RALΩGRAD Vol. 1 Now Available

RALWGRAD Vol. 1

RAL GRAD Cover0
RALΩGRAD © 2006 by Tsuneo Takano, Takeshi Obata/SHUEISHA Inc.

Manga by Tsuneo Takano

By Takeshi Obata, the artist of Death Note! Can a strange young man who’s been imprisoned all his life save the city from an onslaught of the Shadows?

$7.99 US/$9.99 CAN
Teen Plus Rating

Check out our review coming soon!

Be With You Manga Out NOW

Be With You 

Manga by Takuji Ichikawa

Cover of Be With You

When Takumi’s wife suddenly returns from the grave, he can’t believe his eyes. As he starts digging deeper and deeper into the mystery of her sudden reappearance, he discovers a secret that is somehow linked to the past…and the future.

$8.99 US/$10.99 CAN
Rated Teen

Double Dose of Death Note

February is a great month for Death Note fans, just check out the latest releases that see a hardcover book as well as a profile guide to the entire manga series.

Death Note AN Logo

There’s a serial killer loose in Los Angeles and the local authorities need help fast. For some reason the killer has been leaving a string of maddeningly arcane clues at each crime scene. Each of these clues, it seems, is an indecipherable roadmap to the next murder. Story based on Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata.

Death Note Another Note Book Cover
Based on the comic “DEATH NOTE” by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata Originally serialized in “WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP” published by SHUEISHA Inc. DEATH NOTE – ANOTHER NOTE LOS ANGELES BB RENZOKU SATSUJIN JIKEN – © 2006 by NISIO ISIN, Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata/SHUEISHA Inc.

Hardcover Novel
$17.99 US/ $21.99 CAN

The Ultimate Death Note Encyclopedia!

Here, in one authoritative volume: everything you need to know about Death Note, the best-selling manga series! Story based on Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata.

Death Note 13 Cover
DEATH NOTE HOW TO READ 13 © 2006 by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata/SHUEISHA Inc.

$14.99 US/$17.99 CAN
Rating Teen Plus

VIZ PICTURES ANNOUNCES THEATRICAL SCREENINGS OF MANGA INSPIRED FILM – NANA IN LOS ANGELES AND NEW YORK

 Viz baby!

Story of Two Women Searching For Love And Meaning Amidst the Hustle and
Bustle of Tokyo A Box Office Hit In Japan

San Francisco, CA, February 26, 2008 – VIZ Pictures, an affiliate of VIZ
Media, LLC that focuses on Japanese live-action film distribution, has
announced a pair of new theatrical runs scheduled for New York and Los
Angeles of NANA, a live action film directed by Ootani Kentarou and
based on the best-selling shojo manga (graphic novel) series by Ai Yazawa.

NANA will screen in Los Angeles, March 21-27 at the IMAGINASIAN CENTER
and then in New York, April 4-10 at the IMAGINASIAN THEATRE. Press
screenings for both locations are also planned and theater information
follows at the end of this release.

NANA follows the adventures of two girls both named Nana. While they
share the same name, they couldn’t be more different. Nana “Hachi”
Komatsu follows her boyfriend to Tokyo and hopes to make a new start,
while Nana Osaki, who arrives in the city at the same time, is a punk
rock beauty who has the ambition to make it big in the world of rock and
roll. Although these two young women come from vastly different
backgrounds, they quickly become best friends. What sets them apart,
however, is the stark difference between their lives. One Nana comes
from a small town, following her friends and boyfriend but ultimately
looking for her own goal to obtain, while the other Nana has a
single-minded aim to make her dream and band, the Black Stones, among
the best in Japan.

NANA performed well at the Japanese box office upon its release in 2006,
grossing more than 4 billion yen and staying in the Top 10 for several
weeks. The main theme from the film, “Glamorous Sky,” took the number 1
spot on Japan’s Oricon charts in its first two weeks of sales and
quickly sold over 450,000 copies. Another song from the film, “Endless
Story,” took the number 2 spot on the same chart in its first week of
release and sold over 300,000 copies. The English version of the manga
series has sold over 22 million copies in Japan, is published
domestically by VIZ Media under its SHOJO BEAT imprint.

“NANA presents a realistic and sometimes gritty portrayal of two modern
women searching for love, careers and a sense of purpose amidst the
urban bustle of Tokyo,” says Manami Iboshi, Director, Marketing, VIZ
Pictures. “The manga series on which the film is based has been
critically acclaimed and demonstrates the versatility of manga-inspired
plots to transition from print to film in such a compelling way. NANA
was warmly received at its U.S. premiere at the 2007 New York Anime
Festival, and we look forward to audiences in Los Angeles and New York
enjoying the film.”

