Toei, Shanghai Media Group Animate New Ikkyū-san Film
posted on by Egan Loo
The Japanese studio Toei Animation announced at a June 16 press conference in Shanghai that it is jointly producing a new Ikkyū-san anime film with the Chinese conglomerate Shanghai Media Group (SMG) and SMG's Toonmax channel. Toei animated the original Ikkyū-san historical comedy television series about a young monk-in-training from 1975 to 1982, when the studio was still known as Toei Dōga. The new Ikkyū-san anime film will open in China in February of 2012 — during the traditional Chinese New Year holidays.
The story of Ikkyū-san is loosely inspired by Ikkyū Sōjun, a real-life Buddhist monk who lived in 15th-century Japan. The anime imagines Ikkyū's childhood as a mischievous but clever monk-in-training at Ankokuji Temple. The original television series already inspired a 1978 Ikkyū-san to Yancha-hime (Ikkyū-san and the Mischievous Princess) film. The television series premiered in China in 1983 and became a popular hit among children there.
SMG operates the children's television channel Toonmax, which is popular in China and particularly in the Shanghai area. Another Japanese anime studio, Madhouse, is collaborating with China Film Group Corporation, director Yūji Ikeda (Fushigi Yuugi, Monster), and original character designer Naoki Urasawa (Monster, 20th Century Boys) on a film titled Tibetan Dog (Tibet Inu Monogatari).
* The above image is from the 1975 Ikkyū-san television series © Toei Animation
Update: Toei is responsible for the pre-production aspects of the new Ikkyū-san film, such as its story, character production designs, background art, color keys, and storyboards. The Chinese partners will be responsible for the majority of the actual animation production after that.
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