Viz Media Grants Naruto Licenses

Having recently made the leap to North American television on Cartoon Network in the U.S. and YTV in Canada, Viz Media’s Naruto has expanded its licensing program with two new deals. Basic Fun will distribute Naruto iPOD covers and figural key chains, while Great Eastern Entertainment Group will carry a wide assortment of accessories including wall scrolls, headbands and caps.

Naruto consistently ranks as one of the top graphic novel franchises in the U.S., and one of the most popular titles serialized in VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump magazine. The series for tweens and teens takes place in a world where ninja are the ultimate power and young practitioners must learn the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity, ingenuity and right versus wrong. One of the most popular animated shows in Japan’s history, the series launched on Cartoon Network and YTV in September of 2005. Cartoon Network viewers even got a chance to get caught up on episodes with an all-day New Year’s day marathon.

Basic Fun, located in Southampton, Pennsylvania, holds more than 100 licenses and has products available at such leading retailers as WalMart, Toys ‘R Us, Barnes & Noble, Hot Topic, KB Toys and Meijer. The company’s Naruto Ipod skins and other products will be offered to U.S. and Canadian retailers this Spring.

San Francisco, Calif.-based VIZ Media is owned by Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc. and Shogakukan Production Co. Ltd. (ShoPro Japan), three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation. A leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the company offers graphic novels, videos, DVDs, audio soundtracks, while developing and marketing animated entertainment from initial production, television placement and distribution, to merchandise licensing and promotions. More information on the Naruto property can be found at www.naruto.com.