Ninjas and anime are both big money these days, so it's only natural that an anime about ninjas would do similarly well. Shonen Jump's ninja manga Naruto debuted in Japan in 1999, but now the series has made its way to US shores with episodes on the Cartoon Network, and all manner of licensed fare from VIZ Media.
Not one to leave a hot anime license un-capitalized upon, Bandai Games today announced that it is bringing the PlayStation 2 fighting game Naruto: Narutimate Hero to the US in the first quarter of 2006. While the Japanese are getting the third Narutimate Hero game this holiday season, the original game is closer to the storyline of the TV series that will be current when it releases next year.
Narutimate Hero is developed by CyberConnect2, the studio behind the .hack series. It features cel-shaded graphics, 14 playable characters, multitiered fighting environments, and a variety of collectible in-game items, from trading cards to toys, music, and movies. For more on Narutimate Hero, check out GameSpot's hands-on impressions from the 2003 Tokyo Game Show.