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GKIDS Releasing Masaaki Yuasa's 'Inu-Oh' In North America

Acclaimed animation visionary Masaaki Yuasa gave (virtual) attendees a look at his latest feature Inu-Oh as a work-in-progress presentation at this year's Annecy Festival. The director is one of relatively few in anime that can genuinely lay claim to the label 'auteur' and has an incredibly varied filmography. He's never been tied down to a single genre, so following his take on horror (Devilman Crybaby) family films (Lu Over The Wall) sports drama (Ping Pong The Animation) and disaster science-fiction (Netflix's upcoming Japan Sinks), why should we be surprised that his next film is a period-piece musical biography?

New York City-based distributor GKIDS Films have announced that they have acquired the North American release rights for the film. Inu-Oh is the latest of Yuasa's films to be picked up by GKIDS following Lu Over The Wall, Ride Your Wave, The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl and Mind Game.  The film is scheduled for release in Japan next year, and GKIDS intends to release the film theatrically in North America sometime in 2021.

Inu-Oh is a fictionalised retelling of the life of real-life figure of the same name, a famous 14th Century Noh performer. It focuses on the freindship between him and a blind Biwa player named Tomona, and follows their rise from obscurity to stardom. The film's script is adapted from the novel by Heike Monogatari and will see Yuasa team up with manga artist Taiyo Matsumoto (Tekkonkinkreet) with whom he previously collaborated on Ping Pong The Animation.

GKIDS president David Jesteadt:

 With each new project, Masaaki Yuasa continues to push in new and exciting directions across genres and styles,INU-OH is already one of our most anticipated films of 2021, and we can't wait to share more of Yuasa's remarkable work with his fellow fans.

Inu-Oh is produced by Science Saru in partnership with Asmik Ace. Distributor Anime Limited previously announced that they will release the film in the UK, France and Ireland.


Inu-Oh was born with unique physical characteristics, and the adults cover every inch of his body with garments and make him wear a mask on his face. One day, he meets a boy named Tomona, a blind biwa player. Inu-Oh tells him, “Write a biwa song about me”. Tomona makes a song about Inu-Oh’s tangled fate and starts performing it with biwa.
Inu-Oh and Tomona become business partners for their survival in society and develop an inseverable friendship. Helping each other unlock their talents, they produce one hit after another and climb the ladder to stardom. And Inu-Oh, who comes to mesmerize his audiences on stage, frees parts of his body one by one and achieves unequaled beauty.
Why is Tomona blind? Why was Inu-Oh born with unique physical characteristics?
It is a story about the friendship of Inu-Oh and Tomona, who dance and sing to get to the truth and break each other’s curse.


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