Mari Okada's Maquia Film Wins Best Animation at Shanghai Film Festival
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
The Shanghai International Film Festival awarded P.A. Works and Mari Okada's Maquia - When the Promised Flower Blooms original anime film for Best Animation at its Golden Goblet Awards on Sunday. China Global Television Network's video of the awards ceremony shows director Mari Okada and P.A. Works founder and president Kenji Horikawa receiving the award (6:00 in video below).
The other nominees included Stanislav Sokolov's Hoffmaniada, Alexandre Espigares's Croc-Blanc (White Fang), ZHOU Shengwei's S HE, and Tony Bancroft's Magical Circus.
Anime Expo will host the film's United States debut on July 6. Eleven Arts will screen the film in theaters in the U.S. and Canada beginning on July 20. The film will premiere in Canada as an official competitor at the Fantasia Film Festival, which takes place in Montreal from July 12 through August 1.
The film is the directorial debut of anime screenwriter Okada (The Anthem of the Heart, anohana). She wrote the film's script at P.A. Works.
Akihiko Yoshida (Nier: Automata, Bravely Default, Final Fantasy XIV games) is credited with the original character designs. Toshiya Shinohara (A Lull in the Sea, Red Data Girl) was chief director. Yuriko Ishii (Kuromukuro, Another) designed the characters for animation and was chief animation director. Kazuki Higashiji (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG, A Lull in the Sea) was art director, and Tomoaki Okada (Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, Blast of Tempest) was in charge of art design and concept design. Kenji Kawai (Ghost in the Shell, Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru) composed the music, and Kazuhiro Wakabayashi (Ghost in the Shell, Bungo Stray Dogs) was sound director.
Eleven Arts describes the story:
The vertical threads are the passing days. The horizontal ones are the lives of mankind. The people of Iorph live faraway from the lands of men, weaving the happenings of each day into a fabric called Hibiol. They live for centuries, yet maintain their youthful appearance. For this, they are known as "The Clan of the Separated" and are treated as a living legend. Maquia, an orphaned Iorph girl, lives her life in an oasis surrounded by friends, but somehow feels "alone". But the tranquil lives of the Iorph are shattered in an instant when the Mezarte army invades their territory on a dragon fleet, seeking the blood that grants the Iorph long life.
Amidst the despair and chaos, Maquia's friend Leilia, the most beautiful of the Iolph girls, is kidnapped by the Mezarte in their plot to thicken the royal blood with longevity. Krim, a young boy with whom Maquia harbors a quiet infatuation, goes missing. Maquia manages to escape, but loses her friends and her home. As she wanders through a dark forest with an empty heart, she encounters a baby who is "alone", his family killed in an ambush. Maquia adopts the baby and names him Ariel, and with the help of some new friends she raises him. But even as time passes, Maquia retains the form of a young girl. As the era changes, the bond between Maquia and Ariel changes too, amidst a backdrop of racial tensions between the Iorph and the Mezarte. This is a story of irreplaceable time, woven by two lonely people who find solace in each other.
The film premiered in Japan on February 24 and sold 32,000 tickets in 76 theaters to earn 48 million yen (about US$450,240) and rank #5 in its opening weekend. U.K. anime distributor Anime Limited premiered the film in the U.K. and Ireland on March 4.