San Francisco, CA – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies , has announced the debut of five highly anticipated manga series for the second quarter of 2007. The new releases include DRAGON DRIVE, MILLENNIUM SNOW, SHAKUGAN NO SHANA, HOSHIN ENGI and YURARA.
These releases further expand VIZ Media's popular SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT imprints and offer a wide range of plots and characters for audiences ranging from All Ages to Older Teens – the key segments of the manga buying public.
DRAGON DRIVE Rated "A" for All Ages MSRP: $7.99 Available April 2007
DRAGON DRIVE, by Ken-ichi Sakura, is the newest 14-volume addition to the SHONEN JUMP catalog and centers on unlikely hero, Reiji Ozora. A frustrated and unmotivated high school misfit, he spends his time playing games and proclaims that even they bore him. But his friend Maiko Yukino soon introduces him to a new game called Dragon Drive. In the game's virtual world, Reiji meets and befriends the little dragon Chibi, a character so rare that the even Dragon Drive programming staff have no info on it. After becoming enthralled with the game, Reiji and his new partner must battle all sorts of challenges only to discover that the game is more than it appears to be and they must soon face a new and very real evil threat.
MILLENNIUM SNOW Rated "T" for Teens MSRP: $8.99 Available April 2007
Millennium Snow joins the SHOJO BEAT catalog and is the latest lavishly illustrated work from hit shjo artist Bisco Hatori (OURON HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB, also published by VIZ Media). The story introduces Chiyuki, a high school student living with a serious heart disease that threatens to take her life at any moment. One night, she meets Toya, a vampire with the opposite problem - he will live for a thousand years but he considers long life to be more of a curse than a blessing. Gothic custom dictates that a vampire of Toya's age must choose a human partner, one who will allow him to drink her blood and who will also share his life span. With contempt for his existence, Toya refuses to bind a person to him by drinking their blood, but Chiyuki, now smitten with this mysterious character and not wanting Toya to be alone, makes it her goal to convince him to make her his partner for a thousand years.
SHAKUGAN NO SHANA Rated "T+" for Older Teens MSRP: $9.99 Available April 2007
SHAKUKAN NO SHANA, known simply as Shana among fans, began as a collection of light novels and related media works written by Japanese novelist Yashichiro Takahashi and illustrated by Noizi Ito. The manga, illustrated by Ayato Sasakura, centers on Yuji Sakai, an ordinary Japanese high school boy who inadvertently becomes involved in an abstract but very violent perpetual war between the forces of balance and imbalance. One day while Yuji is going to school, his world literally ends - all the people around him are engulfed in blue flames as a freakish doll-like creature sucks them up. But just as the monster prepares to consume Yuji, a sword-wielding girl with flaming red eyes and hair that burns like embers saves him from the monster. The girl, who calls herself Shana, explains that the world isn't as it appears. People are being killed by monsters for their power of existence, and to keep the rest of humanity unaware and docile, those who are killed are replaced by "torches," which slowly fade away over time. Shana is a Flame Haze, one who hunts these monsters to preserve the balance of the world. Yuji finds out that he himself is now a torch, but he has a special power that makes his torch regenerate nightly. Unfortunately, that power makes him a target, so Shana reluctantly takes him under her wing, as a range of enemies and adventures await.
The SHAKUKAN NO SHANA manga series is based on the original light novel series of the same name, first published in Japan by MediaWorks in 2002. The success of the series, which now includes 16 volumes and is still being published in Japan, has spawned a 24-episode anime series, an OVA (Original Video Animation) release, an array of video games, and a soon- to-be-released feature film set to premiere this year.
HOSHIN ENGI Rated "T" for Teens MSRP: $7.99 Available June 2007
A vivid, character driven action story, Hoshin Engi is a new 23-volume manga based on a legendary Chinese classic about humanity battling supernatural demons. The story is set in legendary China where a beautiful female demon is controlling the emperor and the ruling Yin dynasty, and uses her power over him to do evil in the nation. An immortal-in-training named Taikobo is chosen by the great spiritual sages to head up the Hoshin Project, designed to seal away or destroy the evil demons that infest the world. But as Taikobo delves further into his new position, he finds that the Project is not all that it seems. In fact, he's not even sure who's side he's really on.
YURARA Rated "T+" for Older Teens MSRP: $8.99 Available June 2007
Ever since Yurara Tsukinowa was small she has been able to see spirits and feel their emotions. She just wants to live a normal life without worrying about these apparitions, but that proves to be hard when her current school is full of them. All of a sudden Yurara is targeted by a ghost that lingers over her desk. What's worse is that two popular guys, Mei and Yako, start paying attention to her as well, much to the consternation of her female classmates. Between dodging dagger looks from other girls and surviving ghost attacks, Yurara is about to unleash her other personality and her true hidden powers. Beset by a host of rivals and dramas, how is Yurara supposed to live the normal life she has dreamt of for so long? Find out in this exciting new 5-volume series.
"We are pleased to enter the second quarter of 2007 with a solid roster of new manga releases that have been highly anticipated by fans," says Liza Coppola, Sr. Vice President, Marketing, VIZ Media. "Each of our new titles offers something compelling to all our major reader demographics whether they are interested in adventure or fantasy driven stories, romantic comedies with a hint of the supernatural, or darker, more gothic-themed plots. We look forward to delighting new and established fans alike with these unique new series."