009 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, will release the first Uncut DVD Box Set for the animated Shojo title, HONEY AND CLOVER, on September 22, 2009. The 3-disc set featuring 13 episodes will be rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and will carry an MSRP of $59.90 U.S. / $85.99 CAN.

    Based on the popular manga series created by Chica Umino, HONEY AND CLOVER is a romantic comedy about a group of art school students who try to find their way through college. But when an innocent and talented 19-year-old girl enters their lives, things get a lot more complicated as love triangles result.

    What do you get when you cross creativity with self-discovery and unrequited love? Art school! Yuta Takemoto has no idea what’s in store for his life when he enrolls at a Tokyo art college, but he finds out right away it’ll never be dull! Love triangles form as fast as friendships when both Takemoto and senior classmate Shinobu Morita fall hard for shy artistic prodigy Hagumi Hanamoto. And while architecture student Takumi Mayama secretly pines for an older woman, dazzling ceramicist Ayu Yamada pines for him! Confused yet? Welcome to the bittersweet world of HONEY AND CLOVER..

    The HONEY AND CLOVER manga series was created by Chica Umino and has sold more than 5,300,000 copies in Japan. In 2003, the series won the 27th Kodansha Manga Award, Japan’s most prestigious comics award. The series was also adapted into an anime series in 2005 and finally into a live action film in 2006.

    For more information please visit

    Random happy linkblogging

    NPR is really getting its geek on lately. First they do that piece on the Eisner Awards for All Things Considered, and then they cover not just anime, but a really specific niche of anime fandom on today’s Morning Edition.


    I know that it’s kind of irksome when a publisher is specifically created to be a movie property shop, but since Tokyopop established itself as a comic publisher first, I’ll give them a pass and not get too cynical about their new deal with the William Morris Agency.

    And who would have ever guessed that Princess Ai would be one of their first in-development properties?

    (I said I wouldn’t get too cynical. I didn’t say I wouldn’t get cynical at all.)


    It’s impossible for me to be cynical at all about the news of the strong sales for Drawn & Quarterly’s collection of Tove Jansson’s Moomin strips, because I love them. I also squealed a little bit when I saw the second volume listed in the current Previews catalog.


    It’s very kind of John Jakala to suggest coping strategies for people who will be a little discombobulated by the slower release schedule for Bleach. From a purely selfish perspective, this means it will be easier for me to catch up. (Has anyone else seen that tacky Cartoon Network commercial for the Bleach anime starring Orihime’s rack?)


    Regarding the next wave of Minx books, I’m so delighted to see that Joelle Jones is drawing one of them. I think she’s just incredibly talented. I’m also happy that Andi Watson is following up on his Clubbing character. (Is Josh Howard drawing it? If not, I won’t mind too much, as I thought his illustrations were kind of serviceable.)

    Brian Wood isn’t the first creator that would come to my mind when lining up people to create for Minx, but that’s neither here nor there.

    Multimedia linkblogging

    Did I miss this? Apparently, both live-action Death Note movies will be debuting at this year’s Newport Beach International Film Festival, according to a piece at Associated Content. A quick look at the festival’s schedule confirms it. I wonder who’s handling the U.S. distribution?

    Dirk Deppey is an early adopter of Chika Umino’s Honey and Clover, so he’s understandably excited that Viz will preview the anime version at an event in Cannes:

    “So what does this have to do with comics news? Well, there’s the little matter of anime/manga synergy; if Viz has acquired the animated version of this series, it may well be an indication that they have designs on the manga, as well. Could we be set to start reading one of the most entertaining soap-opera comics this side of Ai Yazawa’s Nana before the year’s out? If so, I can’t wait.”

    The full release on Viz’s plans for Cannes can be found at ComiPress.

    Speaking of josei, Publishers Weekly Comics Week’s Kai-Ming Cha interviews Mikako Ogata about new manga pub Aurora and its yaoi imprint, Deux. (How did they resist calling it Boyrealis?) The interview leads Simon Jones (whose blog is probably not safe for work) to ponder something that’s crossed my mind as well:

    “Wouldn’t it be crazy if it turned out that yaoi is the anchor, the perennial tentpole product supporting the entire manga market?”

