Viz Launches Shonen Jump Home Video

Oct 14th 2005
VIZ MEDIA TO LAUNCH SHONEN JUMP HOME VIDEO LINE

NARUTO and HIKARU NO GO Coming to Home Video!

San Francisco, CA, October 14, 2005 – Viz Media, LLC. (Viz Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive manga and animation licensing and publishing companies, announced today the further expansion of its popular SHONEN JUMP brand with the launch of the SHONEN JUMP Home Video Line. This new line will offer several highly anticipated anime titles on DVD, based on popular series' that originally appeared in the SHONEN JUMP monthly manga anthology. The first two titles offered will be HIKARU NO GO in December 2005 and NARUTO in March 2006.

The first HIKARU NO GO, volume 1, “Descent of the Go Master,” will debut December 27 with an MSRP of $24.98. NARUTO Volume 1, “Enter Naruto,” is due out on March 28, 2006 with an MSRP of $19.98.

The unparalleled success of the SHONEN JUMP Magazine encouraged Viz Media to continue its momentum with the extension of some of the most popular titles into the home video and entertainment arenas. Since its debut in January 2003, SHONEN JUMP has built a monthly circulation of almost 200,000, making it the most successful and widely read monthly manga anthology of its kind in North America. A popular line of dedicated SHONEN JUMP graphic novels includes titles like NARUTO, HIKARU NO GO, BLEACH, ONE PIECE, DRAGON BALL Z and YU-GI-OH!, all of which were either originally serialized or previewed in the magazine. SHONEN JUMP manga are consistently rated as top sellers and have sold more than 2.7 million copies to-date in North America.

With over 75 animated episodes and an established licensing program that includes publishing, home video, video games, trading cards, toys, apparel, and other accessories, HIKARU NO GO is a major success in Japan and Viz Media is creating a similar trend in North America. HIKARU NO GO focuses on the ancient strategy game of Go, which has become fashionable among many young people in Japan. When the story's main character, Hikaru Shindō, finds an ancient Go board in an attic, he becomes captivated by it, and the accompanying ghost of an ancient Go master who becomes his sidekick and guide. Hikaru embarks on a quest to become the best Go player in the world. Over 22 million copies of the manga have been sold to-date with other related merchandise generating more than $55 million in revenue in Japan.
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NARUTO is one of the hottest properties in Japan and its popularity has spread to North America with the publication of the graphic novels, published by Viz Media. NARUTO also recently became Cartoon Network's latest smash hit when it debuted on September 10th. The first manga volume of NARUTO has ranked in the Top 50 Graphic Novels for 110 weeks in a row since its debut in August 2003. The series, which follows the adventures of a young ninja in training, has sold more than 50 million copies in Japan.

Viz Media is the exclusive distributor of the NARUTO anime series through SHONEN JUMP Home Video. In anticipation of the growing interest in this property, Viz Media also recently announced an exclusive licensing agreement with Hot Topic to offer an array of related apparel and accessories through its retail outlets nationwide.

"Viz Media is pleased to announce the launch of the SHONEN JUMP Home Video Line and the acquisition of these exceptional series.” states Anthony Jiwa, director of marketing for Viz Media. “The phenomenal success of SHONEN JUMP magazine and graphic novels confirm the tremendous equity and visibility that exists with this brand. SHONEN JUMP Home Video will allow us to further grow these properties to their fullest potential and expand their popularity through a variety of cross promotional and related marketing and licensing endeavors.”

About Viz Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Viz Media, LLC (Viz Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan's largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha, Inc., Shogakukan, Inc., and Shogakukan Production Co, Ltd. (Sho-Pro 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 manga and 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.

Contact Viz Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and web site at www.VIZ.com.

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