At the San Diego Comic-Con Viz Media LLC. announced that it will release the Naruto and Hikaru no Go anime series on DVD under a new Shonen Jump Home Video imprint. The eagerly awaited Naruto anime debuts on the Cartoon Network in September (see 'Naruto Debuts on September 10'), and this martial arts/comedy saga of a young ninja infected by the spirit of a fox demon could easily become the Full Metal Alchemist of 2006 when the Naruto DVDs arrive next March. Since the day that Sho Pro (now part of Viz Media) announced the acquisition of the rights to Naruto (see 'Sho Pro Snags Naruto Rights'), most industry observers felt that Viz would end up with the home video rights to the property. Viz publishes the Naruto manga, which, even without any support from the Naruto anime, has been a solid Top Ten performer here in the States.
Viz will debut the Shonen Jump Home Video line in December with the release of the Hikaru no Go anime here in the States in a series of 4-episode bilingual disks. Viz plans to release a new Hikaru no Go DVD every three months. As is the case with Naruto, Viz has been publishing the Hikaru no Go manga in English.
The first Naruto DVD will be released in March with subsequent volumes coming out every other month, but these will contain the American version of the anime. Hardcore fans lusting after the uncut Naruto anime will have to wait until July when Viz begins releasing the authentic uncut Naruto anime in 13-episode boxsets.