There will be no big party in the streets by all accounts. Yet fans can look forward to special offers and goodies given out as a thank you for for thirty years of support.
However, those deals currently announced are only available to indivduals attending anime conventions across the USA. Kicking off on July 1st-4th 2016, at the Los Angeles Anime Expo, and continuing throughout the summer and autumn season. More on all that when we know further.
What Did Viz Media Ever Do for Us Anyway?
The obvious response is that Viz Media brought us Death Note. Game over and cause to party right there.
However, if we can broaden our horizons for just three seconds, an even greater boon may be discerned. If you're reading from a Western nation then you have a lot to thank the company for in how it's spent those decades. Viz Media is probably the reason that you're here, or have even heard of Death Note.
Even if only indirectly, with Viz acting as the trend-setter company that inspired others elsewhere to follow its lead, bringing Japanese pop culture into your local stores.
It barely seems possible that a time existed when the words 'manga' and 'anime' weren't mainstream in the West. That outside Japan and its immediate neighbouring states, only Eastern ex-pats, Japanese Cultural Studies students, and a scattering of literary sci-fi geeks in any nation could have told you with any certainty what such alien terms described. Or even hazarded a decent guess.
Yet in 1986, when Seiji Horibuchi - a Japanese ex-pat from Shikoku, then living in San Francisco - mooted to friends the notion that he could interest Americans in manga, anime and other cultural mainstays from his homeland, most people laughed. They didn't think readers in the US would go for that at all.
Though obviously the majority first had to ask him what manga and anime were, before getting on with the general amusement and cynicism.
Three decades later, we can say with great certainty that he wiped the smile off their faces. Seiji's efforts through Viz Media - the company he founded to make good his idea and his dream - not only made him extremely rich, it secured a place for manga, anime and all else attached in the American heart and throughout the Western world.
Roland Kelts Puts Viz Media's Achievements in Context
Just in case you haven't already grasped the enormity of Viz Media's impact in the West, Roland Kelts is on hand to spell it out.
As an academic specialising in Japanese Cultural Studies, Kelts is an author; essayist; lecturer at Keio University, Tokyo (and the occasional TED Lecture too); journalist with regular articles and columns in such illustrious publications as Time Magazine, The New York Times, Newsweek Japan and The Guardian; and steering committee member of the Tokyo Think Tank Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation.
He also wrote the acclaimed JapanAmerica (see left), all about how Japanese manga, anime and other pop culture became so big in the USA.
In May 2016, his monthly editorial for The Japan Times was devoted to Viz Media's thirty years as the main instigator of that.
Entitled Viz's 30 Years Pack a Punch in the US (May 14th 2016), Kelts outlines how Seiji Horibuchi pulled it off - from unlikely beginnings in the 1980s through to the legacy left behind by the time he parted company with Viz Media to explore pastures new.
Comparing notes with modern day Chief Marketing Officer Brad Woods, Kelts explores how Viz Media played a key role in the changing face of manga interest and sales throughout the West; touches upon the ever-growing mainstream awareness of Japanese pop culture, and projects how that success may continue into the future.
He's rather excited about how titles like Death Note are discussed as commonplace, particularly within the glittering circles of Hollywood studios executives, telling us that, 'in all the years I’ve watched manga and anime become mainstays in American homes, I’ve never seen a moment quite like this.'
Not bad for a notion mooted by a San Francisco hippy, which turned out to be quite a fabulous one at that. Happy 30th birthday, Viz Media; the celebrations may run worldwide.