Studio Pierrot, the company behind the Naruto anime, unveils new art of NBA player Zion Williamson to celebrate the show’s Nike partnership.
New art from Studio Pierrot was revealed at the Naruto anime’s 20th anniversary panel at this year’s San Diego International Comic-Con.
The anime studio behind Naruto’s animated adaptations showcased new art of NBA All-Star Zion Williamson, which portrays the New Orleans Pelicans’ power forward as a shinobi from the Hidden Leaf Village. The art was created to celebrate the collaboration between the shonen franchise, sneaker manufacturer Nike, and Williamson, which has resulted in a new collection of Naruto-themed Jordan Zion 1 sneakers. This is the second piece of art released depicting Williamson as a Naruto character; previously, the creator of the series, Masashi Kishimoto, gifted the basketball player a one-of-a-kind, hand drawn portrait that portrayed Williamson wearing Naruto’s costume. Williamson has frequently discussed his love of the Naruto franchise and has stated that the anime and manga was a big inspiration for him. An image of the new art was shared on Twitter by @ToonamiSquad.
The SDCC panel was part of the on-going celebration surrounding the 20th anniversary of the original anime’s premiere. The festivities kicked off at the most recent Jump Festa convention, which was held in Japan last December. There, a new logo for the series was unveiled, which showcased Naruto in all three eras of the series: his original look from the start of the series, his teenage appearance from Shippuden, and him as an adult, which is how he appears during the epilogue of Shippuden and throughout the Boruto series.
The Naruto franchise began with a manga by Masashi Kishimoto, which was first published in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1999. The series is the fourth best-selling manga of all time, with over 250 million copies in circulation. Kishimoto’s manga series was adapted into two separate anime series, the original Naruto in 2002 and its continuation, Naruto Shippuden, which adapted the second, post-timeskip half of Kishimoto’s manga. The series has continued to this day with Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, a manga and anime series that centers on Boruto’s son, as Naruto, who has now fulfilled his dream of becoming the Hokage, struggles to raise the rebellious youth while keeping the village of Konohagakure safe.
The Naruto and Naruto Shippuden anime are both available for streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll and Funimation. The Boruto: Naruto Next Generations sequel manga and anime are both currently still on-going: new chapters are released on a monthly schedule by VIZ Media, while new episodes of the show are available for streaming via Crunchyroll.
Nike’s Zion 1 x Naruto sneakers are now available for sale and retail for $130 a pair.