VIZ Media Announces Debut Of Unique Basketball Drama Real At Rare In-Store Appearance Of Famed Creator Takehiko Inoue

Best Selling Manga About Wheelchair Basketball To Be Released Domestically In 2008

NEW YORK, NY, November 20, 2007 - VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, announced the upcoming 2008 release of Takehiko Inoue's basketball manga comic, REAL, last night at a special in-store event attended by the acclaimed artist/creator to inaugurate the new Kinokuniya Bookstore in Bryant Park, New York City. Inoue is also the creator of the mega-hit masterpieces SLAM DUNK and VAGABOND. Event attendees got a sneak peek at original wall art in the Kinokuniya store illustrated by the artist featuring some of his best-known characters.

The REAL series is scheduled to debut July 2008 and is the third manga series created by Takehiko Inoue set to be released by VIZ Media. The company plans to debut his long-awaited SLAM DUNK basketball series, Rated T for Teens, in September 2008 and VIZ Media will also publish a pair of beautifully illustrated art books; SUMI and WATER.

VIZ Media currently publishes Inoue's acclaimed samurai series VAGABOND, rated M for Mature.

REAL, Rated T+ for older teens, offers a unique twist on the sports manga genre as it focuses on wheelchair basketball. A motorcycle accident, bone cancer, and a speeding truck crashing into a boy on a stolen bicycle all present tragic, life-changing events that turn the worlds of three young men upside down in Inoue’s gripping series. Three very different personalities have only one thing in common - their passion for basketball.

Also set for release next year are a pair of lavishly illustrated art books that capture the essence of Inoue's techniques in black and white and color. SUMI will present Inoue's magnificent pen and brush work in black and white. It will also include a behind-the-scenes look at VAGABOND with rough sketches and photos of Inoue's studio. WATER will feature Inoue's masterful work with color and will contain artwork only published within this volume.

"It was a true pleasure to help welcome Takehiko Inoue for this special and rare appearance and also announce the upcoming release of REAL," says Liza Coppola, Sr. Vice President, Marketing, VIZ Media. "Inoue has reached the pinnacle of commercial and artistic greatness and his name is often mentioned in the same breath as luminaries like Osamu Tezuka. In REAL, Inoue delivers a stunning portrayal of people struggling with serious life issues. These aspects are masterfully depicted with beautifully detailed line art and we look forward to readers cheering for these characters as they battle to overcome physical limitations and find redemption both on and off the basketball court. This isn’t one to miss!"

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 (graphic novel) 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 and 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.