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PR: Toonami Jetstream, NFL Rush to debut Eyeshield 21 online in the US

Japan’s revolutionary concept ‘sports anime’ has become a household favorite for both kids and adults alike. Sports anime allows viewers to get inside the heads of the players while they’re playing, something impossible to do with real time sports. This new phenomenon originated in Japan, and with Eyeshield 21, is now poised to expand internationally. With the incredible success and growing notoriety of Eyeshield 21, Japan’s leading anime production companies formed EYESHIELD 21 US PROJECT, to debut the show in the United States this year.

Eyeshield 21 is scheduled to air on the Toonami Jetstream and NFL Rush beginning this fall 2007. Fans are flocking to Toonami Jetstream to get free on-demand, full-length streaming episodes of their favorite action and anime series. Toonami Jetstream, a joint venture between Cartoon Network and VIZ Media, launched in July 2006, and has consistently delivered 1 million unique users per month. Available at ToonamiJetstream.com, the 24/7 broadband service allows users to watch streaming episodes of a number of hit series like Naruto, Samurai Jack and Megas XLR. In addition, users are able to watch full-length episodes of series like Hikaru no Go, MÄR and The Prince of Tennis that were not previously offered on U.S. broadcast or basic cable television. Toonami Jetstream, an online extension of Cartoon Network’s long-running and successful Toonami action-adventure television franchise, is a free service supported by advertising. Each week, new episodes are added to the site while previous episodes will also be available for a limited time through the Toonami Jetstream archive.

We are pleased to announce that the EYESHIELD 21 US Project has teamed up with NFLRush.com. NFLRush.com, produced by the NFL—America’s most popular sports league—is an interactive website designed for kids to have their own NFL home on the Internet. Offering young fans a unique experience with content, games, contests, daily features on NFL players, and football basics, the site also includes a special section for parents with information about NFL participatory youth programs and initiatives.

Eyeshield 21 is an anime series with a positive message, teaching children the importance of teamwork, overcoming obstacles and having goals in life. The plot of Eyeshield 21 revolves around a shy, unassuming boy named Sena Kobayakawa. In the first episode Sena is accepted to Deimon High School where he is hoping for a fresh start; shedding his previous image of the “errand boy” who was relentlessly bullied. To make new friends at school, Sena considers joining the schools football team, the “Deimon Devil Bats”. During tryouts, the teams coach is astounded by Sena’s super-amazing speed and dodging techniques and is immediately persuaded to join the team. For fear that another schools football team may try to recruit Sena, the coach assigns him the job of team secretary, concealing his invaluable skills. When the “secret weapon” is needed Sena enters the football field wearing a helmet equipped with a green tinted eyeshield; masking his true identity; the game begins. With the unbelievable talent of the faceless player, only known as Eyeshield 21, and with the hand of teammates, victory awaits. Eyeshield 21 follows the growth and determination of the Deimon Devil Bats football team as well as its rivals.

Eyeshield 21 US Project was formed by NAS, TV Tokyo and Shueisha. NAS (NIHON AD Animation Development SYSTEMS, Inc.), has been involved principally in the planning and production of many popular TV animation programs such as “Yu-Gi-Oh!,” “Prince of Tennis” and ” Eyeshield 21,” as well as in copyright management of animation characters.

NAS, established in 1975, has led Japan’s animation industry for more than 30 years. Additionally, NAS has been instrumental in spreading Japanese animation culture globally through, for example, “Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters,” which has created an international sensation. NAS is an affiliate company of ASATSU-DK (ADK), the third largest advertising agency in Japan and also ranked ninth in the world.

TV Tokyo (Television Tokyo Channel 12, Ltd.) is the 5th largest commercial television network in Japan, covering over 30 million households in major cities including Tokyo, Yokohama, Sapporo, Fukuoka and Okayama. Its programming consists of news, sports, cartoons and entertainment. In terms of news, as a Nikkei group company, TV Tokyo is Japan’s leading economic news and information broadcaster. It is well known as a co-producer of Pokemon and its specialization in Japanese Animation (or anime) throughout the world.

SHUEISHA Inc. was created in Japan in 1925 as a division of the publishing company SHOGAKUKAN devoted to entertainment magazines. In 1926, SHUEISHA separated from SHOGAKUKAN to become an independent company, and in 1949, the publishing company SHUEISHA Inc was established. Since then, SHUEISHA has continued to publish popular magazines one after the other and has become a leading national publisher. “WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP” is the best-known manga magazine for boys in Japan. SHUEISHA publishes 15 other manga magazines in addition to “WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP,” and SHUEISHA’s manga have captured the hearts of Japan’s young. “WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP” in particular is popular not only in Japan, but also overseas. Many of SHUEISHA’s manga magazines enjoy widespread readership on other continents, not limited to Asia and Europe. SHUEISHA also publishes a variety of women’s fashion magazines for the teenage to adult market. SHUEISHA’s publications are not limited to magazines and include trade books such as bestseller novels, dictionaries, art books and children’s books, making SHUEISHA one of the most successful Japanese publishers.

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