Publishers Weekly is reporting that for the second time in a little over a year, VIZ Media has cut a sizable portion of their staff. While exact numbers have not been confirmed by VIZ, the company has laid off as many as 55 people from their San Fransisco branch and closed their five-member New York office. Prior to the layoffs, the company employed about 150 staff members.

VIZ publishes many popular titles including Naruto, Dragon Ball and Bleach via their Shonen Jump line as well as Honey and Clover, Vampire Knight, and Ouran High School Host Club via their Shojo Beat brand. VIZ has not made any announcements as to whether the recent layoffs will affect publishing dates for any of their titles, but we have contacted them and are awaiting comment.

These most recent layoffs continue to highlight the fact that after years of success, the North American manga industry continues to see slowing sales. Many of the major manga publishing outfits have seen considerable staff reductions in the last few years while others such as ADV and Broccoli closed their doors entirely. A faltering general economy has not helped the situation as many people have far less or no disposable income as compared to the mid-2000’s. Hopefully, as the economy as a whole re-strengthens, we’re also nearing the end of the post-bubble contractions, and a stable graphic novel market will resume its course.

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