Sunao Katabuchi unveiled a pilot film for his forthcoming feature-length anime, “The Mourning Children: Nagiko and the Girls Wearing Tsurubami Black (Tsurubami-Iro no Nagiko-tachi),” at the Kyoto International Manga and Anime Fair over the weekend.
Yūji Kaneko, renowned for his work on “Ranking of Kings,” “Little Witch Academia,” and “Kill la Kill,” has now assumed the role of art director, replacing Toshiharu Mizutani, who was previously credited in earlier previews for the film.
Katabuchi’s journey with this project began in 2017, and its narrative unfolds in 10th-century Kyoto, coinciding with the period when the literary masterpiece “The Pillow Book” was composed by the historical figure Sei Shōnagon.
In a previous teaser for the film, it was hinted that the storyline would revolve around an epidemic, featuring Sei Shōnagon as a prominent character, along with others named Koretada, Tokinaka, Chikatada, and Takaie.
Katabuchi holds credit for the original concept and is also the scriptwriter and director of the film. Chie Uratani, known for her work on “Hijikata Toshizo: Shiro no Kiseki,” “Princess Arete,” and “Ushiro no Shōmen Daare,” serves as the directing assistant (referred to as co-director in the pilot film), while Masashi Ando, acclaimed for “The Deer King” and “Princess Mononoke,” assumes the role of chief animation director.
Akira Senju, celebrated for his work on “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” and “Mobile Suit Victory Gundam,” is responsible for composing the film’s music.
The anime studio Contrail, established by Katabuchi in September 2019, is at the helm of production. Contrail’s representative director, Manabu Ohtsuka from MAPPA, and Katabuchi, a board member, are guiding the company, which is situated in Tokyo’s Suginami ward.
Katabuchi boasts an impressive directorial portfolio, including titles like “Black Lagoon,” “Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail,” “Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage,” “Mai Mai Miracle,” “Princess Arete,” and “Meiken Lassie.” He is also the creative force behind the critically acclaimed “In This Corner of the World,” which premiered in November 2016, with an extended version titled “In This Corner (and Other Corners) of the World” debuting in Japan in December 2019.
Source | Stage presentation at Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair