Viz Media Announces The First Anniversary Issue Of Shojo Beat Magazine

July Anniversary Edition Will Debut Special Content Including Launch of New Series

San Francisco, CA, May 15, 2006 -€“ VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced content for the July 2006 issue of SHOJO BEAT magazine, which goes on sale nationwide on June 20. This edition marks the first anniversary for the dynamic publication aimed at the growing number of shojo manga fans in North America. This demographic is now one of the fastest growing segments in the manga publishing industry.

Debuting in this special issue will be VAMPIRE KNIGHT, a new romantic fantasy series by Matsuri Hino, the creator of the popular title MERUPURI, which is also offered as a dedicated graphic novel by VIZ Media’s SHOJO BEAT imprint. Hino is also set to make a rare appearance as a guest of VIZ Media at the 2006 Comic-Con in San Diego, July 20-23. The July 2006 issue will be the first SHOJO BEAT issue to have manga with color ink tones (cyan and magenta) – the first for any domestic manga anthology publication. The contrast will be visually compelling and will closely mirror the format of many Japanese manga anthology counterparts. Also included in this anniversary issue will be an ABSOLUTE BOYFRIEND pin-up poster by Yuu Watase, whose Drawing with Yuu tutorial series launches with this edition. This is further augmented by the second of three tutorial installments by manga titan Keiko Takemiya, who will continue to offer instructional techniques and advice to SHOJO BEAT readers and hopeful manga artists. An interview with J-Pop superstar HYDE and the first annual comprehensive manga quiz round out the issue.

"The past year has been a big one for the shojo manga genre in North America, and we are pleased to mark an important benchmark for SHOJO BEAT magazine with this special issue," says Yumi Hoashi, Editor-in-Chief of SHOJO BEAT and vice president of VIZ Media'€™s magazine division. "€œTo show our appreciation to fans, we are pleased to launch our newest shojo series, VAMPIRE KNIGHT, in the July issue and also announce the rare appearance of artist Matsuri Hino at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con to help us celebrate our first-year anniversary. Shojo manga continues to captivate a growing national fan base and SHOJO BEAT has emerged as the leading first-of-its-kind publication uniquely dedicated to this dynamic genre. We look forward to nurturing its bright future."

SHOJO BEAT magazine offers a format modeled after the tremendously popular, easy-to-read SHONEN JUMP magazine, also published by VIZ Media. It carries a “T+” rating for older teens and features several ongoing titles each month from Japanese publishing giants Shogakukan Inc. and Shueisha Inc. (both parent companies of VIZ Media), as well Hakusensha, a subsidiary of Shueisha, another one of Japan'€™s leading manga publishers. No longer just for male readers, manga has become a fast growing trend among teenage and young adult females in North America. Shôjo manga often depict plots set around love, family, responsibility and identity. The level of fantasy, artifice or artistic ambition involved in most shojo stories are endearing, and the universal appeal of these subjects has helped to drive the genre’s popularity. VIZ Media has been a leading proponent of shojo manga and the success of SHOJO BEAT magazine further affirms the company’s belief in the continuing viability and success of the trend.

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 manga and 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.