Mushi Production Produces Hikawa Maru Monogatari Anime Film
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
The official website of Mushi Production's Hikawa Maru Monogatari (Hikawa Maru Story) anime film project revealed on Wednesday that the film will begin screening in more theaters in Japan on August 22. The film will screen in Yokohama Burg 13 theater in Yokohama, Cinema Skhole in Nagoya, Cine Libre in Osaka, Cine Wind Niigata in Niigata, Yokogawa Cine in Hiroshima, and Taiyō Eiga Gekijō (Pacific Movie Theater) in Fukuoka.
The film is based on essayist Genjirō Itō's book of the same name. Kamakura Shunjūsha published a new edition of the book on June 5. The film commemorates the 85th anniversary of the completion of the maiden voyage of the Hikawa Maru ocean liner.
The film centers around Jirō Hirayama, a boy who lost his mother in the Great Kanto Earthquake, and who runs a soba stall with his father. He decides to join the crew of the famous ocean liner Hikawa Maru, and finds work cooking in the ship's galley. Through his eyes, the film explores the ship's 85-year history.
The film's story is set in four different time periods of the ship's service. The first part will take place in the ship's pre-war life, when it ran the Pacific route between Yokohama, Vancouver, and Seattle. Charlie Chaplin travelled on the ship in this time period in 1932.
The second time period takes place during the war, when the Imperial Japanese Navy commandeered and refitted the Hikawa Maru as a hospital ship, and after the war, when the ship repatriated Japanese soldiers from the front.
The third time period takes place during the ship's post-war return to service as a passenger and cargo ship. The fourth time period takes place after its decommissioning and permanent berthing.
The film debuted in a VIP screening in Shinjuku on July 24, and has already screened in Yokohama, Kobe, Saitama, Kamakura, and Nagoya. The film will continue screening in various theaters in Japan in October, and then Mushi Production plans to screen the film in community centers, schools, and overseas over the next three years.
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Shunji Ôga (Golgo 13, Space Adventure Cobra) is directing the animated film at Mushi Production, with scripts from Ryōichi Matsushita and Kouji Miura (Disgaea, Hamtaro). Minoru Ohara drew the film's storyboards. Aki Yamagata (Monster, Natsu no Arashi!) designed the characters, and also served as chief animation director. Takashi Honda served as the art director, while Yuko Nishikawa is credited for color design. Kentarō Shiomitsu is directing the CG animation. Kenji Takehara is director of photography, and Yumiko Nakaba is credited for editing. Katsunori Shimizu is credited as sound director at Zack Promotion, while Yasuyuki Konno is credited for sound effects.
Kazumasa Oda performs the film's theme song "Kanata."
The 90-minute film cost 150 million yen (about US$1.2 million) to make.
Chihiro Kusaka (Mermaid Melody: Pichi Pichi Pitch's Nagisa Shiroi) will voice the protagonist Jirou Hirayama when he is 13-16 years old, and Keisuke Koumoto (Isuca's Chinichirō Asano, I couldn't become a hero, so I reluctantly decided to get a job.'s Raul Chaser) will voice the 24-year old Jirou Hirayama. Norio Kanaya, the 28th real-life captain of the Hikawa Maru, will play Captain Shiromoto, the ship's captain. Keiko Toda (Gegege no Kitarō's Kitaro, Soreike! Anpanman's Anpanman) will voice the narrator.
In real life, the Hikawa Maru is the name ship of its class, and like the Hikawa Maru, its sister ships were also refitted for the war. Both the Hie Maru and the Heian Maru served as submarine tenders, and were sunk during the war, making the Hikawa Maru the only ship remaining of its class. The ship remains permanently anchored as a museum ship at Yamashita Park in Yokohama.
Thanks to Rachel S. for the news tip.