    It certainly seems to be the most consistent performer of any of the various categories of manga, faring extremely well in the monthly Diamond figures and making its presence known in places like the Amazon bestsellers list.

    What about shôjo? Well, MangaBlog’s Brigid Alverson makes her PWCW debut with an article on the second anniversary of Viz’s Shojo Beat anthology, and it’s packed with plenty of interesting tidbits. The one that really catches my eye is news that the magazine will climb on the Osamu Tezuka Love Train, if only briefly:

    Shojo Beat, Viz Media’s monthly shojo anthology magazine, will celebrate its second birthday in July with a special present for its readers: an excerpt from legendary manga-ka Osamu Tezuka’s 1954 manga Princess Knight, which has never been available in the U.S. before.”

    I’ve been dying for someone to translate even a little of this series. I don’t know if a full licensing effort would be commercially viable, but most available sources cite it as an inspiration for the creators who would go on to revolutionize shôjo manga.

    Oh, and speaking of girls and magazines, scholar Matt Thorn stopped by Anime News Network to comment on that Oricon survey of girls who read manga and their apparent love for shônen.


    Another interesting press release, this time from Viz:

    “VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced that it has licensed from Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV) the Download to Own (DTO) and Download to Rent (DTR) rights for the United States for the smash hit DEATH NOTE anime series, currently airing in Japan.”

    I posted the full release over at the Flipped Forum.

    Edited to note: After posting in haste, I checked with a Viz spokesperson, and the anime episodes will be subtitled for their downloadable release.

    Con jobs

    A dust-up seems to be brewing over the inaugural American Anime Awards, to be debuted this year at the New York Comic Con. At MangaCast, Ed Chavez takes a moment from his travels in Japan to look over the ballot, particularly the manga nominees, and he finds it wanting. Anime News Network interrogates ICv2’s Milton Griepp over the conception of the awards program and what could be construed as ADV’s undue influence.

    The awards have struck me as a rather odd fit for this particular con since they were announced. Anime isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the NYCC, and the impression was reinforced by the closing remarks from this week’s PWCW interview with con organizer Greg Toplian:

    “What I’m told is that we’re the literary show. This is New York City, and it’s about comics and book publishing. Editorial staff or the licensing departments can all stop by the convention for the price of cab fare. The Friday trade day also helps. We’re a more bookish show than others and getting Stephen King to attend as a guest of honor is the perfect illustration of that.”

    (Dedicated conspiracy theorists will undoubtedly note that the interview is illustrated with a photo of Toplian and ADV’s Chris Oarr. The snark-centric will undoubtedly note the dangerous proximity of “literary” and “Stephen King.”)

    Aside from the overcrowding issue, the general impression that emerged from last year’s NYCC was one of wider publisher interest in the category – book publishers scouring the con floor for talent and contemplating ways to slice off their own piece of the graphic novel pie. And while anime is certainly a driver in graphic novel sales, it doesn’t seem like an intuitive fit. Back at the ANN interview, Griepp provides some background:

    “New York Comic Con was actively searching for an awards program from one of its categories to be associated with the convention, so a venue and supporting event became available. The association with New York Comic Con allowed the awards program to take advantage of the location in the media capital of the world, with a very large press corps already attending.”

    The PWCW interview had plenty on its plate without delving into the new awards program, and Calvin Reid did address another issue that’s been simmering:

    “We’ve heard some complaints about a lack of women creators being invited officially to be a part of the show. When I checked the guest list at the Web site, there was one woman out of about 31 invited guest artists. While I understand there are more women involved in some of the as-yet-unannounced programming, this still seems like an unfortunate message to send out. Particularly since the mainstream New York comics industry has a long history of excluding women.”

    One out of 31? That’s an even worse percentage than San Diego.