VIZ Media to Showcase Netflix’s Live-Action Adaptation of Death Note at Licensing Expo 2017

VIZ Media will be featuring top titles from its broad catalog at the upcoming Licensing Expo 2017. This year, the top highlighted property for merchandising opportunities will be the live-action feature film Death Note, streaming globally Summer 2017 on Netflix. VIZ Media will be located in Booth #J236.

VIZ Media publishes the Death Note manga and anime the film is based on. Both have been continual bestsellers since their debut in the mid 2000’s, captivating millions of fans around the world. The Death Note film will debut globally on August 25, 2017, exclusively on Netflix, and the adaptation is directed by Adam Wingard, starring Nat Wolff, Lakeith Stanfield and Margaret Qualley.

In addition to Netflix’s live action Death Note, VIZ Media will be highlighting the following flagship titles at the show this year:

  • Death Note, the anime inspiration for Netflix’s live action feature
  • Naruto Shippuden, the #1 title in Hulu’s anime category
  • One-Punch Man, the hottest anime debut in 2016
  • Hunter X Hunter, new season coming soon on Adult Swim
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, a multi-generational action-adventure currently airing on Adult Swim
  • Bleach, one of the most successful international multimedia brands

VIZ Media highlights at Licensing Expo 2017 include:

Netflix Original Film Death Note
Based on the famous Japanese manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, Death Note follows a high school student who comes across a supernatural notebook, realizing it holds within it a great power; if the owner inscribes someone’s name into it while picturing their face, he or she will die. Intoxicated with his new godlike abilities, the young man begins to kill those he deems unworthy of life.

DEATH NOTE Anime (Rated “TV-14”)
Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects- and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by Ryuk, a rouge Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal… or his life?

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN (Rated “TV-14”)
Created by Masashi Kishimoto, Naruto was first introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan in 1999 and quickly became one of the most popular manga properties. The manga series (rated “T” for Teens, in print and digital editions) and animated counterpart (Naruto and Naruto Shippuden) are some of VIZ Media’s most successful titles and have captivated millions of fans across North America, Europe and South America.

ONE-PUNCH MAN (Rated “TV-14”)
Nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem – he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on. Every time a promising villain appears, he beats the snot out of ’em with one punch. Can Saitama finally find an opponent who can go toe-to-toe with him and give his life some meaning? Or is he doomed to a life of super-powered boredom?

JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE (Rated “TV-14”)
The legendary Shonen Jump classic (latest season currently streaming) is a groundbreaking series with multiple story arcs whose creation has already spanned 25 years. It’s famous for outlandish characters, wild humor and frenetic battles. Join the Joestar family as they fight the evil Dio and his legacy across continents and time.

HUNTER X HUNTER (Rated “TV-14”)
Hunters are a special breed, dedicated to tracking down treasures, magical beasts and even other people. But such pursuits require a license, and less than one in a hundred thousand can pass the grueling qualification exam. Those who do pass gain access to restricted areas, amazing stores of information and the right to call themselves “Hunters.” Can Gon, a country boy, follow his father and join their ranks?

BLEACH (Rated “TV-14”)
Ichigo Kurosaki was born with the ability to see ghosts. When his family is attacked by a Hollow – a malevolent lost soul – Ichigo encounters a Soul Reaper and absorbs her powers. Now he has dedicated his life to protecting the innocent and helping the tortured souls find peace.

Tubi TV Adds All 366 Episodes of Bleach

Tubi TV has announced the release of a new slate of anime videos, including all 366 episodes of Bleach, which will be available to viewers in the U.S. and Canada in its original Japanese language with English subtitles. Adding to Tubi TV’s growing library of free streaming TV and movies, the series joins other fan favorites such as Hunter X Hunter, Death Note, Bakuman, and Naruto.

Tubi TV partnered with VIZ Media, LLC to make Bleach, among many other anime offerings, available in its entirety to viewers in the U.S. and Canada. The agreement builds further momentum for Tubi TV as the free streaming network continues to grow its library of videos, which includes Oscar-winning movies and Emmy-winning TV shows that span genres from comedy, drama, family & kids, classics and horror, to niche segments such as Korean, Chinese and British TV series.

