Viz Media’s SuBlime line to focus on yaoi manga

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

VIZ Media, LLC, the largest Japanese manga and anime publisher and licensor in North America, has joined hands with anime shop operator Animate Ltd. and Libre Publishing Co. to introduce the SuBLime line specializing in yaoi–“boys love”–manga, VIZ Media announced.

Yaoi, a popular manga genre among women, deals with romantic relationships between men, often photogenic beaus.

Libre Publishing is a leading company in the field of yaoi manga and novels, and is funded by Animate and other companies.

The U.S.-based company said it will publish manga titles by popular artists including Yuka Nitta and Bora Naono both in print and online worldwide.

As a starter, the portal site will be set up to stream online English-language editions in download-to-own format, with titles being accessible worldwide.
The portal site will start operating in December, with the first round titles including Tarako Kotobuki’s “Love Pistols” and Haruka Minami’s “Danna-sama to Mitsugetsu-chu” (On honeymoon with my master).

Sakae Kusama’s “O-sama no Bed” (King’s bed) will be released in January, followed by Nitro+CHiRAL’s “Sweet Pool” in February.

Print editions will also be available in spring 2012.

VIZ Media was jointly established by Shogakukan Inc., Shueisha Inc. and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions Co.

In recent years, the company has been eager to expand its operations in various fields, forming business tieups with third-party companies.

VIZ Media has been promoting virtual singing idol Hatsune Miku and Mameshiba characters, as well as the “Tiger and Bunny” animated TV series.

As for its printing business, the U.S. company sets its sights not only on manga for young boys and girls, which can expect a large customer base, but also on comics for more adult readers, Japanese science fiction novels and other publications. The new yaoi manga imprint is part of their efforts to make a foray into a smaller adult market.

“The yaoi manga genre enjoys a sizeable and very passionate following, and the launch of SuBLime will give fans around the world an entirely new outlet that will deliver an exciting range of titles,” Leyla Aker, a VIZ Media vice president, said in a news release.
Meanwhile, the new line will serve as a tough competitor for small publishers dealing in yaoi manga. It may serve as a game changer in the field long neglected by major companies.

Visit SuBLime’s portal site (open from December) at (www.sublimemanga.com) and VIZ Media’s official website at (www.viz.com).

Copyright The Asahi Shimbun Company.