Tonko House, Megalis Make Oni CG TV Series (Updated)

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Tonko House also plans Sleepy Pines TV project, Leo sci-fi feature

Entertainment news magazine Variety reported on Monday that the California-based studio Tonko House is producing a new CGI animated TV series titled Oni with the Japanese visual effects studio Megalis. Daisuke "Dice" Tsutsumi (Hayao Miyazaki's nephew-in-law) is the project's showrunnner, and noted that the series is set in a "fantastical world of Japanese folklore with a modern spin on it." The Tonko House Film Festival plans to screen test footage of the project in Tokyo from April 27 to May 26.

Tonko House is also developing a new animated TV project named Sleepy Pines, with Chris Sasaki as showrunner. Sasaki worked with Tonko House co-founders Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo when they were still art directors at Pixar. Tonko House describes the new work as "music- and mystery-driven," with a story following a "group of young friends in a band finding their voices in a changing world."

Finally, Erick Oh is again working with Tonko House to develop a science fiction fairy tale feature film titled Leo. Oh directed the Pig: The Dam Keeper Poems television series of shorts which won the "Cristal for a TV Production" award in the TV Films category at the 2018 Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

Tonko House is still developing the feature-length version of its Oscar-nominated short film "The Dam Keeper." Tonko House was previously developing the feature with Fox Animation, but is now developing it solely once more after the sale of 20th Century Fox to Disney.

Tsutsumi and Kondo founded Tonko House in 2014 and debuted the 18-minute Oscar-nominated short film "The Dam Keeper" in the same year.

Tonko House and Hulu Japan produced the Pig: The Dam Keeper Poems (Pig: Oka no Ue no Dam Keeper or "Pig: The Dam Keeper at the Top of the Hill"), a series of animated shorts based on "The Dam Keeper." The series debuted at the Short Shorts Film Festival event in Tokyo in June 2017, and began streaming on Hulu Japan in August 2017.

The studio also handled story concept, composition, and design for Mystery of Kumamon, the planned anime centering on the Kumamoto Prefecture''s Kumamon mascot character.

Update on September 14, 2021: While Variety had originally listed Oni as a blend of stop-motion and CG, Tonko House has confirmed with ANN that the show will be CG only. While Variety also listed that Japanese stop-motion company dwarf studios was involved in the project, Tonko House also confirmed with ANN that the studio is not involved.

Sources: Variety (Terry Flores), Cartoon Brew (Carlos Aguilar)

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