Featured exclusively in the monthly SHONEN JUMP Magazine, Naruto adventures by creator Masashi Kishimoto are read by over 750,000 readers in the US. Naruto stories are also available in graphic novels from VIZ Media at bookstores and retailers nationwide. Naruto recently debuted on Cartoon Network in the US and YTV in Canada, achieving phenomenal launch ratings with Kids 6-11 and Tweens 9-14. In Japan, since publication began in 1999 in Weekly Shonen Jump, and based on the manga's popularity, the anime made its debut on TV TOKYO in 2002. Since then, Naruto has become one of the most popular animated shows achieving immense success as a TV title as well as a licensed property for toys, trading card games and video games.
"The co-publishing agreement with TOMY represents an excellent opportunity for D3PA to leverage a superb property in SHONEN JUMP's Naruto," commented Yoji Takenaka, executive vice president and COO for D3PA. "The success of Naruto in Japan has eclipsed the Dragonball Z franchise, so we are looking forward to these releases in North America and the prospect of working with VIZ Media and TOMY."
Naruto takes place in a world where ninja hold the ultimate power. Infused with the spirit of a once fearsome Nine-Tailed Fox, Naruto Uzumaki is a ninja-in-training who is learning the art of Ninjutsu with his classmates Sakura and Sasuke. The trio studies under the instruction of their teacher, Kakashi, who helps the group face dangerous and daunting tests and challenges. Through their adventures, the young ninjas learn the importance of friendship, teamwork, loyalty, hard work, creativity, ingenuity, and right versus wrong.
"We already knew we had a potential hit on our hands based on our experience with Naruto in Japan" said Isamu Takahashi, Managing Director & Chief International Operating officer of TOMY Company, Ltd. "However, we needed to translate not only the games, but the compelling qualities of the Naruto property. We met with many publishers in the U.S. and were impressed by D3Publisher of America's knowledge of interactive entertainment, awareness and enthusiasm for TOMY's Naruto titles and the enthusiasm with which they pursued the arrangement. We are confident that along with VIZ Media and Nintendo, the partnership with D3PA will recreate in North America the phenomenal success Naruto enjoyed in Japan."
A smash-hit when originally released in Japan, TOMY and D3PA will release several of the popular titles in 2006 including: Naruto: Clash of Ninja (Gekito Ninja Taisen) and Naruto: Clash of Ninja 2: (Gekito Ninja Taisen 2) for the GameCube and Naruto: Ninja Council (Saikyuo Ninja Daikesshu) and an additional title for Game Boy® Advance.