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Tezuka Pro Revives Budori Gusuko Anime after TAC's Bankruptcy

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Film based on Kenji Miyazawa's story with cat characters still needs investors

The global art licensing magazine Total Licensing revealed in its fall issue that Tezuka Productions will take over Group TAC's The Life of Guskou Budori anime film project. The magazine published an interview with the film's producer Yoshihiro Shimizu (Black Jack The Movie, MURAMASA, Astro Boy) discussing the new adaptation.

As the general manager of Tezuka Productions, Shimizu said he wanted the company to release the film based on children's author Kenji Miyazawa's story because it fits in with Osamu Tezuka's ideals, especially in the theme: "how you actually live your life is more important than your environment." Shimizu also discussed potential plans to help victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake alongside The Life of Guskou Budori's production.

In 2008, the Group TAC studio announced plans to revisit the fable first adapted into an anime film by Bandai Visual in 1994. At the time, Gisaburô Sugii (Galactic Railroad, Touch) was set to direct the new adaptation for release in 2009. However, after the unexpected death of Atsumi Tashiro, head of Group TAC, the company fell into bankruptcy and production of the film halted. The anime and computer graphics company owed "about 650 million yen (about US$7.7 million) to about 167 creditors" at the time of its demise.

Shimizu stated in his interview with Total Licensing that the initial production cost estimate for the anime film was 300 to 600 million yen (about US$4,000,000 - 8,000,000) when Group TAC was set to produce The Life of Guskou Budori. According to Shimizu, the Tezuka Productions film has found some investors but still needs about 50,000,000 yen (about US$650,000) to ensure the film's completion.

The Life of Guskou Budori is based on a children's tale by Kenji Miyazawa (Night on the Galactic Railroad, Yuki-Watari, Spring and Chaos) about a boy named Guskou who loses his sister to a kidnapper. Guskou grows up to become a volcano researcher striving to protect his land. Set in a mythical version of northern Japan, the story revolves around early concepts of the greenhouse effect. As seen in Spring and Chaos and several other anime based on Miyazawa's works, all the characters will be depicted as cats.

The well-known manga artist and animator Osamu Tezuka established Tezuka Productions in 1968. The company has produced many film and television anime based on Tezuka's works as well as assisting with other anime studios' projects.

Thanks to Liam for the news tip.

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