The Bleach TV show is based on the manga created by Tite Kubo, which has been licensed to more than a dozen countries and has over 75 million copies in print in Japan alone. In North America, the manga has consistently appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list for Manga and the Nielsen BookScan Top 50 Graphic Novels list, selling more than 2.6 million copies across 69 volumes to date.

The Bleach animated series (rated TV-14) has topped the ratings on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and sold over 1.8 million DVDs. This success has further spawned an array of related video games, apparel, action figures, trading cards and other merchandise.

“Our partnership with VIZ Media to stream all 366 episodes of Bleach helps solidify our reputation as a top destination for anime fans,” said Thomas Ahn-Hicks, Tubi TV Co-founder and Head of Strategy and Business Development. “As we continue to snowball our content—in not only anime, but also across a wide spectrum of genres—we’re seeing consumers increasingly flock to Tubi TV as they cut the cord, find content not available on their subscription VOD services, and engage with our unsurpassed collection of free, premium streaming TV and movies.”

Bleach originally aired from 2004-2012 on the TV Tokyo network and was featured a number of times on ANN’s Top 10 “Japanese Anime TV” rankings. The series continues to enjoy a sizable following with an impressive 8.2 rating on IMDb, based on more than 33,000 user ratings. It was also nominated in four categories at the 2007 America Anime Awards.

“For more than thirty years, we’ve brought the finest in manga and anime to English-speaking fans across the world,” said Brian Ige, VIZ Media Vice President, Animation. “This partnership with Tubi TV helps us build on that momentum and expand our audience as more and more viewers around the globe continue to clamor for our unique brand of entertainment.”

In the series, Ichigo Kurosaki never asked for the ability to see ghosts—he was born with the gift. When his family is attacked by a Hollow—a malevolent lost soul—Ichigo becomes a Soul Reaper, dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping the tortured spirits themselves find peace.

VIZ Media Expands the Bleach Anime Series on Blu-ray With the Release of Set 2

VIZ Media announces the latest addition of the Bleach anime series on Blu-ray with the home media release of Set 2 on January 31, 2017.

Bleach Set 2 includes four discs, covering Episodes 28-55, and will carry an MSRP of $54.97 U.S. / $63.99 CAN. Episodes will be available with dialogue selections for dubbed English as well as subtitled, Japanese 2.0 audio, with episodes presented uncut and in their original 4:3 format. Special bonus content includes a “Behind the Scenes of Bleach” segment that features interviews with the English voice cast.

In the latest episodes, having been separated and now pursued by Soul Reapers, Ichigo and his friends race towards the Shishinro Repentance Cell where Rukia awaits execution. With the help of Squad Four’s Hanataro, who risks imprisonment himself, Ichigo is led through an underground sewer system toward her cell. Will Ichigo have the strength to defeat the Soul Reaper Renji, who bars the way? In the midst of the chaos, the sudden murder of one of their own has the Soul Society in upheaval.

In the Bleach anime series, for as long as he can remember, Ichigo Kurosaki has been able to see ghosts. But when he meets Rukia, a Soul Reaper who battles evil spirits known as Hollows, his life is changed forever. Now, with a newfound wealth of spiritual energy, Ichigo discovers his true calling – to protect the world of the living and the dead as a Substitute Soul Reaper. When Rukia is taken away to face the ruthless justice of the Soul Society, Ichigo and his friends must cross over and do battle in the spirit world.

The Bleach animated films and TV series are based on a manga series created by Tite Kubo.

VIZ Media Begins Releasing the Bleach Anime on Blu-ray

VIZ Media unleashes the tense anime action drama of Bleach on Blu-ray for the first time with the home media release of Set 1.

Available now, Bleach Set 1 presents the complete, uncut first 27 episodes of the series on four Blu-ray discs, and carries an MSRP of $54.97 U.S. / $63.99 CAN. Episodes are available with dialogue selections for dubbed English as well as subtitled, Japanese 2.0 audio, with episodes presented in their original 4:3 format.

