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Viz Media, manga giant, gets into the digital comics fray

Get ready for some online manga eatin’,” says manga blog Kuriosity (which, for some reason, has a dash between the “i” and the “o” in the URL … so be careful when typing that into the address bar). It turns out that manga anthology magazine Shonen Jump is adding digital comics to its arsenal:

Subscribe NOW and next month you’ll get to read:

* Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan
* Bakuman
* Toriko

It seems to be one of the biggest moves for increased digital presence by Viz Media. (The article mentions that there have been a few previews here and there, available on the Shonen Jump site, but none to this extent.) From Kuri-osity.com:

Whether the chapters of the three titles will simply be the usual 2-3 chapters of manga we see each month in Shonen Jump USA, chapters running simultaneously with the Japanese edition similar to Shonen Sunday’s Rin-Ne, or simply the usual 3-chapter preview we normally get for new manga in Shonen Jump is also unclear. At the moment, VIZ simply advertises it as an “online preview for subscribers only”. As such, it might be that these previews will be rotating series, though Toriko, Nura and Bakuman would make excellent ongoing additions if VIZ is planning longer runs. As both Toriko and Bakuman have already had short runs in the magazine, one would assume these online chapters will be from later in the series.

Nonetheless, this sounds like a major step forward for VIZ, adding a number of popular series that expand their offerings to their subscibers, and finding a way to potentially capitalize on digital manga by giving subscribers both a print and digital edition of the magazine with different sets of content. Given how lowpriced VIZ’s subscriptions are, around the same as 3-4 issues of the print magazine, this looks to be an excellent value for potential subscribers, and a different take from other initiatives not just by charging a subscription fee, but also by teaming it up directly with the print edition.

Now, admittedly, I have never heard of any of these titles at all. The fine folks at Kuri-osity.com are pretty convinced that they represent three of the rising stars of manga. I got no reason to doubt them — once you start name-checking Fist of the North Star, you’re on good ground in my book. Plus an entire genre of manga devoted to cooking?

This is a small, but bold step for VIZ, considering the popularity of Bakuman, with Nura‘s anime being simulcast by their anime division, and Toriko also having a sizeable cult following. When one considers that there are only four regular ongoing series in the print edition currently, having three additional chapters online is a considerable boost, and the range of themes adds some diversity. Toriko‘s strange combination of First of the North Star style heroes and the cooking manga genre, Bakuman‘s manga about making manga aspect and Yura‘s anime tie-in make for an excellent range of titles. This will apparently be further augmented by the addition of print chapters of YuGiOh 5D‘s and Psyren, which appear to be ongoing additions rather than previews. It’s been awhile since VIZ added an ongoing series to the book, and these two should help break up the Naruto/OnePiece dominance the magazine has had lately.

(h/t to reader “algeya”)

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About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on November 1, 2010, in The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Actually, VIZ’s ShonenSunday site I linked to serializes 6 or so titles a week, including publishing Rin-ne simultaneously with Japan- it’s from the creator of InuYasha (insanely popular due to it’s toon’s run on CartoonNetwork), Ranma 1/2 and Urusei Yatsura. Rumiko has been a big thing in domestic comics for decades, having been a guest of honour at SDCC back in the 90’s well before the current manga boom. VIZ is also serializing manga on sigikki.com. But yeah, having ShonenJump titles is a big thing- it’s Japan’s biggest selling manga magazine, and it’s english version is probably the widest circulated comic in North America on newsstands. I imagine it took longer to work this out since most of their digital titles so far have been from Shogakukan, while SJump titles are from Shueisha [VIZ is a subsidiary of Shogakukan originally, adding Shueisha as a co-parent company around the time SJumpUSA magazine launced]

    Bakuman is from the creator of Death Note, which teens seem to flock to en masse worldwide in a sort of creepy way, though gets a few keen points for being about making comics.

    Toriko’s a pretty crazy cooking manga- more standard ones that’ve been translated are Kitchen Princess, Oishinbo, Iron Wok Jan [well, less serious than severely competitive and possibly insane], Antique Bakery, “Not Love but Delicious Food” and the slightly nutty Yakitake Japan among others.

    • Thanks for the supporting info! I am personally not an expert on such matters, so it was nice to have some clarification. (Didn’t notice most of the titles, either, but I am a reasonably huge Rumiko Takahashi fan. Her work was my gateway into the world of manga back in the day.)

  2. Toriko and Bakuman are 2 of my favorite series
    but Toriko its not about cooking
    (despite of having entire chapters of just eating), its more like a goku like guy that is a gourmet hunter travel around the world looking for extremely rare food because he likes to eat(like the meat of a giant elephant or a 800 years old dragon) and has to battle others gourmet hunters to get it, the world is kinda in a food trent anyway
    its around 110 chapters and it will probably replace one of the jump big 3 (bleach, naruto, one piece) in the future.

    Bakuman is about a couple of kids who enter the manga business
    is more like hikaru no go, that series starts when they are in high school creating their manga pitching their ideas, dealing with other authors, etc I highy recommend it.

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