San Francisco, Calif. - September 10, 2009 - In a landmark agreement, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced that its animated series NARUTO Shippuden has been acquired by Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group for debut on Disney XD ( www.DisneyXD.com) television channel beginning in October.
Disney XD is a new basic cable channel and multi-platform brand that showcases a compelling mix of live-action and animated programming for kids age 6-14, hyper-targeting boys and their quest for discovery, accomplishment, sports, adventure and humor. New dubbed episodes of NARUTO Shippuden will premiere on the network.
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 Shippuden begins two and a half years later, when Naruto returns to find that everyone has been promoted up the ninja ranks-except him. Sakura is a medic ninja, Gaara has advanced to Kazekage, and Kakashi... well, he remains the same. But pride isn't necessarily becoming of a ninja, and Naruto quickly regains his focus when he learns that Sasuke never returned from his search for Orochimaru and that the mysterious Akatsuki organization is still an ever-present danger. The more Naruto finds out about Akatsuki's sinister plot, the more he realizes that nothing in his world is as it seems. Naruto is finding that he's older, but will he also prove wiser and stronger?
"Disney XD is a growing destination for our key demographic, boys 6-14, and we're looking forward to bringing the adventures of NARUTO Shippuden to our lineup," says Tracy McAndrew, Director, Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group.
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 85 million copies to-date. The manga series (rated 'T' for Teens) and animated counterpart (NARUTO rated 'T' for teens, and NARUTO Shippuden 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. NARUTO is a co-production of TV TOKYO, VIZ Media parent company Shueisha Inc., and Pierrot Co., Ltd.
"We're very pleased to partner with Disney-ABC Cable Networks Group to bring NARUTO Shippuden to U.S. television audiences this fall," says Bill Germain, Director of Programming Sales, VIZ Media. "With Disney XD as its new broadcast home base, NARUTO Shippuden is poised to take viewers, both new and old, to unprecedented levels of ninja-excitement!"
More information on NARUTO is available at 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 the popular monthly manga anthology SHONEN JUMP magazine, 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 www.VIZ.com