I enjoys fansubs like a lot of anime fans because I get to watch a series airing currently or just finished airing in Japan. However, I always make a point to buy the licensed versions of shows I like.
With the advent of the Internet, it has made it easier and faster for anime fans to see current shows. Not surprisingly, some anime companies are opting to license a series even before it finishes its run in Japan or they’re choosing to show episodes online.
VIZ media announced that beginning January 15, it will begin streaming “Naruto Shippuden” just days after being shown in Japan. It will be free and available at www.Naruto.com There will also be an accelerated publishing plan for the “Naruto” manga beginning in February 2009.
“Naruto Shippuden” picks up the tale after a now 15-year-old Naruto returns to Konoha from his training with Jiraiya. Everyone in his group has advanced in rank except him. Gaara is now Kazekage and Sakura is now a medical ninja.
Here’s the release from VIZ:
“This campaign is the latest expansion of VIZ Media’s ongoing strategy to utilize the web to its maximum potential to stream a variety of hit animated properties.
Beginning on January 15, the latest episode of “Naruto Shippuden” (English-subtitled) will be available for free viewing on the official “Naruto” website, www.Naruto.com, within days of its original air date in Japan. A new English-subtitled episode will be added every Thursday thereafter.
On January 2nd, VIZ Media will also debut for free, eight uncut, English-subtitled episodes from the beginning of the “Naruto Shippuden” series on www.Naruto.com. Each Friday thereafter there will be an additional eight uncut, English-subtitled episodes added on Naruto.com until the series eventually catches up to the current third season of the hit program. Also, coming this week, an exclusive sneak peek of “Naruto Shippuden” debuting on Naruto.com.
On the manga side, VIZ Media has unveiled an accelerated publishing schedule for upcoming editions of the “Naruto” series, making them available to North American audiences sooner than ever before offered by VIZ Media. Beginning in February 2009, 11 new volumes of “Naruto” will be released over three months, moving the series from Volume 34 (February 2009) to Volume 44 (April 2009) before returning to a quarterly release schedule beginning with Volume 45 (July 2009).
Earlier “Naruto” episodes are also currently available for free through a variety of web-based, video streaming outlets that have partnered with VIZ Media, including HULU and JOOST.”