Previous Annecy Cristal-winner Masaaki Yuasa is set to direct an animated musical fantasy film based on the life of a 14th century Japanese playwright and theater performer. His “Inu-Oh” is being introduced at Annecy’s MIFA market this week and is intended to be completed in 2021.
The film is adapted from the novel “Tales of the Heike: Inu-Oh” written by Hideo Furukawa, and published by Kawade Shobo Shinsha. “Very little remains in the historical record about the Sarugaku Noh performer Inu-Oh, but with Hideo Furukawa’s bold interpretation of his story, Akiko Nogi’s script, and Taiyo Matsumoto’s images, it’s bound to become an amazing work,” said Yuasa. He said that he aims to make it as a “lavish musical incorporating modern-day music and dance.”
The project is produced through Science Saru, with Asmik Ace partnered as producer and distributor.
Yuasa made his feature-length debut in 2004 with “Mind Game,” and followed up with “Ping Pong: The Animation” “Night Is Short,” “Walk On Girl” and “Devilman Crybaby.” In 2017 his “Lu over the Wall,” took the best film award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. He is poised to see his new “Ride Your Wave” release on 21 June, and is currently working on the films “Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!” (aka “Eizouken ni wa Te o Dasu na!”) and “Super Shiro.”
Manga artist, Matsumoto previously worked with Yuasa on “Ping Pong.” His other credits include “Tekkonkinkreet: Black & White,” for which he won the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award in 2008, and “Les Chats de Louvre.” Nogi has screenwriting credits on live-action film “I Am a Hero” and the live-action TV series “We Married as a Job!” and “Unnatural.” “Inu-Oh” is her first time writing an animated feature.
With its roots in film distribution, Asmik Ace has been part of the Jupiter Telecommunications group, Japan’s largest cable TV conglomerate, since 2012. This has helped it diversify into different film roles including film (Ryota Nakano’s “A Long Goodbye,” and Mina Ninagawa’s “No Longer Human”) and TV production (“Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san”).