VIZ Media Opens New Virtual Store On There.Com

by Jeff

dec084319 VIZ Media Opens New Virtual Store On There.ComMedia Release — San Francisco, CA, April 7, 2009 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has teamed with Makena Technologies, creator of the 3D social virtual world There.com, to launch a special new VIZ Media store within the popular 3D social networking destination. The store opened on March 26th and initially will carry a variety of virtual apparel inspired by the smash-hit animated property BLEACH, which There.com members can purchase to further customize the appearance of their avatars. Additional items inspired by other popular animated properties will be added in the near future. A complete catalog of the VIZ Media BLEACH items is available at www.There.com.

Makena Technologies developed There.com as an online social network that offers a multitude of vibrant places to hang out with friends and meet up with people. It has become one of the most popular destinations of its type. The VIZ Media store will offer a wide variety of BLEACH-themed t-shirts, pants and other apparel that users can purchase or rent with Therebucks, the virtual currency accepted on the There.com site.

A special virtual BLEACH party is planned for April 8th, 8 PM to 9 PM EST/ 5 PM to 6 PM PST. Fans are encouraged to visit There.com (www.There.com/vizmedia) and go to Tropical Adventures for a chance to win a free BLEACH t-shirt for their avatar and also meet other fans.

“We are very excited to continue working with social networks to launch the first VIZ Media virtual store which offers more options to add a creative flair to avatars with a variety of BLEACH-inspired apparel,” says Gonzalo Ferreyra, Vice President, Sales & Product Marketing. “There.com supports individuality, diversity and self-expression and we recognize and embrace the dramatic ways the internet and virtual worlds such as There.com have allowed people to connect, socialize and share common interests and hobbies. With the new VIZ Media store offerings, fans can use some expressive ways to show their love of anime.”

There.com gives users (PC only) plenty of ways to participate in fun activities such as racing vehicles, playing cards, flying, playing paintball, hover-boarding and even training virtual pets. Users can custom design nearly everything about their environments ranging from individual homes and vehicles to furniture. There.com also offers special interest groups devoted to varied topics, including anime and manga.

“There.com offers our members so many ways to express their diverse interests and we’re happy that the VIZ media store will allow people to share their passions for Japanese manga and anime,” said Michael Wilson, CEO of Makena Technologies. “In addition, There.com is an ideal fit with the demographics of BLEACH fans since we are a PG-13 world where members of all ages can socialize without being exposed to mature content.”

BLEACH is a popular manga and animated series (both rated ‘T’ for Teens), distributed domestically by VIZ Media, that follows the adventures of Ichigo, a 15-year old student with the ability to see ghosts. When his family is attacked by a Hollow — a malevolent lost soul – Ichigo encounters Rukia, a Soul Reaper, and inadvertently absorbs her powers. Now, he’s dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping tortured souls find peace. The pair encounters plenty of action as they investigate an intriguing range of spiritual mysteries and frequently run into all manner of malevolent and usually violent spirits and demons that are reluctant to return to their own world peacefully.

BLEACH is also a tremendously successful multimedia property internationally. The manga has been licensed to more than a dozen countries and has sold over 50 million copies in Japan alone. In North America, the manga has been a sales hit and the popular animated series is viewed weekly by millions in the United States and Canada on cable broadcast. This success has further spawned an array of related video games, apparel, action figures, trading cards and other merchandise.

BLEACH animation can be viewed through a variety of other web-based, video streaming outlets that have partnered with VIZ Media, including iTunes®, HULU and JOOST. For more information on BLEACH please visit www.bleach.viz.com.

About Makena Technologies, Inc.

Makena Technologies is the parent company of There.com, a fully interactive, 3D online virtual world where members can customize and create their own 3D character, meet and hang out with friends in real-time using voice and text chat, build their own virtual homes, participate in events ranging from car races to paintball to fashion shows and even create and sell their own virtual items. There.com is a safe and exciting “PG-13” environment for ages 13 and up that has something to offer nearly anyone. Makena Technologies has offices in San Mateo, CA and Laguna Beach, CA. For more information, visit http://www.there.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment for audiences and consumers of all ages. Contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and web site at www.VIZ.com.

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