In recent days, Viz Media announced at the New York Comic Con that publication of Shonen Jump magazine will end in March of next year with a “farewell April 2012 issue”. It’s end will mark the unveiling of a new online magazine called Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha.
At least three of the titles from Shonen Jump’s most recent issue, Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece will be carried over into this new publication. Shonen Jump has been publishing several online titles since 2010, but so far they have been supplements only available to current magazine subscribers.
The publication has been in print since Viz first launched the American version of Shuesha’s Weekly Shonen Jump in November 2002, following the release of “Issue 0” in July of the same year. Manga titles from it’s nearly decade-long run have included Dragonball Z, Yu-Gi-Oh!, One Piece, Bleach, Yu Yu Hakusho, Shaman King, and arguably its most popular title, Naruto.
Truly, these are sad days for American manga/anime fans. While various individual mangas are still in print (or reprint in some cases) in the U.S., Shonen Jump was one of the only regular manga publications in the U.S., introducing a fresh American audience new stories, new characters, and a new style of writing and illustrating. Introduced at the start of American interest in anime, it rode on a wave of newfound popularity, and kept building with every new title brought over. And for a time, sales of Shonen Jump and other manga titles outpaced American comic book giants. But as overall popularity waned, other similar publications fell short and came to an end. And now Shonen Jump, the publication that started a cultural revolution, has become another victim of changing times.
Hopefully, the publication will find new life in this new online format. Best of wishes to Viz Media on their new endeavor. Ganbatte!
-M.C., the Quantum Twin