Last Friday Viz announced the cancellation of their Monthly Shonen Jump magazine. In its place they are planning a weekly digital magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha. While I was disappointed at the cancellation of the physical magazine, I think what Viz has in store more than makes up for it.
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 iPhoneTM, iPodTM touch and iPadTM.
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.
I have to admit that I was disappointed when I heard Shonen Jump would no longer be published in the States after this year. It wasn’t until a while later that I actually came across this story, and I’m quite excited by what I’ve read. Simultaneous manga releases in the states has been a dream I’ve had for a long time, but never hoped could happen. Near simultaneous is good enough. And if this new venture does well, then chances are we could start seeing simultaneous releases.
Here’s where I have to play the devil’s advocate. Or at least be the pessimist. I don’t think this is going to convince readers of scanlations to switch over. Sure getting the chapters two weeks after they are published in Japan is amazing, but this is meant to attract people who are used to reading the chapters before they even come out in Japan.
In an age where companies are becoming serious about enforcing copyright on an international scale, it’s encouraging to see Viz providing a means for reading the latest manga chapters that won’t get me fined. I urge manga fans to give this a chance, the more support the magazine gets, the more series we might get.
While the current offering is bare, these are the basic series I read every week. I hope that as time passes more will be added to the roster. There are some great series running in Jump, and I would like to see them brought over.
I’ll have to set aside some money for the annual membership, which looks to be pretty affordable to me. And the dollar a week offer is pretty decent as well, for anyone that wants to try the service out without a long term obligation. I hope everyone reading the series offered will switch to this when January rolls around.
For everyone excited about this new service Viz will be offering, are there any series you want to see published in Shonen Jump Alpha?