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ANNECY 21: Fena Pirate Princess, Uzamaki

One of the most lauded parts of the annual Annecy International Animation Festival is its work in progress sessions. And this year the online pass allows animation lovers the world over to experience them from the safety of their homes. One project selected for this year's line-up is Fena: Pirate Princess, the forthcoming adventure series from Crunchyroll, Adult Swim and renowned anime studio Production I.G (best known for various iterations of the Ghost In The Shell franchise).

In the session (which is available to pass holders through to the end of June) director Kazuto Nakazawa and producer Rui Kuroki offered a glimpse behind the scenes. They detailed their inspiration behind the series and told fun anecdotes from the production. They also shared a wealth of never-seen-before production materials including backgrounds, character designs, backgrounds and more and unveiled a brand new trailer.

Nakazawa revealed the show was heavily inspired by shojo manga. He says that while it features action and adventure, at heart "it's basically a love story". The series will follow the adventures of Fena Houtman as she is on the run from both pirates and the English Navy. Only with the help of a crew of Japanese Samurai can she hope to uncover her family's secrets and unlock a hidden treasure.

Crunchyroll and Adult Swim revealed the details of the main characters and announced the Japanese voice cast:

🕱 Fena Houtman will be voiced by Asami Seto: A positive, cheerful orphan despite her traumatic past. Known for her pale skin and glowing silver hair.


🕱 Yukimaru will be voiced by Ryota Suzuki: The introverted, katana-wielding bodyguard of the Houtman family. He is extremely protective of Fena.

🕱 Shitan will be voiced by Takahiro Sakurai: This handsome, elite warrior can kill with his bow and arrow—or his looks. Though on the surface he seems aloof, he greatly values his friends.

🕱 Karin will be voiced by Aoi Yuki: Raised by a family of blacksmiths, Karin geeks out over technology like her rifle, which she uses to great effect in battle.

🕱 Enju will be voiced by Gen Sato: Kaede’s elder twin. They both use a spear and wakizashi in battle, they’re both friendly and mischievous, but Enju feels he’s more dependable than his younger brother.

🕱 Kaede will be voiced by Ryota Osaka: Enju’s younger twin. They both use a spear and wakizashi in battle, they’re both friendly and mischievous, but Kaede feels he’s more manly than his elder brother.

🕱 Tsubaki will be voiced by Jun Osuka: The oldest and most mature member of the group, he manages everyone’s wild energy. He’s also the cook, but when he fights, he uses a short ninja sword.

🕱 Makaba will be voiced by Shintaro Tanaka: This mountain of a boy prefers fighting in close quarters with brass knuckles. When he’s not fighting, he’s kind-hearted and mild-mannered.

🕱 Salman will be voiced by Manabu Muraji: An older knight who was once called “Salman the Onslaught” for being so deadly with a spear. He’s known Fena since she was a girl as he served the Houtman family for some time.

🕱 Otto will be voiced by Hiroaki Hirata: Another older knight who served the Houtman family and possessed an intimidating nickname in his younger days—'Otto the Blitz' for his quick swordplay.

Fena The Pirate Princess will be directed by Nakazawa and written by Asako Kuboyama. Music comes from Yuki Kajiura and FlyingDog. The series will premiere simultaneously English dubbed on Adult Swim and subtitled on Crunchyroll later this summer.

Crunchyroll and Adult Swim have released production images which you can take a look at below- click for full size.


Meanwhile, an update was also offered on another Adult Swim co-production. Uzumaki, based on the manga by the master of Japanese horror Junji Ito, is a miniseries being produced by Adult Swim, Production I.G USA and Studio Drive. A new video revealed that the series would be delayed until 2022 due to the pandemic. The series will be directed by Hiroshi Nagahama, with music by Colin Stetson. The video also offers a very brief tease from the anime itself- and shows its stunning monochrome artwork which brings Ito's art to life as if jumped straight off the page.