[06/01/06 - 12:00 AM]
Funimation Entertainment and Gdh K.K. Announce Hip-Hop Star the Rza Scoring Soundtrack for Afro Samurai(R)

[via press release from FUNimation]

FUNimation Entertainment and GDH K.K. Announce Hip-Hop Star the RZA Scoring Soundtrack for Afro Samurai(R)

Revolutionary Rap Artist and Producer to Craft Original Music for Series Premiering on Spike TV This Fall, DVD Release in Spring 2007

FORT WORTH, Texas, June 1 -- FUNimation(R) Entertainment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Navarre Corporation, and a brand management company and one of the nation's leading independent home video entertainment companies, and global entertainment and media company GDH K.K. announce that renowned hip-hop artist RZA will be composing the soundtrack for Afro Samurai. The animated series is produced by Japanese studio Gonzo and will premiere on Spike TV this fall. FUNimation Entertainment will bring the story to DVD in spring 2007.

Afro Samurai is the animated epic, based on a graphic novel by Takashi Okazaki, of a black samurai's hunt for the gunman who murdered his father. Academy Award-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson stars as the uncompromising hero in this stylish series that crosses cultural boundaries as a fusion of animated samurai action and hip-hop culture.

"Having RZA create the music for Afro Samurai is ideal. His passion for hip-hop, anime, and samurai culture, and his renowned expertise of scoring music to great stories are second to none," said Eric Calderon, vice-president of creative affairs at GDH K.K. "Combining this with our incredible high quality animation will give Afro Samurai a mix that no one has ever seen and heard together in one entertainment experience. This is simply going to change everything that we know about the possibilities of the animated medium for TV."

The talented RZA is arguably best known as a musical mastermind and MC in the influential hip-hop group the Wu-Tang Clan followed by a solo career as a rapper and producer. He also has an increasing list of Hollywood credits including composing both of Quentin Tarentino's "Kill Bill" movies, Jim Jarmusch's "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai" and "Blade: Trinity", as well as "Barbershop 2: Back in Business" and "Unleashed." RZA has also experienced motion picture success as an actor and was in "Derailed," "Coffee and Cigarettes", "Scary Movie 3" and "Ghost Dog."

"As a fan of martial art and old Japanese Samurai movies, I have always wanted to be a part of such creativity and to have my own spice added is even better. Many hip hop artist and musicians from the late 80's to now have been inspired by this form of entertainment, and today's animators have been stimulated by hip hop. But, usually these two forms of expression never meet in the same realm of artistry," said RZA.

"Afro Samurai offers me the opportunity to mix the innovational world of hip hop with the visual imagination of Japanese animation. The vibe of Afro Samurai is so soulful and cool, that when I was asked to compose the series my creative juices immediately reacted. I felt it was something meant for me to do; in many ways Afro and myself share the same spirit."

Please visit http://www.afrosamurai.com for the latest news and information on this evolution in entertainment.

About Navarre Corporation

Navarre Corporation is a publisher and distributor of a broad range of home entertainment and multimedia products, including PC software, CD audio, DVD and VHS video, video games and accessories. Since it's founding in 1983, the company has established distribution relationships with customers across a wide spectrum of retail channels which includes mass merchants, discount, wholesale club, office and music superstores, military and e-tailers nationwide. The company currently provides its products to over 18,000 retail and distribution center locations throughout the United States and Canada. Navarre has recently expanded its business to include the licensing and publishing of home entertainment and multimedia content, primarily through the acquisitions of Encore Software, Inc., BCI Eclipse Company, LLC, FUNimation Productions, Ltd. and The FUNimation Store, Ltd. For more information, please visit the company's web site at http://www.navarre.com .

About FUNimation Entertainment

FUNimation(R) Entertainment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Navarre Corporation is a brand management company and one of the nation's leading independent home video entertainment companies. The company's most recent initiative is the FUNimation Channel(SM), a new, 24-hour digital network featuring programming from the top anime brands in the United States. FUNimation has a proven formula for launching and advancing brands, and manages a full spectrum of rights for most of its brands including broadcasting, licensing, production, internet, and home video sales and distribution.

About GDH K.K

GDH (Security code: TSE Mothers 3755) is a globally-focused Japanese media company founded in February 2000. The group produces cutting edge entertainment for teens and young adults including the famous GONZO animation brand and for kids and family under the recently launched Gonzo Films and Gonzino brands. GDH is a world leader in content development that targets both domestic and international audiences with Japan's trend-setting animation culture and, usually, GDH controls licensing management and international distribution for the content it produces. GDH group companies include GONZO K.K., G-creators K.K., Future Vision Music K.K., GONZINO K.K., GONZO Rosso Online K.K., GDH Capital K.K., and GK Entertainment K.K.

About Spike TV

Spike TV is available in more than 90 million homes and is a division of MTV Networks. A unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), MTV Networks is one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms.

SOURCE FUNimation Entertainment

  [june 2006]  


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