Viz Media, LLC, headquartered in San Francisco, is an anime, manga, and Japanese entertainment company. It was founded in 1986 as Viz LLC. In 2005, Viz LLC and ShoPro Entertainment merged to form the current Viz Media LLC, which is jointly owned by Japanese publishers Shogakukan and Shueisha, and Shogakukan's licensing division Shogakukan Productions (ShoPro Japan).
Viz Media was awarded the Manga Publisher of the Year Gem Award by Diamond Comic Distributors in 2007. Viz also received an award for Manga Trade Paperback of the Year for its release of the fourteenth volume of the Naruto series.
By 2002 Viz Communications kept some publications in the original right-to-left format, while in other publications it mirrored pages from Japan's right-to-left reading format to fit the Western left-to-right reading style. During that year Dallas Middaugh, the senior marketing manager of Viz, stated that the left-to-right version of Neon Genesis Evangelion outsold the right-to-left version of Neon Genesis Evangelion on a three to one basis; Middaugh concluded that readers wanted "an easy reading experience." Akira Toriyama, creator of Dragon Ball, requested that his work, labeled as Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z in the Viz versions, be published in the original right-to-left format. Vagabond was printed in right-to-left to preserve historical accuracy. Middaugh said that younger readers of Dragon Ball adapted to the right to left format more easily than their parents.
Viz has censored some of its titles. Some titles, such as Dragon Ball, were published in both censored and uncensored forms.
Shonen Jump is a shōnen manga anthology that debuted in November 2002, with a January 2003 cover date. Based on the popular Japanese anthology Weekly Shōnen Jump, published by Shueisha, Shonen Jump is retooled for English readers and the American audience and is published monthly, instead of weekly. It features serialized chapters from seven manga series, and articles on Japanese language and culture, as well as manga, anime, video games, and figurines. In conjunction with the magazine, Viz launched new imprints for releasing media related to the series presented in the magazine, and other shōnen works. This includes two new manga imprints, an anime DVD imprint, a fiction line for releasing light novels, a label for fan and data books, and a label for the release of art books.
Prior to the magazine's launch, Viz launched an extensive marketing campaign to promote the magazine and help it succeed where other manga anthologies in North America have failed. Shueisha purchased an equity interest in Viz to help fund the venture, and Cartoon Network, Suncoast, and Diamond Distributors became promotional partners in the magazine. The first issue required three printings to meet demand, with over 300,000 copies sold. It was awarded the ICv2 "Comic Product of the Year" award in December 2002, and has continued to enjoy high sales with a monthly circulation of 215,000 in 2008.