Viz Media Partners with U.S. Soccer Federation

May 12th 2006
New Original Title Recounts the Action that Placed U.S. National Team
into the 2006 FIFA World Cup

San Francisco, CA, MAY 12, 2006 – Viz Media, LLC (Viz Media), one of
the
entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive manga and
animation licensing and publishing companies, has announced that it
will
publish an original sports manga that commemorates one of the U.S.
Men's
National Soccer Team's most notable victories.

The new graphic novel, titled NEXT STOP: GERMANY / THE MANGA, is being
written, illustrated, and published by Viz Media and will be given away
to fans as a special premium at the final three Men's National Team
games before the team departs for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The games,
dubbed the Send-Off Series, will be held on May 23, 2006, in Nashville,
TN, May 26 in Cleveland, OH, and May 28 in Hartford, CT. At this time,
the only way fans may obtain this special manga is to attend the games.

The manga depicts a legendary game in September 2005 in which the USA
earned the right to compete in the 2006 FIFA (Federation Internationale
de Football Association) World Cup in Germany with a 2-0 victory
against
Mexico in front of a sold-out crowd of 24,685 fans at Columbus Crew
Stadium in Columbus, OH. After a scoreless first half the USA scored
two
goals within a six-minute span to qualify for its fifth consecutive
World Cup. This was the first time since 1934 that the U.S. was the
first team from the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America
and Caribbean Association Football) region to qualify for the World
Cup.

The drive to publish this new title developed out of the momentum
generated by the successful release of Viz Media's soccer-themed sports
manga, WHISTLE!, which depicts the attempts by a young boy to overcome
adversity and become the star member of his junior high school soccer
team. After being impressed with the title, the USSF approached VIZ
Media with the idea to develop an original manga
title that could illustrate the action and drama of international
soccer
and increase interest in the team. Sports manga is a growing phenomenon
among readers of all ages and Viz Media publishes several popular
series
THE PRINCE OF TENNIS, EYESHIELD 21, about football, and CRIMSON HERO,
about volleyball.

“We are pleased to partner with the USSF to offer a new and original
manga title that depicts all the edge-of-the-seat excitement of
professional soccer,” states John Easum, Executive Vice President of
VIZ
Media. “Sports manga is finding a niche among a quickly expanding fan
base in North America and Viz Media is proud to offer a several
compelling series built around a variety of sports. We look forward to
this new title providing a medium to promote the upcoming World Cup,
the
sport of soccer and the manga genre.”

“Like the sport of soccer, the manga genre is one of the fastest
growing entertainment genres among the youth of America, and we are
thrilled to team with Viz Media to bring U.S. Soccer into the world of
manga with such a well-produced and original piece of work,” said Jim
Moorhouse, Director of Communication for U.S. Soccer. “We think our
fans
will enjoy discovering NEXT STOP: GERMANY / THE MANGA and adding it to
the American soccer lexicon. I have no doubt it will quickly become a
fan favorite.”


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.

About U.S. Soccer
As the governing body of soccer in all its forms in the United States,
U.S. Soccer has helped chart the course for the sport in the USA for
close to 95 years. In that time, the Federation's mission statement has
been very simple and very clear: to make soccer, in all its forms, a
preeminent sport in the United States and to continue the development
of
soccer at all recreational and competitive levels. To that end, the
sports growth in the past two decades has been nothing short of
remarkable. From player and facility development to hosting World Cups,
U.S. Soccer has helped to build a platform on which the future of the
sport has never been more secure.

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