SciFi Japan

    VIZ Pictures Licenses Theatrical and DVD Rights to Live Action DEATH NOTE Films

    Ryuk the Shinigami death god lurks over the shoulder of Light Yagami (Tatsuya Fujiwara) as the young man plans to murder in the name of justice. Photo courtesy of VIZ Media. © 2006 'DEATH NOTE' FILM PARTNERS

    Based on the Popular Anime and Manga Series that have Taken Japan and North America by Storm Source: VIZ Media VIZ Pictures, an affiliate of VIZ Media LLC that focuses on Japanese live-action film distribution, has announced that it has licensed from Nippon Television (NTV) the North American theatrical and DVD distribution rights to the live-action feature film DEATH NOTE (Desu Noto) and its sequel, DEATH NOTE: THE LAST NAME (Desu Noto 2), based on the DEATH NOTE anime and manga series which have gained massive followings in Japan and North America. VIZ Media is the exclusive North American publisher and distributor of the DEATH NOTE anime and manga series.

    Police chief Soichiro Yagami (Takeshi Kaga) turns to the quirky but brilliant young detective L (Kenichi Matsuyama) to catch the mysterious killer of criminals. Photo courtesy of VIZ Media. © 2006 'DEATH NOTE' FILM PARTNERS

    “We are extremely proud to announce the license of DEATH NOTE and DEATH NOTE: THE LAST NAME,” says Seiji Horibuchi President and CEO of VIZ Pictures. “Both films were smash hits in Japan upon their initial release and the established popularity of the manga in the United States, combined with the highly anticipated debut of the anime series, will prime audiences for the excitement and tension that the live feature films bring to the story.” DEATH NOTE is based on the hit supernatural action mystery manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The live-action film, directed by Shusuke Kaneko, known as a director of the popular Gamera monster film series, was released in 2006 and mirrors the manga’s story of Light Yagami, an ace student with great prospects who is bored out of his mind. All of that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god named Ryuk. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals mysteriously begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to investigate, and he is soon hot on the trail of Light, who must now reevaluate his one noble goal. Both Light and L believe themselves to be on the side of justice, and the two match wits trying to show exactly which of them is "good" and which of them is "evil." The film’s sequel DEATH NOTE: THE LAST NAME was also a hit in Japan, staying #1 for four straight weeks. While it closely followed major plot elements from the original manga series, several new key story differences were also introduced. Both films star Takeshi Kaga, who is widely known by North American audiences as the flamboyant host of TV’s IRON CHEF. VIZ Pictures will open DEATH NOTE and DEATH NOTE: THE LAST NAME in a series of special screenings at Austin’s Fantastic Fest 2007, September 20-27, and at the 2007 Vancouver Asian Film Festival, November 1-4. Future screenings will continue throughout 2008. VIZ Pictures also plans to release DEATH NOTE and DEATH NOTE: THE LAST NAME on DVD in the summer of 2008.

    Japanese poster design for DEATH NOTE: THE LAST NAME. © 2006 'DEATH NOTE' FILM PARTNERS

    Fantastic Fest 2007 Sept. 20-27: Austin, TX Alamo Drafthouse Cinema 1120 South Lamar, Austin, TX For tickets, go to the Fantastic Fest website. DEATH NOTE Sunday, September 23, 12:30pm Wednesday, September 26, 9:05pm DEATH NOTE: THE LAST NAME Sunday, September 23, 3:30pm Wednesday, September 26, 11:45pm Vancouver Asian Film Festival Nov. 1-4: Vancouver, BC For showtimes and tickets, go to the Vancouver Asian Film Festival website. DEATH NOTE date tba Based in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Pictures, Inc. distributes Japanese live-action films and DVDs, with particular focus on Japanese "kawaii (cute) and cool" pop culture. VIZ Pictures’ earlier titles include TRAIN MAN: DENSHA OTOKO, LINDA LINDA LINDA, THE TASTE OF TEA, PING PONG, and HULA GIRLS. The company will continue to offer the most entertaining live action motion pictures straight from the "Kingdom of Pop" for audiences of all ages in North America.

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