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Crunchyroll Releasing Makoto Shinkai's 'Suzume no Tojimari' , GKIDS Picks up Goodbye,' Don Glees'

Not so long ago Japanese animation was a rare sight in cinemas in the English-speaking world. However, prior to the pandemic, we saw a veritable explosion of anime hitting the big screen thanks to specialist distributors such as GKIDS Films. Anime Limited and Eleven Arts Anime. This year, releases are beginning to be more frequent again, as the cinema industry is recovering from a couple of fallow years.

This week has seen two new anime features announced as headed to the big screen. Crunchyroll, who are now moving into more cinematic releases following their merger with Funimation, have followed up the recent Dragon Ball Super Hero announcement with another eagerly anticipated feature.

Suzume no Tojimari is the next feature from anime auteur Makoto Shinkai (Your Name, Weathering With You). Crunchyroll are partnering with Sony Pictures Entertainment and Wild Bunch International to release the film theatrically worldwide (excluding Asia). Crunchyroll will be the sole distributor in North America, while Sony Pictures and Crunchyroll will distribute elsewhere, excluding French and German-speaking European territories, which will be distributed by Wild Bunch International.

The film is set to debut in Japan on November 11 this year, with the international roll-out starting early 2023. 

On the other side of the door, was time in its entirety—

“Suzume no Tojimari” is a coming-of-age story for the 17-year-old protagonist, Suzume, set in various disaster-stricken locations across Japan, where she must close the doors causing devastation. 

Suzume’s journey begins in a quiet town in Kyushu (located in southwestern Japan) when she encounters a young man who tells her, “I’m looking for a door.” What Suzume finds is a single weathered door standing upright in the midst of ruins as though it was shielded from whatever catastrophe struck. Seemingly drawn by its power, Suzume reaches for the knob… Doors begin to open one after another all across Japan, unleashing destruction upon any who are near. Suzume must close these portals to prevent further disaster.

—The stars, then sunset, and the morning sky.

Within that realm, it was as though all time had melted together in the sky…

Never-before-seen scenery, encounters and farewells… A myriad of challenges await her on her journey. Despite all the obstacles in her way, Suzume’s adventure shines a ray of hope upon our own struggles against the toughest roads of anxiety and constraints that make up everyday life. This story of closing doors that connect our past to the present and future will leave a lasting impression upon all of our hearts. 

Drawn in by these mysterious doors, Suzume’s journey is about to begin. 

Meanwhile, GKIDS Films have announced they have picked up the rights to Goodbye, Don Glees, the newest film from the famed anime studio Madhouse (Paprika, Ninja Scroll). The film is the feature debut of writer-director Atsuko Ishizuka, best know for the series A Place Further Than The Universe.

Released in Japan in February of this year, GKIDS will screen the film theatrically both in original language and dubbed versions, sometime later this year.

Teen misfits Roma, Toto, and Drop call themselves the “Don Glees,” an informal name for their backyard adventures. One day, when the trio gets blamed for a nearby forest fire, they set off into the woods to prove their innocence. As disaster strikes their expedition, tensions flare between the friends as they realize that growing up has taken them on wildly different paths in life. 

Director Atsuko Ishizuka follows up her critically acclaimed series A Place Further Than the Universe with her first original feature film. With luminescent animation and lush backdrops, Goodbye, Don Glees! is a tender coming-of-age story about the fearlessness of being young and the bittersweet journey of self-discovery.