Announced in November 2017, stemming from a co-production deal between Saudi Arabian media company Manga Productions and Japan’s Toei Animation, The Journey is touted as the first Saudi-Japanese animated feature. Part of the pact included a 13-episode animated series titled Future’s Folktales that aired Spring 2020, expanding on the two companies’ previous collaborative efforts with The Woodcutter’s Treasure.
Dubbed in Japanese and Arabic, Manga Productions released both versions of the film’s latest trailer last Thursday previewing its Japanese cast, many of whom are Gundam alumni. Renowned anime voice actor Toru Furuya is cast as the protagonist Aws, a mysterious potter that takes part in an epic battle to defend his city in the Arabian Penisula.
Furuya is best known for his role as the original Gundam protagonist Amuro Ray in the 1979 Mobile Suit Gundam series. He reprised the role numerous times throughout the franchise, in addition to portraying the antagonist Ribbons Almark in the 2007 Mobile Suit Gundam 00 series
The other cast members include:
- Kotono Mitsuishi (Murrue Ramius/Mobile Suit Gundam SEED) as Hind
- Hiroshi Kamiya (Tieria Erde/Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and Zeheart Galette/Mobile Suit Gundam AGE) as Zurara
- Yūichi Nakamura (Graham Aker/Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and Io Fleming/Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt) as Nizar
- Kazuya Nakai (Iago Haakana/Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative) as Musab
- Takaya Kuroda as Abraha
Directed by Kobun Shizuno, with the script and character designs by Atsuhiro Tomioka and Tatsurō Iwamoto, respectively, The Journey is set to release Summer 2021. Manga Productions and Toei are producing the film in both Japan and Saudi Arabia, with Manga Productions fully financing the $10-15 million feature and retaining worldwide distribution rights. The film will be released by Dubai-based exhibitor Vox Cinemas for theatrical distribution across the Middle East and North Africa, and in Japan via Toei subsidiary T-Joy.
Manga Productions is a subsidiary of MiSK Foundation, established by Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman. The company seeks to launch several animation and video game projects to promote Saudi ideas and messages internationally through unique and professional productions.
Source: Anime News Network