Athena (qwirky) wrote in bleachness,

Viz will launch Digital "WSJ Alpha" in January + "Digital Warp"

According to Anime News Network, Viz announced at NY Comic Con that it is launching Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha on January 30, 2012. This will be a weekly digital release of the latest chapters of Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, Toriko, Bakuman, and Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan two weeks after their release in Japan.

As explained by ANN: "Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha will be available on and Viz Manga apps for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. An annual membership will cost US$25.99 for 48 weekly issues. (Weekly Shonen Jump takes a few weeks off during the year in Japan.) Single issues will cost US$0.99 for a four-week rental. Any issue on one device can be read on another device with the same user account via or the Viz Manga app."

As most North American fans know, Bleach in North America is ridiculously behind Japan in volumes. Volume 36 is the most recent North American release (Turn Back the Pendulum arc), while Volume 52 was just released in Japan. As such, Viz is also launching "Digital Warp":
"To prepare fans for the debut of WEEKLY SJ ALPHA, Viz Media is also offering the SHONEN JUMP DIGITAL WARP, a limited collection of digital graphic novel speed-ups that will bring North American readers up-to-date with Japanese releases. In some cases, the digital speed-ups will jump ahead of the print releases in North America. The SHONEN JUMP DIGITAL WARP will begin with NARUTO Volume 53 (available now) and BLEACH Volume 49 (coming soon)."

ANN says: "After Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha launches, Viz Media plans to stop publishing the print edition of its Shonen Jump magazine next March with the "farewell April 2012 issue." Viz has been publishing the monthly magazine since 2003."

So basically, Viz is going digital for Weekly Shonen Jump and will cease the print edition next year. New chapters for select WSJ titles will be released in North American digitally two weeks after their release in Japan, and Viz will catch up with the latest Bleach volumes in Japan by skipping Volumes 37-48 to release Volume 49+ digitally (they will still be printing the 37+ volumes physically, just the digital releases will be skipping them). (Volume 49 is the start of the Lost Shinigami Substitute arc.)

Manga fans have been asking for this sort of thing for years, so this is definitely a big step in the right direction. The price seems quite good as well. The only question is whether fans will be patient enough to wait for two weeks? Cynically, I have to wonder, especially since the current scanlations come out a few days before their release in Japan, so this is really like a 2 1/2 week wait. I think one week would've been much better, and two weeks may be pushing it. (This is also not addressing the issue of the quality of Viz's translations, which some find lacking.) Anyway, it seems Viz has finally recognized the importance of getting its releases out there on the Internet soon after the Japanese releases, in an attempt to thwart off the effect of scanlations. One also has to wonder how this will affect scanlations (if some groups will stop scanlating and if Viz will start to use more cease&desists on groups).
Tags: manga, wsj
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