Manga News Roundup | Bleach Goes on Sick Leave, Viz Goes Same-Day Digital

August is usually a slow time in the publishing world, because everyone goes away on vacation, but this month is a bit different: Viz and Digital Manga expand their digital initiatives, Bleach skips a chapter because creator Tite Kubo is under the weather, and several series come to an end in Japan. Read on for all the details!

Mayu Shinjo speaks! Viz has set up a Shojo Beat Facebook page, and in addition to providing a space for fans to chat about their favorite books, they are also posting some interesting articles. The latest is an interview with Ai Ore creator Mayu Shinjo, who says she does plan to continue the series beyond volume 8 and talked a bit about Akira and her characters in general:

I had never drawn a cute boy—a boy with a cute face—before as a main character, so I wanted to give it a try. And I get bored if I keep drawing the same kind of character over and over again. But there are some things that you mustn’t change. He still has to be cool... Inside he’s the same as my other men: he’s rather aggressive and manly, a strong fighter, and sexy too. Those things I don’t want to change. In that sense, the only thing I changed was his appearance.

Viz goes same-day digital: Viz Media announced this week that several of their series will be available in digital format the same day the print books hit the shelves. This week's digital releases include vol. 13 of Bakuman, vol. 44 of Bleach, vol. 5 of Dawn of the Arcana, and vol. 9 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. The digital manga usually sells for $4.99 a volume, about half the price of print, but Viz has everything on sale for 20% off (meaning most volumes are $3.99) through August 20.

Digital Manga goes even more digital: Meanwhile, Digital Manga continues to live up to its name by expanding to more and more digital platforms. Just this week, they announced that their books will be available in the iBookstore, via Wowio, and on DriveThruComics. This last one is the way to go if you like to keep your comics in a stand-alone format, because they sell the comics as PDFs that are not tied to any particular service or reader.

Manga hits the best-seller lists: Volume 6 of Sailor Moon was the number 2 book on Nielsen BookScan's list for July, topped only by Batman: Earth One. Recent volumes of Naruto, Rosario + Vampire: Season II, Vampire Knight, and Black Butler also made the BookScan top 20, which reflects sales in bookstores. On the other hand, only one manga made Barnes & Noble's most recent top 100 list: Volume 9 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. Two other Viz books were in the top 1000, though: Vol. 28 of Skip Beat and vol. 10 of Dengeki Daisy. This is impressive because these books are being measured against sales of all books, not just other graphic novels.

Bleach takes a break: The upcoming issue of the Japanese Shonen Jump will not include a chapter of Bleach because creator Tite Kubo is taking a few sick days. The news was announced in an editor's note that assured readers the series will be back for the August 20 issue. While the note did not specify Kubo's illness, the manga-ka's Twitter status reads "My likes include interior design. My dislikes include pneumonia." And he can't be too sick, because he was healthy enough to get Dragon Quest and play a few games on the day it came out.

All good things must come to an end: We got word that several series are winding up their run in Japan: Black Bird will be ending soon (although not in September, as originally reporterd) and Natsume Ando is putting the finishing touches on Arisa in the September issue of Nakayoshi. Dance in the Vampire Bund will reach its final episode in the Sept. 5 issue of Comic Flapper.

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