Otaku USA Magazine
Get to Know the New Titles in the Viz Originals One-Shots Manga Program

Get to know the first of the Viz Originals One-Shots!

A few days ago, Viz Manga made an exciting announcement: the manga publisher has launched their One-Shots Program, inviting aspiring manga creators to submit their work for publication. As the announcement mentions, some of the most popular titles currently running started as one-shots… and that could be the case for some of this program’s participants!

To kick things off, Viz released four one-shots from the program free on their website. Today, we’re looking at the first of (hopefully) many more Viz Originals One-Shots: what they’re about, who will like them, and how much potential they have for a full series.

(As an aside, we believe all of these creators have the chops to hold down a series—it’s more a matter of whether these particular one-shots feel like there’s more to tell!)


The Stranger

The Stranger

Written and illustrated by Liam Naughton, The Stranger is an interesting blend of paranormal action and romantic drama. Our central figure is Louise, a young woman whose boyfriend turns into a strange, multi-eyed being overnight. These “strangers” possess their source’s memories without their emotional ties, leading them to act vengefully. In her time of need, Louise calls on Grace, a former flame. But there’s something strange about Grace, too…

Who will enjoy it: Fans of action series with hidden depths, like Undead Unluck, will enjoy the mix of exciting fight scenes and hints of worldbuilding.

Chances at a series: While The Stranger could stand alone as a thoughtful, mysterious short story, there’s enough left open to build out both the nature of the strangers and the chemistry of Louise and Grace in long-form.


Skin & Bone

Skin & Bone

This action-fantasy title is a collaboration between Josh Tierney (writer) and Valentin Serber (artist). Skin & Bone takes place in a fantasy world where undead known as Skells are waging war against humanity. When standing against one of these Skells, the cheerful bounty hunter Marr finds unexpected help from the powerful and mysterious Soma.

Who will enjoy it: Lovers of Black Clover and other magic-filled fantasy series will love the mix of action, comedy, and heart that this series brings to the table.

Chances at a series: Skin & Bone unapologetically hints at this being the beginning of Marr and Soma’s adventures together. There’s clearly a bigger story already in the chamber, and we’d love to see it!


Ancient Melody

Ancient Melody

In Ancient Melody, writer/artist Jonathan Lareva brings us a story grounded in both Japanese manga and American art styles, blended to create something truly unique. It takes place in Atlantis, a city divided between a floating island of the elite and ground-level slums. To save his mother’s life (and steer clear of the local mafia), Olan teams up with a courtesan named Mina who wields a magical, musical power.

Who will enjoy it: This one goes out to fans of international co-productions in general: the mash-up of art styles and sensibilities will make you feel right at home.

Chances at a series: The story of Ancient Melody feels like it could serve as a prequel to a larger series. Alternately, any series in this setting feels like it would be enchanting.


Cinematic Certitude

Cinematic Certitude

Writer/artist Naf brings horror and humor together in Cinematic Certitude. Two faceless soldiers on a search-and-rescue mission contemplate life, danger, and being doomed by the narrative. But when push comes to shove, how true are those movie tropes and superstitions? This is a quick, gorgeous read that’s packed with terrifying visuals, intense action, and pitch-perfect humor.

Who will enjoy it: This has the feel of Mamoru Oshii at his strongest: military action with a tongue-in-cheek nod to its own genre.

Chances at a series: Cinematic Certitude feels very much like a one-and-done story, though we’d be more than happy to be proven wrong. However, we’d also love to see an anthology of stories of this type from Naf, perhaps all in this setting!

Find out more about the Viz One-Shots program… and perhaps submit your own!

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.