Natsuzora Live-Action Series About Early Anime Industry Taps Ghibli, Toei Veterans for Historical Accuracy

posted on by Kim Morrissy
NHK is also collecting short animation samples from viewers to display each episode.

The staff for the Natsuzora live-action series about the early Japanese animation industry announced that veteran animators Hitomi Tateno and Yôichi Kotabe will be joining the project as animation supervisor and animation history consultant respectively.

Tateno joined Studio Ghibli in 1987 and performed animation checks on many Ghibli titles from My Neighbor Totoro onward. She left Ghibli in 2014 and is now a manager at the Sasayuri Café, a café in Nishi-Ogikubo which frequently hosts animation-related talk shows and exhibits.

Kotabe first joined Toei Doga (now Toei Animation) in 1959 and worked as an animator on many of the studio's classics, including Horus - Prince of the Sun, Puss 'n Boots, and Sally the Witch. After quitting Toei in 1973, he worked as character designer and animation director on Heidi, Girl of the Alps.

Hitomi Kariya, who recently won the animator's award at the Tokyo Anime Awards 2019, will serve as director, character designer (also logo design) and key animator for the show's credits. She also drew the anime-style key visual. Other animated parts will appear throughout the show, and will produced by Sasayuri and Toei Animation.

Animation from the viewers will also appear in the show. The NHK is collecting four-second animation samples from viewers to display at the end of each episode. Users can create their own animations using the site's animation creation tool and send the files directly to the NHK. The site also displays samples of simple animations with the encouraging message: "Animation is easy to create with the animation page!"

The show is planned to air from April to September 2019 and run for 156 episodes. The show is NHK's 100th "serial television novel."

The series' story of "dreams and adventures, love and passion" begins in the early summer of 1946 after the end of World War II. A nine-year-old girl named Natsu Okuhara survived air raids but lost both of her parents and is separated from her siblings. She moves in with a dairy farmer and begins to work on the farm, but in elementary school she meets a boy who introduces her to the world of cartoons. She begins to think about her future and wants to join the developing anime industry.

Tomoaki Iso is supervising the production, and Sumio Ōmori is writing the original script. The series' directors include Takafumi Kimura and Masahiko Tanaka. Toshitake Fukuoko is serving as producer. Yukari Hashimoto (Mr. Osomatsu, Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun) is serving as composer.

Source: Comic Natalie, NHK Creative Library

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