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Smap's Shingo Katori, Bebop's Yamadera in Friends 3D Anime

posted on by Egan Loo
Live-action Yamato/Returner's Takashi Yamazaki to write/direct December 2011 film

The next film that Takashi Yamazaki (Returner, Always: Sunset on Third Street, Ballad) will direct after this month's live-action Space Battleship Yamato film is Friends: Mononoke Shima no Naki, a 3D computer anime film set to open in Japan next December. SMAP band member Shingo Katori (pictured at right) will star as Naki, a red oni (Japanese demon/ogre), and veteran voice actor Kouichi Yamadera (pictured below, Cowboy Bebop's Spike, Evangelion's Kaji, Pokémon: The First Movie's Mew) will play a blue oni named Gunjō. Yamazaki and Katori had last worked together 11 years ago on a film called Juvenile, Yamazaki's directorial debut.

Yamazaki is basing his screenplay on Naita Aka-Oni, a tear-jerker fairy tale by Hirosuke Hamada (Kuroi Kikori to Shiroi Kikori). However, the film will be an original story. Naki and Gunjō are friends who live on Mononoke Shima, and they cross paths with a human child. Sadao Abe (Ikebukuro West Gate Park, Maiko Haaaan!!!) will play Gōyan, a supernatural creature tied to the gōya (bitter melon). Seishirō Katō (You Are Umasou, Nintama Rantaro) will play Konaki, Naki in his early childhood. The actress You will play a feline supernatural creature named Mikke. According to the film's poster, the one-man computer-animaton studio Frogman (Himitsu Kessha Taka no Tsume/Eagle Talon franchise, Keihin Kazoku) will also star.

The entertainment news source Oricon is hosting the poster for the film. The film will play in theaters in stereoscopic 3D and traditional 2D.

Source: Oricon

Update: More background information added.

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