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Shirobako Creators Unveil Air Combat TV Anime Kōya no Kotobuki Hikōtai

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
January show about girls in squadron from Girls & Panzer's Tsutomu Mizushima

Director Tsutomu Mizushima (Girls und Panzer, Shirobako) and scriptwriter Michiko Yokote (Shirobako, Prison School, Cowboy Bebop, Rurouni Kenshin) announced their new original anime project as Kōya no Kotobuki Hikōtai (Kotobuki - The Wasteland Squadron). The project will be a television anime premiering in January.

The tagline on the visual reads, "Air combat is daily life."

The anime's story will center on the Kotobuki Squadron, a squadron of beautiful ace pilots. The anime will focus on action and aerial dogfights.

The cast includes (Note: Name romanizations are not official.):

Sayumi Suzushiro as Kirie, a pilot with excellent piloting skills and a natural aptitude for the air.

Eri Yukimura as Enma, Kirie's childhood friend, and a pilot with superior dogfight senses and observational skills.

Sayaka Nakaya as Kate, a logical thinker who prefers to remain silent.

Asami Seto as Leona, the unit's experienced commander.

Hibiku Yamamura as Zara, the unit's executive officer, who watches over all the squadron members.

Miyu Tomita as Chika, the squadron's youngest and most cheerful member.

Shown in the promotional video is the squadron's Model 1 "Hayabusa" fighter plane, which appears similar to the real-life Nakajima Ki-43 "Hayabusa" fighter plane.

Mizushima serves as both the director and sound director for the anime, with Yokote credited for series scripts. Hiroyuki Kanbe (Oreimo) is the assistant director. Hidari (Natsuiro Kiseki, Santa Company, Phantom in the Twilight) drew the original character designs, and Shou Sugai (The Princess and the Pilot, The Sky Crawlers key animation) is adapting those designs for animation. Shigeyuki Ninomiya (Girls und Panzer, Shirobako, Kuromukuro) is credited for military supervision, while Tetsuya Nakano, Hideyuki Kikuchi (Vampire Hunter D), and Jirō Tokihama are credited for military setting. Digital Frontier is credited for production, while Gemba is producing the animation. WaoWorld is handling key animation production.

Other staff members include:

  • Setting Cooperation: Seiichi Shirato
  • CG Director: Hisashi Egawa, Ten Hirota
  • Technical Director: Keita Mizuhashi
  • Asset Director: Kentarō Kogusuri
  • Key Animation Producer: Yusaku Saotome
  • Animation Director: Shouta Ueno
  • Assistant Animation Director: Tōko Nakamura
  • Art Director: Kazuo Ogura
  • Art Setting: Nobuhito Sue, Sakura Ogawa
  • Color Setting: Aiko Yamagami
  • Director of Photography: Kentaro Kashiwagi, Takamasa Hatakeyama
  • Editing: Masato Yoshitake
  • Music: Shiroh Hamaguchi
  • Sound Effects: Yasumasa Koyama
  • Sound Mixer: Takayuki Yamaguchi

The project will also spawn a smartphone game titled Kōya no Kotobuki Hikōtai - Ōzora no Take Off Girls! (Kotobuki - The Wasteland Squadron: Take Off Girls of the Sky!) that will debut in winter 2019. The iOS/Android game's genre is a "reciprocating-engine air combat simulation RPG," and the game's site is accepting pre-registrations.

Mizushima and Yokote have previously worked together as director and scriptwriter, respectively, on numerous anime including Genshiken, Genshiken: Second Generation, Big Windup!, Joshiraku, xxxHOLiC, xxxHOLiC: Kei, Squid Girl, Squid Girl Season 2, Shirobako, Haré+Guu, Prison School, Witch Craft Works, and Kujibiki Unbalance.

In Mizushima and Yokote's Shirobako anime, the 3rd Aerial Girls Squadron (Dai-3 Hikō Shōjotai) show-within-a-show has a similar concept, but unlike Kōya no Kotobuki Hikōtai, the characters pilot modern jet aircraft.

Sources: Kōya no Kotobuki Hikōtai website, Anime! Anime! (MoA), Comic Natalie

Update: Mizushima reported on his Twitter account that the anime will be a hybrid of 3D CG and 2D animation, and that he has been working on the anime for a number of years. The anime will only show Japanese planes, and Mizushima specifically said that Germany's Messerschmitt planes will not appear in the anime.

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