Naruto Licensed To Bandai America

VIZ Media Llc. announced a master licensing agreement with Bandai America for videogames on Sony-based platforms and trading card games for VIZ Medias new series, Shonen Jumps NARUTO.

Targeting tweens and teens, NARUTO takes place in a world where ninjas hold the ultimate power. Infused with the spirit of a once fearsome nine-tailed fox, Naruto Uzumaki is a ninja-in-training who is learning the art of Ninjutsu with his classmates Sakura and Sasuke. The trio studies under the instruction of their teacher, Kakashi, who helps the group face a series of dangerous and daunting tests and challenges. Through their adventures, the young ninjas learn the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity, ingenuity and right vs. wrong.

We are so excited to be working with Bandai America on NARUTO, they have a very deep understanding of the property and have been key partners in NARUTOs enormous success in Japan. We are confident that Bandai will develop videogames and trading card games that provide a superior game experience for NARUTOs demanding audience, said Cynthia Money, vp of consumer products for VIZ Media.

NARUTO has achieved immense success in Japan. As a master licensee for NARUTO, we are now thrilled to be collaborating with VIZ Media in North America. By combining the rich story of NARUTO with Bandai products that have very unique and exciting game play, we expect huge results! said William Beebe, svp of sales and marketing for Bandai America.

NARUTO, the animated series, will launch on Cartoon Network this fall. The series is co-produced by Shueisha Inc., PIERROT CO. LTD. and TV TOKYO and debuted in Japan in October 2002 on TV TOKYO. NARUTO quickly established itself as one of TV TOKYOs highest rated animated series. Today, it is considered one of the most popular animated shows in Japans history and it has achieved immense success as a manga and TV title as well as a licensed property for toys, trading card games and videogames.

The manga by revered creator Masashi Kishimoto was first introduced into the WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP magazine in Japan in 1999. In 2000, NARUTO was expanded into a series of graphic novels and is currently in its 28th volume, with nearly 50 million copies sold in total in Japan.WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP is published by one of Japans largest publishers, Shueisha Inc., is considered the worlds most successful comic magazine with almost 3 million copies printed weekly in Japan alone. Bandai America Inc. is a subsidiary of Bandai Co. Ltd., the third largest toy company in the world, with 30 subsidiaries in 13 countries worldwide. Global interests include toys and children's entertainment, videogame software, multimedia, music, full-length feature films, vending machines, trading cards, candies and licensed apparel. Bandai America is headquartered in Cypress, California and company information is available at www.Bandai.com.

Headquartered in San Francisco, VIZ Media Llc. is one of the leading companies in the field of manga publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japans largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan Production Co. Ltd. (ShoPro Japan), VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America and a global licensor of Japanese animation. The company offers an integrated product line including, magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, videos, DVDs, audio soundtracks and develops and markets animated entertainment from initial production, television placement and distribution, to merchandise licensing and promotions for audiences and consumers of all ages. For further information, visit www.VIZ.com.

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Rick DeMott
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