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[04/03/05 - 12:00 AM]
Cartoon Network and Production I.G. Join Forces for First Toonami Original Series

[via press release from Cartoon Network]

Cartoon Network and Production I.G. Join Forces for First Toonami Original Series

Today at the 2005 Tokyo Anime Fair in Japan, Cartoon Network unveiled the highly anticipated new series, IGPX. Cartoon Network has been a pioneer in bringing popular Japanese animation to the U.S., expanding the fan base further than ever expected. Now, Cartoon Network leads the pack once again by partnering with acclaimed animation studio, Production I.G. and Bandai Entertainment to produce IGPX, an original series for Toonami, the Cartoon Network action programming block that first brought anim� to wide audiences in the U.S.

IGPX will combine the talents of both Cartoon Network and Production I.G., establishing a new production paradigm. Blending the quality and style of anim� with Western storytelling, IGPX will be the first instance of a U.S. cable network working directly with a Japanese animation studio to create an original series. The new original series that uses both traditional and CGI animation will debut in Fall 2005 during Toonami, currently #1 in the U.S. with boys 9-14 and 12-17 for 2005 to date.

"Toonami brought Japanese animation to a new generation of fans in the U.S., showcasing popular anim� series like Dragonball Z, The Big O and Yu Yu Hakusho," said Jim Samples, executive vice president and general manager for Cartoon Network. "Now, Toonami is the first to team up with one of the most respected and well-known animation studios in Japan, Production I.G., with a new approach on production, setting the stage for future co-productions."

"I am very honored for Production I.G. to collaborate with Cartoon Network, and for our show to be broadcast on the world�s largest animation network, viewed in 160 countries. This co-production relationship with Cartoon Network is what truly motivated our staff to create such an amazing piece of work," said Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, president of Production I.G.

Production I.G., internationally recognized for creating high-quality animation, including well known properties like Ghost in the Shell, Neon Genesis Evangelion, FLCL and the anim� sequences in Kill Bill Vol.1, brings their stylish vision to IGPX. Cartoon Network first partnered with Production I.G. in 2032 to produce five 5-minute episodes of IGPX for an on-air Toonami event in 2003.

In IGPX, the year is 2048 and the "IGPX" has become the world�s most-popular sport. It�s so big that an entire city was built for the racing industry where competitions take place on a huge, 60-mile track called "The Big Eye." In the "Immortal Grand Prix," two teams of three Mechs, high-tech fighting machines driven by humans, race at speeds greater than 350 mph. Team Satomi, a crew of amateur pilots, has just won a minor-league championship, vaulting them into the sport�s highest level, the IG-1. Now, the untested rookies of Team Satomi must overcome impossible odds and beat the world�s most skilled and ruthless pilots in the planet�s biggest event, the "Immortal Grand Prix."

Mitsuru Hongo, director of IGPX said, "I have never been involved in anything in the past where I wished for everyone to watch it so badly. We are all trying very hard to make this the most entertaining animation ever. We will let the audience make the judgment on how different this is from anything else. The story gets more interesting as the season progresses, so I hope everyone stays tuned in to watch more IGPX!"

Bandai Entertainment has also teamed-up with Cartoon Network and Production I.G. to produce IGPX. "This exciting collaboration between Cartoon Network and Production I.G. features an awesome array of Hollywood voice talent and stylized music from Ninja Tune. I�m truly excited that Bandai Entertainment can play a role in what is sure to be an �Anime Dream Team,�" said Ken Iyadomi, Executive Vice President of Bandai Entertainment. Bandai Entertainment, a long-time partner with Cartoon Network and its effort to bring Japanese animation to U.S. audiences, will serve as the licensing partner for IGPX.

Production I.G, Inc. (www.productionIG.com) is one of the largest and most successful Japanese animation studios. Established in 1987 by Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, the company has produced a variety of cutting edge animation titles including Ghost in the Shell, JIN-ROH, Blood: The Last Vampire, Kill Bill Vol. 1 (animation scenes), Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2nd GIG. An overseas subsidiary and a full time staff of over 200 animators and producers meet the international creative community�s demands. Production I.G provides superior quality animation to the global audience.

Bandai Entertainment Inc. is the premier distributor of Japanese animation on DVD home video and leading Japanese animated licensed programming for television broadcast distribution in North America. Bandai Entertainment Inc. is a subsidiary of Bandai America Inc. In addition to toys and children's entertainment, Bandai Co.'s global interests include video game software, multimedia, music and full-length feature films, vending machines, trading cards, candies, and licensed apparel. Additional company and product information is available at www.bandai-ent.com .

Cartoon Network (CartoonNetwork.com), currently seen in 87.6 million U.S. homes and 160 countries around the world, is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.�s ad-supported cable service offering the best in original, acquired and classic animated entertainment for kids and families. Overnight from 11 p.m.-6 a.m. (ET, PT), Cartoon Network shares its channel space with Adult Swim, a late-night destination showcasing original and acquired animation for young adults 18-34.

RATING PERIOD: 12/27/04-3/20/05

SOURCE: Turner Entertainment Research from Nielsen Media Research data. These television ratings data are reproduced here with permission from Nielsen Media Research. Reproduction of these data in volume, without permission from Nielsen Media Research, is prohibited.

NOTES: All ratings based on Total U.S. Television Universe of 109,600,000 homes.





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