In the Bleach anime series, for as long as he can remember, Ichigo Kurosaki has been able to see ghosts. But when he meets Rukia, a Soul Reaper who battles evil spirits known as Hollows, his life is changed forever. Now, with a newfound wealth of spiritual energy, Ichigo discovers his true calling – to protect the world of the living and the dead as a Substitute Soul Reaper. When Rukia is taken away to face the ruthless justice of the Soul Society, Ichigo and his friends must cross over and do battle in the spirit world…

“Fans have eagerly anticipated the release of Bleach on Blu-ray, and this summer we invite them to expand their personal anime collections with the release of the first set of this riveting series,” says Charlene Ingram, Senior Marketing Manager, Animation.

The Bleach animated films and TV series are based on a manga series created by Tite Kubo.

Manga Review: “Bleach” Volume 15

Bleach Volume 15 focuses on Ichigo Kurosaki, a 15-year-old boy who has the ability to see ghosts. His life changes when he meets a Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki and accidentally absorbs all of her spiritual power in order to save his family from a Hollow. Unfortunately, Rukia is taken back to Soul Society to face punishment for transferring her powers to a human. She faces execution, and Ichigo and friends go to Soul Society in an attempt to rescue her.

Bleach Volume 15
Written by: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 3, 2006

Volume 15 continues the battle between Uryu and Mayuri, and it also includes some important backstory for Uryu. I appreciated getting to see this backstory, because it helped me to better understand Uryu and his motivations as a character. The climax of their battle is rather surprising, especially Nemu’s reactions to what transpired.

Another important development in Bleach Volume 15 is the training that Yoruichi has Ichigo undergo. While this takes him out of the main action, the point of it is for Ichigo to become stronger and to be better able to fight with Zangetsu. This section also provides an important piece of information about Kisuke Urahara, as well as an amusing bit of humor between Ichigo and Yoruichi. In a lot of respects, this section featuring on the training provides a nice break from the fighting that’s been taking place in Soul Society.

Some of the Soul Reapers find themselves embroiled in the investigation into the murder of Aizen, and this section of the story includes some unexpected twists and turns. This volume begins to shed some light on some of the various Soul Reapers that seemed to start popping up left and right when Ichigo and the others entered Soul Society. If there’s one issue with Bleach at this point, it’s the fact that during this story arc, a whole bunch of new characters started showing up in rapid-fire succession, with little to no character development given to any of them. Fortunately, Volume 15 begins providing some slow but steady development for some of these characters.

At the end of Bleach Volume 15, there’s a standalone story included that takes place in Soul Society in the past. It focuses on Izuru, Momo, and Renji in the elite class as they’re starting out at the Soul Reaper Academy. We get to see them participating in training the World of the Living, and how it goes horribly wrong. This standalone story adds even more development for characters like Momo, Izuru, and Renji, especially in how Gin and Aizen played an important role in a couple of these characters’ lives. It also explains a lot about Izuru’s reaction to something he did in an earlier volume of the series. But my favorite part of this standalone story was getting to see Izuru, Momo, and Renji when they were much younger. Izuru was the most interesting one, though, because he looks so drastically different here than he does in the present time in the series.

While it may not feel like when you’re reading Volume 15, you realize after you’re done that a lot has actually happened and that important pieces of information have been revealed. And with the way this volume ends, it’s becoming clearer that this story arc appears to be rapidly heading toward its climax. And I get the feeling that Ichigo’s training is going to play an important role in the next volume of the series.

Readers who have been reading and following the series from the first volume should be able to appreciate everything that takes place in Bleach Volumr 15. And the way this volume ends, it makes the reader want to continue on in order to find out what’s going to happen to several of the characters.

Manga Review: “Bleach” Volume 65

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Bleach Volume 65 continues to focus on the battle between the Soul Reapers and the Quincies.

Bleach Volume 65
Written by: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: November 3, 2015

Volume 65 sees the continuation of the battle taking place in the Soul Society between the Soul Reapers and the Quincies. Much of the volume focuses on Candice Catnipp, Liltotto Lamperd, Meninas Mcallon, and Giselle Gewelle as they fight against some of the protagonists. But the unexpected arrival of Ichigo starts to turn the tide in the fight with these Quincies.

But the unexpected arrivals don’t end with Ichigo. Several other characters suddenly enter into this part of the story, but the one that affects Ichigo the most is Uryu. You can see the anguish Ichigo feels when he discovers that Uryu is fighting alongside the Quincies. While Ichigo and Uryu may have had their differences in the past, Ichigo still saw Uryu as a friend. I suspect that there’s going to be more of a focus on Ichigo and Uryu at some point in a future volume of Bleach.

