VIZ Media jumps on the Star Wars: The High Republic bandwagon with a new manga coming out this June, and the manga publisher has also announced a new collection of short manga stories by horror master (and best-selling author) Junji Ito.

Star Wars: The High Republic: Edge of Balance is slated for release on June 8 as a paperback with an MSRP of $14.99.  This book is part of the Star Wars: The High Republic campaign, which features comics and stories from a number of different publishers, all set in the era when the Galactic Republic was at its peak (see “‘Star Wars: The High Republic Publishing Campaign Coming in 2020”).  VIZ will publish another Star Wars title, Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills, in August.

VIZ announced last month that it will add to its library of Junji Ito manga with Deserter: Junji Ito Story Collection, a selection of 12 short stories from early in his career. Ito’s manga have been perennial best-sellers for the past few years, and ICv2’s analysis shows his horror manga are currently the number 2 manga franchise, second only to the My Hero Academia juggernaut (see “Top 10 Manga Franchises – Fall 2020”), and that Junji Ito titles give retailers the biggest bang for their bucks (see "Most Efficient Manga Series for Retailer Shelves").  VIZ will publish Deserter on December 21 as a 392-page hardcover with an MSRP of $22.99.

In less nightmare-inducing news, VIZ also announced it will publish Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Deserted Island Diary, a collection of short manga stories about the villagers and creatures of the Nintendo game, with gag comics and profiles of each villager.  2020 was a record-breaking year for video games, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons was one of the top sellers (see "Video Game Sales Breaking Records").  The first volume of the manga is scheduled for September 14 and will have an MSRP of $9.99.

VIZ also announced that it has acquired two new Pokémon licenses.  Pokemon Journeys brings back longtime favorite Ash and Pikachu, who travel across the many regions of the game with a new friend, Goh, having adventures and catching elusive Pokemon.  The manga ties in with the anime, which is currently streaming on Netflix.  The first volume of the manga is scheduled for November 9 with an MSRP of $9.99.

For those who prefer more laughs and less continuity, Pokémon Pocket Comics: Sun & Moon is a self-contained collection of gag manga featuring Pikachu and the gang.  This is the fifth collection of Pokémon gag comics that VIZ has published, and it will be published on December 14 with an MSRP of $10.99.

VIZ has two big box sets coming out this fall.  One Piece Box Set Number 4, which includes volumes 71-90, will be released on September 7 with an MSRP of $185.99; in addition to the 20 volumes, the set includes a poster and exclusive booklet.

Also on the way: A complete box set of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.  This series is another one of our Top 10 Manga Franchises (see "Top Ten Manga Franchises - Fall 2020"); it already has a popular anime and is likely to get a boost when the film Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train is released in theaters later this year.  According to Time, the initial release of this movie in Japan broke the record for highest grossing movie of all time, a record previously held by Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, and it is now the highest-grossing anime movie in the world.  The manga box set will be released on October 5 with an MSRP of $199.99.

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