Hosted by our favorite from Viz Media, Charlene, Viz celebrated their 30th anniversary at Otakon. This panel was loaded with great announcements, fun facts, and an overall celebration of Anime and Manga.
Viz Media got their start in 1986 (before I was born!) back when anime and manga wasn’t exactly popular in the United States. As Charlene mentioned at the panel, Viz Media was the first publisher of manga and anime in the US. Among those first titles is the ever-so-popular Ranma 1/2. Skipping to the present day, Charlene boasted about the gorgeous box sets that Viz Media currently releases, which includes a remastered collection of Ranma 1/2. I’ll definitely agree that Viz has moved up a lot in terms of content and quality since 1986. The box sets they release are a little pricey, yes, but nobody else can possibly compete with all of the extras, booklets, and chipboard cases that Viz includes with their releases.
Charlene added on that Viz has expanded their shojo manga range with the new series, Yona of the Dawn, which was available at the Viz booth all Otakon weekend(stay tuned for our review). She described this series as “shojo Game of Thrones.” It has also beautiful artwork that captivates.
Viz Media doesn’t just publish anime and manga. They also publish art books, prose, and they even have a literary imprint. In fact, thanks to the support of fans all over, Viz Media is now the largest publisher of anime and manga in North America. You heard me right – bigger than Kodansha, bigger than Sentai Filmworks, bigger than Yen Press, bigger than Vertical!
What does a year look like Viz Media? Well, here are some fun facts:
Viz publishes Naruto which is quite a massive series. It’s 72 volumes which equates to 8,583 feet long, which is 1.63 miles of ninja action. The series altogether is 32.4 lbs which is equivalent to 225 cups of instant ramen (that’s a lot of sodium!). The anime, so far, is 687 episodes which adds up to 252 hours. If you wanted to marathon Naruto, you’d need ten days and ten hours to get through each episode. Do you think you can stay awake that long?
Moving along from the fun facts, Viz made plenty of announcements for the Otakon weekend and beyond. At the booth they were selling One-Punch Man posters in which all of the proceeds go to earthquake recovery charities. Isn’t it great that your favorite manga and anime publisher is interested in donating money to a good cause?
2017 announcements included Princess Mononoke, Gundam Thunderbolt, Kenshin 3-in-1, Dragon Ball Super, and Utena.
For Princess Mononoke, Charlene talked about gorgeous picture books from the Studio Ghibli library. These aren’t your mother’s coffee table picture books. Studio Ghibli publishes picture books based upon popular animated movies. They’re geared toward a young audience and creates the perfect opportunity to get a little sister, brother, or cousin into anime.
Next up was an announcement for The Water Dragon’s Bride, which is an emotionally gripping shojo tale with pretty water color art. You’ll have to wait until 2017 to get your hands on this one, but it really looks worth the wait.
Also for 2017 is a massive new Gundam series, Gundam Thunderbolt, which will be highly detailed. The intense response from the crowd for this announcement was absolutely deafening. I predict this will be bestseller next year.
They briefly ran over a Yu-Gi-Oh announcement and then jumped to the Kenshin 3-in-1 release. For anyone who was looking to get into Kenshin, Viz Media is giving fans the chance to grab omnibus editions that will contain three volumes each. I love omnibus editions because they’re always a great way to get into a series at a good price while taking up a little less room on my shelf. They’re a little bit bulky for bringing on the train to read, but who cares? They’re cheap!
They briefly ran over the announcement of Dragon Ball Super, which obviously will make fans of DBZ happy.
Aside from Sailor Moon talk and Gundam, the final major announcement from Viz Media during the weekend of Otakon was a release of a new edition of the super popular, super famous shojo series, Utena! The special edition release of Revolutionary Girl Utena will contain the entire series in a larger trim size with chipboard box and a poster. The prototype packaging currently weighs in at 5.2 pounds! This is definitely not going to be easy reading on public transportation but it will look fantastic as part of your manga collection. I, personally, am looking forward to having the opportunity to check out this series for the first time. The box set should release sometime in 2017.
Canadian fans of Sailor Moon will be pleased to know that Viz announced the series is now licensed for viewing in Canada. Fans may recall that Canada was a blackout territory for a while without any access to Sailor Moon streaming. This announcement was followed up by a trailer for the English dub of Sailor Moon Crystal and shameless bragging about the Sailor Moon Crystal sun catcher. Charlene briefly touched upon the uncut release of classic Sailor Moon S as well. All of the detailed information can be found in our article covering the official #MoonPanel.
No Viz Media panel is complete without Naruto , one of Shonen Jump’s most popular series. Viz Media is releasing an all-new mobile game, Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Blazing. If you go to http://naruto-blazing.net/en and pre-register you will get a special bonus item in game. It launches soon, so hurry!
An important announcement for those of us who prefer to stream their anime for free, Charlene announced a new streaming partner. Right now on Tubi TV you can watch Death Note, Hunter X Hunter, and Naruto all for free!
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure got some attention – the home release is this year. Complimenting that will be more releases of the manga in gorgeous hardback editions. Also, for the first time, Jojo will be on television. Starting in November you can watch the anime on Toonami.
Those who like to cook will love to know that an official Pokemon cookbook is coming soon. Inside will be recipes on making your bento super cute and loaded with Pikachu goodness. The book will contain simple recipes that you can share with your children. Personally, I wouldn’t mind livening up my boring lunch at work with an onigiri pokemon.
I never got into Mario Bros. but Viz made an announcement that received epic amounts of applause. Coming soon is the Super Mario Adventures manga which comes straight from the pages of Nintendo Power Magazine. These comics are available for pre-order now so if you’re a huge Nintendo fan, you need to get on this.
Nintendo fans will also be pleased that Viz Media is bringing over the new Legend of Zelda manga. People attending the panel were treated to a preview of the interior illustrations from the Japanese edition. All I can say is the artwork is simply breathtaking. They’re detailed and well worth waiting for the English edition. I’m confident Viz is going to do a great job. The art style is different than previous Legend of Zelda mangas, but it certainly won’t disappoint. Viz didn’t have a date and could only say “coming soon” on this one.
If you like strong female characters, you’ll be thrilled to know that Viz Media has acquired Queen’s Quality. Another important announcement is Sweet Blue Flowers. This series is getting an all new translation in 2-in-1 omnibus editions. Charlene was particularly excited about Sweet Blue Flowers.
An 8th volume of Ranma 1/2 will be released in a Blu-ray box set in 2017. This last set will contain the OVAs and movies so if you collected the tv series, this will be a fantastic add on. For those who are new to Ranma 1/2, the movies and OVAs stand alone so this is a great opportunity to jump into the series.
Overall, the Viz Media panel was by far the best panel I sat through aside from the Sailor Moon panel. There were so many announcements along with fun quiz questions and prizes that this panel alone could easily be the only panel you needed to see all Otakon. After sitting through so many great ambitions for 2017, I found the other panels rather underwhelming.