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Studio Ponoc's Modest Heroes Anime Anthology Unveils Cast, Composers

posted on by Egan Loo

The official website for Studio Ponoc's three-part anime anthology film Modest Heroes (Chiisana Eiyū: Kani to Tamago to Tōmei Ningen) announced its cast and musical composers on Monday.

Hiromasa Yonebayashi is directing the 15-minute fantasy adventure story "Kanini & Kanino" ("Kanini to Kanino") about two crab siblings. Fumino Kimura (live-action Paradise Kiss, Kyō, Koi o Hajimemasu) plays the older brother Kanini (top left in images above), and Rio Suzuki plays the younger brother Kanino (top right). Kimura notes that her entire dialogue is in "crab language." Composer Takatsugu Muramatsu (Lu over the wall) is reuniting with Yonebayashi after scoring When Marnie Was There and Mary and The Witch's Flower.

Yoshiyuki Momose is directing "Life Ain't Gonna Lose" ("Samurai Egg"), a 15-minute "human drama" (based on a true story) showing the love between a mother and a boy. In her first full-fledged voice-acting role, Machiko Ono (live-action Kiki's Delivery Service, In This Corner of the World) plays the "Mama" (center left, second from top) with a Kishiwada accent from Osaka. 9-year-old Sōta Shinohara plays the boy Shun (center right, second from top). Kentaro Sakaguchi (live-action Umimachi Diary) takes on two roles, the father (center left, third from top) and a doctor. Keyboardist and producer Masanori Shimada (.hack//Legend of the Twilight, songs for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Gintama) is composing his first film soundtrack.

Akihiko Yamashita's "Invisible" ("Tōmei Ningen") is a 14-minute "action spectacle" that centers on the lonely struggle of one invisible man. Joe Odagiri (SHINOBI - Heart Under Blade, Mushishi, Kamen Rider Kuuga, Zaion: I Wish You Were Here) plays the invisible man (bottom left), and dancer/actor min Tanaka (Tekkonkinkreet, live-action Rurouni Kenshin Part II: Kyoto Inferno, Blade of the Immortal) plays the blind man (bottom right). Odagiri said he was thrilled to be able to be part of an experience he never felt before. Music producer Yasutaka Nakata (Five Numbers!, Portable Kuukou and its sequels) is composing the soundtrack.

Studio Ponoc describes the shorts as "tales of Modest Heroes of our times." Modest Heroes will open on August 24 as the first volume of Ponoc Short Films Theatre (Ponoc Tanpen Gekijō), an anthology of anime shorts divided into volumes with different themes. Yoshiaki Nishimura is credited as producer for the project.

Yonebayashi, who directed the studio's previous Mary and The Witch's Flower film and Studio Ghibli's When Marnie Was There, tackles an original story for the first time. Momose worked closely with Ghibli director Isao Takahata in various roles on his films Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, including as animation director, storyboarder, visual design, and special scene design. Yamashita also worked in various roles in Hayao Miyazaki's films in Ghibli, including as animator, animation director, character designer, animation supervisor, and assistant director in such films as Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Ponyo, and The Wind Rises.

Mary and The Witch's Flower opened in Japan last July and has earned 3 billion yen (US$28 million). GKIDS and Fathom Events opened the anime in U.S. theaters on January 18.

Sources: Modest Heroes film's official website, Comic Natalie

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