UTA Partnering With Anime Company VIZ Media For Live-Action Content

Death Note cover - P 2016
Courtesy of VIZ Media

The agency will work with the San Francisco-based publisher to develop live-action programming based on VIZ's vast catalog of manga and anime.

UTA and VIZ Media are joining forces to bring some of the world's most popular anime titles to life.

VIZ Media, the leading provider of Japanese comics (manga) and animated series (anime) to English-language audiences, is partnering with the agency to develop live-action content based on its vast catalog of titles, which include Bleach, Death Note, Naruto, One-Punch Man, One Piece and Tokyo Ghoul, as well as globally known franchises Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon and Pokemon. The San Francisco-based company, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this summer, is the U.S.'s top publisher of manga, which is popular enough in America to make VIZ one of the country's top three publishers of graphic novels in general.

"We are excited to start this partnership to push the boundaries of storytelling, innovation and character through VIZ Media's prolific portfolio," UTA book department co-head Howie Sanders said Wednesday in a statement.

Japan's pop lit continues to serve as go-to source material in Hollywood. Scarlett Johansson and Michael Pitt are starring in DreamWorks' Ghost in the Shell adaptation, while Warner Bros. is developing a live-action Death Note feature starring Nat Wolff. And Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt's 2014 time-traveling sci-fi actioner Edge of Tomorrow was based on the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill.

"The UTA partnership represents an important new direction for VIZ Media and our colleagues in Japan," said VIZ Media chief marketing officer Brad Woods. "Bringing the rich stories of manga and anime to life in new ways is an exciting opportunity with tremendous potential. UTA is an innovator that shares our vision, and their proven track record and strong relationships throughout the domestic and international entertainment sectors will be important factors as we move forward."