Viz Media Welcomes Renowned Manga Creators At 2006 Comic-Con

Special Theatrical Premiere and Preview Round Out Schedule for Nation's Largest Comics Event

San Francisco, CA, JULY 13, 2006 - VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced a variety of special events, theatrical premieres, and speaker panels in and around the 2006 Comic-Con International. Comic-Con takes place July 20-23 at the convention center in San Diego, CA.

Among the notable news for this year’s convention will be rare at-show appearances by internationally renowned manga artists Matsuri Hino and Nobuhiro Watsuki. Hino has created several critically acclaimed shojo manga series, including MERUPURI and VAMPIRE KNIGHT, both of which are published in North America under the SHOJO BEAT imprint by VIZ Media. Shojo manga, or comics for girls, is now the fastest growing segment in the publishing arena. Nobuhiro Watsuki is internationally known for his RUROUNI KENSHIN manga series, and his appearance at Comic-Con will lend momentum to the upcoming domestic release by VIZ Media of his newest series, BUSO RENKIN under the SHONEN JUMP imprint, set to debut in August. It will be available as a show exclusive in the retail area in the VIZ Media booth.

There will also be a variety of VIZ Media panel discussions that will include exclusive previews and news. A combined 90-minute panel focusing on VIZ Media manga and anime properties is scheduled for Friday, 7/21 at 12:30 p.m. in Room #9. For shôjo manga fans, Matsuri Hino will help chair a special panel on VIZ Media'€™s smash hit magazine SHOJO BEAT, on Friday, 7/21 at 3:00 p.m., also in Room #9. SHOJO BEAT recently celebrated its one-year anniversary and Hino will be on-hand to help mark the occasion. She will also give insights into her own experiences as a manga artist, discuss her newest series, VAMPIRE KNIGHT, and answer questions from fans and press.

Saturday 7/22 will see a SHONEN JUMP panel discussion taking place at 1:30pm in Room #1A. VIZ Media is pleased to welcome Nobuhiro Watsuki who will help chair this discussion and discuss his internationally acclaimed samurai manga epic, RUROUNI KENSHIN, which recently completed its run in North America. He will also lend insight into his newest series, BUSO RENKIN. SHONEN JUMP is the most widely circulated monthly manga anthology in North America. Two editors from Japan’s Weekly Shonen Jump, on which the VIZ Media counterpart is based, will also participate in the panel discussion.

Rounding out the VIZ Media panels will be a discussion on Toonami Jetstream, a recent joint venture with Cartoon Network that will offer a dedicated broadband platform to stream the best in action and anime 24/7. This panel is scheduled for Saturday, 7/22 at 10:30am Room#1B.

VIZ Media will have a large presence on the main show floor with an expansive display in Booth #4013 showcasing some of the company’s latest manga and anime releases. New this year will be the availability of licensed items for purchase in the retail area, which will include NARUTO headbands and wristbands, INUYASHA messenger bags, backpacks and more. There will also be an array of convention exclusives, including advance release manga and exclusive gift-with–purchase premiums such as a free SHONEN JUMP NARUTO baseball cap with purchase of the NARUTO Uncut DVD Box Set!

Special screenings and exclusive previews are a major attraction during Comic-Con, and VIZ Media will delight fans with highly anticipated showings. The North American premiere of the latest INUYASHA anime feature, INUYASHA THE MOVIE 4: THE FIRE ON THE MYSTIC ISLAND will be the highlight of the evening on Thursday, 7/20 at 7:00pm taking place at the Pacific Gaslamp Theater - All Stadium 15, located just a short walk from the Convention Center on the corner of 5th Avenue and G Street. In addition, a special preview showing of VIZ Media and VIZ Pictures’ release of the critically acclaimed live-action film, TRAIN MAN: DENSHA OTOKO, will immediately follow at 9:30pm.

“We are pleased to announce a bevy of special guest appearances and film screenings that are sure to delight Comic-Con attendees,” states Yumi Hoashi, Editor-in-Chief of SHOJO BEAT and SHONEN JUMP and vice president of VIZ Media’s magazine division. "€œThe rare appearances of Matsuri Hino and Nobuhiro Watsuki will undoubtedly be a big draw and we look forward to fans’ interest in VAMPIRE KNIGHT and BUSO RENKIN, the newest titles from these two renowned manga creators. This year’s Comic-Con is sure to be the highlight of the summer for thousands manga and anime fans!"

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.