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GKIDS Announces Hayao Miyazaki TV Series 'Future Boy Conan' Release

In 2021, it's easy for western anime fans to take it for granted that pretty much everything Japan puts out will get an official translated release. Before the days of streaming and HD though, there were many hundreds, possibly thousands of series and movies that never made it across. While various distributors have subsequently gone in and brought over many of the classics for a long-delayed release, there are always some that an English release just isn't possible. Whether the film/video itself has been lost or damaged beyond repair or due to rights/legal red-tape some fans just have had to accept they will probably never get to see in an official release of any kind. For the longest time, one of these was said to be the early Hayao Miyazaki TV series Future Boy Conan, which we've been told time and time again is never going to get an English version. Strangely though, the series had been released in translation in some European countries.

It was a most unexpected day when New York-based animation distributor GKIDS Films announced that they had picked up the rights for a US release. It's particularly unexpected as GKIDS is primarily a theatrical distributor, working with home entertainment specialists Shout Factory to issue their films on home video formats.  The only TV series they have previously released was Goro Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli-co-production Ronja The Robber's Daughter, although they also announced plans to bring the classic Neon Genesis Evangelion to Blu-Ray this year.

Future Boy Conan was produced in 1978 by Nippon Animation and was the first anime series directed by Hayao Miyazaki (although he had previously also directed several episodes of the original Lupin III TV series). The series was loosely based on the book The Incredible Tide by Alexander Key, although Miyazaki (who also wrote the series and contributed storyboards and character designs) threw most of the original out for ideas of his own. 

Miyazaki's friend and later Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata also directed a couple of the episodes. The series ran for 26 episodes.

GKIDS will release the film sometime in 'late 2021' with a brand new 4K restoration and English dub. Formats aren't specified but we would assume at the very least Blu-Ray and digital versions would be available. Does the 4K restoration even mean a UHD release? Even the Ghibli films haven't had that yet! It definitely looks pretty impressive in the images released so far! You can check them all out below.

We wouldn't even be surprised if there is a chance to catch some of the series in cinemas- either at festivals or as special event screenings. GKIDS has an established relationship with HBO Max too- so it might be available streaming, too.

GKIDS describes the show:

Twenty years ago, a terrible war fought with magnetic weapons caused the earth’s axis to tilt, and earthquakes and tidal waves destroyed civilization. Conan is born into this new world, raised by his adopted grandfather on an isolated island. But his life is forever changed when a mysterious girl named Lana washes ashore, pursued by shadowy operatives who seek to use her in a new scheme to control what’s left of the world.

The directorial debut of Academy Award®-winner Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) is a landmark in animation history. This delightful sci-fi adventure series, beloved worldwide but never before released in North America, features a new English language version and 4K digital restoration

More on this release when we have it!



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