Viz Communications has announced its lineup for the American edition of Shonen Jump and there is a strong TV connection evident in the choice of material for the magazine, which makes sense given Viz's goal of attaining mass market success with a circulation of one million in two years. Dragonball Z is the lead dog in both Shonen Jump and on the Cartoon Network, where the series is a continual ratings winner (see 'DBZ Rules'). DBZ is once again atop the Lycos List of Top Internet Searches, where it has been for much of the last two years (see 'DBZ Tops Lycos Searches For 2001').
Other series with TV ties chosen for the American edition include Yu-Gi-Oh, the top anime performer on the WB network, and YuYu Hakusho, a popular recent addition to the late night block on the Cartoon Network. All things considered, the lineup for the American Shonen Jump is very strong, both in the quality of manga series chosen and in the strong impressions these properties have made on the American consciousness via television (and in the case of Yu-Gi-Oh, via the CCG as well).
At the Shonen Jump panel in San Diego, Shueisha's Senior Editorial Director Kazuhiko Torishima, the man who 'discovered' Akira Toriyama, explained the rigorous selection process used by the editors of the Japanese edition. Each of the 3.5 million copies sold every week contains a response card asking fans to grade new entries. Thousands of these cards flow into the Shueisha offices every day.
Deputy Editor in Chief Hisashi Sasaki told ICv2 that out of 15-20 new series only 3-4 would garner enough support during their trial period to warrant continuation. Here's a look at the some of the best of the titles that managed to catch on and prosper in Shonen Jump -- the ones chosen for the American edition.
Perhaps the most popular comic series ever run in Shonen Jump, Akira Toriyama's long-running DBZ saga is hugely popular in the U.S. thanks to the Cartoon Network and host of licensed products led by Score's popular collectible card game.
Sand Land is Akira Toriyama's latest manga series. Because of the need to tie Shonen Jump to the shows on American TV, many of the manga series that will run in the American edition will be those than ran years ago in Japan (and inspired the anime series that are now on TV in the States). Sand Land is an example of how the American edition will also include more contemporary properties, that haven't appeared in anime form yet.
Both the popular anime series and the white-hot CCG have their roots in the Yu-Gi-Oh manga series by Kazuki Takahashi. The American Shonen Jump will print the Yu-Gi-Oh series from the beginning, so fans will be able to follow the full arc of the story.
YuYu Hakusho: Ghost Files
Here's another manga title that will benefit from the anime series, which is running on the Cartoon Network. Yoshihiro Togashi's YuYu Hakusho could easily become one of the American edition's most popular features as the anime gets more exposure.
Eiichiro Oda's alternate world pirate epic, One Piece, is one of the most popular manga and anime series in Japan. ICv2 has learned that a deal for the American rights to the One Piece anime series is very close, and we expect to see the series on the Cartoon Network within a year or so. This series has loads of potential.
There's intrigue and romance at a ninja training school in Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto. This series, which began its run in 1999, has attracted female readers in Japan, but it is not a 'shoujo' title. All the series chosen for the American edition of Shonen Jump have been true to the magazine's origin as an anthology designed for male readers.
Shaman KingHiroyuki Takei's Shaman King is a contemporary fantasy adventure about a modern day shaman who can see spirits and talk to the dead.