San Francisco, CA, December 4, 2008 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced that NARUTO has been named by Yahoo! as the Number 7 most-searched term in 2008, as reported by the Yahoo! 2008 Year In Review Top 10 Search list. The list, which is available at YearInReview.yahoo.com, provides insights about popular culture and what Yahoo! searchers cared about most throughout 2008. The spunky ninja-in-training NARUTO appears on the list beside future President Barack Obama, fan favorites American Idol and the WWE and celebrities and personalities such as Miley Cyrus, Angelina Jolie and Lindsay Lohan.
The Yahoo! Year in Review Top Search list provides valuable insight into the public’s tastes and interests and reflects how the web presents a new and continually evolving range of exciting possibilities to stay connected and access compelling content.
NARUTO has become an international phenomenon and is one of VIZ Media’s most successful manga (graphic novel) and animated properties in terms of sales. 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 – more than 85 million copies to-date have been printed. The manga series (rated T for Teens) and animated counterpart (rated TV-14) about a young ninja in training captivate millions of fans across North America, Europe and South America. The series depicts the adventures of a young boy named Uzumaki Naruto who trains to become a ninja. Through amazing adventures, the young ninja and his friends learn the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity, ingenuity, and right vs. wrong. The global popularity of NARUTO has also spawned a wide array of video games, collectable toys, apparel and more.
“NARUTO’S ranking on the Yahoo! Top 10 Searches for 2008 list proves once again the worldwide strength of this popular brand which has entertained countless fans across the globe,” says Gonzalo Ferreyra, VIZ Media Vice President of Sales and Product Marketing. “We are honored to be on a list that includes future president Barack Obama, top hot trend American Idol, and pop culture icons such as Miley Cyrus, Angelina Jolie and others. This validates just how mainstream this property and the unique genres of Japanese manga and anime have become in our popular culture.”
New volumes of the NARUTO manga have also appeared regularly throughout 2008 on notable literary best-seller lists such as the USA Today Top 150, Bookscan’s list of Top Graphic Novels and others. NARUTO was also recently named the top manga property on ICV2’s recent list of the Top 50 Manga Titles for Summer 2008 and the animation was named the Number 3 anime property on the retail industry watchdog’s roster of the Top 25 Anime Titles for Summer 2008.
The online NARUTO world includes a variety of interactive websites and gaming portals as well as the availability of animated episodes available for streaming and download on innovative outlets like such as Amazon Unbox™, Hulu, iTunes™, Joost™, and X-Box.com.
VIZ Media also recently announced an innovative and unprecedented multimedia plan to provide near-simultaneous Japan-U.S. release of the animated series’ newest story arc, NARUTO SHIPPUDEN, for free via the official NARUTO web site at www.naruto.com beginning in January 2009.
Licensed NARUTO products in publishing, home entertainment, video games, apparel and more have successfully launched around the world and many can be found throughout retail stores across the country.
More information on NARUTO is available at www.Naruto.com.