Viz Media took a diluted approach to their anime and manga announcements at New York Comic Con 2017. In the recent past, Viz Media has had different industry panels with a fandom focus. For example, Sailor Moon Day and the Moon Panel were oddly absent at NYCC 2017, but it’s possible they are saving surprises for Anime NYC. Regardless, this limited the exposure Viz has with fans at NYCC. Unfortunately, since anime and manga sit on the back burner at a pop-culture con such as NYCC(do any of you go for the comics?), panels for these industries get shoved into smaller rooms without room clears between panels. Lots of fans surely were capped out of the room after waiting for hours. Fortunately, The Outerhaven was able to get in and here I’ll discuss some of the announcements from Viz Media’s NYCC 2017 panel.
As expected, Viz Media had the standard goodies to show off – t shirts (Sailor Moon and One Punch Man), manga stills, and the Sailor Moon Crystal box set that releases in December. Viz did keep fans busy with a life-size JoJo’s statue at their booth. Throughout the weekend a line wrapped around the Viz booth – people were eager to get a picture with Jojo. For those lucky enough to get into the panel, Akira Himekawa was live, in the flesh and on stage with Viz.
Season 2 of Mr. Osomatsu is available for free on Viz.com. For those who aren’t familiar with this comedic show, it’s about six mischievous sons (who are sextuplets) led by the oldest, Osomatsu. The series focuses on their daily lives as NEETS and their failed attempts at employment. As Charlene described them, “all of them are winners and all of them are losers.”
Infini-T Force is also available to stream on Viz.com, with new episodes on Wednesdays. The series follows a young girl who can summon heroes to save the day. It will appeal to both male and female audiences and of course, fans of shonen. Since this series is trying to do some genre crossover, it may be hit or miss.
Boruto, also available on Viz.com for free was a highlight at the panel. It goes without saying that anything in that universe is going to be popular among those camped out for an anime panel. At the booth you could also pick up Boruto and get a free gift.
Black Clover was given some notice at the panel, with Viz sharing stills from the manga series. It is amazing that this series is still getting attention because of its juvenile plot. It’s about a young orphan boy who follows his dreams of becoming the Wizard King, yet he has no powers of his own. With luck and a bullish personality, Asta finds his way to many successes as he tries to become the Wizard King. It just wasn’t enough to keep my interest when I had the opportunity to check it out.
Sailor Moon Crystal was a notable mention at the panel despite no new announcements since Otakon 2017. I am anticipating something big for the new Anime NYC convention coming to the Javits this November.
Viz also made several announcements related to the Pokemon franchise, which continues to grow every year.
Akira Himekawa was the most notable of Viz’s presentations for 2017. The Japanese mangaka duo is responsible for many manga based on The Legend of Zelda series. Viz had many questions ready for them, which they answered eagerly. Questions ranged from how they are liking NYC to their experiences meeting fans in the US. For those of you who aren’t familiar with these two women, they’ve been churning out material since 1991. NYCC 2017 was their first professional US appearance – which must have been an overwhelming experience for them.
Overall, if I had to give a fair assessment of Viz Media’s industry panel at NYCC, I’d say it was dependent on the successful reception of Boruto and Akira Himekawa’s visit. There were no unexpected announcements or last minute acquisitions to discuss. This either means Viz Media has a slow year ahead or they have a lot of surprises to ensure Anime NYC’s success.