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Archives for : June2014

NAOKI URASAWA’S MONSTER MANGA SERIES RETURNS TO PRINT IN NEW PERFECT EDITION RELEASE FROM VIZ MEDIA

New Definitive Edition Of The Acclaimed Psychological Manga Thriller Delivers A Tense Crime Drama Filled With Conspiracy, Political Intrigue And Murder

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San Francisco, CA, June 24, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, is proud to announce the release of the ultimate collection of creator Naoki Urasawa’s acclaimed manga (graphic novel) suspense masterpiece. MONSTER: THE PERFECT EDITION, Vol. 1 will debut on July 15th. The new print-only oversized release will be published under the VIZ Signature imprint, is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN.

MONSTER: THE PERFECT EDITION is the ultimate version of the acclaimed psychological crime thriller. This new release features a new translation, re-mastered pages, and a generous amount of full-color content. Future volumes of MONSTER: THE PERFECT EDITION will be released four times a year in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand for a total of nine volumes covering the entire series.

In Naoki Urasawa’s MONSTER, Johan is a cold and calculating killer with a mysterious past, and brilliant Dr. Kenzo Tenma is the only one who can stop him! Conspiracy and serial murder open the door to a compelling, intricately woven plot in this masterwork of suspense. In the first volume of the new PERFECT EDITION, everyone faces uncertainty at some point in their lives. Even a brilliant surgeon like Kenzo Tenma is no exception. But there’s no way he could have known that his decision to stop chasing professional success and instead concentrate on his oath to save peoples’ lives would result in the birth of an abomination. The questions of good and evil now take on a terrifyingly real dimension. Years later, in Germany during the tumultuous post-reunification period, middle-aged childless couples are being killed one after another. The serial killer’s identity is known. The reasons why he kills are not. Dr. Tenma sets out on a journey to find the killer’s twin sister, who may hold some clues to solving the enigma of the “Monster.”

“Naoki Urasawa grabbed the world’s attention with MONSTER, and the series firmly established him among the highest echelons of the manga genre,” says Mike Montesa, Editor. “The definitive MONSTER: THE PERFECT EDITION offers fans that have never read the original version a compelling new way to enjoy this riveting and wonderfully twisted psychological thriller. With its larger trade paperback size, new cover design, and bonus color pages, this new release is also a great way for familiar fans to revisit the renowned series. We look forward to unleashing MONSTER once again upon readers across North America this summer!”

Naoki Urasawa’s career as a manga artist spans more than thirty years and has firmly established him as one of the world’s true manga masters. Born in Tokyo in 1960, Urasawa debuted with BETA! in 1983 and hasn’t stopped his impressive output since. Well-versed in a variety of genres, Urasawa’s oeuvre encompasses a multitude of different subjects, such as a romantic comedy (YAWARA! A Fashionable Judo Girl), a suspenseful human drama about a former mercenary (Pineapple ARMY; story by Kazuya Kudo), a captivating psychological suspense story (MONSTER), a sci-fi adventure manga (20TH CENTURY BOYS), and a modern reinterpretation of the work of the God of Manga, Osamu Tezuka (PLUTO: URASAWA X TEZUKA; co-authored with Takashi Nagasaki, supervised by Macoto Tezka, and with the cooperation of Tezuka Productions).

Many of Urawasa’s works also spawned popular animated and live-action TV programs and films, and 2008 saw the theatrical release of the first of three Japanese live-action films based on 20th CENTURY BOYS. In North America, VIZ Media has published a variety of Urasawa’s manga works including, MONSTER, NAOKI URASAWA’S 20TH CENTURY BOYS, NAOKI URASAWA’S 21st CENTURY BOYS and PLUTO: URASAWA × TEZUKA.

No stranger to accolades and awards, Urasawa received the 2011 and 2013 Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia, and is a three-time recipient of the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award, a two-time recipient of the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize, and has received the Kodansha Manga Award. Urasawa has also become involved in the world of academia, and in 2008 accepted a guest teaching post at Nagoya Zokei University, where he teaches courses in, of course, manga.

