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Viz Media will at last synchronize the content on its digital anthology Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha with Japanese releases, beginning with the Jan. 21 issue. Fans had long been frustrated that the North American edition lagged behind its Japanese counterpart by as much as two weeks, and featured fewer series.
“North American fans have been waiting for a long time for real-time publishing to synchronize with Japan, and it’s about to happen in Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha,” Alvin Lu, Viz Media’s executive vice president of publishing, said in a statement. “A robust Viz Manga digital infrastructure, combined with our close relationship with Weekly Shonen Jump in Japan allows us to close the gap in release schedules.”
Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha will feature new installments of Bleach, Cross Manage, Naruto, Nisekoi, One Piece and Toriko on the same day as their general release in Japan. Monthly titles like Blue Exorcist, Rurouni Kenshin: Restoration and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal will debut the Monday following their Japanese release.
Viz also will add more titles to the lineup, beginning today with Nisekoi, Naoshi Komi’s romantic comedy described as a “laugh-out-loud feel-good manga series.”
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.