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Studio Ponoc's Modest Heroes Anime Anthology Film Unveils 1st Animated Trailer

posted on by Karen Ressler
Kaela Kimura performs ending theme song

The official website for Studio Ponoc's three-part anime anthology film Modest Heroes (Chiisana Eiyū: Kani to Tamago to Tōmei Ningen) unveiled its first animated trailer on Thursday. The trailer reveals the film's ending theme song "Sayonara Eiyū" by Kaela Kimura.

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.

Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who directed the studio's previous Mary and The Witch's Flower film and Studio Ghibli's When Marnie Was There, is directing the 15-minute fantasy adventure story "Kanini & Kanino" ("Kanini to Kanino") about two crab siblings. It will be Yonebayashi's first original story.

Fumino Kimura (live-action Paradise Kiss, Kyō, Koi o Hajimemasu) plays the older brother Kanini, and Rio Suzuki plays the younger brother Kanino. 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. Momose previously 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.

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" with a Kishiwada accent from Osaka. 9-year-old Sōta Shinohara plays the boy Shun. 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. Yamashita previously 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.

Joe Odagiri (SHINOBI - Heart Under Blade, Mushishi, Kamen Rider Kuuga, Zaion: I Wish You Were Here) plays the invisible man, and dancer/actor Min Tanaka (Tekkonkinkreet, live-action Rurouni Kenshin Part II: Kyoto Inferno, Blade of the Immortal) plays the blind man. Music producer Yasutaka Nakata (Five Numbers!, Portable Kuukou and its sequels) is composing the soundtrack.

Sources: Modest Heroes website, Comic Natalie

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