Viz Media Launches Naruto Nation™ Campaign to Dramatically Increase Release Rate of Hit Manga Series Naruto™

San Francisco, CA, April 26, 2007 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced the launch of NARUTO NATION™, a broad campaign that will bring an unprecedented increase in the frequency of publication of its wildly popular NARUTO™ manga series. In order to catch up to the present Japanese release schedule and to prepare readers for upcoming notable changes in the main character and story arc, VIZ Media will offer three new volumes of NARUTO per-month from September through December 2007 – a first for any U.S. manga publisher.

The new publishing schedule will carry the series up to Volume 27, after which there is a significant break in the story arc: Two and a half years pass, and we find Naruto taller, older, and wiser. To support NARUTO NATION, VIZ Media's SHONEN JUMP magazine will continue to serialize the NARUTO series, will provide in-depth background information for fans about the developments in the accelerated manga, and will begin to feature the new adventures of the older Naruto beginning in the January 2008 issue (estimated in stores December 4, 2007).

The specific manga release schedule is as follows:

September 2007: NARUTO Vols. 16-18
October 2007: NARUTO Vols. 19-21
November 2007: NARUTO Vols. 22-24
December 2007: NARUTO Vols. 25-27

Complementing the increased manga momentum, VIZ Media will expand the catalog of other related NARUTO offerings with a variety of releases this fall and winter. September will see the release of the NARUTO ANIME PROFILES: Hiden Shippu Emaki, and the launch of the full-color Ani-Manga series that will depict the storyline of NARUTO THE MOVIE: NINJA CLASH IN THE LAND OF SNOW, which is also set for a special theatrical engagement this summer. In October VIZ Media will publish a gorgeous UZUMAKI: ART OF NARUTO edition that will be a must-have for any collector and also NARUTO MISSION: PROTECT THE WATERFALL VILLAGE!, the latest addition to the collection of NARUTO novels under the VIZ Fiction imprint. A fourth edition of the NARUTO COLLECTOR magazine will be released this fall, focusing on the manga and on the release of the first NARUTO game for the Xbox 360.

NARUTO has become one of VIZ Media's most successful manga properties in terms of sales. The series, by creator Masashi Kishimoto, depicts the adventures of a young boy who trains to become a ninja, and has sold more than 72 million copies in Japan since Shueisha Inc. began publishing the manga in 1999.

NARUTO has emerged as one of the best selling and most popular manga series throughout North America, regularly placing in both Graphic Novel and Overall General Fiction categories on noted literary sales rosters including BookScan and the USA Today Top 150. It was also the first manga to ever win a noted Quill Award in 2006. Momentum for the property has continued to grow significantly as the NARUTO anime counterpart (also distributed by VIZ Media) continues to captivate millions of viewers on Cartoon Network.

"We are excited to launch NARUTO NATION as a bold publishing campaign to give NARUTO fans what they want – more NARUTO and a similar experience to NARUTO readers in Japan!" says Cammie Allen, Product Manager, Publishing, VIZ Media. "The tremendous success of the NARUTO brand now includes manga, DVDs, novels and features in magazines like SHONEN JUMP. This campaign is not just an accelerated publishing program - NARUTO NATION is a highly-anticipated event, where for the first time, a publisher will offer three new volumes of a single ongoing graphic novel series every month. VIZ Media also plans a variety of captivating in-store displays, signage, and even a few special exclusive items that we will announce shortly."

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.