By Jonah Morgan
Back on March 22-25 at The Tokyo Anime Fair, Japanese Animation broadcaster Animax was hyping Akari Tsukino’s forthcoming Yumedamaya Kidan work with a poster featuring some of the first released artwork. The 2006 Grand Prize winner of its Animax Awards, Production I.G. currently has it in the production stage. Originally slated for summer, Animax told us its now due to see a broadcast debut in November, 2007.In November, 2006, the win was announced under some rather unusual and interesting circumstances at a symposium held at Tokyo Geo-Site 40 meters underground. The site is an access point to a huge earthquake and disaster reinforced underground multi-purpose duct (think subway tunnel sans train) accommodating electric lines, telephone lines, gas pipings, waterworks pipings and sewage pipings, etc. located near Toranomon Station. There were several comments made that the exotic locale looked like something out of anime. I.G.’s Keiki Sakurai, Yumi Kageyama, Ryuji Mitsumoto, Animax President Masao Takiyama, and Tatsuya Ishii all reviewed and judged the work. Many of them will guide the production of the work through the animation process. The result will be 30-45 minutes in length. Akari Tsukino’s submission was chosen from 905 entries made in 2006. In the fantastic story Naho (11) is an elder sister who enters her younger brother Jun’s (2) dream. They live with their father as their mother died soon after Jun was born. Naho acts in the mothers place in relation to her brother watching after him at home however and the situation is frustrating to her sometimes
as she wishes to go out and play with her friends. A man with a slender figure who has a big trunk shows up before Naho one day. He introduces himself as Kotaro of Yumedamaya and he guides Naho into the dream world. Mysterious phenomenon begin manifesting themselves to Naho in her natural everyday surroundings after meeting Kotaro. She strays off into a dreamworld of her younger brother and soon encounters her own mother.
Takahashi Yousuke will serve as character designer on the project, his wild illustration first shown at TAF, represents the only currently released artwork. Based on where Production I.G. has been with their animation in the past, Yumedamaya Kidan will yet again represent a markedly different direction for the studio, with newcomer Akari Tsukino responsible for forcing them to look in new areas of innovation, reach for new examples of creativity, presenting before them, a new set of special challenges. The resulting featurette is something you probably couldn’t arrive at following the traditional industry processes and the breath of fresh air will be extremely welcome and very interesting to see.