This year’s Anime NYC convention was a big one for Viz Media as it became the place where the company unveiled its English manga plans for summer 2020.
Viz took to the stage on the last day of the convention (Sunday, November 17th 2019) to announce a new Junji Ito collection titled Venus in the Blind Spot, a ‘best of’ book showcasing the Japanese horror master’s most important works, and the release of Hideki Gotō’s Splatoon: Squid Kids Comedy Show manga, which expands on the Wii U and Nintendo Switch games of the same name.
The collection will include Ito’s adaptation of Edogawa Rampo’s classic story “The Human Chair,” a bizarre tale that takes its title seriously and quite possibly literally. This is a great opportunity for readers to get acquainted not only with Ito’s work but that of Rampo’s as well.
Rampo is considered Japan’s own Edgar Allan Poe and the similarities in style and approach to tension in his horror, mystery, and crime stories are striking. Rampo, whose real name is Tarō Hirai, never shied away from recognizing not only Poe but also Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as his literary inspirations. “The Human Chair” is perhaps his most unsettling tale and Ito’s rendition of it should be enough to warrant the book’s purchase.
Venus in the Blind Spot will also feature special color pages and illustrations of Ito’s most recent long-form manga No Longer Human. The book was released in Japan on February 28.
Hideki Gotō’s Splatoon is the type of manga that goes all out with its wackiness and eye-popping visuals. The Splatoon games are basically paintball shooters where the team who’s painted the largest amount of turf in a session wins. The manga focuses on the inklings, the game’s main characters. Earth’s sea level rises, wiping out humanity. The inklings—the next evolutionary step of squids—become the dominant species, bringing their own language and culture as they take over. And then they compete against each other using their own special color inks.
The manga has seen success in Japan, resulting in a voiced motion comic and a full-color version of the story made available for fans.
Viz also announced it’s speeding up the release of its Demon Slayer manga with a new volume releasing every month after May 2020. The manga, which was later adapted into an anime series, sees main character Tanjiro Kamado hellbent on avenging the death of his family by the hands of demons while also trying to turn his sister back into human form after she became a demon in the attack that killed his family.
Viz also acquired several Shonen Jump digital exclusives and will be rolling them out throughout 2020. The list of new acquisitions includes:
- ROBOTxLASERBEAM (Summer 2020)
- RED SPRITE (Winter 2019)
- LOVE RUSH (early 2020)
- HI-FI CLUSTER (early 2020)
- YUI KAMUI LETS LOOSE (early 2020)
- THE LAST SAIYUKI (early 2020)
- NE0;LATION (Spring 2020)
- HELL WARDEN HIGUMA (Spring 2020)
- STEALTH SYMPHONY (Spring 2020)
Lastly, Pluto TV, a free streaming service owned by Viacom, has launched a dedicated Naruto anime channel on CH 677. The channel will be entirely focused on all things Naruto and is included for free with the service. Naruto is published by Viz and further extends the company’s anime and manga reach in North America.
If it isn’t obvious by now, Viz is making big moves to have an even larger presence in English-speaking countries. It already owns the publishing rights for some of the most popular Japanese licenses on the market and it doesn’t look like they’re looking to put their feet up and settle with that they have. When there’s space to grow, not growing is not an option.