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Devilman Crybaby Director Masaaki Yuasa Unveils New Anime Film 'Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara'

posted on 2018-10-27 23:51 EDT by Egan Loo
Romantic comedy between female surfer, fireman to open early next summer

Anime director Masaaki Yuasa announced his new film Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara at the Tokyo International Film Festival on Sunday. The English title has not been finalized, but the tentative version is "Riding a Wave with You." It will open throughout Japan early next summer.

The original story is a simple romantic comedy between a young woman who loves surfing and being in the water, and a firefighter. Yuasa said that the film will have a lot of exciting scenes, with contrasting elements of water and fire.

Distributor TOHO provided the official synopsis:

Upon entering university, Hinako moves to a coastal town. She loves surfing, and when she's on the waves she's fearless, but still feels uncertain about her future. When a fire wreaks havoc in the town, Hinako encounters young firefighter Minato. As they surf and spend more time together, Hinako feels drawn to someone like Minato who devotes himself to helping other people. Hinako also holds a special place in Minato's heart.

The characters are:

  • Minato Hinageshi: 21 years old. Firefighter.
    A trusted team member with a strong sense of righteousness. Physically dextrous and seemingly able to take on anything, but always put in extra effort.

  • Hinako Mukaimizu: 19 years old, University student
    Loves surfing and is considerably skilled at it. Comes across as bright and carefree, but has insecurities about her own future.

Yuasa finished all the storyboards and is working on the animation now. However, he acknowledged that the production is behind schedule. He is not ready to announce the voice cast yet. Kimi to, Nami ni Noretara will be his first new work since The Night is Short Walk On, Girl, Lu over the wall, and DEVILMAN crybaby.

Yuasa noted, "I did not make Lu over the wall as a love story, so I decided to make this a love story." A "certain element" of the new film is related to the story of Lu over the wall. He added that the new film can be enjoyed by people a little bit older than the very young Lu. The two main characters of the new film start going out together, but have lots of secrets. Minato wishes her life could go a little more smoothly.

Yuasa commented on his latest work:

Whether it's in work or in life, we often feel like we're "riding a wave." The phrase "good conditions" ties into that, but waves don't bend to our desires. We pick our waves and try to ride it. Flow with it. We don't know if that wave is going to take us where we want to go until we're done riding it. You can think all you want, but you won't know until you try. In this tough world, it's about choosing the best wave you can. I wanted to take a character who's pure and let them surf.

During the Q&A after the festival's Sunday screening of Yuasa's previous film Lu over the wall, Yuasa acknowledged that the film's title character was originally a vampire girl, not a mermaid. Yuasa noted the similarities with The Addams Family cartoon, and even after deciding to make the character a mermaid, he decided to keep the scary elements from the original concept.

Yuasa added that he was not thinking of any similarities with Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo film, but only realized later, when developing the story's submerging of the local town, that the similarities were there. Still, he wanted to include homages to works he admires, such as Miyazaki's Panda! Go, Panda! and Tex Avery's shorts.

Yuasa started as a key animator for such anime as Doraemon: Nobita's Animal Planet and The Legend of the Dog Warriors: The Hakkenden. He moved on to Crayon Shin-chan where he was animation director on a number of episodes, and did animation work on the franchise films.

He made his film director debut with the 2004 Mind Game film, and he went on to direct television anime such as Kemonozume, Kaiba, and Ping Pong. He has directed select episodes or specials of overseas series, such as Wakfu and Adventure Time.

Yuasa also directed the Kick-Heart anime short in 2013. He adapted Tomihiko Morimi's The Tatami Galaxy novel into an anime, and then directed a film adaptation of another Morimi novel, The Night is Short Walk On, Girl. Yuasa worked on the original film Lu over the wall, and recently directed the DEVILMAN crybaby anime series. The Night is Short Walk On, Girl won the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, and Lu over the wall won the top "Cristal for a Feature Film" award at the Annecy International Film Festival.

He and fellow animator Eunyoung Choi co-founded the Science SARU anime studio.

The 31st Tokyo International Film Festival is running from October 25 to November 3. This year, the festival is hosting "The World of Masaaki Yuasa" retrospective on the director's work. The retrospective is screening Lu over the wall, The Night is Short Walk On, Girl, Mind Game, and DEVILMAN crybaby. In addition, Yuasa selected a collection of his short works for screening, including the Adventure Time episode "Food Chain," Space Dandy episode 16, Kick-Heart, the Genius Party anthology's "Happy Machine" short, three Crayon Shin-chan shorts, two segments from the Chibi Maruko-chan: Watashi no Suki na Uta film, and the opening sequences from several television animation projects.

Source: Tokyo International Film Festival unveiling

Image © 2019 Kimito Namini Noretara Film Committee (tentative)


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