The Imaginary, Studio Ponoc’s recent anime movie, will stream later this year on Netflix. This comes after Netflix and Studio Ponoc created a multi-film partnership to bring animated features from Studio Ponoc to Netflix users globally. A new visual has been released as well.
“Studio Ponoc is thrilled to bring our storytelling and innovative hand-drawn, hand-painted animated films to all audiences, and in particular to children and their families to enjoy together, around the world on Netflix. Netflix’s genuine commitment to supporting animation as a vital and valuable storytelling medium, and to growing high-quality and trailblazing animation, makes Netflix a truly excellent partner.”Statement from Yoshiaki Nishimura, Founder of Studio Ponoc and Producer of The Imaginary
The Imaginary made its theatrical debut in Japan on December 15, 2023. It was first announced in December 2021 and was supposed to be released in 2022. However, due to production issues, the film was rescheduled to be released on December 15, 2023. Yoshiyuki Momose is directing the film, with Yoshiaki Nishimura producing it. The main cast includes:
- Kokoro Terada as Rudger
- Rio Suzuki as Amanda
- Sakura Ando as Lizzie
- Riisa Naka as Emily
- Atsuko Takahata as Granny Downbeat
- Issey Ogata as Mr. Bunting
- Takayuki Yamada as Zinzan
The Imaginary is based on a children’s novel by A. F. Harrold. Initially published in 2015. The novel follows a girl Amanda and her imaginary friend. Bloomsbury published the book with Emily Gravett’s illustrations and describes the plot as:
Rudger is Amanda’s best friend. He doesn’t exist, but nobody’s perfect.
Only Amanda can see her imaginary friend – until the sinister Mr Bunting arrives at Amanda’s door. Mr Bunting hunts imaginaries. Rumour says that he eats them. And he’s sniffed out Rudger. Soon Rudger is alone, and running for his imaginary life. But can a boy who isn’t there survive without a friend to dream him up?
Studio Ponoc is an animation studio based in Tokyo, Japan, founded in 2015 by former Studio Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura. Studio’s debut feature film was the critically acclaimed Mary and The Witch’s Flower (2017) directed by Academy Award-nominated director Hiromasa “Maro” Yonebayashi, also the director of the Studio Ghibli films The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There (nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature).
Source: Netflix Press Release
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