We caught up with Viz Media Director of Home Entertainment Sales Brian Ige recently to clarify how close the DVD releases for Naruto will approach the Japanese release.


Can you talk about what you’re doing to get the American Naruto home video release as close as possible to the air date in Japan?

Obviously that’s the plan--we want to be able to get the product out to our fans in a timely fashion.  One of the big hurdles that we’ve just overcome is getting the Naruto product ready for week after it airs in Japan to be released in streaming form here to combat piracy.  The issue is always going to be ensuring that we have all the deliverables we need to get the product to market as soon as possible.  Typically it takes anywhere from nine months to a year to create a product.  Obviously we want to move towards getting the product out as soon as possible.


What’s the lag right now between Japanese airing and U.S. DVD release? 

Our first release for the Shippuden product is coming out in September.  I think the original air date, when we started the streaming piece, was in January.  So we’re talking about a nine month lag.


Did you accelerate the pre-Shippuden releases in order to be ready to put out the first Shippuden product in September?

There were about 70 pre-Shippuden episodes released this year in order to be ready for the Shippuden product.  In all of last year we did about 84.  It was a slight increase in production.  For the most part, we were doing them every other month, and for the last few months we did them every month. 


What’s your schedule for Shippuden releases going to be going forward?

The [four-episode] episodics are scheduled for release every month.  The box sets are going to hit sometime in early 2010.  We’re still in the process of solidifying the rollout schedule.  We want to be strategic about how we release the box sets so as not to cannibalize the sales of the episodics.


And that nine month window between streaming and DVD release will be a constant relationship because that’s how long it takes to produce the dubbed version?

After the streaming, which is subtitled, we still have to get the content dubbed and prepped for DVD, which takes some time.  So we’re looking at a window like that.  Typically TV seasons from major studios are released approximately a year out.  Typically it releases right before the new season starts.  So we feel that we’re in line with what we’ve seen out in the marketplace with what other major studios are doing.


Is there going to be a home on television for Shippuden?

We don’t know yet.  It would be exciting to see Shippuden on TV, but as of right now I don’t have any updates on that end.