VIZ Media Names Bandai America as Key Toy Licensee for Blue Dragon™ Anime Series

Jun 19th 2007
Leading Toy Manufacturer Will Develop Innovative Product Line To Support Highly Anticipated Anime Series Based On Popular Xbox 360 Video Game
New York, NY - JUNE 19, 2007 – Viz Media, LLC (Viz Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, announced at the 2007 Licensing International Expo that Bandai America, Incorporated has been named as the toy licensee for products based on BLUE DRAGON™, a highly anticipated new anime series based on the popular Microsoft Xbox 360 Role Playing Game. Earlier this year, Viz Media was named the master licensor for the television, home video and non-video game merchandising rights for BLUE DRAGON by a consortium including TV TOKYO Corporation and Shueisha, Inc, for the Americas, Europe and Oceania.

The Xbox 360 game “BLUE DRAGON” was developed by Hironobu Sakaguchi (the creator of Final Fantasy) and also features character designs by Akira Toriyama, the creator of the best-selling DRAGON BALL series of manga (which is published in North America by Viz Media and also featured in SHONEN JUMP Magazine). The BLUE DRAGON anime series had an enthusiastic debut in Japan on TV Tokyo on April 7, 2007 and is produced by Studio Pierrot, which is well known for its work on NARUTO™ and BLEACH™, also licensed by Viz Media. The BLUE Dragon Video game has already established itself in Japan as one of Microsoft's hottest releases in the RPG category and will be released in North America and Europe in August 2007.

Bandai America will bring its extensive design and manufacturing resources to bear to develop an exciting and must-have line of toys and products to support BLUE DRAGON,” states Shodo Omatsu, President & COO, Bandai America Incorporated. “This property extends the most exciting attributes of video gaming and anime and represents a wide range of possibilities for the development of products designed for fans of all ages. We look forward to working with Viz Media to make BLUE DRAGON a success.”

The BLUE DRAGON anime series is a classic adventure story of magical Shadow powers, flying air fortresses, and unbounded heroism. Brought together by fate, Seven Soldiers of Light must awaken the Shadow within themselves in time to overcome a despotic power and bring peace to their land. Their ensuing journey through a rich fantasy world is also an internal journey to awaken the great power within each of them. Journey with them into the world of BLUE DRAGON!

Bandai America is an innovative company with a proven legacy of introducing high quality and unique Japanese anime toys and related products to the North American market, and they will play a critical role in our business strategy for BLUE DRAGON,” sates Linda Espinosa, Vice President, Content Management, Viz Media “We expect gamers as well as legions of manga and anime fans of all stripes to respond enthusiastically to BLUE DRAGON's action-packed story of overcoming conflicts through adventure and friendship.”

About Bandai America Incorporated
A leader in introducing Japanese toy trends to the United States, Bandai America Incorporated is a subsidiary of NAMCO BANDAI Holdings (USA) Inc., a new entity that resulted from the integration of Namco Ltd. and Bandai Co., Ltd. of Japan. Global interests encompass five strategic business units: toys and hobby (toys, models, apparel and sundries), amusement facilities, game content (home and arcade console gaming), mobile content, and visual and music content (including home entertainment). Bandai America is the manufacturer and master toy licensee of some of the most popular brands in children's toys and entertainment today, including Power Rangers, Ben 10, and Tamagotchi!. The company is headquartered in Cypress, California and press information is available at www.Bandai.com.

About Viz Media
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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