Studio Ponoc have revealed the cast and musical composers of their upcoming 3-part anthology film, Modest Heroes (Chiisana Eiyū: Kani to Tamago to Tōmei Ningen) via their official website today.
Top to bottom: Kanini & Kanino (Kani no Kanino), Life Ain’t Gonna Lose (Samurai Egg) and Invisible (Tōmei Ningen)
Kanini & Kanino (Kani no Kanino)
In the 15-minute fantasy adventure, we follow the story of two crab siblings, older brother Kanini and younger brother Kanino. Hiromasa Yonebayashi (Mary and the Witch’s Flower, When Marnie Was There) will be joining as the director of this short film. Actress Fumino Kimura (live-action Paradise Kiss) will be voicing Kanini, and child actress Rio Suzuki will voice Kanino. Takatsugu Muramatsu will be reuniting with Yonebayashi as composer after scoring for Mary and the Witch’s Flower and When Marnie Was There.
Life Ain’t Gonna Lose (Samurai Egg)
Based on a true story, this 15-minute “human drama” will show us the love between a mother and a boy and will be directed by Yoshiyuki Momose (key animator for Mary and the Witch’s Flower). Actress Machiko Ono (live-action Kiki’s Delivery Service) will be voicing Mama in her first full-fledged voice-acting role. 9-year-old Sōta Shinohara will play the boy, Shun, and model and actor Kentaro Sakagushi will be joining to voice two roles: the father and a doctor. Keyboardist and producer Masanori Shimada (.hack//Legend of the Twilight, songs for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) will be composing his first film soundtrack for this short film.
Invisible (Tōmei Ningen)
Invisible will center on the lonely struggles of an invisible man, with Akihiko Yamashita (character design and Assistant Animation Director for Mary and the Witch’s Flower) directing the 14 minute “action spectacle”. Actor and musician Joe Odagiri (Kamen Rider Kuuga, Mushishi) will play the main character, the Invisible Man, and dancer/actor Min Tanaka (live-action Rurouni Kenshin Part II: Kyoto Inferno) will be voicing a blind man. Music producer Yasutaka Nakata has joined to compose the soundtrack.
Studio Ponoc describes the shorts as “tales of modest heroes of our times.” Modest Heroes will open in august in Japan as the first volume of Ponoc Short Films Theatre (Ponoc Tanpen Gekijō), an anthology of anime shorts divided into different themes. Yoshiaki Nishimura (Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Tale of Princess Kaguya) is being credited as producer for the new project.
Yonebayashi, who directed the studio’s debut film, Mary and the Witch’s Flower, and Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There, will be tackling an original story for the first time. Momose has worked closely with Ghibli director Isao Takahata in various roles on films such as Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, as animation director, storyboarder, visual design, and special scene design. Yamashita has worked in various roles in Hayao Miyazaki’s films in Ghibli, including as animator, animation director, character designer, animation supervisor, and assistant director in such films as Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, and The Wind Rises.
We are excited to see Studio Ponoc’s latest project, and the future projects in the anthology series!