Theatre information:

LOS ANGELES
Press Screening: March 5, 2:00pm
Theatrical Screening: March 21-27
IMAGINASIAN CENTER
251 South Main Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 617-1033

NEW YORK
Press Screening: March 19, 2:00pm
Theatrical Screening: April 4-10
IMAGINASIAN THEATRE
239 East 59th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Ave.)
New York 10022
(212) 371-6682

About VIZ Pictures, Inc.
Based in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Pictures, Inc. distributes Japanese
live-action films and DVDs, with particular focus on Japanese “kawaii
(cute) and cool” pop culture. VIZ Pictures approaches each release from
a J-pop fan’s point of view to serve manga and anime generation in North
America. VIZ Pictures titles include TRAIN MAN: DENSHA OTOKO, LINDA
LINDA LINDA, THE TASTE OF TEA, and PING PONG. The company will continue
to offer the hottest visual entertainment straight from the “Kingdom of
Pop” for audiences of all ages in North America. VIZ Pictures, Inc. is
an affiliate of VIZ Media, LLC, the San Francisco-based leading U.S.
publisher of Japanese manga (comics) and merchandise licensor of
Japanese animation such as the popular “NARUTO” animated TV series.
© 2006 VIZ Pictures, Inc

About VIZ Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one
of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga
publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content.
Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and
animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan Production
Co., Ltd. (ShoPro Japan), VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and
distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North
America and a global licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The
company offers an integrated product line including, magazines such as
SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, videos, DVDs, audio
soundtracks and develops and markets animated entertainment from initial
production, television placement and distribution, to merchandise
licensing and promotions for audiences and consumers of all ages.
Contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone
(415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and web site at www.VIZ.com.
###

VIZ MEDIA TEAMS WITH MADMAN ENTERTAINMENT TO BRING HOT MANGA TITLES TO AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

 Viz Media Logo

Country’s Mix Of Western And Asian Culture Creates A Growing Demand For
Diverse Titles

San Francisco, CA, February 22, 2008 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one
of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive
publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced its
continued global expansion with a new distribution agreement with Madman
Entertainment to offer a wide variety of Shueisha manga (graphic novel)
series to the burgeoning market in Australia and New Zealand. Shueisha
Inc., is one of Japan’s largest publishers and is a parent company of
VIZ Media.

Some initial VIZ Media titles to be published will include smash hit
properties like NARUTO, set to debut in March, BLEACH, scheduled to
launch in April, and DEATH NOTE, which will be introduced in May.
Several popular shojo series such as THE GENTLEMEN’S ALLIANCE †, FULL
MOON, LOVE*COM and NANA are also set for publication this year along
with action favorites that include ONE PIECE, D. GRAY MAN, BLACK CAT and
CLAYMORE.

Madman is Australia’s number one distributor of manga (graphic novels),
with a wide range of popular titles already available, including some of
the industry’s biggest licenses. In late 2006-early 2007, Madman was a
key sponsor of the Tezuka – The Marvel of Manga exhibition at the
National Gallery of Victoria and the Gallery of New South Wales, and
also launched a dedicated manga section on its website, www.madman.com.au.

“Madman is honored to be working with VIZ Media and their incredible
range of manga brands, and thrilled at the prospect of introducing these
to a wide range of readers in our territories,” says Tim Anderson,
Managing Director of Madman Entertainment. “Australian and New Zealand
readers have developed a real thirst for manga and based on similar
agreements forged in other rising markets, Madman looks forward to
combining efforts with VIZ Media to offer the most comprehensive
catalogue to date in these countries.”

“Madman Entertainment has become a dominant player in the emerging
Australian and New Zealand manga scene and we are excited to partner
with them to bring some of the hottest titles to readers there.” says
Hyoe Narita, Executive Vice President, VIZ Media. “Manga has become a
truly global entertainment medium and agreements like this will continue
to provide innovative means to develop and establish international
markets offering a range of compelling content.”

About MADMAN ENTERTAINMENT
THE MADMAN ENTERTAINMENT GROUP proudly showcases the best in Japanese
anime, world cinema, art house film, Australian independent features and
animation. Madman is Australia’s leading distributor of home
entertainment and an industry innovator with a sought-after interactive
and DVD authoring studio; printing division; film production
involvement; and a range of DVD and video labels. Madman was recently
awarded exclusive DVD distribution rights to the Cartoon Network and SBS
home entertainment labels. Web site: www.madman.com.au

About VIZ Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one
of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga
(graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of
Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and
licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and
Shogakukan Production Co., Ltd. (ShoPro Japan), VIZ Media is a leader in
the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking
audiences in North America and a global licensor of Japanese manga and
animation. The company offers an integrated product line including,
magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, videos,
DVDs and audio soundtracks and develops and markets animated
entertainment from initial production, television placement and
distribution, to merchandise licensing and promotions for audiences and
consumers of all ages. Contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San
Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and web
site at www.VIZ.com.

Anime Exclusively On Blu-Ray?

