VIZ Media, LLC, headquartered in San Francisco, is a manga, anime, and Japanese entertainment company. It was founded in 1986 as VIZ LLC. In 2005, VIZ LLC and ShoPro Entertainment merged to form the current VIZ Media LLC, which is jointly owned by Japanese publishers Shueisha, Shogakukan, and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions (ShoPro).
When Shueisha became a joint owner of Viz Media in 2002, both Shogakukan and Shueisha began to release manga exclusively through Viz. Shueisha's deal with Viz may have been prompted by competition with Raijin Comics, a rival manga publisher created in 2002 by editors and artists who had split off from Shueisha, taking their properties with them. Some exceptions to this exclusivity exist, however: Shueisha permitted DC Comics's subsidiary CMX Manga to license Tenjho Tenge (although it was later re-licensed and re-released by VIZ Media) and Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne, permitted Dark Horse Comics to license Gantz, Lady Snowblood, Shadow Lady, The Monkey King, and recently Yasuhiro Nightow's Blood Blockade Battlefront and CLAMP's Gate 7. Shueisha also permitted Seven Seas Entertainment to license Hayate X Blade, and permitted Tokyopop to license Kodocha, Marmalade Boy and Digimon Next.
Shogakukan permitted the now-defunct ComicsOne to license Wounded Man - The White Haired Demon, permitted Dark Horse Comics to license Crying Freeman (even though it was previously licensed by VIZ) and recently New Lone Wolf and Cub (however, this is because Dark Horse has the original series and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and permitted Hachette Book Group's subsidiary Yen Press to license Azumanga Daioh and Cirque du Freak (however for Cirque du Freak, this is because their sister company publishes the original novels. For Azumanga Daioh, Yen Press's license of the manga was a month before Shogakukan reprinted the manga in May 2009, resulting in a change of license holders from ASCII Media Works (when Yen Press announced the license) to Shogakukan (when Yen Press released it).
On December 17, 2008, Viz Media announced that starting on April 1, 2009, Warner Home Video would be handling the distribution of both its new and existing catalog releases. Viz itself is still the licencor and will do all production, while tapping the distribution powerhouse that distributes the works of other major companies such as BBC, National Geographic Channel, and Cartoon Network. Viz President and CEO Hidemi Fukuhara stated that he believes the partnership will help the company grow its anime holdings more effectively.
On February 20, 2009, Viz Media laid off an unknown number of employees in order to help be more streamlined to face the current economic climate. On May 11, 2010, VIZ Media again laid off a number of workers, 60 this time, again in order to try and become more streamlined. This time they released a press release claiming that none of their current product lines would be affected.
In April 2012, it was announced that the Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Viz Media Ken Sasaki would be succeeding executive producer Hidemi Fukuhara as President and CEO; Fukuhara will subsequently take up the position of Vice-President at the end of the month.
- ↑ About Our Company
- ↑ Shueisha Buys Equity Interest in Viz
- ↑ WHV to Distribute Viz Media Anime
- ↑ Viz Media Restructures with Some Employee Layoffs
- ↑ Viz Media Lays Off Up to 60, Closes NY Branch (Updated)
- ↑ Viz: No Product or Business Line Cancellations Planned (Updated)
- ↑ Viz Media Names Ken Sasaki President and CEO