In the wake of the cancellation of its print Shojo Beat manga fan magazine, manga and anime publisher Viz Media will launch IKKI, a new online magazine venture that will be used as promotional vehicle and to launch new works and to solicit feedback on whether to release some titles in print. Named after the Japanese manga anthology of the same name that is published in print form, IKKI will feature similar material found in its Japanese counterpart publication.

In Japan, IKKI magazine serializes seinen manga which caters to young men ranging in age from their late teens to college age and beyond. The American version of IKKI will feature chapters of a variety of seinen manga, but much like their other popular print magazine, Shonen Jump, Viz editors will select the best content for the American audience. The site's address ( refers to Viz's Signature imprint.

“We want to fish out the strongest stuff in there,” Viz Media senior editorial manager Leyla Aker says. Aker tells PW that the IKKI site will also have a “behind the scenes” component with creator interviews and interviews with Japanese editors. IKKI will debut with the first chapter of the poetic series, Children of the Sea by Daisuke Igarashi. An interview with Igarashi is also included in the launch. Future series to be released on the website include Natsume Ono’s House of Five Leaves and the post-apocalyptic Dorohedoro by Q Hayashida.

Chapters of serialized manga will be hosted on the site with each series on a staggered release schedule. All chapters will be hosted on the site and according to Aker, visitors can read all they want. And here is where things get interesting. Viz Media will adopt the Japanese approach to manga series’ and publish in printed, digest form, the most popular stories on the site. The company does something similar with Shonen Jump magazine, using it as a vehicle to highlight a popular series or debut a forthcoming one. Shonen Jump has seen much success in the U.S. with a circulation of approximately 200,000 copies per month.

The IKKI launch comes hot on the heels of the news that Shojo Beat, Viz’s premier magazine for girls and young women, will be folding this summer. While shojo (girl’s) manga has been the bedrock of the company - and of manga’s entry into chain bookstores and rise in popularity in the U.S.--it’s notorious for its limitations in merchandising. Few shojo manga grow into the massive anime, video game, feature-length movie and sequel franchises that are common of shonen (boy’s) manga like Naruto or Death Note.

Whether seinen titles have the same market potential as its younger brother remains to be seen. As it is, the IKKI site that launches today is the beta version. Aker says that the full version of the official site will launch after this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. “We’re dipping our toe in the water," Aker says of the endeavor. “We’ve never done this before. No one has.”