Cartoon Network and VIZ Media announced a joint venture called Toonami Jetstream, a new broadband service that will provide on-demand, full-length streaming episodes of a number of hit anim?© and action series, including acclaimed hit series Naruto and Samurai Jack. In addition, users will also be able to watch full-length episodes of series like Hikaru No Go, M?„R and The Prince of Tennis that are not currently offered on U.S. broadcast or basic cable television. In this joint venture, Cartoon Network and VIZ Media will jointly manage and administer acquisitions and programming.
Toonami Jetstream (available at http://ToonamiJetstream.com) will launch on July 17. Each week, new episodes will be added to the site while previous episodes will also be available through the Toonami Jetstream archive. 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 that includes both banners and streaming video ads.
‘Cartoon Network has long been the dominant TV provider of the best anim?© and action,’ said Paul Condolora, senior vice president and general manager of Cartoon Network New Media. ‘And we were the first to stream, in 2001, full-length anim?© series online. Now, with this joint venture with VIZ Media, we will give our fans the chance to view our top shows on-demand and follow new series that cannot be seen anywhere else. We also believe this will bring new fans to the action/anim?© genre, create interest in new shows and build the overall popularity of ‘Toonami’ on Cartoon Network.’
‘Toonami Jetstream will provide our current fans and new fans alike with unlimited opportunities to view our popular hit shows such as Naruto,’ explained John Easum, executive vice president of VIZ Media. ‘It will also give us the opportunity to share with our fans an unprecedented variety of Japan’s newest and most exciting animated series. We are thrilled to be expanding our strong relationship with Cartoon Network. VIZ Media is one of the industry’s leading licensors of Japanese animation and Cartoon Network is the preeminent broadcaster of Japanese animation and we believe that our collective forces will make Toonami Jetstream the online destination of choice for action-adventure animation fans.’
Five series are currently slated for the July launch of Toonami Jetstream. Following are descriptions of the shows that will be available at launch:
• Naruto: Twelve years prior, an evil Nine-Tailed-Fox demon that terrorized The Hidden Leaf Village was sealed inside the body of a baby in order to end the decimation of the village. A rule that forbade anyone to tell him that he possessed the spirit of the Nine-Tailed-Fox left Naruto unaware of why the villagers shunned him. Now a teenager, he attempts to earn the villagers’ respect by training to become the village’s top ninja. As Naruto develops his skills, he must learn to control his special powers to become the respected master ninja. Through exciting adventures, the young ninja learns the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity, ingenuity and right versus wrong. Naruto, created by manga artist Masahi Kishimoto, made its U.S. debut in September 2005 and is among the top-rated series on Cartoon Network.
• Samurai Jack: Samurai Jack, which won four Emmy Awards including the Emmy for Best Animated Series in 2003, tells the story of a warrior banished to the future by an evil shape-shifting wizard. Samurai Jack encounters an amazing array of cultures and civilizations as he travels the world seeking the portal to send him back to his own time. A man of few words, Jack relies on his mental and physical training as a warrior to help him fend off the evil wizard’s forces. Created by Genndy Tartakovsky at Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, Ca., the influential series Samurai Jack has been lauded for its magnificent artistry, gripping action sequences, evocative score and cinematic scope.
• Hikaru No Go: Written by Yumi Hotta and drawn by Takeshi Obata, Hikaru No Go tells the story of Hikaru Shindo, a young student who stumbles across a dusty old Go board while exploring his grandfather’s attic. Trapped inside is Fujiwara-no-Sai, the ghost of an ancient Go master that enters Hikaru’s consciousness, allowing him to communicate with the spirit. Sai, newly awakened, wishes for nothing more than to play Go again. Urged on by Sai, Hikaru reluctantly begins playing Go. As he begins to appreciate the complexities of the game, Hikaru makes it his quest to become the ultimate Go champion.
• M?„R: Created by Nobuyuki Anzai, M?„R features Ginta, an average 14-year-old boy, until a mysterious portal suddenly transports him into the fairy tale realm he envisions in his dreams, the World of M?„R. In M?„R, Ginta acquires super human strength and Babbo- a talking magical weapon knows as an ARM. Together, Ginta and Babbo embark on a quest to save the World of M?„R from total domination by the evil chess pieces.
• The Prince of Tennis: The exciting backdrop of middle school tennis serves as the setting for this sports drama and coming-of-age story. The Prince of Tennis, created by Takeshi Konomi, depicts the on-and off-the-court adventures of Ryoma Echizen, who joins the Seishun Academy tennis team, known for being one of the most competitive teams in Japan. With his undeniable talent (and sometimes shamelessly cocky attitude), Ryoma is ready to lead his team to victory.
Other titles currently scheduled to be released on Toonami Jetstream include such hits as Cartoon Network’s original Toonami production IGPX and VIZ Media’s Megaman NT Warrior series and the all-new Zoids Genesis. Additional series will be announced in subsequent months.
Toonami is Cartoon Network’s action-adventure television programming block, airing Saturdays from 7 p.m.-11 p.m. (ET, PT). It features the Cartoon Network’s top original action programming, like Justice League Unlimited and Teen Titans, as well as movies and popular anim?© series including Zatch Bell!, Naruto and DragonBall Z. Since its launch in March 1997, Toonami has introduced many successful action and anim?© series to U.S. audiences and become known as TV’s leading destination for action-adventure programming.