Anime Expo Lite 2021 & Aniplex Online Fest 2021
Anime Expo Lite 2021: Child of Kamiari Month Film First Look
by Mercedez Clewis,
Child of Kamiari Month follows 12-year-old Kanna, a descendant of the Gods, and a member of a family tasked with delivering offerings from all across Japan to the Gods' gathering in Izumo. And although Kanna's mother was charged with completing the mission, her passing makes that impossible. In her stead, Kanna decides to finish the task, with the hope that she'll be reunited with her late mother in the land of the Gods' at the end of her journey. Yet… what is "Kamiari Month?" Well, it's a month where the gods that dwell in all things come together, leaving their homes to gather in the Izumo region of Japan. It's here that they hold discussions together, predicting the year to come.
That premise is as tempting as can be, especially as a fan of yokai and ayakashi. Naturally, that anticipation doubled once I got a first look at Child of Kamiari Month, which feels like a blend of countless movies steeped in the rich lore of Japan's mythology and history. It would be easy to call this a riff on Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, or even more recent films like your name. that also deal with the supernatural as well. Instead, I found myself thinking fondly of Kamichu!, one of my favorite anime series, which more closely aligns with the vibe that Child of Kamiari Month carries in its sincere story.
The Child of Kamiari Month first look panel featured Michihiko Suwa (Detective Conan, City Hunter, Inuyasha, Magic Knight Rayearth), who shared his insights on the film alongside writer Toshinari Shinohe and fellow producer Uko Oshia. Shinohe serves as the movie's original concept writer, with Oshia serving as producer and Suwa as the supervisor. Together, this trio gave attendants the 411 on Child of Kamiari Month, spilling some interesting tidbits ahead of its slated release later this year.
Uniquely, Child of Kamiari Month isn't a Tokyo story, though it starts in Tokyo. Rather, this film takes viewers to Shimane Prefecture, which neighbors the Yamaguchi, Tottori, and Hiroshima Prefectures. Tokyo is both Kanna's home and the place she departs from on her trip, which is a feat so wondrously simple yet extraordinary that it serves as a perfect hook for a story about gods, the fantastic, and grief, as well as the foundation for Kanna's return to running in general.
Additionally, supervisor Michihiko Suwa emphasized the story's rich foundation of Japan's polytheism, as well as the gathering of Japan's eight million deities (yaoyoruzu no kami) in Izumo in October by the lunar calendar. Because of this, October is also known in the Izumo region as Kamiari Month: a month with gods, as opposed to Kannazuki and elsewhere, where October means the month without gods. Izumo, too, serves as a location for Kanna's adventure in Child of Kamiari Month, as well as a new location for viewers to consider venturing to IRL.
Child of Kamiari Month has something of a star-studded cast. 18-year-old actress Aju Makita will be playing Kanna. She will be joined by Maaya Sakamoto, who voices the hare of Inaba, Shiro. She should be immediately recognizable as Mari Illustrious Makinami from Evangelion Rebuild, as well as Tomoe Kaburagi (Tiger & Bunny), Motoko Kusanagi (Ghost in the Shell Arise) and Miss Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade (Kizumonogatari) herself. The trio of main characters is rounded out by Miyu Irino, who voices the Oni, Yasha. Irino is an accomplished talent as well: most notable for anime fans as Haku in Spirited Away. He's also the voice of Sora from the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Together, this trio will bring to life a story that seems well worth waiting for. I certainly think so, though I'll admit a bias for coming-of-age stories with young, female leads.
Singer miwa will be singing Child of Kamiari Month's title song, aptly called “Kanna” after its lead character. In the panel, miwa herself described the process of writing the song while the film was in production, calling it a companion piece to the film and Kanna herself. She noted that Kanna is a character who struggles to return to running, but ultimately finds new purpose that motivates her. “Kanna” will link directly into the tone of the movie.
All of this indicates that this is going to be a fantastic movie, one that I wish I had seen more of than just the trailer. Kanna is not only a bit plucky: she feels like an authentic twelve-year-old, racked by grief at her mother's passing, which kickstarts the events of this film. The simple premise of her running from Tokyo to Izumo is not just a solid hook, but has extra emotional weight at a time where viewers can't move much of anywhere. Ultimately, I find myself incredibly excited for Child of Kamiari Month, and anticipate talking about it further in the near future.
In many ways Child of Kamiari Month feels like a love letter to being a child and moving through grief, as well as to the innate desire for adventure and wonder within all of us. This sentiment was even voiced by Suwa, Shinohe, and Oshia, all of whom hope that viewers will find their stride as we weather the pandemic. In the end, Child of Kamiari Month is certainly a film to keep an eye on ahead of its release. Doubly so for fans looking to see a different slice of Japan that's not Tokyo or Kyoto. Curious attendants—and readers—can expect an international release of cretica universal's newest film later in 2021.
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