SOURCE: Bandai Visual USA

March 20, 2007 12:00 ET

Bandai Visual Announces June 26 Release of First HD DVD Title "Freedom" Volume One

Product to Be Released Simultaneously in North America and Japan Under Bandai Visual Flagship International Label Honneamise

TORRANCE, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 20, 2007 -- Bandai Visual today announced the simultaneous U.S. and Japan release of the bestselling OVA "Freedom" Vol. 1 in HD DVD/DVD Twin disc format. "Freedom," which is the first HD DVD product from Bandai Visual, will be released in North America by Bandai Visual USA through their distributor Geneon Entertainment (USA). The product will also be available in Japan at .ANIME (www.dot-anime.com), an integrated online anime portal operated by Anime Channel Co., Ltd.

After "Freedom" Vol.1, Bandai Visual will start releasing other HD DVD and Blu-ray titles in Japan, with plans to distribute overseas under its flagship international label Honneamise.

Bandai Visual is vigorously developing product for next generation formats and has previously announced a collaboration with Memory-Tech Corporation and Microsoft Co., Ltd. on a project to improve image quality for the latest HD DVD video compression technology for the global anime software market. The "Freedom" Vol. 1 release in HD DVD/DVD Twin format will be the first result of the collaboration. The three companies have fine-tuned VC1(*1) specifically to achieve higher visual quality for Japanese anime. The "Freedom" HD DVD/DVD Twin disc will also include HDi (*2) network function which will offer new ways to enjoy the product.

Bandai Visual intends to utilize the expanded technological capabilities of the new formats and hopes to present viewers with added-value on its new products. Its goal is to create a companywide structure to produce and release premier anime titles simultaneously in North America and internationally.

(*1) VC1 is a video codec specification that has been standardized by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and implemented by Microsoft as Windows Media Video (WMV)9. Formal standardization of VC1 represents the culmination of years of technical scrutiny by over 75 companies, leading to a codec that is well documented, extremely stable, easily licensable, and accepted by the industry.

(*2) HDi is a specification of interactivity adopted by HD DVD. It supports various features for great interactivity including high definition graphics with transparency and animation, picture-in-picture, network, etc. to create exciting user experience. HDi is based on the open standard technologies and being used on most of the existing HD DVD titles in the world.

"Freedom" is a science fiction anime series whose use in Nissin instant noodle TV ads created much attention in Japan. The drama unfolds on the moon's surface in the city of Eden, the last human settlement, and focuses on a youth whose actions threaten to shake the freedom and peace of Eden. The scale of the story and the dynamic action have earned the series high marks. Bandai Visual is confident that this work, which uses the latest concepts and technology to combine 3DCGI with the 2D animation that has long been a key strength of Japan's anime industry, is ideal as a technology development source for the next generation medium of HD DVD. Two volumes of the six-part series "Freedom" have been released so far in Japan on DVD and already more than 100,000 units have been shipped. The June 26 HD DVD/DVD Twin release will be the first introduction of the title in North America.

Title:  FREEDOM Vol. 1 (of 6)
Format:  HD DVD/DVD Twin
Catalog #:  BUHH0117
UPC#:  858604001172
Street Date:  June 26, 2007
SRP:  $39.99
Spec:  Japanese audio with English subtitles
Extras:  Special prologue to the series and trailers
Further information will be available at www.bandaivisual.us/freedom and
also at www.myspace.com/honneamise.
About Bandai Visual USA Inc.

Bandai Visual USA Inc. (www.bandaivisual.us) was established in 2005 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Bandai Visual Co., Ltd., a leading company in animation industry in Japan, with a mission to facilitate stronger, more active involvement in positioning, marketing and distribution of Bandai Visual programs in North America. From its base in Torrance, California, Bandai Visual USA has started marketing and distributing Japanese anime titles in 2006, under the concept of Bandai Visual's business model which has been successful in Japan for many years. Bandai Visual USA will expand its business enthusiastically by releasing "authentic Japanese" products with a tight relationship with its parent company and affiliates. Bandai Visual USA titles on DVD and next generation media are released under its Honneamise label, named after the 1987 animation film that Bandai Visual first produced.

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