Start gearing up for back-to-school at Ty’s

It doesn’t seem possible that summer is nearly over, but for those of us who head back to school in early August, it’s a reality. Part of me weeps for the end of those halcyon days…

… and the other part of me realizes that I am remembering through rose-colored glasses that have quickly forgotten the cry of “Mom! We’re bored! What should we do?”

Ahem.

Anyway! Soon we’ll be back in the classroom; my little darlings will be learning important lessons, and I’ll be being hit up for Kleenex and hand sanitizer. It’s the circle of life! Or at least, the circle of public school!

Ty’s Toy Box understands that getting them there in the right mood is half the battle, so feel free to check out the new Back To School Store for all of your back-to-school needs. There’s enough backpacks in there to delight even the most hard-to-please kid, from Thomas the Tank Engine to Avatar to Dora to Hannah Montana.

(Funny, for some reason my daughter is still balking at my suggestion of the Little Miss Trouble bag. I cannot imagine why.)

Hey, I know summer flew by, but at least getting ready for back to school can be fun!

Naruto and Car Talk news

a while back I let you know that Ty’s Toy Box had partnered with VIZ to create the Naruto Store. That was (still is, I guess) exciting news, but recently things in Naruto-land got even better: VIZ launched a complete redesign of their Naruto site. Now you can go get all the information you want about the show, shop for goodies, and play games. It’s a one-stop location for all things Naruto, and they’ve done a great job of making the site fun, accessible, and chock-full of everything fans will want. Check it out.

Second—Car Talk! Remember when I told you that Click and Clack are going animated? The project is moving along, and in true Click and Clack style, they’re not leaving their fans out of it. They’re now running the Name Our Lousy TV Show contest. The winner gets bragging rights and a cameo on the cartoon. Put on your thinking cap and get over there for a shot at a few animated seconds of fame, folks.

So there you have it. Naruto and Car Talk, two great tastes that taste great together. Or something.

I think I need more coffee.

One night only: Naruto the movie!

Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow. It debuted in Japan in 2004, but this will be your big chance to see it on the big screen in America. (Proud Canadian? Your chance is coming on June 23rd.)

Find a participating theater by checking here, and then make sure you’re free at 7:00 tonight. Just keep in mind that although the television series is for ages 7 and up, the movie is apparently suited to teens and older. Unless you have a little kid who’s pretty unflappable, I guess.

For even more Naturo goodness, check out this interview with Mary Elizabeth McGlynn about the series in general and the movie in particular. As a relative newbie to Naruto, I didn’t realize the fanatical following it enjoys until I read this:

MEM: It’s become the Harry Potter of the anime world. What’s amazing is it’s not just the teens, but the parents. I get letters from people of every age group. They just love the show and really connect to it.

I think what it is it has so many characters, each one different and individual. The whole thing is about growing up and working together as a team, but really it’s all about enhancing your own individuality. It actually says by becoming a strong individual you can really contribute to the team.

NRAMA: It’s also the classic Horatio Algers story with a ninja setting.

MEM: Yeah. It says even the lowliest can rise to the top. It also shows Naruto isn’t the only one. Each kid is finding his or her own path. For instance, look at Naruto and Gaara. They both have similar backgrounds, but they chose different paths. Naruto has chosen to use his powers for good and he’s one of the most honorable characters I’ve ever come across. In Gaara’s case, he became so beaten down he eventually took the path of isolation and evil. Naruto never let himself get beaten down. Naruto will go on forever.

Read the whole thing, and catch the film if you can. (Then come back and tell me how it was, because I live in the sticks and it’s not showing anywhere near me. Hmph.)

Everything about Naruto

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

And after you read all of that, you can go watch the series with complete comprehension. (Well, unless you’re me… I read it all and still don’t understand the series all that well, much to my son’s dismay.) And then maybe you’ll think to yourself, “Self, I wonder if there is an official Naruto store? It seems like maybe someone told me about one, once.” And you can rest easy, because yes, there is. See, I’ve got you covered.

But you should probably go douse yourself in Lysol, because what I have right now you do not want to be covered in.

Naruto in the spotlight

VIZ Media— one of the most comprehensive companies in the field of manga publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content—to license Naruto and bring it to Cartoon Network’s Toonami just over a year ago. But has it paid off?

Critics say that it absolutely has. It came right out of the gate with high ratings, and remains one of the most popular shows on Toonami. Plus, it’s currently VIZ Media’s best-selling manga property. And really, what’s not to like?

From the Wikipedia entry:

Naruto is a manga by Masashi Kishimoto with an anime TV series adaptation. Its main character, Naruto Uzumaki, is a loud, hyperactive, adolescent ninja who constantly searches for approval and recognition, as well as to become Hokage, who is acknowledged as the leader and strongest ninja in the village.

(That is such a coincidence, because my son is a loud, hyperactive, wishes-he-was-adolescent ninja-wannabe who wishes he was the strongest ninja on the playground! I mean, what are the odds?)

If you’re not already a Naruto fan, you’ve probably been living under a rock. And if you’re already following the show (and perhaps the comics and other merchandise), I have two great pieces of news to share.

First, Volume 7 of the Naruto manga has been declared this year’s Quill Award recipient in the Graphic Novel category. For the unfamiliar, the Quills are:

an initiative launched with the combined support of Reed Business Information and NBC, and is designed to act as an industry qualified “consumers choice” program to honor excellence in writing and publishing, recognizing the creators of great literature, and promoting reading and literacy initiatives. The Quill Awards celebrates the best books of the year in nineteen popular categories, ranging from romance to biography to graphic novels.

(In other words, it’s not only a prestigious award, it’s really, really cool.)

Second, just in time to enjoy the spoils of the Quill announcement, the new official Naruto merchandise store has opened its doors. The store is a joint effort between VIZ and Ty’s Toy Box, and VIZ was only too happy to give Ty’s some love in a recent press release:

“We sought a partner who could provide an overall brand experience for our dedicated and passionate fans,” said Carol Roeder, Vice President, Consumer Products for VIZ Media. “Ty’s Toy Box has a proven track record with their ability to market, sell, and build properties in the online environment and we are excited to be working with them.”

What could be better than that? Other than being the strongest ninja in the village, that is….