 Paprika Blu-ray DVD

Written by Edward Zacharias

This might be old news for anyone who has a keen interest on the high-definition DVD format debate that seems to be pointing at the Blu-ray format as the clear winner. Beginning with Warner Bros making the announcement that they will be supporting Blu-ray rather than jumping on the HD-DVD format that is (in the opinion of many) slowly but surely to be heading into Betamax status This move seems to have given a big boost to the format chosen by Sony to be included in their PlayStation 3 console and sales for Blu-ray players are steadily increasing.

Should HD-DVD owners worry about the sudden shift in favor of Blu-ray? It’s probably still too early to tell but – in my opinion – I expect the format to fizzle sometime in the next few years. After all, it was director Michael Bay who picked the HD-DVD format for his mega blockbuster Transformers and snub the Blu-ray format entirely so there is some support for the format.

What exactly does this mean for anime fans? Well, currently the only high-def version of the wonderful anime movies Paprika and TEKKONKINKREET can be found on the Blu-ray format. Watching Paprika last night I was stunned by the clarity, the crispness of the animation and the colors that seem more vibrant than regular DVDs. In essence, Paprika on Blu-ray is an indication of how amazing future anime release will be on this format. Imagine a Blue-ray box set release of the complete Trinity Blood series? Imagine a full season of Fullmetal Alchemist or Blood + in high-definition?

Blu-ray also has a higher capacity than normal DVDs so the possibilities of juicy extras included for anime releases is enticing. Imagine, if you will, the complete Cowboy Bebop series in both its cut and uncut versions all on one disc? Imagine the second season of Bleach on Blu-ray with the ability to watch it in Spanish, French, German and Italian. There are dozens of different possibilities with this format. If you’re salivating at this prospect you are not alone.

Of course, Blu-ray movies are – at the moment – quite expensive but we can expect a change in price when the HD-DVD and Blu-ray format wars are finally over. The hefty price tag might be a turn-off for consumers who think most anime releases are a tad expensive to begin with so justifying the purchase of the $29.98 Blu-ray version of Death Note vol. 5 to a $19.98 version of the same volume might be a matter of how much you’re willing to spend on a difference in quality. Most likely, the high-definition versions will most likely reserved to box sets and collections of an entire series.

Either way, we are now in a digital age that is demanding a higher quality that only high-definition can bring and it’s only a matter of time when we will find our favorite series on Blu-ray (or HD-DVD) but make no mistake there will be a clear cut winner and my guess is that it will be Blu-ray.

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE LONG AWAITED NEW NARUTO!

 Naruto Vol. 28 Cover!
© Masashi Kishimoto

Highly Anticipated New Manga Story Arc Launches Featuring A Teenage Naruto And Offers New Volumes Every Two Months

San Francisco, CA, February 20, 2008 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced the launch of the long-awaited new NARUTO manga story arc beginning with Volume 28, which is the first to feature Naruto as a teenager. The volume is expected to hit stores nationwide on March 4 with an estimated retail price of $7.95 and will include an exclusive full-color poster insert in the first print run. New editions of the hit series will now debut every two months.

NARUTO, rated T for Teens, has captivated millions with its story of a young ninja in training. The new volume picks up two years after Naruto left to train with Jiraiya. Now a teenager, he reunites with his old friends to find out everyone is stronger than before — and maybe even stronger than he is! Gaara has even become the Kazekage, the leader of the Village Hidden in the Sand. But even with all that power, Gaara is kidnapped! Who is behind this shocking abduction and what do they want? Can Naruto save Gaara without becoming a victim himself?

First introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan in 1999, NARUTO quickly became that country’s most popular ninja manga (graphic novel) targeting tweens and teens and has sold more than 80 million copies to-date. Today, Naruto is considered one of the most popular animated series in Japan’s history and has achieved immense success not only as a manga and TV series, but also in the realm of licensed categories such as toys, trading card games and video games. NARUTO currently enjoys widespread domestic success where it debuted as the best selling manga title in North America. NARUTO has sold over three million copies to date and regularly appears on USA Today’s Bestseller list and Bookscan’s Graphic Novel Top 50. Volume 7 also won the prestigious 2006 Quill Award in the Graphic Novel Category. VIZ Media also distributes the NARUTO animated series on DVD (which has sold over 350,000 copies domestically.) For more information go to www.NARUTO.com

“Japan’s favorite ninja has become the world’s favorite ninja and we are very excited to announce the debut of the new teenage Naruto!,” says Liza Coppola, Sr. Vice President, Marketing, VIZ Media. “The release of Volume 28 is the culmination of our Naruto Nation campaign that began in 2007 and brought an unprecedented increase in the publication of new NARUTO volumes – 3 per month. With lots of new characters and stories, readers who grew up with our young ninja in training will delight in the new changes. For those who have yet to see what the buzz is about, this volume is a wonderful entry point into an action packed series that has captivated millions of readers!”

About VIZ Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan Production Co., Ltd. (ShoPro Japan), VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America and a global licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including, magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, videos, DVDs and audio soundtracks and develops and markets animated entertainment from initial production, television placement and distribution, to merchandise licensing and promotions for audiences and consumers of all ages. Contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and web site at www.VIZ.com.