For more information on MONSTER: THE PERFECT EDITION, or other manga titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan. Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and INUYASHA, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages. VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products. Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.

TV Asahi’s Music Station giving fans a chance to choose which AKB48 songs to perform on June 27th Special

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On June 27th, for the two hour Music Station special, the group will perform “Labrador Retriever” but for the first time, fans will get the chance to vote on what songs AKB48 will perform next. People can vote on the TV Asahi website or via mail. http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/music/sec/votelive/index.html

AKB48’s Team 4 Captain Minegishi Minami suspending activities temporarily due to health

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Minegishi Minami (21) will not take part in any theater activities temporarily as she is receiving treatment for renal (kidney) cysts which were recently found.  It is unknown on when Minegishi will return.

French Kiss returns with new TV Tokyo show

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AKB48 sub-unit, French Kiss (which consists of Kashiwagi Yuki, Takajo Aki and Kuramochi Asuka) will have a new after-midnight TV show on TV Tokyo featuring the international journeys of the three members.  With the first episode slated for a July 1st airing, the trio will visit Singapore.

The new show will focus on the travel of each French Kiss member to various countries.

JKT48/AKB48 member Takajo Aki hacked on Twitter

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Takajo Aki hacked on Twitter. Someone posted on Takajo’s twitter that she was having dinner with a baseball player. Takajo said she did not post the tweets. The tweets were deleted and investigation is pending.

Fans on the AKB48 forums are saying it’s the curse of being #26 in the General Election, which a few fans think the number is jinxed. So, far those who have been #26 – Hirajima Natsuki and Masuda Yuka have suffered scandals.

Matsu Takako’s version of “Let It Go” continues to be #1 in 12 weeks

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Matsu Takako’s Japanese version of “Let It Go” (“Let it Go -Ari no Mama de-) has achieved a Rekochoku record for being at #1 for 12 weeks (note: not consecutive).

The single which was released back in March 19th was was #1 for nine consecutive weeks and in the last week of May, it dropped to second place and then then back to #1 a week later.

The longest digital track at #1 for consecutive weeks was Thelma Aoyama feat. SoulJa’s “Soba ni Iru ne” which was on top for 11 consecutive weeks on the Recochoku Hatsushu.

JAPANESE POP TEEN IDOL GROUP TOKYO GIRLS STYLE LAUNCHES CROWDFUNDING PROJECT “Let’s Join Hands Together and Make Sunflowers Bloom in San Francisco” FOR 2014 J-POP SUMMIT CONCERT

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San Francisco, CA – In conjunction with their upcoming appearance at the 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival and J-POP LIVE AT UNION SQUARE concert appearance, the Japanese teen pop idol group – Tokyo Girls’ Style – has launched a crowd-funding project dubbed “Let’s All Join Hands to Make Sunflowers Bloom Girls’ Style in San Francisco.”

The fundraiser’s proceeds will help finance a special Tokyo Girls’ Style TV documentary, co-produced with SPACE SHOWER TV Plus, which will document the group’s monumental first-ever U.S. concert with full of Sunflowers at Union Square in San Francisco downtown, as well as present interviews and other special J-POP SUMMIT Festival appearances.

Tokyo Girls’ Style will appear as Guests of Honor for a series of live performances and special personal appearances at the 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival, one of the nation’s largest celebrations of Japanese pop culture, music, fashion and film. The 5-member all-girl dance and vocal group will perform live in concert along with other top pop artists from Japan on the evening of Saturday, July 19th as part of the “J-POP LIVE AT UNION SQUARE,” taking place in city’s downtown Union Square area, and also will perform live on the Pagoda Main Stage in Japantown on the afternoon of Sunday, July 20th. Full J-POP SUMMIT Festival details and updates are available at: www.j-pop.com.

