Press Release: Viz Media Named Master Licensor For Blue Dragon ™ Anime Series
New Action Series Is Based On Popular Xbox 360 Game And Features Character Designs By Manga Mastermind, Akira Toriyama
San Francisco, CA April 16, 2007 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies announced today that it has secured from a consortium including TV TOKYO Corporation and Shueisha Inc, the television, home video and non-video game merchandising rights for the Americas, Europe and Oceania to BLUE DRAGON, a new anime series based on the popular Microsoft Xbox 360 Role Playing Game.
VIZ Media makes the announcement in conjunction with its participation at the MIPTV conference, the world’s preeminent audiovisual and digital content market, taking place in Cannes, France, April 16-20. VIZ Media has a prominent presence at the show in Booth #AO12.
The Xbox 360 game “BLUE DRAGON” is developed by Hironobu Sakaguchi (the creator of Final Fantasy). BLUE DRAGON also features characters by Akira Toriyama, the creator of the best-selling DRAGON BALL series of manga (which is published in North America by VIZ Media and featured in SHONEN JUMP Magazine). The anime series debuted 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. BLUE DRAGON television broadcast and key licensing partners will be determined shortly. 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.
In the European market, VIZ Media will proactively distribute and market Blue Dragon through VIZ Media Europe, S.A.R.L, (VME) its Paris-based subsidiary established in late 2006.
The BLUE DRAGON Anime 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!
“BLUE DRAGON represents the latest convergence of video gaming and anime. We look forward to leveraging the tremendous momentum that drives both to make this property a success across multiple market sectors and age groups,” says Linda Espinosa, Vice President of Content Management, VIZ Media. “Anime continues to be one of the most robust segments of the entertainment arena. BLUE DRAGON’s story of overcoming conflicts through adventure and friendship will both entertain and inspire.”
“It is an immense privilege to be entrusted with BLUE DRAGON in Europe.
BLUE DRAGON fuses the genius of Akira Toriyama and Hironobu Sakaguchi, with a beautiful story and incredibly rich animation. We expect an enormous response in Europe,” says John Easum, President of VIZ Media Europe.
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. (ShoPro 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 VIZ Media Europe, S.A.R.L. (VME)
Headquartered in Paris, France, VIZ Media Europe (VME) is a subsidiary of San Francisco-based VIZ Media, LLC. Representing three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation – Shueisha Inc, Shogakukan Inc, and Shogakukan Production Co, Ltd. (ShoPro Japan) – VME specializes in the development, marketing and distribution throughout Europe of Japanese animated entertainment and manga. It handles some of the most popular Japanese manga and animation properties from initial production, through television placement and distribution to merchandise licensing and promotions for consumers of all ages. VME offers both “shonen” manga (aimed at male readers) and “shôjo” manga (aimed at female readers). Current VME animated properties include BLEACH, DEATH NOTE, HONEY & CLOVER, MÄR, MegaMan Star Force, and ZOIDS GENESIS.