It seems VIZ is taking a page from the japanese book publishing industry and will begin publishing fiction novels about popular manga and anime properties. They have made the books into their own line called "Fiction Imprints" that VIZ will begin releasing in the Fall orf 2005.
Among the titles that will be released will be novelizations of popular action and science fiction titles such as FULL METAL ALCHEMIST, GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE and STEAMBOY, all to be published under the VIZ Media brand. Two additional Fiction Novels aimed at female readers include SOCRATES IN LOVE, the best-selling Japanese novel of all time, and KAMIKAZE GIRLS and will be published under the newly launched "Shojo Beat Fiction" imprint. This summer, VIZ Media will debut the live action film of KAMIKAZE GIRLS to audiences in North America. The film drew critical acclaim in Japan and was based on this original novel. VIZ Media first began offering novelizations based on popular manga series in 1999, when it published Koushun Takami's modern day pulp classic, BATTLE ROYALE. The unique presentation and unprecedented success of the title was a driving force behind this latest expansion of the library.
The Fiction Novels present narratives featuring the same characters and storylines that mirror those in the manga or anime counterparts. However, the novels often expand the characters and stories depicted, providing greater insights into the background of many notable plot points.
"Good stories are extremely versatile and the expansion of our library of Fiction Novels continues to demonstrate how the plots and characters portrayed in various anime and manga titles can transcend the original medium to be depicted in a variety of formats," said Liza Coppola, vice president of sales and marketing for VIZ Media. "We are pleased to publish a variety of novels that will appeal to young readers, fans of science fiction, action and shÃ´jo stories."
The First Wave of these Novelizations will be released in the Fall of 2005. They include these books:
FULL METAL ALCHEMIST: THE LAND OF SAND
Written by Makoto Inoue
Release date: October 2005
FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST is currently one of the hottest anime and manga properties in North America. The manga's popularity has placed it on several national literary best seller lists and inspired a top rated 51-episode anime series that currently airs on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. This novelization, written by Makoto Inoue, is aimed at younger manga fans and depicts the adventures of Edward and Alphonse as they try to use an alchemy technique called "human transmutation" to raise their mother from the dead with tragic consequences. Now beset with mutated mechanical bodies as a result of the accident, the two brothers set out to find the fabled "Philosopher's Stone," an object of immeasurable power and the only thing that can return the siblings to their natural states.
GHOST IN THE SHELL: INNOCENCE–AFTER THE LONG GOODBYE
Written by Masaki Yamada
Release date: October 2005
This dynamic novel by Masaki Yamada serves as the prequel to the GHOST IN THE SHELL: INNOCENCE full color Ani-Manga box set released by VIZ Media earlier this year. Originally serialized as a manga in the pages of Japan's popular anime monthly, Animage, GHOST IN THE SHELL: INNOCENCE AFTER THE LONG GOODBYE depicts a vivid and futuristic world where the line between humans and machines has been blurred almost beyond distinction. Humans have forgotten that they are human, and those that are left coexist with cyborgs and dolls. Action and mystery ensure with many of the familiar characters from the critically acclaimed series of anime films by master director Mamoru Oshii.
Includes B&W and Color Illustartions by Shinji Kimura, art dairector of the Steambot movie.
Release date: December 2005
Based on the hit movie from Katsuhiro Otomo, director of the groundbreaking animated feature AKIRA, STEAMBOY is the story of Ray Steam, a resourceful young inventor whose father and grandfather have harnessed the ultimate energy source, a form of steam that can either revolutionize the worldâ€”or destroy it. Set in Otomo's futuristic vision of Victorian England, the novel is aimed at older readers and follows Ray's struggle to prevent his family's steam ball invention from falling into the wrong hands and leveling the city of London. Relive the excitement of the movie in the pages of this vivid novelization which includes black-and-white and color illustrations by Shinji Kimura, art director of the STEAMBOY movie.
The following titles will be offered by VIZ Media's "Shojo Beat Fiction" Imprint.
SOCRATES IN LOVE
Written by Kyouichi Katayama
Release date: October 2005
Socrates in Love took the Japanese publishing industry by storm, becoming the all-time best selling novel in Japan! Finally, U.S. readers will be able to experience the phenomenon that became the inspiration for a blockbuster movie, a hit TV show, and a popular manga. A national sensation that touched over three million readers, Kyouichi Katayama brought innocent love and romance to the forefront of Japan's ultra-hip mass market.
Affectionately known as "Sekachu" in Japan, Katayama's novel depicts a sweet high school romance between an average guy and a beautiful girl. But tragedy ensues when the girl falls ill with leukemia. Socrates in Love is a bittersweet tale of young love, enduring devotion, and heartbreaking love loss.
Written by Novala Takemoto
Release date: February 2006
Life in the boondocks of rural Ibaraki prefecture is anything but glamorous, and to escape her humdrum existence, Momoko, a "Lolita," fanaticizes about French rococo, dreams of living in the palace of Versailles, and decks herself out in the finest (and frilliest) of 18th century haute couture from an expensive Tokyo specialty store. Her dreams of an idyllic existence are rudely interrupted by the appearance of Ichigo, a tough-talking "Yanki" motorcycle-chick (on a tricked-out moped) who leads a girls-only biker gang known as the Ponytails. Together, this unlikely duo strikes out on a quest to find a legendary embroiderer, a journey that takes them to back-alley pachinko parlors, chic boutiques, and epic bike-punk battles. Novala Takemoto's hit novel KAMIKAZE GIRLS, already a cult-classic in Japan and the inspiration for an internationally acclaimed film of the same name, is more than a quirky coming-of-age picaresque, it's a new way of life.
From the loks of this, the way that this will go is it will probobly leave open a marketing window to bring over Shueisha and Weekly JUMP's "Jump J Books" line which features novelizations and original stories of One Piece, Dragonball, Rurouni Kenshin, and Jojo's Bizzare Adventure among others (Crossing fingers for english versions of Jojo books) Anyone got any thoughts?