For the antagonists, the arrival of Kurotsuchi becomes problematic when he brings along some unexpected allies to help fight against the Quincies. But Giselle has the power to turn dead people into zombies, and this ability creates issues for the Soul Reapers when they see several people they have worked and fought alongside with resurrected as zombies. Not surprisingly, this causes some of the normally brash and battle ready Soul Reapers to hesitate. This emotional conflict for the Soul Reapers is quite understandable and realistic.

There’s one section in this volume that was included for comic relief, but in some respects, it almost feels like it’s out of place. The scene in question has to do with a dress Orihime is wearing and Ichigo’s reaction to it. While the volume needed some kind of comic relief, this scene sticks out like a sore thumb a little too much since it’s the only instance of humor that appears. Maybe it would have felt like it fit in better if there had been some way to incorporate another brief humorous scene.

When it comes to the art, there’s a lot of action scenes included in Bleach Volume 65. Unfortunately, it feels like Kubo has started using this as an excuse to cut corners on the details for all of the panels, not just the ones featuring the action. Kubo had included so much detail in the earlier volumes of Bleach, so these less detailed drawings are on the disappointing side. To me, I think the volume would probably have been a little more interesting to read if the images were more visually appealing.

But if you’re willing to look past the lower quality of the art, then you might be able to enjoy Bleach Volume 65. I can only truly recommend this volume to long-time fans of Bleach who are still interested in following what happens to Ichigo and the others.

The reviewer received a review copy from VIZ Media

Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 26

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Bleach DVD Set 26 contains episodes 355-366 of the series on two DVDs. Audio options include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

Bleach DVD Set 26
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: September 29, 2015

Set 26 contains the final episodes of the series, and it was disappointing to discover that it opens with a filler episode that focuses on New Year’s. The episode was split into two stories, and the first one was absolutely ridiculous and not very funny. The second story tried to make a point, but it wasn’t terribly convincing. It was especially frustrating that the whole point of it was to get Rukia ready to do a special family dance, with an emphasis on her not messing it up and disgracing the family. But when it’s time for her to do the dance, the audience never gets to see it.

Fortunately, the remaining 11 episodes are all composed of canon material from the manga. It was so fascinating to see the actions and fights progressing in a more realistic time frame, and the episodes generally only having a minimal amount of recap. This was such a change from the Hueco Mundo arc, where episodes got to the point where nearly half of them were recaps of the episode right before. There ended up being an unexpected twist that happened during the episodes in this final set, but Ichigo learns some truths and is able to power up in order to bring about the ending for this story arc that the audience would expect to see.

However, the ending of the final episode was rather unsatisfying. It’s basically Ichigo saying, “I’ll see you later,” to Rukia, and then he leaves. But since the anime was canceled while the manga was still ongoing, I guess they couldn’t really come up with any other way to end the series. But now that I’ve seen all of Bleach, I can see why the anime was ultimately canceled. Near the end, there ended up being a lot of pointless filler like the New Year’s episode at the beginning of this set. Also, it didn’t help that the Hueco Mundo arc kept getting interrupted for filler story arcs that would run for almost a year before returning to what was happening in Hueco Mundo.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, the omake are removed from the end of the episodes and collected together in the “Omake” feature that’s included on both discs. The omake for these final episodes just weren’t very good. There was an obvious decline in the animation quality, and it appeared that the animators knew the end of the series was coming and just didn’t care about trying to do quality work for the omake. I didn’t really find any of them to be terribly funny, either.

The bonus features on both discs have the same clean opening and clean ending, since there was only one opening animation and one closing animation that appeared on the episodes in this set. The opening and closing both have options for English subtitles and Romaji subtitles.

“More From VIZ Media” includes the exact same trailers that appear at the beginning of each disc before the menu loads. Not only that, but the trailers used for Bleach Set 26 are the exact same trailers that were used for the previous four sets, which comes across as laziness on VIZ Media’s part.

If you’re a Bleach fan, this set is a “must own” if you want to have all of the episodes that include canon material or want to have the complete series in your anime home video collection.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media