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GKIDS and Anime Ltd Acquire Naoko Yamada's The Colours Within

There has been a lot of exciting animation this week, thanks to the revealing of the full selection and events for the Annecy festival. In the wake of the revealing of the feature film line-up, two of the most respected names in animation have announced they have acquired one of the films playing. The United State's GKIDS Films and Britain's Anime Limited (also known as All The Anime) have announced that they have picked up the global rights for Japanese feature The Colours Within.

The film is the latest directorial outing for Naoko Yamada, the award winning director of A Silent Voice Surprisingly, it's her first feature since 2018's Liz And The Blue Bird. but she has directed numerous TV episodes and a short film since. After ending her working relationship with Kyoto Animation, Colours is animated by Science Saru and produced by Story Inc.

As revealed this week, The Colours Within will have its world premiere at the Annecy International Animation Festival this coming June. The film will screen in competition and be eligible to win the Cristal for A Feature Film. GKIDS and Anime Ltd will release the film in winter 2024 with both original language with subtitles and English dubbed versions available. GKIDS Films will screen the film for qualification for awards consideration. The film will be released in Japan this August.

GKIDS have acquired the rights for North America, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand and Anime Ltd. have acquired the film For the United Kingdom, Ireland and the rest of Europe. Anime Ltd's parent company PLAION Pictures will handle the film for German and Italian speaking territories, while Charades will handle the rights for the rest of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand.


Totsuko is a high school student with the ability to see the ‘colors’ of others. Colors of bliss, excitement, and serenity, plus a color she treasures as her favorite. Kimi, a classmate at her school, gives off the most beautiful color of all. Although she doesn’t play an instrument, Totsuko forms a band with Kimi and Rui, a quiet music enthusiast they meet at a used bookstore in a far corner of town. As they practice at an old church on a remote island, music brings them together, forming friendships and stirring affections. Will they discover their true ‘colors’?

Naoko Yamada directs the film from a script by Reiko Yoshida (Ride Your Wave, Violet Evergarden). Producer Genki Kawamura's Story Inc (Your Name, Weathering With You, Suzume) is attached to the film for planning and producing. Science Saru regular Kensuke Ushio is composing the score and frequent collaborator Takashi Kojima is the character designer and animation director.

Yamada has had a storied career, cutting her teeth as a key animator on many beloved KyoAni series such as The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star, and Clannad. She then graduated to episode director with the popular series K-On. She moved up to feature director with the Kyoto Animation productions A Silent Voice and Liz And The Blue Bird. She subsequently left KyoAni and in 2021 directed her first series for Science Saru with The Heike Story.

This is the latest of several collaborations between GKIDS and Anime Limited. The two partnered on the Blu-Ray release of Evangelion as well as Belle, Mirai and Weathering With You. However, this marks the first time that the two have partnered on a global acquisition.

“We have long admired Naoko Yamada and her ability to create dazzling, emotional stories out of the everyday concerns of teenagers,” said GKIDS president David Jesteadt. “The Colours Within is her most beautiful film yet, and we are proud to partner with our friends at Anime Ltd. on another soon to be classic from Science SARU and Story inc., who are responsible for some of the best anime productions of this new century.”

"The partnership and coordination on the international release of The Colours Within signals a new approach to film promotion: working together on a singular global vision whilst utilizing our respective local experience to maximize the impact of the film. Working in unison like this allows all of us to provide the best possible support for talented directorial voices,” said Anime Ltd. CEO Andrew Partridge. ”On a personal level, I’ve worked closely with promoting Naoko Yamada’s films before I even founded Anime Ltd. – starting with her debut feature film as a part of Scotland Loves Anime. So it’s a real pleasure to be bringing her latest work to as wide an audience as possible in Europe.” 

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