Viz's "Fullmetal Alchemist" Makes Impressive Debut

Official Press Release

San Francisco, CA, May 10, 2005 – VIZ Media, LLC. (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive manga and animation licensing and publishing companies, has announced an impressive debut for the new FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST manga series. The first volume of the series by Hiromu Arakawa debuted in the Number 1 spot on the Nielsen Bookscan list for graphic novel releases. Bookscan also ranked the edition at Number 13 for Fiction-Trade Paperback and Number 58 in the Overall Fiction category for the first week of May. Additionally, USA TODAY ranked FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST at Number 89 in its renowned Top 150 Best Selling book list, which compiles a vast array of fiction, non-fiction, paperback as well as hardcover releases from all major genres.

FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST is currently one of the hottest anime and manga properties in North America. The mystic blend of art, magic and science that is alchemy is the basis for FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST and has made the graphic novel series one of the most successful and popular on-going manga titles in Japan, selling more than 12 million copies to-date. The manga's popularity has inspired a top rated 51-episode anime series that currently airs on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim as well as a vast collection of related merchandise that includes video games, action figures, apparel and a trading card game.

"We are pleased to announce a strong debut for the FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST manga series," states Anthony Jiwa, director of marketing for VIZ Media. "Taking the #1 Graphic Novel spot in Nielsen Bookscan, as well as coming in at #89 on USA TODAY's Top 150 list one week before it's official release is exciting news for this series. The unique blend of captivating art, dynamic characters and a compelling plot will help maintain this popularity and attract new fans, and we look forward to continued strong sales for the subsequent volumes for the series."

The story of FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST begins with two young brothers named Edward and Alphonse as they try to use an alchemy technique called "human transmutation" to raise their mother from the dead with tragic consequences. As a result of a miscalculation, fifteen-year-old Edward loses his left leg and fourteen-year-old Alphonse loses his entire body. Immediately after the accident Edward sacrifices his right arm to save Alphonse's soul, which is transmuted into a suit of armor that becomes his new body. Edward replaces his missing limbs with a biomechanical technology called auto-mail that gives him a new bionic arm and leg. The action begins as the pair heads to Central City in search of the Philosopher's Stone, an object of immeasurable power and the only thing that can return the siblings to their natural states. But in this futuristic alternate world, the use of alchemy is widespread. Evil forces seek the magical stone and will use any ruthless means to try and thwart the two brothers from reaching their goal.

FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST began in 2000 in the pages of Square Enix's monthly manga magazine, Shonen Gangan. Square Enix released a FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST video game for PS2 domestically in January 2005 and a full-length feature movie is now in production for future release.

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 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.

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