Shonen Jump, the popular manga anthology geared to teenage boys, will switch to a weekly digital edition beginning in January 2012.
The downside: Viz Media is going to phase out the print edition of the monthly Shonen Jump anthology. The last issue will be in March 2012.
Viz Media is calling the weekly serial anthology Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha or Weekly SJ Alpha. It will include the popular manga series Bakuman, Bleach, Naruto, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, One Piece, and Toriko. I’m not familiar with all of the series but I’ve reviewed Bleach for GeekDad and highly recommend it. The eldest son chimes in to say that the manga Naruto is very cool as well.
The first issue goes on sale January 30, 2012, and will be available through VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga apps for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It will include the latest chapters of each series only two weeks after they debut in Japan. Currently, Japanese releases are often several months to years ahead of North American print titles.
“Simultaneously publishing an official translation of the most popular comics magazine in the world has been a dream since manga publishing began in North America in the 1980s,” said Alvin Lu, Senior Vice President & General Manager. “This is how manga is meant to be read in English – weekly, current, authorized and on the go.”
Weekly SJ Alpha can be purchased through an annual membership. Forty-eight issues for fifty-two weeks will be $25.99. Single issues can be read for a four-week rental from the time the reader purchases it for only $0.99. That seems like a great bargain especially as a way to try out Shonen Jump. Once received on one device, the issue can be read on all other enabled devices through the integrated VIZ Manga app and website.
To help readers get up to date on the continuing stories in Weekly SJ Alpha, Viz Media is also offering 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 digital speed-up will begin with Naruto Volume 53 (available now) and the upcoming Bleach Volume 49.
Viz also offers a number of titles individual for digital readers. For more information, check VIZManga.com.