The official website for Masaaki Yuasa‘s INU-OH, the musical anime feature film of Hideo Furukawa‘s Heike Monogatari: INU-OH no Maki (Tales of the Heike: INU-OH) novel, revealed three new cast members on Friday. Tasuku Emoto, Kenjiro Tsuda, and Yutaka Matsushige (top row, left to right in image below) join the cast as Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, Inu-oh’s father, and Tomona’s father (bottom rown, left to right), respectively.
The film made its world premiere in the 78th Venice International Film Festival today. It is the first 2D Japanese film to compete in the Venice International Film Festival’s Horizons category. The film will open in Japan in early 2022.
The film was originally scheduled to open in theaters in 2021.
INU-OH is born with unique physical characteristics, and the horrified adults cover every inch of his body with garments, including a mask on his face. One day, he meets a boy named Tomona, a blind biwa player, and as Tomona plays a delicate song of tangled fate, INU-OH discovers an incredible ability to dance.
INU-OH and Tomona become business partners and inseparable friends, using their creative gifts to survive on the margins of society, as song after song gain them notoriety and propel them to stardom. Through the songs, INU-OH mesmerizes his audiences on stage, and gradually begins to transform into someone of unequaled beauty. But why is Tomona blind? Why was INU-OH born with unique characteristics? It is a story about the friendship of INU-OH and Tomona, who dance and sing to get to the truth and break each other’s curse.
The film screened in the Work in Progress program at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival’s online event in June 2020. ASMIK Ace unveiled manga creator Taiyo Matsumoto‘s original character design concepts for the film at the event.
Yuasa (DEVILMAN crybaby, Ride Your Wave, Japan Sinks: 2020) is directing the film. Matsumoto is drafting the original character designs for INU-OH in his second collaboration with Yuasa, who directed the anime of Matsumoto’s Ping Pong manga. Akiko Nogi is writing her first anime film after scripting such live-action works as I am a Hero, We Married as a Job!, and Unnatural.
Kyoto Animation veteran Naoko Yamada is also directing The Heike Story (Heike Monogatari) television anime at Science SARU, based on the novel of the same name also by Hideo Furukawa, but Science SARU has not indicated if or how Yamada’s series is related to Yuasa’s film.