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Viz Media announced at the New York Comic Con this weekend that they plan to phase out the print edition of Shonen Jump magazine and replace it with Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha, a digital publication offered through their website and their various iOS Viz Manga applications.
Accoridng to the press release, Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha will feature serializations of Bakuman, Bleach, Naruto, One Piece and other manga “only two weeks after it debuts in Japan’s massively popular Weekly Shonen Jump Magazine. Currently, Japanese releases are often several months to years ahead of North American print titles; Weekly SJ Alpha eliminates the delay in unprecedented fashion.” To help North American readers catch up, they plan to release “a limited collection of digital graphic novel speed-ups” that will bring readers up-to-date with Japanese releases.
Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha will kick off Jan. 30, and fans can either purchase an annual membership that provides access to 48 weekly issues for 52 weeks for just $25.99, or can “rent” issues for 99 cents for four weeks of access. The last print issue of the North American Shonen Jump magazine will come out in March.
“Simultaneously publishing an official translation of the most popular comics magazine in the world has been a dream since manga publishing began in North America in the 1980s,” said Alvin Lu, senior vice president and general manager. “This is how manga is meant to be read in English–weekly, current, authorized and on the go. Now with Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha, it’s about to happen for real.”
Check out the full press release after the jump.
VIZ MEDIA TO DEBUT WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA NORTH AMERICA’S ONLY NEAR-SIMULTANEOUS DIGITAL MANGA MAGAZINE
WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA Brings Fans The Most Popular Manga In The World Faster Than Ever Before
San Francisco, CA, October 14, 2011 – VIZ Media, the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in the North America, announces the countdown to the launch of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA (WEEKLY SJ ALPHA), a weekly serial anthology of some of the most popular manga series in the world: BAKUMAN, BLEACH, NARUTO, NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN, ONE PIECE, and TORIKO. The first issue of WEEKLY SJ ALPHA goes on sale January 30, 2012, and will be available through VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga apps for iPhone™, iPod™ touch and iPad™.
Each new digital issue of WEEKLY SJ ALPHA brings manga fans in North America the latest chapters of their favorite series only two weeks after it debuts in Japan’s massively popular WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP Magazine. Currently, Japanese releases are often several months to years ahead of North American print titles; WEEKLY SJ ALPHA eliminates the delay in unprecedented fashion.
“Simultaneously publishing an official translation of the most popular comics magazine in the world has been a dream since manga publishing began in North America in the 1980s,” said Alvin Lu, Senior Vice President & General Manager. “This is how manga is meant to be read in English – weekly, current, authorized and on the go. Now with WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA, it’s about to happen for real.”
WEEKLY SJ ALPHA will be made available through an annual membership that provides access to 48 weekly issues for 52 weeks for just $25.99. Single issues of WEEKLY SJ ALPHA can be read for a four-week rental from the time the reader purchases it for only $0.99. Each issue, once received on one device, can be read on all other enabled devices through the easy-to-use integrated VIZ Manga app and website.
To prepare fans for the debut of WEEKLY SJ ALPHA, VIZ Media is also offering the SHONEN JUMP DIGITAL WARP, a limited collection of digital graphic novel speed-ups that will bring North American readers up-to-date with Japanese releases. In some cases, the digital speed-ups will jump ahead of the print releases in North America. The SHONEN JUMP DIGITAL WARP will begin with NARUTO Volume 53 (available now) and BLEACH Volume 49 (coming soon).
As more fans migrate to the digital WEEKLY SJ ALPHA edition, VIZ Media plans to phase out the print edition of SHONEN JUMP Magazine. The popular, one-of-a-kind monthly magazine led the rapid growth of the manga market for much of the last decade and was VIZ Media’s flagship publication since it launched in 2003. The farewell April 2012 issue hits newsstands March 2012.
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