Usually I'd keep all the news compacted together in a Roundup article, but these two items are pretty big news pieces for North American fans, and could potentially be big for fans in other regions:
- First off, it looks like fans of "One Piece", and Shonen Jump in general, will finally be getting a legal, official alternative to scanlations (sort of). VIZ announced at NYCC/NYAF 2011 that they will start serializing six of their Shonen Jump series (including "One Piece" of course) in a weekly digital magazine called Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha, starting January 30th 2012. Chapters will be released only two weeks behind their Japanese releases, and the online magazine will only be available to American and Canadian fans. On the flipside, it was not denied that the possibility of closing the two week gap and making the magazine available outside North America was there. It's also possible that later on the magazine could expand past six series. An annual subscription is worth $25.99 for 52 weeks access for each issue, and if you want access to single issues you can do that for $0.99 each issue for four week access. For now Alpha will be available on any Mac or PC with an Internet connection, on the iPad and iPhone/iPad touch through the VIZ Manga app, and any Android phone or tablet with a built-in browser. Unfortunately for fans of the monthly print edition of North America's Shonen Jump, that version will cancelled to make way for this digital iteration. It will end with a special farewell iissue which comes out in stores on March 6th 2012.
More information and official information sources on Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha can be found in the following links:
- It's official, season 4 of the English FUNimation dub of "One Piece" is on it's way. On October 28th, 2011 it was announced on episode 191 of the Unofficial One Piece Podcast that the rights for season 4 of the series were recently acquired for immediate production. Senior Brand Manager Curtis Shaw was on-board the recording to explain the details; the first release for the new episodes is slated for the summer of 2012, and FUNimation has both DVD and BD rights. Season 4 has episodes 206-263; 206 will be in the standard 4:3 format, however episodes 207-263 will be featured in HD at the 16:9 format. Despite the mention of Blu-Ray rights, only a DVD release was mentioned in the press release.
Personally I'm curious about the digital distribution for these episodes, as it was not mentioned at all in the announcement. I'm wondering when we'll see them officially online, and whether they'll be released as soon as they're subtitled, and how soon the dub will be made available online. Of course as is the usual case we can expect to see season 4 on onepieceofficial.com and Hulu at some point.