VIZ Media Previews Dramatic New Manga Titles Set For Release In 2009

Eight Series Announced Including New Shojo Stories And Two New Award-Winning Titles From Creative Mastermind Naoki Urasawa

San Francisco, CA, August 4, 2008 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has provided a preview of a variety of compelling new manga titles set to debut under the VIZ SIGNATURE, VIZ MEDIA and SHOJO BEAT imprints in the first half of 2009.

VIZ SIGNATURE releases will include two new series from manga mastermind Naoki Urasawa, and include Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys and PLUTO: URASAWA X TEZUKA, which offers a unique collaboration between Urasawa and manga titan Osamu Tezuka. New releases from the VIZ MEDIA imprint will include Shirow Miwa's series DOGS and Mase Motoro's IKIGAMI. Four new SHOJO BEAT series round out the first quarter releases and will feature Miki Aihara's HONEY HUNT, Izumi Tsubaki's THE MAGIC TOUCH, Aya Kanno's OTOMEN and a new VIZBIG Edition of Miki Aihara's acclaimed series HOT GIMMICK.

"MONSTER-creator Naoki Urasawa's two new series, 20th CENTURY BOYS and PLUTO: URASAWA X TEZUKA, which is based on Osamu Tezuka's classic manga ASTRO BOY, show this master artist at the height of his powers. Those wondering what are the manga equivalents of WATCHMEN and THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS need look no further," said Alvin Lu, Vice President, Publishing, VIZ Media. "In Japan, these two series are considered masterpieces of the form, along the lines of Katsuhiro Otomo's AKIRA and Takehiko Inoue's VAGABOND. With our other new releases for 2009, we're extremely excited this season to be presenting some of the absolute best the manga medium has to offer."

Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys -- Rated "T+" for Older Teens -- MSRP: $12.99 -- February 2009
Considered by manga cognoscenti as one of the absolute masterpieces of the medium, NAOKI URASAWA'S 20TH CENTURY BOYS is this critically acclaimed creator’s magnum opus. A sprawling decades-spanning saga about a group of childhood friends who are mankind's last hope against an apocalyptic religious cult, NAOKI URASAWA'S 20TH CENTURY BOYS combines elements of brain-bending science-fiction, Stephen King novels, Bob Dylan songs, and straight-up rock 'n' roll to create one of the most addictive manga reads ever. Find out why this title may be one of the greatest comics of all time.

PLUTO: URASAWA X TEZUKA -- Rated "T" for Teens -- MSRP: $12.99 -- February 2009
A darkly-lit science-fiction thriller set in a cybernetic future reminiscent of BLADE RUNNER and I, ROBOT, PLUTO: URASAWA X TEZUKA takes a storyline from Osamu Tezuka's classic manga ASTRO BOY and radically retrofits Tezuka's space-age optimism for a more chaotic age. Somebody is out to kill the world’s most powerful robots—including Astro Boy! A cyborg detective must investigate the robot-murders and solve them, before they come after him. Serialized at the same time as NAOKI URASAWA’S 20TH CENTURY BOYS in Japan, PLUTO exhibits Urasawa's narrative skills at the top of their form, taking the thrilling plot twists of MONSTER to a new level. As a radical reimagining of a classic comic character, PLUTO: URASAWA X TEZUKA is to Astro Boy what THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS was to Batman.

The MAGIC TOUCH -- Rated "T" for Teens -- MSRP: $8.99 -- February 3, 2009
The star of her high school's Massage Research Society club, Chiaki Togu is otherwise a normal, quiet girl until she falls in love at first sight with a gorgeous back – a back that happens to belong to Yosuke, the hottest guy at her school! Unfortunately, Chiaki's attraction to Yosuke is thwarted by her own insecurity and the scheming of other girls – especially her twin sister Saya!

OTOMEN -- Rated "T" for Teens -- MSRP: $8.99 -- Available: February 3, 2009
Asuka Masamune is the coolest, manliest guy in his whole school. He's a kendo master and even excels in judo and karate...but he has a secret! He loves girly things – sewing, knitting, making cute stuffed animals and reading shojo comics. Unfortunately, in a world where boys are expected to act manly, Asuka must hide his beloved hobbies and play the part of a masculine jock instead. Ryo Miyakozuka, on the other hand, is a girl who can't sew or bake a cake to save her life. Asuka finds himself drawn to Ryo, but she likes only the manliest of men! Can Asuka ever show his true self to anyone, much less to the girl that he's falling for? Find out in this new SHOJO BEAT manga series by Aya Kanno.

DOGS -- Rated "M" for Mature Audiences -- MSRP: $12.99 -- April 14, 2009
Boasting furious action, switchback plotting, magnetic characters and dazzling art, Dogs tells the story of four individuals struggling to survive a dystopian urban future by gun and sword and courage and luck. Haine, the "Stray Dog": a cipher of a young man with a mysterious metal collar bolted to his neck and a serious taste for mayhem. Badou: a hired gun for petty jobs legal and not, whose reckless façade hides a serious intent. Naoto: a preternaturally skilled swordswoman searching for the assassin who cut down her family and mentor. Mihai: a middle-aged former hitman, now trying live a quiet life but haunted by the deaths of his lover and protégé. Driven by their ghosts—both dead and alive—and a desire for truth, all are inexorably drawn to the "Underground," the dark and dangerous sector below the city that holds all the secrets—but secrets that can only be had for a price.

IKIGAMI: THE ULTIMATE LIMIT -- Rated "M" for Mature Audiences -- MSRP: $12.99 -- May 12, 2009
"Dear Citizen: You’ve no doubt noticed that the world is a troubled place. People are apathetic, lazy, unmotivated. You’ve probably asked yourself: Why isn't anything being done to stop this systematic decline? Well, you’ll be happy to know measures are being taken. We, your government, have decided society needs a wake-up call. So beginning today, we will randomly select a different citizen who will be killed within 24 hours of notification. We believe this will help remind all people how precious life is, and how important it is to be productive, active members of society...CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE BEEN RANDOMLY SELECTED BY THE GOVERNMENT...TO DIE IN 24 HOURS!"

HONEY HUNT -- Rated "T+" for Older Teens -- MSRP: $8.99 -- April 7, 2009
At last, the new series from HOT GIMMICK creator Miki Aihara! Life's not easy when you're living in the shadow of your famous parents. Can shy Yura, the daughter of an award-winning composer and a world-renowned actress, find the courage to step out on her own now that her super-celebrity parents are getting divorced? Find out in this new SHOJO BEAT series.

HOT GIMMICK VIZBIG EDITION -- Rated "T+" for Older Teens -- MSRP: $17.99 -- March 17, 2009
A new omnibus edition bundling the first three volumes of the critically acclaimed manga series by Miki Aihara, HOT GIMMICK introduces readers to a company-owned rabbit-hutch apartment complex filled with tenants who can't afford to live anywhere else. High-school girl Hatsumi Narita resides in this complex, which is ruled over by the rumor mongering, self-righteous Mrs. Tachibana. Get on Tachibana's bad side, and life becomes hell. When Hatsumi has to buy a pregnancy test because her popular sister Akane is late, Mrs. Tachibana's son, Ryoki, who used to bully Hatsumi as a kid, promises not to tell the world about Hatsumi's secret, only if she becomes his slave. Suddenly Azusa, Hatsumi's protector in their youth, reappears to save her again! He's moving back into the neighborhood! Despite the budding romance between Hatsumi and Azusa, Ryoki has control over her through the secret that could ruin the lives of everyone in Hatsumi's family, and he hasn't forgotten who his slave is!

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-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment for audiences and consumers of all ages.