Viz Media Announces The Release of First Rurouni Kenshin Fiction Novel

Voyage to the Moon World Follows the Conclusion of the 28-Volume Manga Series Presenting Original Adventures of Vagabond Swordsman

San Francisco, CA, June 14, 2006 -€“ VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced the conclusion to its epic RUROUNI KENSHIN manga series with the release of Volume 28 on July 5. Fans need not despair – VIZ Media has just announced the release of the first RUROUNI KENSHIN fiction novel, VOYAGE TO THE MOON WORLD, to be released October 17. The novel, written by Kaoru Shizuka and published by VIZ Media, is the first offering in the SHONEN JUMP Fiction imprint and will retail for $9.99. VOYAGE TO THE MOON WORLD features the fan-favorite main character in a brand new adventure. VIZ Media will also release a new fantasy/action manga series, BUSO RENKIN, from RUROUNI KENSHIN creator Nobuhiro Watsuki on August 1. To add excitement to this announcement – it was just confirmed that Nobuhiro Watsuki will be VIZ Media’s guest at Comic-Con International in San Diego this July.

RUROUNI KENSHIN first appeared as a pair of separate short stories published in Japan in 1992 and 1993 in the manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump. In 1994, Watsuki created an ongoing version that was published as a manga series. The title drew a massive fan base with its interweaving long story arcs, well-developed and often conflicted characters and accurate historical backdrops. A 95-episode anime series followed, as well as two OVA films and a feature length movie.

The novel, VOYAGE TO THE MOON WORLD is based on the popular manga. After years of bloodshed, Kenshin is now living peacefully in Tokyo at the Kamiya Kasshin-ryu dojo. But all that changes one afternoon when Tae from the Akabeko restaurant arrives with a pot of beef stew and a plea for help. What begins, as a simple case of a missing book soon becomes a dangerous mystery as Kenshin and his friends are tangled in deep secrets and dark plots! Also includes the story “Sanosuke and Nishik-e.”

The conclusion of the RUROUNI KENSHIN series is being celebrated in a multitude of ways by SHONEN JUMP magazine and VIZ Media. SHONEN JUMP magazine will feature many special previews and articles related to RUROUNI KENSHIN; the July 2006 issue (on newsstands June 6) will preview Kenshin creator Nobuhiro Watsuki’s new series, BUSO RENKIN, which will begin its graphic novel release under the SHONEN JUMP imprint from VIZ Media in August. The August 2006 issue (on newsstands July 4) will also include an excerpt of VOYAGE TO THE MOON WORLD. The September 2006 issue (on newsstands August 1) will contain a RUROUNI KENSHIN retrospective as well as “Yahiko no Sakabatô” (Yahiko’s reversed-edge sword), an exclusive manga one-shot from Kenshin creator Nobuhiro Watsuki, spun off from the RUROUNI KENSHIN storyline and no longer in print, even in Japan!

In addition, the final volume of RUROUNI KENSHIN will include a limited edition, exclusive double-sided poster showcasing a special RUROUNI KENSHIN 4-color illustration on one side, and on the other side, the covers of all 28 RUROUNI KENSHIN volumes! The final edition will also preview an excerpt of BUSO RENKIN.

In North America, the RUROUNI KENSHIN manga series has been a popular title in VIZ Media’s SHONEN JUMP manga imprint and several volumes were featured as best sellers on various national literary sales charts. Retail industry watchdog ICv2 named RUROUNI KENSHIN as the Top Manga Property of 2004 and the title was also the first graphic novel ever to make it on the USA TODAY Top 150 overall fiction list.

“It’s been a long and extremely successful run for the RUROUNI KENSHIN manga, and we are extremely pleased to offer fans a new RUROUNI KENSHIN novel that continues the adventures of everyone’s favorite swordsman,” states Yumi Hoashi, editor-in-chief of SHONEN JUMP and vice president, magazines, VIZ Media. “RUROUNI KENSHIN is a must-read for anyone interested in adventure, romance, history, and Japanese culture. We look forward to new and established fans of the series discovering the novel as well as the debut of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s new manga series, BUSO RENKIN, in August.”

Watsuki’s epic manga series about a vagabond swordsman is set during the Meiji era of Japan (1878), just as the country begins to have its self-imposed isolation ended by eager Western trade interests. Himura Kenshin, who carries a reverse-bladed sword and possesses an x-shaped scar on his cheek, is a rurouni, a wandering swordsman of utmost skill, who during the critical turning point of a war simply walked away. His travels lead him to Tokyo where he befriends a female Kendo master, a former thief, a brawler and a doctor – all with their own secrets. Together they fight an array of enemies surfacing from the dark past that Kenshin cannot escape while trying to help those they encounter during their journeys. The final volume of the series, Volume 28, will be out on July 5 and retails for $7.95.

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.