VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive manga and animation licensing and publishing companies, has announced that the recently released volume 11 of the popular NARUTO manga series, which is published under the company’s SHONEN JUMP imprint and serialized in the monthly SHONEN JUMP magazine, placed at Number 21 on USA Today’s Top 150 Best Seller List for the week of August 27, 2006. This is the highest placement any manga title has ever achieved on the daily’s noted literary sales list, which compiles sales traction for fiction, non-fiction, hardcover as well as paperback titles.
The impressive sales of the newest NARUTO volume places it amongst a diverse array of top fiction and non-fiction titles like The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and The Devil Wears Prada. Another VIZ Media manga title - published under the SHONEN JUMP Advanced imprint, Death Note volume 7- placed at Number 114 for the same week.
NARUTO has become one of VIZ Media’s most successful manga properties in terms of sales. The series, by Masashi Kishimoto, depicts the adventures of a young boy who trains to become a ninja and has sold more than 66 million copies in Japan since its 1999 debut. In North America, the massive amount of fan interest in the brand continues to build. In addition to the manga series, the NARUTO anime counterpart is a ratings powerhouse on Cartoon Network, where it is featured as part of the network’s Toonami block of action programming. VIZ Media also recently released the first few volumes of the anime series on DVD and it continues to be a huge seller.
The story of NARUTO takes place in another world where ninja are the ultimate power. In the village of Konohagakure live some of the stealthiest and most respected ninja in the land. But 12 years prior, Konohagakure faced a fearsome threat - a nine-tailed fox demon which terrorized the village and caused massive destruction before it was finally defeated. The Hokage, the village leader and most powerful ninja, was able to subdue the fox by sealing its soul inside the body of a baby boy. Now that boy, Uzumaki Naruto, has grown up to become a ninja-in-training, learning the art of ninjutsu with his classmates Sakura and Sasuke. The trio of student ninja study under the instruction of their teacher, Kakashi. With Kakashi, the group faces a series of dangerous and daunting tests and challenges. Through their adventures, the young ninja learn the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity, ingenuity, and right vs. wrong.
‘We are extremely gratified to see yet another volume of NARUTO place so high on USA Today’s Top 150 Best Seller list, with Vol. 9 hitting #29 earlier this year, it’s quite an achievement for a manga series to be in such strong company with books like Harry Potter and James Patterson’s Lifeguard,’ states John Easum, executive vice president, VIZ Media. ‘The constant increasing sales traction of several of our manga series validates the unique quality and storylines manga in general offer readers of all ages and interests. This award-winning title, NARUTO is a compelling action story that instills a variety of positive messages and we are confident that it will continue to be a hit.’