Studio Ponoc is back on the big screen. The workshop behind Mary and the witch’s flower released the first teaser of their next film, Imaginary. The trailer can be viewed below.
The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by AF Harrold. Emily Gravett provided illustrations. The book won the UKLA Book Award 2016 and the British Book Design and Production Award 2015 (children category and overall winner). The synopsis of the book is currently on Harrold’s website.
Rudger is Amanda Shuffleup’s imaginary friend. It’s a funny old life, not really being there, but someone has to. No one else can see Rudger – until the sinister Mr. Bunting arrives at Amanda’s door. Mr. Bunting chases imaginaries. Rumor has it that he eats them. And he sniffed out Rudger. Soon Rudger is alone and runs for his imaginary life. But can a boy who is not there survive without a friend to imagine him?
Yoshiyuki Momose (whose previous credits include directing the animation for the 2019 film NiNoKuni) directs the film. Yoshiaki Nishimura, Founder of Studio’s Ponoc, Product Imaginary. Nishimura is also credited as the studio’s breakout film producer. Mary and the witch’s flower, his previous producer credits include Studio Ghibli When Marnie was there and The tale of Princess Kaguya.
The studio breakout film, Mary and the witch’s flower, was released in 2017. The film was also based on a book, The small perch by Mary Stewart. It opened in second place in Japan, grossing 428 million yen ($ 3.9 million) in its opening weekend. The film currently holds a score of 89% on Rotten tomatoes.
While the trailer doesn’t give us much to watch just yet, what we do see is our first glimpse of the imaginary boy, Rudger. But what we can probably guess is that it will be beautiful to look at, and will likely take full advantage of what the animation has to offer. Asked about the creation of Studio Ponoc and the production of Mary and the witch’s flower, Nishimura had this to say.
“When Marnie was there is work that has proven that Yonebayashi, who excels in dynamic painting, sealed his specialty and can draw trivial emotions. But as a producer, I want to see dynamic animation, so I decided to make a fantasy with a happy moving girl. “
Since the release of Mary and the witch’s flower, the studio also released 2018 Modest heroes. The anthology film consists of three segments directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Yoshiyuki Momose, and Akihiko Yamashita, all three of whom are former Studio Ghibli staff. GKIDS acquired the North American distribution rights and released the film in 2019. Currently, the film has a 86% reviewer rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
While we don’t have much to take away from the teaser at Imaginary, one thing seems to be clear. An anime about imaginary beings with the old Ghibli staff behind? It seems like a combination for something really fun! Imaginary is slated for release in 2022.
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