VIZ Pictures Announces DVD Release of Critically Acclaimed Ping Pong

Aug 22nd 2007
Film Presents A Poignant And Comedic Story About Friendship And Competition Set Against Backdrop Of Table Tennis

San Francisco, CA, August 22, 2007 – VIZ Pictures, an affiliate of Viz Media LLC that focuses on Japanese live-action film distribution, debuts its latest DVD with the release of the critically acclaimed PING PONG from director Sori Fumihiko. The film will be offered as a 2-disc widescreen edition that also features bonus material including “The Making of Ping Pong,” and two additional shorts, “Ting Pong” a brief parody of the film, and “How to Play “Ping Pong,” in addition to a director and cast profile and the original Japanese trailers. The DVD will be distributed by Viz Media (with an anticipated initial retail price of $29.98) beginning on September 4, 2007.

PING PONG is based on a popular 5-volume comic by bestselling artist Taiyo Matsumoto, who created several acclaimed youth-driven manga titles like TEKKONKINKREET: BLACK & WHITE, NO.5, and BLUE SPRING (all published in North America by Viz Media). Director Sori Fumihiko, who also notably worked as an effects supervisor for the movie, TITANIC, went to great lengths to preserve the visual style of the original manga in the film, which ultimately was nominated for eight Japanese Academy Awards in 2003. Actor Shidou Nakamura also won the 'Newcomer of the Year' award for his performance as Dragon, a rival of the two main characters. PING PONG was a favorite at a the Montreal Fantasia Film Festival, the Philadelphia Film Festival, The San Diego Asian Film Festival and the New York Asian Film Festival, where it was the Audience Award winner.

Best friends "Peco" Hoshino and "Smile" Tsukimoto have been playing Ping Pong since they were little kids. While the cocky and talented Peco plays to win and loves the sport, the quiet and introverted Smile thinks of it as just a way to kill time with friends and only plays because he secretly idolizes Peco, who taught him the game as children. Smile is initially the better player, however, and the object of his overzealous coach's attempts to make him a champion. Though he is more skilled, Smile frequently and intentionally loses to Peco out of a misguided sense of friendship. However, Peco is badly beaten and humiliated by his rival, Dragon, in an important inter-high school tournament, and he suddenly quits the game leaving Smile to become the newest professional amateur Ping Pong prodigy and celebrity. Eventually Peco is drawn back to the intensity of the game with the help of a chain smoking grandma who is a Ping Pong sensei. He begins training hard for the next championship, hoping to fulfill his destiny to become a Ping Pong hero, but to do it he must face his best friend for one last match.

PING PONG is a wonderful film that uniquely explores friendship and the nature of competition and rivalry,” says Seiji Horibuchi, President and CEO of VIZ Pictures. “This film will win over a wide array of viewers with a balanced mix of comedy and drama, a cast of quirky but unforgettable characters, and expertly filmed action that captures all the excitement and subtleties of table tennis. This is not a film to miss!”
About VIZ Pictures, Inc.

Based in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Pictures, Inc. distributes Japanese live-action films and DVDs, with particular focus on Japanese "kawaii (cute) and cool" pop culture. VIZ Pictures approaches each film release from a J-pop fan's point of view. VIZ Pictures titles include HULA GIRLS, TRAIN MAN: DENSHA OTOKO, LINDA LINDA LINDA, THE TASTE OF TEA, and PING PONG. The company will continue to offer the most entertaining live action motion pictures straight from the "Kingdom of Pop" for audiences of all ages in North America. VIZ Pictures, Inc. is an affiliate of Viz Media, LLC, the San Francisco-based leading U.S. publisher of Japanese manga (comics) and merchandise licensor of Japanese animation such as the popular "NARUTO" animated TV series.
© 2006 VIZ Pictures, Inc

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 (graphic novel) 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 and 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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