Naruto Ramps Up Schedule
VIZ Media, LLC has announced an innovative and unprecedented multimedia plan to provide near-simultaneous Japan-US. release of Naruto, one of the most popular Japanese animated and Manga properties in the world. This campaign is the latest expansion of VIZ Media’s ongoing strategy to utilize the web to its maximum potential to stream a variety of hit animated properties.
Beginning on January 15th the latest episode of the Naruto Shippuden (English-subtitled) animated series will be available for free viewing on the ultimate destination for anything Naruto – the official NARUTO website, www.naruto.com, within days of its original airdate in Japan. A new English-subtitled episode will be added every Thursday thereafter.
On January 2, 2009 VIZ will also debut, for free, eight uncut, English-subtitled episodes from the beginning of the Naruto Shippuden series on their website. Each Friday thereafter there will be an additional eight uncut, English-subtitled episodes added on the site until the series eventually catches up to the current third season of the hit program. Also, coming this week, an exclusive sneak peek of Naruto Shippuden (English-subtitled) debuting on Naruto.com.
On the Manga side, VIZ has accelerated their publishing schedule for upcoming editions of the best-selling series, making them available to North American audiences sooner than ever before. Beginning in February 2009, 11 new volumes of Naruto will be released over three months, moving the series from Volume 34 (February 2009) to Volume 44 (April 2009) 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 will include a special promotional item – a bookmark or sticker.
“This kind of accelerated and coordinated broadcast and publishing schedule is a first for VIZ Media and we are very excited to bring new episodes of Naruto Shippuden to millions of eager domestic fans for free with this special campaign,” Alvin Lu, Vice President of Production, VIZ Media said in a release. “The adventures of Naruto and his friends are underscored with themes of friendship, loyalty, responsibility, as well as failure and redemption, and have turned this unique series into a tremendous international hit. New and old fans alike won’t want to miss this special opportunity to watch online the latest episodes featuring the world’s favorite ninja mere days after their original air dates in Japan.”