Spunky Ninja Rides Digital Convergence Wave When the Latest Episode of Naruto Shippuden Streams on Official U.S. Naruto Website Simultaneous to Airing in Japan

Mar 19th 2009
Fans Are Invited To View The Simulcast At Naruto.com On March 26th And Watch The Newest Naruto Shippūden Episode For FREE!

San Francisco, CA, MARCH 19, 2009 – Viz Media, LLC (Viz Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, continues to generate tremendous interest in its animated NARUTO series and the property's latest story arc – Naruto Shippūden – with a special announcement that the newest Shippuden installment, Episode 101 (English subtitled), will stream for Free! in the U.S. on March 26th on the company's official NARUTO web site, HYPERLINK "http://www.Naruto.com" www.Naruto.com, the same day the episode is scheduled to air in Japan. This episode of Naruto Shippūden can be viewed in Canada on March 26th on www.Joost.com.

This is the first time that the official U.S. NARUTO web site will simulcast an episode with the broadcast in Japan. NARUTO is one of the most popular Japanese anime and manga properties in the world and this special simulcast is part of Viz Media's ongoing plan to bring hit animated properties and the latest content to its audience via the web. NARUTO is a co-production of TV TOKYO, Viz Media parent company Shueisha, Inc., and Pierrot Co., Ltd.

“We invite NARUTO fans across the U.S. to visit Naruto.com on March 26th for this very special presentation,” says Ken Sasaki, Vice President of Strategy & Business Development, Viz Media. “The web site is the ultimate destination for anything NARUTO and currently contains nearly 100 full-length NARUTO episodes, all offered in high quality streaming video, and is completely Free! for viewers. For those who have yet to check out the newest Naruto Shippūden story arc, there's still plenty of time to get up to speed before the latest episode debuts later this month!”

On the manga (graphic novel) side, Viz Media is complementing the interest in Naruto Shippūden with an accelerated publishing schedule for upcoming editions of the best-selling Naruto manga series, making them available to North American audiences sooner than ever before. Between February and April, eleven new volumes of Naruto manga will be released, moving the series from Volume 34 to Volume 44 before returning to a quarterly release schedule beginning with Volume 45 (July 2009). First print-run editions of the volumes released in March and April also will include a special promotional bookmark or sticker.

Created by Masashi Kishimoto, NARUTO was first introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan in 1999 and quickly became that country's most popular ninja manga targeting tweens and teens and has sold more than 80 million copies to-date. The manga series (rated ‘T’ for Teens) and animated counterpart (NARUTO rated ‘T’ for teens, and Naruto Shippūden rated ‘T’+ for older teens), is one of Viz Media's most successful properties and has captivated millions of fans across North America, Europe and South America.

In the Naruto manga and animated series, Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja in training, wants to be the best ninja in the land. He's done well so far, but Naruto knows he must train harder than ever and leaves his village for intense exercises that will push him to his limits. Naruto Shippūden begins two and a half years later, when Naruto returns to find that everyone has been promoted up the ninja ranks—except him. Sakura's a medic ninja, Gaara's advanced to Kazekage, and Kakashi…well, he remains the same. But pride isn't necessarily about becoming a ninja, especially when Naruto realizes that Sasuke never returned from his search for Orochimaru. Plus, the mysterious Akatsuki organization is still an ever-present danger. As Naruto finds out more about the Akatsuki's goals, he realizes that nothing in his universe is as it seems. Naruto is finding that he's older, but will he also prove wiser and stronger?

Earlier NARUTO episodes are also currently available for Free! on a variety of web-based, video streaming outlets that have partnered with Viz Media, including HULU and JOOST. Earlier episodes of Naruto Shippūden are available for Free! on www.Naruto.com.

More information on NARUTO is available at HYPERLINK "http://Naruto.com" www.Naruto.com.

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-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., Viz Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment 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 HYPERLINK "http://www.VIZ.com" www.VIZ.com.


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