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PR: VIZ Media to Showcase Animated Properties at 2008 NATPE Conference

VIZ MEDIA TO SHOWCASE VARIETY OF UNIQUE ANIMATED PROPERTIES FROM JAPAN AT 2008 NATPE CONFERENCE

Kids’ Programming, Action Adventure, Fantasy, Crime Drama And Romance Series Demonstrate The Diversity Of Animation*_

San Francisco, CA, January 22, 2008 — VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has provided details on an array of hot animated properties it plans to showcase at the 2008 National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) Conference and Exhibition, taking place January 28-31 in Las Vegas, NV. VIZ Media will operate from Suites 7904 and 7906 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where the conference will be held.

The company will offer several new properties available for license, including NANA, BUSO RENKIN, HUNTER X HUNTER, NAOKI URUSAWA’s MONSTER, HONEY AND CLOVER, BLUE DRAGON as well as series such as DEATH NOTE, NARUTO, BLEACH, and DEKO BOKO FRIENDS, which have already established strong domestic followings.

NATPE is a global, non-profit organization dedicated to the creation, development and distribution of televised programming in all forms across all mature as well as emerging media platforms. The NATPE conference develops and nurtures opportunities, both commercial and educational, for the buying, selling and sharing of content and ideas.

“Japanese animation fulfills a variety of critical programming needs and VIZ Media continues to be a major force in licensing compelling content designed for every viewer demographic,†says William Germain, Director, Animation Production, VIZ Media. “This year’s NATPE Conference will present the opportunity to showcase new action properties aimed at tweens, adolescents and young adults with properties such as BUSO RENKIN, HUNTER X HUNTER, BLUE DRAGON, and NAOKI URUSAWA’s MONSTER, and will also feature also more romantically-themed titles like NANA and HONEY AND CLOVER, which will extend the popularity of shojo manga, or comics for girls, to the broadcast arena. The interest in Japanese animation continues to be strong from broadcasters both domestically and abroad, as witnessed by the popularity of shows like NARUTO, DEATH NOTE and BLEACH, and we look forward to welcoming a global audience of key buyers and executives at this year’s conference.â€

NANA

Author: Ai Yazawa – Broadcast runtime: 30min – 50 Episodes
Rating: TV 14 (Anticipated)
Synopsis
Twenty-year-old Nana Komatsu has endured an unending string of boyfriend problems. Moving to Tokyo, she’s hoping to take control of her life and put her capricious love life behind her. Singer Nana Osaki arrives in Tokyo at the same time, with plans to kick down the doors to Tokyo’s rock ’n’ roll scene. Though from completely different backgrounds, the two Nanas meet and become best friends in a whirlwind world of love, music, fashion, gossip, and all-night parties!
(Not available in Europe)

BUSO RENKIN

Author: Nobuhiro Watsuki – Broadcast runtime: 30 min – 26 Episodes
Rating: TV 14 (Anticipated)
Synopsis:
Alchemist Warrior Tokiko Tsumura comes to Ginsei City and uses herself as bait for the homunculi, artificial life forms that lurk in the darkness to devour unsuspecting humans. Unaware of Tokiko’s intentions, high school student Kazuki Muto tries to save her and is killed in the process. Tokiko restores Kazuki’s life with an alchemic talisman called a “kakugane,” and now he fights at Tokiko’s side to save his friends.

HUNTER X HUNTER

Author: Yoshihiro Togashi – Broadcast runtime: 30 min – 62 Episodes
Rating: TV 14 (Anticipated)
Synopsis:
Being a “Hunter” is a profession. A person who tracks down people, searches for treasure and explores lands of mystery. A person that protects the order of mankind and nature is called a “hunter.†HUNTER X HUNTER depicts the fantastic adventures of Gon, the son of a famous Hunter. Wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps, young Gon works hard to learn how to seek treasure and master Nen, a mysterious power. But in order to truly become like his father and a licensed Hunter, Gon must pass the arduous and dangerous Hunter Exam. It is said that only one in hundreds of thousands can pass the test. Now Gon sets out on a dangerous and exciting adventure to become a great Hunter like his father. HUNTER X HUNTER is based on a popular manga comic, (rated T+ for Older Teens) by Yoshihiro Togashi, which is also published domestically by VIZ Media. The HUNTER X HUNTER series has developed a fanatical following in Japan, selling more than 44 million copies, and spawned several original video features and an array of video games and trading cards in addition to the animated series.

