Anime studio Science SARU announced on Friday that it is producing The Heike Story (Heike Monogatari) television anime based on Hideo Furukawa‘s novel of the same name. The anime will premiere on Fuji TV‘s +Ultra programming block in January 2022. Funimation announced on the same day that it will begin streaming the anime this fall — one season ahead of its Japanese broadcast.
Prepare for a visually stunning story of a prayer that transcends 800 years.
The Heike Story, an all-new original series from studio @sciencesaru, premieres on Funimation September 15!
— Funimation (@Funimation) September 3, 2021
The anime will also begin streaming on Fuji TV‘s FOD service in Japan on September 15 at 24:00 (effectively, September 16 at midnight) and abroad through bilibili.
Furukawa’s novel renders the classic Japanese epic The Tale of the Heike in modern language, and the anime will be the first television anime adaptation of the novel. The original epic tells the story of the rise and fall of the Taira clan during the Genpei War. The anime centers on the perspective of Biwa, a blind traveling minstrel. Biwa meets Taira no Shigemori, heir to his clan, and bearing a supernatural sight that can perceive ghosts. She then proclaims to him a prophecy of his clan’s downfall.
Aoi Yūki plays protagonist Biwa in the film, while Takahiro Sakurai plays Taira no Shigemori. Saori Hayami plays empress consort Taira no Tokuko, while Tesshō Genda plays Taira patriarch Taira no Kiyomori. Other cast members include Kikuko Inoue, Miyu Irino, Yumiko Kobayashi, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Natsuki Hanae, Ayumu Murase, Kōtarō Nishiyama, Nobuyuki Hiyama, Subaru Kimura, Yū Miyazaki, Inori Minase, Tomokazu Sugita, and Yuuki Kaji.
Fumiko Takano is drafting the original character concepts, while Takashi Kojima (Flip Flappers, Ride Your Wave) is adapting those character designs for animation. Tomotaka Kubo (Deho Gallery) is in charge of art direction, and Ken Hashimoto is the color key artist. Shotaro Imai is the in-between animation director. Kazuto Izumita is the compositing director of photography, while Kiyoshi Hirose is editing. Eriko Kimura is the audio director with Hiromune Kurahashi (Otonarium) in charge of sound effects. Yoshihiko Sata is credited for historical supervision, and biwa player Yukihiro Gotō is credited for overseeing the portrayal of the biwa playing.
Yamada, Yoshida, and ushio have worked together before in A Silent Voice and Liz and the Blue Bird anime films at Kyoto Animation. Yamada and Yoshida in particular have been long-time collaborators before these films at Kyoto Animation, working on such anime as K-ON!, Tamako Market, and Tamako Love Story.
Masaaki Yuasa, the co-founder of Science SARU, is also working on a musical anime feature film titled INU-OH based on the same Heike Monogatari novel by Hideo Furukawa, but Science SARU has not indicated if or how Yuasa’s film is related to the television anime. Science SARU CEO Eunyong Choi had stated last year that the studio is also working on “another TV show with another director” besides Yuasa.