VIZ and new partner launch line of anime and manga-related goods

Here’s the latest news from VIZ Media which could mean less money in the pockets of the anime and manga addicts out there.

“VIZ Media announced a partnership with Zazzle to launch a new line of J-Pop, manga and anime-inspired apparel, stationery, and other items. VIZ Media’s J-Pop Style Stop at Zazzle is located at www.zazzle.com/vizmedia and offers a variety of visually compelling and original designs inspired by a love of Japanese pop culture available on an on-demand basis with most products produced within 24 hours of ordering.

The Zazzle partnership represents VIZ Media’s first foray into the ‘on-demand’ arena and is focused initially on several original (non-licensed) designs. The result will allow fans and the general public to show their enthusiasm for Japanese pop culture in a unique way with fun designs. The partnership is the initial phase of a larger projected product rollout with Zazzle that will tentatively include shojo (female)-focused fashion designs and other special designs to come in 2009.

The first VIZ Media design phase offers graphics that are available through Zazzle.com on T-shirts, note cards, real US postage, bags, and other fun items. The program allows fans and the general public alike to show their adoration for manga and anime by being able to choose from some great designs and customize them to their liking. This first phase of designs will include graphics with wording such as a manga panel that says ‘I Love Manga’ and a similar one that says ‘I love Anime’, available on T-shirts, note cards, stamps, bags and more.

Digital printing is considered the leading technology for on-demand apparel customization. It provides literally millions of colors and makes it affordable to manufacture even a single item, as opposed to other more cumbersome processes, which offer a limited color palette and often require the customer to order in bulk quantities because of high setup costs.

This partnership is just the first step for VIZ Media into the original design and the ‘on demand’ world – both of which will better serve fans old and new. This launch is the beginning of a projected ‘bigger picture’ rolls out with Zazzle, which ultimately may include more shojo-focused fashion designs, bigger statement ‘otaku’ (fan of anime and manga) designs and additional popular designs

Some of the new J-Pop designs were also included in the official gift bags that were distributed to the talent that presented and performed at the 2008 SPIKE TV Video Game Awards in December, where the VIZ Media-licensed video game, Ubisoft’s Naruto: The Broken Bond, was one of the nominees for Best Game Based on a Movie or TV Show.”

News from VIZ Media

VIz Media sent me this announcement today.

“Blue Dragon”, the fantasy action series based the Xbox 360 role playing video
game, is now available on DVD. Volume 1, which contains five episodes, hit store shelves this week and has a price tag of $14.98.

As the company’s press release tells it: The “Blue Dragon” animated series is a classic adventure story of magical Shadow powers, flying air fortresses, and unbounded heroism!

Brought together by fate, Seven Soldiers of Light must awaken the Shadow within themselves in time to overcome a despotic power and bring peace to their land. Their ensuing journey through a rich fantasy world is also an internal journey to awaken the great power within each of them.

The Xbox 360 game “Blue Dragon” was developed by Hironobu Sakaguchi who is the creator of Final Fantasy.

The game and animated series feature characters designed by Akira Toriyama, the creator of the Dragon Ball series of manga .

Bleach movie licensed

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Here’s the latest news from the land of “Bleach”, the popular action anime about soul reapers.

VIZ Media based in San Francisco has secured the license for “Bleach the movie: Memories of Nobody!! According to the company’s press release, the film will have a limited theatrical release in major cities throughout North America this summer with the DVD release to follow in the winter.

“Bleach” is a popular ongoing shonen series in Japan which is based on an equally popular manga by Tite Kubo. In America, the anime airs on Adult Swim.

“Bleach” has also spawned several video games but I haven’t played those so I can’t tell you how they rate with me.

Do I like the show and manga? Hmmm. The main character, Ichigo Kurosaki, is on this blog’s design, my car’s rear window sports Ichigo’s temporary soul reaper logo and dangling from my bag is the character Kon who is a modified soul kept in a stuffed toy. Yeah I like “Bleach.” A lot.

If ya need more info, the “Bleach” Web site is bleach.viz.com or www.viz.com.

God of War. Enough said.

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This is the reason I haven’t been sleeping much lately or why I’ve given short shrift to anime this week. My younger cousin was so into this game when it first came out and one of my guy friends was so wowed by the sequel, he bought this game. So what am I babbling about?

“God of War” of course which is a very bloody tale of one man’s tragic dealings with certain Greek gods. You play Kratos, this buffed former Spartan captain who went into the service of Ares and lived to regret it.

I love games where I wield powerful weapons, attack evil monsters and solve puzzles. I loathe saving damsels in distress though. I figure they need to save themselves.

Anyway this game ROCKS. The photo is courtesy of someone nice enough to post pictures of the game online. I’m just borrowing it. Thank you kindly sir or madam.

Being a four-footed deity

I haven’t watched any new anime episodes lately since I’ve been tied up playing, “Okami”, a game that was such a huge hit in Japan. It rocks! I’m not even finished playing it.

Since I didn’t have $600 for the new Playstation 3, I bought a Playstation 2 instead. My old one was broken when a relative dropped it last summer. May he be hurled to one of the Buddhist hells where a demon will poke him in the ribs with sharp broken bits of PS2 or force him to play a game where he has to start all the way at the beginning if his character dies.

Anyway, back to “Okami.” You play Amaterasu, the sun goddess, except you are in the form of a wolf or okami. You can’t talk and a traveling artist the size of a bug tags along with you as a sidekick. You wield the Celestial Brush and learn different brush techniques that revive the cursed land, defeat foes plus solve the problems of man and beast in Nippon. In return, they give you praise, money and bottles of ink. Rack up the praise because you become a more powerful deity that way.

The game looks like an old Japanese painting. Animals, people and backgounds seem to be drawn by a brush. You gotta see it for yourself.

I’m midway through the game. Once I’m done with “Okami”, I’ll finish the first “Full Metal Alchemist” game where my character can transmute things into weapons. “Full Metal Alchemist” is one of the better animes out there by the way. But I’ll talk about that later. Have to be a four-footed deity right now and beat some nefarious imps.

To buy or not to buy, that is the question

This isn’t anime-related but what the heck.

One of my friends was raving about this new role playing video game called “Okami” which was a huge hit in Japan. You get to play a white wolf that solve puzzles, fights, the works. The graphics are amazing. It looks like an ancient Japanese painting. He gave it a 10 and he’s picky. Game reviewers also give it a thumbs up.

I am so tempted to buy a PS2 next weekend just to play this game.

I haven’t played any games since last summer because someone who shall remain nameless – you know who you are – dropped our PS2 and damaged it. I thought I could just save money and wait for the PS3 this year. Doesn’t look like I’ll be able to swing that so …..

Anybody know of a place where they sell a Playstation 2 for less than $100?