Studio Ponoc releases teaser for new film ‘The Imaginary,’ directed by ‘Spirited Away’ key animator

Studio Ponoc's The Imaginary Teaser

Studio Ponoc released a teaser trailer on Dec. 7 for its latest anime film titled “The Imaginary,” based on the 2015 children’s novel of A.F. Harrold.

Background: The anime film, which is expected to premiere in the summer of 2022 in Japan, is Studio Ponoc’s first feature film since “Mary and The Witch’s Flower” in 2017. 

  • Studio Ponoc was founded by former Studio Ghibli lead producer Yoshiaki Nishimura in 2015. “The Imaginary” is  their second feature-length film.   
  • The anime is an adaptation from the novel of the same name by British author A.F. Harrold. It follows the story of a young boy named Rudger, who is the imaginary friend of Amanda Shuffleup. No one else can see him besides Amanda and sinister Mr. Bunting, who hunts imaginaries. When Mr. Bunting arrives, Rudger is forced to go on the run to avoid getting caught.     
  • According to Studio Ponoc’s description of the anime’s premise, “The Imaginary is an extraordinarily touching and beautiful hand-drawn fantasy film in which Rudger and his new friends in ‘The Imaginaries Town’ embark on an adventure no one can see at the risk of the futures and fates of those they love.”

  • “The Imaginary” is directed by ​​​​Yoshiyuki Momose, who was a key animator for previous popular Studio Ghibli feature films, including “Princess Mononoke” (1997) and the “Spirited Away” (2001). It is produced by ​​Yoshiaki Nishimura, who also produced Studio Ponoc’s first feature film “Mary and the Witch’s Flower.”
  • In a statement by Momose, translated by Crunchyroll, the director said: “At first glance, the phrase ‘a boy born out of imagination’ may give a cramped impression, but what you see from the boy’s perspective is a truly vast and liberating world.” 
  • “Rudger and his friends who live in the ‘Imaginary Town’ are innocent, pure, and ephemeral. Rather than portraying the world from the perspective of these imaginaries with a sense of stagnation, I would like to make a film filled with rich feelings and a sense of liberation that will give us the strength to live in this age,” he added.

Featured Image via Studio Ponoc / スタジオポノック

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