VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, announced today at 2009 Comic-Con International the exclusive download-to-own debut of NARUTO Shippuden on the iTunes Store (www.iTunes.com) in the US and the iTunes Store in Canada (www.iTunes.ca)
The series launches with the first 4 episodes (English dubbed) of the hit series, and the first episode will be available for download for free beginning today through August 31st. Four new NARUTO Shippuden episodes will follow beginning in October.
Created by Masashi Kishimoto, NARUTO was first introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan in 1999 and quickly became that country’s most popular ninja manga targeting tweens and teens and has sold more than 85 million copies to-date. The manga series (rated ‘T’ for Teens) and animated counterpart (NARUTO rated ‘T’ for teens, and NARUTO Shippuden rated ‘T+’ for older teens) is one of VIZ Media’s most successful properties and has captivated millions of fans across North America, Europe and South America. NARUTO is a co-production of TV TOKYO, VIZ Media parent company Shueisha Inc., and Pierrot Co., Ltd.
‘We’re very excited to bring the latest NARUTO Shippuden story arc to iTunes,’ says Ken Sasaki, Vice President of Strategy & Business Development, VIZ Media. ‘NARUTO Shippuden is the latest addition to the more than 150 earlier NARUTO episodes and several feature films that are offered on the iTunes Store. These new Shippuden episodes are being made available well in advance of the eventual DVD release and offer fans the flexibility, 24/7 accessibility and convenience of digital download. As the world’s most popular ninja continues to capture the imaginations of millions, we look forward to continue to offer episodes on iTunes and deliver the most exciting anime properties to fans around the world.’
In the NARUTO manga and animated series, Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja in training, wants to be the best ninja in the land. He’s done well so far, but Naruto knows he must train harder than ever and leaves his village for intense exercises that will push him to his limits. NARUTO Shippuden begins two and a half years later, when Naruto returns to find that everyone has been promoted up the ninja ranks-except him. Sakura’s a medic ninja, Gaara’s advanced to Kazekage, and Kakashi… well, he remains the same. But pride isn’t necessarily about becoming a ninja, especially when Naruto realizes that Sasuke never returned from his search for Orochimaru. Plus, the mysterious Akatsuki organization is still an ever-present danger. As Naruto finds out more about the Akatsuki’s goals, he realizes that nothing in his universe is as it seems. Naruto is finding that he’s older, but will he also prove wiser and stronger?
More information on NARUTO is available at www.Naruto.com. NARUTO Shippuden episodes are available on iTunes at www.itunes.com/tv/narutoshippuden.