Viz has announced five potent additions to its lineup of manga releases, including Shonen Jump graphic novel editions of Rurouni Kenshin and Hikaru No Go, plus three shoujo series of Viz graphic novels: Please Save My Earth, Hot Gimmick, and Alice 19. Viz will preview Nobuhiro Watsuki's superb samurai series Rurouni Kenshin in the November issue of Shonen Jump (on sale October 7, see 'Rurouni Kenshin Manga in November Jump'), and the first volume in the trade paperback series could be released as early as November. Hikaru No Go is a hugely popular manga series (23 volumes so far) that follows the exploits of a young master of the Chinese strategy game Go. Hikaru No Go will debut in the January issue of Shonen Jump with graphic novel volumes to follow.
The first volumes of the three shoujo series all ship to retailers in October. Please Save My Earth is a 21-volume series by Saki Hiwatari, which features a high school girl who has a recurring dream that she's part of a team of alien scientists from the moon. She doesn't believe her dreams at first, but then things start happening. Please Save My Earth, Vol. 1 ships on October 22 and, like all three of the new shoujo titles, has a cover price of $9.95.
Yu Watase, the popular creator of Fushigi Yugi, is responsible for Alice 19, the story of a high school girl who inadvertently sends her sister into a world of darkness and then has to become a master of the Lotis Words in order to save her. Alice 19, Volume 1: Lotis Master ships on October 22.
The third shoujo title that Viz announced is Hot Gimmick by Miki Aihara, the story of a sixteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a company-owned hovel with a gossiping nightmare for a landlady. All three of these series are the sort of romantic dramas that have found favor with an audience of teenage female readers here in the States.
The two Shonen Jump titles also have great potential as well as the lower Shonen Jump Graphic Novel price point of $7.95. The Rurouni Kenshin manga is the source for the highly popular anime series that is currently running on the Cartoon Network's Toonami block (see 'Cartoon Network Ratings Up'). One of the biggest manga hits of the 1990s in Japan, where the accumulated sales for all 28 volumes is some 4.5 million copies, Rurouni Kenshin has been translated into 14 languages, though this is the first English edition. The Hikaru No Go manga written by Yumi Hotta and drawn by Takeshi Obata has led to a huge revival of interest in the game of Go in Japan (and among cutting edge manga fans in the U.S.). The 23 volumes of Hikaru No Go have sold an astounding total of 21 million books in Japan to date.