Header Ads

[Annecy] GKIDS Acquire 'Ghost Cat Anzu' and 'Blue Giant'

This week sees the Annecy International Animation Festival take place in the French town of the same name. The biggest celebration of all things animation attracts guests from all around the world. US distributor GKIDS Films has used the occasion to announce a couple of new titles that it will be bringing to North American cinemas this year and next.

GKIDS Films announced they had acquired the North American rights to Japanese/French co-production Ghost Cat Anzu. Directed by Yoko Kuno and Nobuhiro Yamashita, the film is being produced by Shin-Ei Animation and Miyu Productions,].

Adapted from the manga Takashi Imashiro, the story follows the strong minded 11-year-old Karin who is sent to live with her monk grandfather in the country and her rocky friendship with the titular phantom feline.

The film is being previewed in a work-in-progress session at Annecy this week, and will be released in 2024.

Co-director Yamashita has previously directed live-action films such as Linda Linda Linda and episodes of Midnight Diner. Kuno is an acclaimed artist and designer, making her feature directorial debut on the film.

"This is a film full of yokai and demons… but in the shoot they were all played by humans," Kuno says. "Which is precisely why I want to preserve all of their very human sweetness, eccentricity, and complex emotions in the drawn world. The setting is an ordinary Japanese countryside town, but by combining the production abilities of Japan and France, I’m certain we’ll create a world that’s even new to Japanese eyes."

GKIDS also announced they have acquired the North American rights to music drama anime Blue Giant. The film is directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa, whose credits include cult fave Mob Psycho 101, Death Parade, DECA-DENCE, and the latest outing in the Detective Conan franchise Detective Conan: The Black Iron Submarine.

Blue Giant is adapted from the internationally renowned manga of the same name, written and illustrated by Shinichi Ishizuka. The series won the Japan Media Arts Festival Award and the Shogakukan Manga Award, as well as being nominated for the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize and Comic Of The Year at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. Number 8, the editor of the manga joined the adaptation to write the script.

The story follows Dai Miyamoto, a former highschool Basketball player who discovers a love for jazz and dedicates himself to learning to play the saxophone. Leaving his hometown behind for the clubs of Tokyo, he soon discovers that the life of a professional musician is a lot tougher than it looks.

The film features original music composed by virtuoso pianist Hiromi Uehara, who also voices the character of Yukinori Sawabe. Drummer Shun Ishikawa of the internationally popular band Millenium Parade and saxophonist Tomoaki Baba voice the characters of Shunji Tamada and Dai Miyamoto respectively.

Blue Giant opened in Japan this past February, going on to take over one billion yen (approximately $7.5) million. The film has a preview screening at Annecy this week, and GKIDS will release the film in North American cinemas later this year.

"Blue Giant is a thrilling and moving exploration of what it takes to pursue true artistic and creative excellence," GKIDS’ President David Jesteadt says. "We are proud to share this special film that captures the spirit of the beloved manga for a new audience, with one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in years."