NAOKI URUSAWA’S MONSTER

Author: Naoki Urasawa – Broadcast runtime: 30 min – 75 episodes
Rating: TV 14 (Anticipated)
Synopsis:
Brilliant doctor Kenzo Tenma risks his reputation and promising career to save the life of a critically wounded young boy instead of a politician’s. Nine years later, the child has grown into a serial killer…
Can Kenzo stop him? Or will he make another fatal decision?
Conspiracies, serial murders, and a scathing depiction of the underbelly of hospital politics are all masterfully woven together in this compelling thriller!

HONEY AND CLOVER

Author: Chica Umino – Broadcast runtime: 30 min – 38 episodes
Rating: TV 14 (Anticipated)
Synopsis:
Based on the bestselling shôjo manga comic by Chica Umino, HONEY AND CLOVER is a romantic comedy that focuses on five college students and the art school they attend. When talented painter Hagumi Hanamoto enrolls in the program, her presence and unique approach to art affects the entire school and her new friends.
The plot thickens as Hagumi becomes embroiled in a complicated love triangle as she struggles to find her artistic voice. HONEY AND CLOVER showcases the journey that everyone must take to transform from adolescence into adulthood and the long and challenging road these five young people must navigate to balance the demands of school, work, and love. The English version of the HONEY AND CLOVER manga graphic novel is currently serialized in VIZ Media’s SHOJO BEAT magazine. VIZ Media is also set to publish the title as a self-contained comic in March 2008.

BLUE DRAGON

Concept based on the Xbox 360 game “BLUE DRAGONâ€, Character Design
by Akira Toriyama- Broadcast runtime: 30 min – 51 episodes
Rating: TV Y7FV (Anticipated)
Synopsis:
BLUE DRAGON features characters designed 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 is produced by Studio Pierrot, which is well known for its work on NARUTO and BLEACH, also licensed by VIZ Media. The Xbox 360 video game “BLUE DRAGON†was developed by Hironobu Sakaguchi (the creator of Final Fantasy) has already established itself in Japan as one of Microsoft’s hottest releases in the RPG category. The BLUE DRAGON animated series 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!

DEATH NOTE

Story by Tsugumi Ohba, Art by Takeshi Obata- Broadcast runtime: 30 min
– 37 Episodes
Rating: TV 14
Synopsis
DEATH NOTE is based on the Shueisha graphic novel series of the same name (rated T+ for Older Teens and published in North America by VIZ Media) and is currently one of the hottest animated titles in Japan. The series follows the adventures of Light Yagami, an ace student with great prospects but who is bored out of his mind. All of that changes when he finds the Death Note, a strange notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god named Ryuk. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals mysteriously begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal – or his life?

NARUTO

Author: Masashi Kishimoto – Broadcast runtime: 30 min – 220 Episodes
Rating: TV PG
Synopsis
The NARUTO series depicts the adventures of a young boy named Naruto Uzumaki who trains to become a ninja. Naruto, cursed with the spirit of The Nine-Tailed Fox sealed within his body, is forced to live a bullied life discriminated against by his fellow villagers.

But Naruto is resilient and undaunted and his determination often inspires those around him.
Through the adventures, the young ninja learns the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity, ingenuity and right vs. wrong. Today, NARUTO is considered one of the most popular animated series in Japan and has also drawn millions of fans in North America. It continues to achieve immense international success not only as a graphic novel and TV title, but also in the realm of licensed categories such as toys, trading cards and video games.

BLEACH

Author: Tite Kubo – Broadcast runtime: 30 min — 104 Episodes
Rating: TV 14
Synopsis:
Ichigo Kurosaki is an ordinary 15-year-old boy who happens to be able to see ghosts. His fate takes an extraordinary turn when he meets Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper who shows up at Ichigo’s house on the trail of a Hollow, a malevolent lost soul. Drawn to Ichigo’s high level of spiritual energy, the Hollow attacks Ichigo and his family, and Rukia steps in to help but is injured and unable to fight. As a last resort, Rukia decides to transfer part of her Soul Reaper powers to Ichigo. Ichigo, now a full-fledged Soul Reaper, and Rukia, minus her powers, join together to face the challenges that lie ahead. BLEACH is based on a popular graphic novel comic (rated T+ for Older Teens) by Tite Kubo which is also published domestically by VIZ Media.

DEKO BOKO FRIENDS

Author: Momoko Maruyama & Ryotaro Kuwamoto – Broadcast runtime: 30 sec
– 234 Episodes
Rating: TV Y
Synopsis:
DEKO BOKO FRIENDS is positioned as an educational and fun animated series for preschoolers and consists of 30-second animated shorts that feature 12 unique characters that help teach children about diversity and tolerance. The characters and messages are heartwarming and positive and have been embraced by parents and children alike.

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. (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 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.

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