VIZ Media Announces Download Rights to Bleach Anime Series

{I think this has some interesting possibilities for some of the fringe series that US publishers seem so reluctant to license.  If they’re priced right, even those hard to market shoujo titles could find some success.  I wonder who will be the first to try offering some less popular series as direct downloads to fans?}

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES DOWNLOAD RIGHTS TO BLEACH™ ANIME SERIES

Hit Supernatural Action Series To Be Made Domestically Available Via High Quality Download

San Francisco, CA, August 13, 2007  – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced it has secured from TV Tokyo and Shueisha the download rights to the hit supernatural action anime series BLEACH™. Twenty episodes of both the dubbed and subtitled versions of the series will be made available for download in the United States beginning on August 31, 2007 on direct2drive.com and totalvid.

BLEACH is the latest VIZ Media series to be readied for digital delivery. VIZ Media has already made the highly acclaimed DEATH NOTE series available for download in the United States, marking the first time a well-known Japanese anime property had officially been made available for download while the title still aired on Japanese television. VIZ Media offers its content for download through various independent vendors including Direct2Drive and TotalVid.

BLEACH is based on the best-selling manga by Tite Kubo, also published in North America by VIZ Media. The anime series, as seen on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, follows the adventures of Ichigo, a fifteen-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 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.

“We are excited to announce we have acquired the Download-To-Own and Download-To-Rent rights to BLEACH,” states Daniel Marks, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, VIZ Media. “Broadband delivery of anime content serves as a compelling counterpart to traditional formats such as DVD. We will continue to respond to the growing demand for high quality content on digital platforms.”

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 Production Co., Ltd. (ShoPro Japan), VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America and a global licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including, magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, videos, DVDs and audio soundtracks and develops and markets animated entertainment from initial production, television placement and distribution, to merchandise licensing and promotions for audiences and consumers of all ages.