Congratulations, Viz, And Here’s to 25 More Years!

These days, when manga publishers are going out of business left and right, it was a wonderful reminder to get a press release noting that as of the coming July, Viz will have been in operation for 25 years.

Viz Media logo

And look at all their accomplishments and plans! From the release:

Over its 25-year history, VIZ Media has led the transformation of manga and anime from a niche category sold only at specialty retailers into a mass media phenomenon popularized on Cartoon Network, Hulu, and iTunes, and available at Barnes & Noble and Walmart. Today, VIZ Media is North America’s largest distributor of anime and manga and is leading the global anime and manga industries to their digital futures. To celebrate 25 years of pioneering new paths in global entertainment and publishing, later this year VIZ Media will be unveiling new properties, marketing programs, and distribution partnerships.

Since 1986, VIZ Media has primarily distributed titles exclusively owned by its parent companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions Co., Ltd.. In 2011, VIZ Media will diversify its award-winning library further by licensing properties from other global content creators as well as creating its own content. On the digital front, VIZ Media has created partnerships with Apple, Hulu, Netflix, Google and more, leading the way to new paths for distribution of manga and anime.

Even with a couple of bobbles when it comes to long-running series, Viz is still far and away my favorite manga publisher, for the diversity of their material and the quality of their work.

I was inspired by David Welsh’s Viz 25 to make my own list of favorite titles, but I only came up with 20. (Although I haven’t read Cross Game or The Story of Saiunkoku yet.) Here they are, in alphabetical order:

  1. 20th Century Boys
  2. All My Darling Daughters
  3. Bakuman
  4. Flower in a Storm
  5. High School Debut
  6. Hikaru no Go
  7. I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow
  8. Imadoki! Nowadays
  9. Inubaka: Crazy for Dogs
  10. Kingyo Used Books
  11. Maison Ikkoku
  12. Monster
  13. Nana
  14. Oishinbo a la Carte
  15. Ooku: The Inner Chambers
  16. Otomen
  17. Pluto
  18. Sand Chronicles
  19. Saturn Apartments
  20. Sensual Phrase

Some are classics for the ages, some are just what I’ve looked forward to reading lately, but I’ve enjoyed them all. Thanks, Viz!

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8 Comments

  1. Has it really been that long? Now I feel old!

    I was in middle school when I first heard of Viz. I was mail-ordering comics at the time, and the Advance Comics catalogs would have listings for strange titles like “Silent Moebius”. It would be a few more years before my first formal introductions to anime and manga, though.

    Out of the Viz series I’ve read, my absolute favorites of the bunch are Fullmetal Alchemist, Maison Ikkoku, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Oishinbo, Ooku, Phoenix, and Pluto. The early installments of Dragon Ball are also personal faves; I still have my copies of the uncensored monthly issues that Viz published some years ago.

  2. You forgot “Even A Monkey Can Draw Manga” ;-)

  3. Have you ever tried Real? It’s by Inoue Takehiko (Slam Dunk, Vagabond), one of my absolute favs right now, about wheelchair basketball. I never see it in bookstores, so I order it online.

  4. Ed, I was just WAITing for you to say that. Cause it’s a bit of story. I pulled the titles out of my database, and after writing them up, I thought of you and your favorite. I had a brief moment of panic because Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga wasn’t listed — did I sell the book? somehow lose it? No, it turns out that I had it shelved, not with my manga, but with my “how to make comics” books, which aren’t in the database. So yes, that’s a wonderful Viz book — and I hope that somehow, someday we see volume 2.

    Rita, I haven’t read Real. I’m not sure where I should start.

  5. LOL. Because of it’s unusal size, I’ve filed it in odd places on my bookshelf too.

  6. Woops, sorry, forgot I posted here since I forgot to check off email notification. Real is up to around….8-9 volumes right now. I’m not sure how long it will go, but so far the current development of the 3 main characters hasn’t resolved yet, so best would be to start at vol. 1.

    Actually, the way the character development is staggered (they grow (or fall) at different rates) makes it really difficult to start anywhere but at the beginning. Hopefully it’s still at a manageable point for you to begin! I know I’m leery of starting anything Shonen Jump now because of the massive $ required to catch up.

  7. I like Imadoki! Nowadays quite a bit as well, it’s by far my favorite Yuu Wastase series.

  8. [...] most of it right: Viz Media. Although it’s a long-running part of the comic industry, with over 25 years in business, it’s also one of the most forward-looking companies out [...]

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