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VIZ announces four new Manga releases

Official Press Release

San Francisco, Calif, February 18, 2004 – VIZ, LLC, one of the leading publishers and distributors of manga and anime for North American audiences, announced today the upcoming release of four new manga titles for the Second Quarter of 2004.

Included will be the long-awaited first volume of SAIKANO, being offered as a VIZ Editor's Choice selection, as well as action title CHEEKY ANGEL. IMADOKI and RED RIVER round out the list of new release and will further complement VIZ's extensive collection of shôjo manga. All of these new titles will ship in June and be made available in stores nationally in July 2004, marking the English-language debut of each title.

"VIZ is pleased to welcome four new manga titles to its roster," said VIZ president and CEO Seiji Horibuchi. "Manga readers are a truly diverse group, representing all ages and interests. VIZ looks to continually offer our readers an array of new titles that draw from action, mythology, history and romance. VIZ is also pleased to add to our growing family of shôjo manga with the addition of two new titles from some of the best-known artists of the genre. Young women have become a significant segment of the manga market and we hope these titles further break down the barriers and misconceptions of what comics can be about and who is inclined to read them."

SAIKANO

240 pages, $9.95 U.S.

Category: EDITOR'S CHOICE

June 2004

Shuji and Chise are high school seniors in a small town in Japan and have just started dating when Shuji discovers that Chise has been secretly engineered by the government to transform into a powerful weapon. While Shuji and Chise try to nurture their relationship, Chise continues to grow more powerful as the Ultimate Weapon, and becomes increasingly torn between being a destructive fighting force and remaining an ordinary teenager. What do you do when the girl you love becomes a weapon of mass destruction?

Also known as SHE, THE ULTIMATE WEAPON, SAIKANO debuted as a manga in the Japanese weekly comic anthology Big Comic Spirits in 2000 and spawned seven volumes, which sold over 2.6 million copies. A collection of trading cards, action figures, and a PS2 video game soon followed. A 13-episode anime series debuted on Japanese TV in July 2002 and will be available in the U.S. in April 2004 when VIZ releases the first of four DVD volumes in a special two-disc set.

CHEEKY ANGEL

200 pages, $9.95 U.S.

Category: ACTION

June 2004

Megumi, a nine-year-old martial arts enthusiast and all around rapscallion, always wanted to be "the manliest man on earth." After saving a sorcerer from a group of local thugs, Megumi is presented with a magic genie, who can grant any wish. Unfortunately, this genie is slightly hard of hearing and misconstrues Migumi's original desire as wanting to become the "womanliest woman on earth," and in a flash, Megumi's Y chromosome is swapped for an X. Six years later Megumi is the hottest girl in school, but has stayed true to his/her tough talkin', punk stompin ways!

Originally serialized in Weekly Shonen Sunday, CHEEKY ANGEL went on to sell more than 7 million copies, as well as a 20-volume serialized graphic novel. Also a 50-episode anime series, CHEEKY ANGEL won creator/artist Hiroyuki Nishimori Shogakukan's 46th annual cartoon prize in 2001. Nishimori is also well known for his 38-volume manga, KYO KARA ORE WA (From Today I…), which has sold 33 million copies in Japan.

IMADOKI

200 pages, $9.95 U.S.

Category: SHÔJO

June 2004

For Tampopo Yamazaki, life at the elitist Meio Academy seems way out of her league. The daughters of wealthy families snub her; other students make fun of the fact that she actually tested into Meio instead of relying on family connections; and the cute boy she saw tending a dandelion the day before won't even acknowledge her existence. Hoping to make friends and have some fun, Tampopo starts a gardening committee, but will this help her survive in a school where superficiality and nepotism reign supreme?

From best-selling creator Yû Watase, one of Japan's most beloved shôjo artists, IMADOKI packs comedic charm and heartfelt antics into an adorable bouquet of whimsical fantasy. A manga artist for over ten years, Yû Watase's manga debut came in 1989 at the age of 18 when her short story, PAJAMA DE OJAMA (An Intrusion in Pajamas), first appeared in the monthly Shôjo Comics anthology. Since then Watase has written and drawn some 50 different short stories and long-running manga series, including the best-selling shôjo fantasy series FUSHIGI YÛGI, ALICE 19th, and the popular CERES, CELESTIAL LEGEND, all of which are available in English from VIZ. Her works have provided the basis for two television series, an OVA series, anime soundtrack CDs, and a string of novels.

RED RIVER

192 pages, $9.95 U.S.

Category: SHÔJO

June 2004

When Yuri is forcibly pulled through a puddle of water after kissing her boyfriend one night, she emerges from the water to find herself in an ancient village somewhere in the Middle East. Surrounded by strangely dressed people speaking a language she doesn't understand, Yuri is soon captured by armed troops and brought to the palace, where she learns that the queen had her kidnapped so she can offer Yuri's blood in a ritual that will kill two princes in competition to inherit the kingdom. If a kiss helped get Yuri into this dilemma, can a kiss get her out?

From creator Chie Shinohara, RED RIVER debuted in 1995 and concluded in January 2002, spanning 28 volumes that sold over 15.3 million copies in Japan. The first nine volumes have already seen an amazing 20 reprints each. Six radio plays, which cover the manga story also followed, as has an art book.

About VIZ, LLC

Founded in 1986, VIZ is a multi-media entertainment company specializing in Japanese entertainment properties for U.S. audiences. VIZ offers an integrated product line including magazines, graphic novels, videos, DVDs and audio soundtracks. Each month, VIZ publishes three magazines – ANIMERICA, ANIMERICA EXTRA and SHONEN JUMP; over 20 graphic novel titles including ALICE 19th, BOYS OVER FLOWERS, DRAGON BALL Z, FUSHIGI YÛGI, GUNDAM, INUYASHA, RANMA ½, and YU-GI-OH!; and distributes home video for BOYS OVER FLOWERS, HAMTARO, INUYASHA, POKéMON, PROJECT ARMS, and ZOIDS.

Based in San Francisco, VIZ is one of the top five comics publishers in the U.S. and a subsidiary of Shogakukan and Shueisha Inc., two of the top publishers in Japan. VIZ is the leading publisher of manga for English speaking audiences, serving a growing market of dedicated fans of all ages. Estimating a core audience of nearly 15 million fans, the company holds more than a 50% market share of Japanese comics in the U.S. With some of the most innovative products in the industry, VIZ has expanded its offerings to its loyal fans through web sites such as www.animerica-mag.com, www.shonenjump.com, and its corporate site, www.viz.com.

Contact VIZ, LLC at: 655 Bryant Street, San Francisco, CA 94107-1612; Phone: (415) 546-7073; Fax: (415) 546-7086; Web site: www.VIZ.com

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