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Naze Ikiru Anime Film of Buddhist Book Previewed in Trailer

posted on by Sarah Nelkin
Studio DEEN animates film opening on May 21

Japanese film news website Cinema Today posted a trailer for the anime Naze Ikiru: Rennyo Shōnin to Yoshizaki Enjō- (Why We Live: The Priest Rennyo and the Yoshizaki Fire) film based on Kentetsu Takamori's Buddhist book Naze Ikiru on Wednesday. The trailer is also streaming on the film's official website.

Ryōken: It's my fault...
Text: Why do people live?
Rennyo: For what reason were we born?
Text: Kotaro Satomi as Rennyo
Rennyo: For what reason are we living?
Text: After 800 years, the truth of history is revealed!
Man: It's the soldiers!
Text: The astonishing Naze Ikiru book that has over one million copies in print is finally adapted to film!
Soldier: Where is Rennyo!?
Logo: Naze Ikiru

The film will open on May 21 at Tokyo's Cinemart Shinjuku and other theaters.

The story centers around Ryōken, a young man who lamented his misfortune and despised temples and monks. He had placed all his hope on his unborn child, but an unfortunate incident took everything away from him. In his time of despair and suffering in the dark, Ryōken came across the preachings of the holy priest Rennyo. They tell the answer to "why we live," as revealed by the monk Shinran. Finding new meaning, Ryōken becomes Rennyo's apprentice. Angry at the increase of followers at Honnōdera, the other Buddhist sects chase Rennyo and Ryōken out of Kyoto. Seeking a new place of worship, the two arrive in Yoshizaki (Fukui) in the Hokuriku region.

Hideaki Oba (Alice in the Country of Hearts: Wonderful Wonder World, Pandalian, Omakase Scrappers) is directing the film at Studio DEEN, and Takamori himself and Kiyoto Wada co-wrote the script. Masaaki Kannan (Hetalia - Axis Powers, Oishinbo, Gifū Dōdō!! Kanetsugu to Keiji) designed the characters, and Suurkiitos is distributing the film.

The cast includes film actor Kotaro Satomi (Agatha Christie no Meitantei Poirot to Marple) in his first anime film role as Rennyo, Katsuyuki Konishi as Ryōken, Hideyuki Tanaka, Ayumi Fujimura, and Takaaki Seki.

Ichimannendo published and sold one million copies of the original book in Japanese, and it also published an English translation under the title, You Were Born for a Reason: The Real Purpose of Life.

From 1992 to 1999, AIC produced Sekai no Hikari: Shinran Seijin, a six-part original video anime series about the life of the monk Shinran.

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