Replica sunflowers will be distributed to concertgoers attending the special J-POP LIVE AT UNION SQUARE Saturday evening performance and Tokyo Girls’ Style will ask the audience to wave them in unison when they sing an English version of their hit song “Himawari to Hoshikuzu” (Sunflowers and Stardust), enveloping the entire area in a sea of sunflowers and summer color. The performance will be captured for a live music video for the documentary.
Pledge “Seeds” start at only $19.00 and Tokyo Girls’ Style will personally thank contributors with a variety of premium items including exclusive behind the scenes performance and backstage photographs, DVDs of the San Francisco concert, and an array of personally autographed items and more. Fans can visit the official J-POP SUMMIT Media Sponsor – Tokyo Girls Update – at: http://tokyogirlsupdate.com/crowd/en/single.php?project_id=286 for additional information on the Tokyo Girls’ Style Sunflower crowd-funding project.

“Tokyo Girls’ Style is one of the hottest pop idol Kawaii groups in Japan and their upbeat songs and dance-driven live show will add an exciting component to the line-up of amazing pop artists we will present this year,” says Seiji Horibuchi, the President/CEO of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. and Chairman of the J-POP SUMMIT Festival Committee. “Music, fashion and film are among the most popular aspects of Japanese pop culture and Tokyo Girls’ Style will exemplify all three throughout the J-POP SUMMIT Festival. We are honored to present the group’s U.S. debut and look forward to fans of all ages giving them a warm welcome on-stage for the concert, on the big-screen for their film premieres and also in-person at the special artist meet-and-greet!”

The smash hit group Tokyo Girls’ Style formed in 2010 and has become a major new force in the bustling Japanese pop music scene. Consisting of 5 teenagers – Ayano Konishi, Miyu Yamabe, Hitomi Arai, Yuri Nakae and Mei Shoji – the group, whose member’s average age was only 15 when they formed, was signed to Avex and released four debut singles within their first year. Tokyo Girls’ Style has gone on to captivate millions of avid fans across Japan with a hook-driven funk and disco sound that is infused with a glossy urban appeal. As of 2012, the group was the youngest female acts to ever headline a concert at Tokyo’s most famous Budokan live hall, has released several hit records in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and also performed live shows in Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

Additional information on Tokyo Girls’ Style is available at: http://tokyogirlsstyle.jp/tokyogirlsstyle_en. Fans can also catch their music videos on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/TokyoGirlsStyle.

About J-POP SUMMIT Festival
Launched in 2009, J-POP SUMMIT Festival is an annual street fair held in San Francisco, CA that celebrates Japanese popular culture. By introducing the latest in Japanese music, film, art, fashion, gaming, anime, food, as well as niche subcultures, the festival has become a prominent platform to showcase the latest pop trends and creative innovations from Japan.

The 5th annual J-POP SUMMIT held in July 2013 welcomed more than 80,000 attendees, making it one of the largest Japanese festivals in the United States. In addition to the original Festival held in Japantown, new attractions include the J-POP LIVE AT UNION SQUARE concert in downtown San Francisco, the Bay Area’s premier dedicated Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, and sake-tasting and fine foods events at the POP GOURMET Food Festival, which have each further enriched the experience. Additional information about J-POP SUMMIT Festival is available at: J-POP.com.

The unveiling of the new AKB48 Team Surprise

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Back in 2012, to commemorate the release of the Pachinko AKB48 game machine and a tie-in with Pachinko company Kyoraku, 16 senbatsu members of AKB48 would form a special team known as “Team Surprise” and a total of 16 songs featured in the pachinko game will be released each week via a CD+DVD single beginning of September 2012.

Fast forward to 2014 and a new Team Surprise unit has been formed and will included former AKB48 members Oshima Yuko, Shinoda Mariko and Itano Tomomi who will join current AKB48 members Takahashi Minami, Sashihara Rino, Watanabe Mayu, Shimazaki Haruka, Kashiwagi Yuki, Kojima Haruna, Kitahara Rie, Watanabe Miyuki, Yokoyama Yui, Matsui Rena, Yamamoto Sayaka, Takajo Aki and Suda Kaori.