I first saw this title when I wrote my posts rounding-up the Japanese films at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. Unfortunately there was no trailer available until now. It stars Mikako Ichikawa (Memories of Matsuko) and Ken Mitsuishi (Himizu) and Kei Tanaka (Tajomaru). This looks like a genuinely charming title and I hope it gets a release in the UK.
Sayoko (Ichikawa) walks along a river daily with a cart full of cats. Why? Well she rents cats to lonely people. Unfortunately Sayoko is lonely herself and finds it easier to deal with cats than people but things get interesting when a face from her past (Tanaka) turns up.
The Berserk film trilogy has been licensed for release in sixteen countries including the UK, Canada, America, Australia, Portugal, France, and South Korea. Kaze UK announced their acquisition of the trilogy on Twitter and the Anime UK News forum yesterday and they have ambitious plans to give it a theatrical premiere.
The story takes place in a dark medieval period in a mittel European setting and follows Guts, a mercenary with immense strength, determination, a huge sword, and little direction in life. All of that changes after he meets Griffith who is the charismatic leader of a group of mercenaries named Band of the Hawk. Guts is bested by Griffith in a duel and decides to throw his lot in with the mercenary band. Guts soon proves himself on the battlefield and finds himself developing a deep relationship with Griffith but arouses the jealousy of Casca, a female commander in the Band of the Hawk, who treasures Griffith. Guts finds himself swept along in Griffith’s rise to power in the Kingdom of Midland and is thrown into court intrigues and plots all while fighting a long and bloody war punctuated with supernatural encounters.
When I read the tweet and forum announcement and then reported news I was mildly excited. I’m about halfway through the TV anime adaptation of Kentarō Miura’s ongoing seinen manga and I have to say that I am gripped by the story, strong characterisation, and great music. Unfortunately the TV adaptation didn’t end on anything like a good note. What about the movies?
The film trilogy adapts the Golden Age Arc and has been animated by Studio 4°C. Toshiyuki Kubooka (Gankutsuou, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, and the Working Through Pain Segment of Batman: Gotham Knight) is handling direction and from the reviews and watching the first ten minutes of the film it looks solid. Interestingly the voice actors for Guts and Casca are new to the field but electronic musician Hirasawa Susumu (Paprika, Paranoia Agent) who created the distinctive music for the original TV anime adaptation created the main theme “Aria” for the movie and it sounds pretty good. Shiro Sagisu is handling the rest of the soundtrack and he has some background considering he has created the music for Macross II, Megazone 23, and the entire Evangelion franchise including the latest films. The first of the films was theatrically released in February in Japan with the second instalment opening in June.