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Viz's 'Rurouni Kenshin' #1 top seller in North America

Official Press Release

Samurai manga tops the list of best selling graphic novels and breaks into Top 100 Overall Adult Fiction according to Nielsen BookScan.

San Francisco, Calif, February 24, 2004 – VIZ, LLC, one of the leading publishers and distributors of manga and anime for North American audiences, announced today that RUROUNI KENSHIN, Volume 3, has secured the number one spot on BookScan's list of best selling graphic novels for two weeks running. Since its release on January 24, 2004, RUROUNI KENSHIN, written by Nobuhiro Watsuki, has sold over 8,500 copies, outselling every other comic and graphic novel in the past two weeks.

Nielsen BookScan, the international sales data monitoring and analysis service for the English-language book industry, also listed VIZ's graphic novel, RUROUNI KENSHIN, on its Overall Adult Fiction Top 100 list. The list, which is a true reflection of mainstream American book purchases, includes such literary winners as Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain and Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. As a result, RUROUNI KENSHIN is not only the best-selling comic, but also one of the best-selling fiction titles in the country

RUROUNI KENSHIN is part of the SHONEN JUMP Graphic Novel line, known as the world's most popular manga. Each graphic novel title under the SHONEN JUMP brand has the unique style and voice of its creator and is presented in the right-to-left format, just as they are in Japan. This format allows the panels to be displayed as the artists intended, and increases the authenticity and fun for the reader's experience. The SHONEN JUMP Graphic Novel line also includes DRAGON BALL, DRAGON BALL Z, KNIGHTS OF THE ZODIAC, NARUTO, ONE PIECE, SAND LAND, SHAMAN KING, ULTIMATE MUSCLE, YU-GI-OH!, and YUYU HAKUSHO. In partnership with Shueisha, Inc., the Japanese publisher of Weekly Shonen Jump, VIZ, LLC brings the best of Japanese comics to American fans.

"We are pleased to announce such impressive sales for RUROUNI KENSHIN," states Mr. Seiji Horbuchi, president and CEO of VIZ. "The Company is set on an aggressive growth path for 2004 and the popularity of RUROUNI KENSHIN among both adults and younger readers is a good indicator of things to come. It's exciting to see such a diverse range of readers embracing the graphic novel genre in general, and KENSHIN in particular. As the year progresses, we look forward to continuing this momentum with other VIZ titles as well."

The wildly popular manga series, RUROUNI KENSHIN, is about the adventures of a wandering swordsman who helps those in trouble. RUROUNI KENSHIN is set in Japan during the second half of the 19th century during the Meiji era, a time of enormous change in Japanese society. In Volume 3, Kenshin and his sidekick, Sanosuke, bring back a mysterious woman from their latest trek, the beautiful Takani Megumi. Megumi unwittingly participated in the production of a super-powerful form of opium and is now in danger. Much to the dismay of Sanosuke, Kenshin knows he must save Takani Megumi from the wrath of evil industrialist Kanryu. Filled with historical detail, spectacular battles and romantic comedy, the story accurately depicts the exciting and chaotic early days of modern Japan.

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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