1st Foreign Female Pro Shogi Player Inspires Anime Short by Colorido

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. debuted the "Susume, Karolina" (Go, Karolina) animated short on Friday about Polish professional shogi player Karolina Styczyńska, the first non-Japanese person to receive full professional status from Japan Shogi Association. The video promotes the company's CalorieMate nutritional energy snack and is available in 15- and 30-second versions in addition to the full short. The video includes minimal dialogue, but its Japanese and English subtitles offer Styczyńska's full explanation of the story in the video.

The short versions feature the phrase "Continue toward your dreams."

Polish animator Mateusz Urbanowicz, who was in charge of background art for the global-hit anime film your name., directed the short at Studio Colorido (Typhoon Noruda, Penguin Highway). A trailer for the short debuted in April.

Styczyńska first became interested in shogi after learning about it from the manga Naruto. She began studying the game and taught herself through the shogi website 81Dojo. Female professional player Madoka Kitao was impressed by Styczyńska's abilities, and she invited her to study shogi in Tokyo in 2011. After graduating from college in Poland, she then moved to Japan in 2013 and became a graduate student at Yamanashi Gakuin University in Kōfu, Yamanashi Prefecture.

Styczyńska officially became the first non-Japanese person with full professional status after gaining the 2-kyū title following a win in the 44th Women's Meijin tournament in February 2017. She gained the women's 1-kyū shogi ranking title in April 2017. She graduated from Yamanashi Gakuin University this past March and moved to Tokyo.

CalorieMate previously partnered with voice actors Yūichi Nakamura and Tomokazu Sugita last August. The snack brand also collaborated with Flash animator Frogman for a series of parody animeshorts in 2014.

Sources: Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co.'s website and YouTube channel, The Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web

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