VIZ Pictures To Screen Six Live Action Films At 2007 New York Anime Festival

Diverse Selection Of Anime-Inspired Live Action Feature Films To Be Shown Include LOVE*COM, HONEY & CLOVER, NANA, PING PONG, KAMIKAZE GIRLS And GACKT: THE GREATEST FILMOGRAPHY RED

New York, NY, DECEMBER 6, 2007 - VIZ Pictures, an affiliate of VIZ Media LLC that focuses on Japanese live-action film distribution, has announced that six of its award-winning live action feature films will screen at the debut of the New York Anime Festival (NYAF), taking place December 7-9, 2007 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City.

The VIZ Pictures screenings will occur in the convention's Live Action Screening Room (1A12) and are scheduled to include the U.S. premiere of LOVE*COM THE MOVIE on Friday, December 7, at 5:00 p.m., KAMIKAZE GIRLS on Saturday, December 8 at 1:00 p.m., PING PONG on Saturday, December 8 at 3:00 p.m., and GACKT: THE GREATEST FILMOGRAPHY RED also on Saturday, December 8 at 6:00pm. Sunday screenings will include the U.S. premiere of NANA at 1:00 p. m. and the U.S., premiere HONEY AND CLOVER at 3:00pm.

KAMIKAZE GIRLS, GACKT and PING PONG are currently available on DVD from VIZ Pictures and are distributed by VIZ Media, the leading U.S. publisher of Japanese animation and comics. HONEY AND CLOVER will be released theatrically in select cities beginning in January 2008. LOVE*COM THE MOVIE will be released straight to DVD in February 2008 and will also be distributed by VIZ Media, while NANA will be released theatrically in early 2008.

Based on the bestselling shôjo manga 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 is currently serialized in VIZ Media's SHOJO BEAT magazine. VIZ Media is set to publish the title as a self-contained manga in March 2008, rated 'T+' for older teens.

Based on the bestselling comic by Aya Nakahara, LOVE*COM THE MOVIE is a high-school romantic comedy centering on two students. Risa Koizumi is the tallest girl in class, and the last thing she wants is the humiliation of standing next to Atsushi Ôtani, the shortest guy. Fate and the whole school have other ideas, and the two find themselves cast as the unwilling stars of a bizarre romantic comedy duo. But as their friendship develops so do Risa's feelings toward Ôtani. The English version of the manga series is currently available under VIZ Media’s SHOJO BEAT imprint and is rated 'T' for teens.

Based on the popular manga by Ai Yazawa, NANA follows the adventures of two girls both named Nana. While they share the same name, they couldn’t be more different. Nana "Hachi" Komatsu hopes that moving to Tokyo will help her make a clean start and leave her capricious love life behind, while Nana Osaki, who arrives in the city at the same time, is a punk rock beauty who has plans to score big in the world of rock and roll. Although these two young women come from different backgrounds, they quickly become best friends. NANA performed well at the Japanese box office upon its release in 2006, grossing more than 4 billion yen and stayed in the Top 10 for several weeks. The English version of the manga is published under VIZ Media’s SHOJO BEAT imprint and is rated 'M' for Mature.

PING PONG centers on two friends devoted to the sport of table tennis, and is based on a popular 5-volume comic by bestselling artist Taiyo Matsumoto, who also created several acclaimed youth-driven manga titles like BLACK & WHITE, NO.5, BLUE SPRING (all published in North America by VIZ Media). PING PONG follows two friends, their two mentors, and three players they face at various high school tournaments. It explores the different motivations and philosophies towards table tennis and wonderfully portrays the excitement and subtleties of the sport. Director Fumiko Sori, who also notably worked as an effects supervisor for the movie, TITANIC, went to great lengths to preserve the visual style of the original manga in the film, which ultimately was nominated for eight Japanese Academy Awards in 2003.

KAMIKAZE GIRLS depicts the seemingly odd friendship between a frustrated and bored country girl fixated on the lifestyle of 18th Century France inclusive of frilly dresses and parasols, and a spunky member of an all female biker gang. Inspired by the novel Shimotsuma Story by popular Japanese author Novala Takemoto, KAMIKAZE GIRLS takes plenty of influences from iconic examples of pop culture cinema ranging from Tank Girl and the Outsiders to Kill Bill, combines it with some homegrown Japanese eccentricities, and presents a film that gets inside the heart of any dedicated indie film lover. Manga and novel are both published by VIZ Media.

Gackt Camui is a Japanese musician, songwriter and actor, most notable for composing the theme songs for several popular anime and video game titles including New Fist of the North Star, Texhnolyze, and Bujingai and Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. These contributions have made the artist very popular among anime fans both in Japan and North America. The screening will offer a presentation 12 music videos by the talented rock star from the DVD "Gackt: The Greatest Filmography RED".

"There is a strong tradition in Japan of manga comics serving as the inspiration for live action films and we are excited to offer such an extensive and diverse selection at the first New York Anime Festival," says Manami IIboshi, Director, Marketing, VIZ Pictures. "This is the first time that some of these films have been shown domestically and we expect the screenings to be packed events. These films will also provide convention goers with a rare opportunity to see some of the best examples of kawaii, (cute) and cool J-pop culture, and Visual-Kei or Visual Rock, which are developing a strong domestic fan base. We look forward to these unique genres being represented at New York Anime Festival and to audiences discovering a whole new collection of live action films from VIZ Pictures."

About VIZ Pictures, Inc.
Based in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Pictures, Inc. distributes Japanese live-action films and DVDs, with particular focus on Japanese "kawaii" (cute) and cool J-pop culture. VIZ Pictures approaches each release from a J-pop fan's point of view to serve manga and anime generation in North America. VIZ Pictures titles include DEATH NOTE, TRAIN MAN: DENSHA OTOKO, LINDA LINDA LINDA and THE TASTE OF TEA. VIZ Pictures, Inc. is an affiliate of VIZ Media LLC, the San Francisco-based leading U.S. publisher of Japanese manga (comics) and merchandise licensor of Japanese animation such as the popular "NARUTO" animated TV series.
© 2006 VIZ Pictures, Inc

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.