Mari Okada. the prolific screenwriter whose works include Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (2013) and The Anthem of the Heart (2015), as well as the live-action movie Ankoku Joshi (April 2017), is taking her career to the next level with Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou, She will both direct and write the screenplay. The movie will premiere on 24 February across Japan!
Okada has written screenplays for successive hit movies, such as AnoHana and The Anthem of the Heart. Both depict relationships among adolescent boys and girls in enchanting detail. This is her long-anticipated directorial debut!
The teaser visual of the movie has been released. Beneath the vast sky, two children run through a field; the visual makes us feel the vast space where the story will be taking place.
Details for the advance tickets have been released, and the official website and official Twitter are up and running. The expectations of fans are running high!
Meanwhile, comments have arrived both from Director Okada and from Kenji Horikawa, the president of animation studio P. A. WORKS. Okada talks about the reasons she decided to challenge such a movie.
Furthermore, the newly-released teaser trailer shows a girl with long hair running on a stone bridge over a river with abundant water among mountains, then gazing at something with her wistful eyes. The scene changes and a succession of images are displayed at a good pace; hands operating a loom, a historical town with stone pavements, a large hand which is holding a smaller one. It indicates Okada’s new style and raises our expectations for her new work.
Mari Okada Profile
Okada was born in 1976 in Saitama prefecture. Her screenplay career took off in 1996 with V-Cinema (direct-to-video) and has been writing for manga, games, radio drama programs, and more. She took charge of the screenplay for the anime series DT Eightron and has been in charge of series composition and screenplay for many hit anime works.
・Sketchbook ~full color’S~ (2007) ・Hanasaku Iroha (2011) ・True Tears (2008) ・Movie Hanasaku Iroha ~Home Sweet Home~ (2013) ・Toradora! (2008) ・Movie AnoHana: The Flower We Saw That Day (2013) ・Black Butler / Black Butler II (2008, 2010) ・Movie The Anthem of the Heart (2015)
Comment from Mari Okada
‘5 years ago, I met Horikawa backstage at an event for an anime work for which I was in charge of the screenplay and which was produced by P. A. WORKS. He told me, “I want to watch a work which fully exposes your possibilities.” I took his suggestion innocently and seriously and started wondering, “what does exposing myself fully in a work mean?” A production of anime is about teamwork and it involves many people. I thought that in order to substantiate his suggestion, I must be involved with a work throughout its production process. I asked him to let me direct an anime movie. I remember my mouth becoming very dry due to anxiety. The story of Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou had been in my mind waiting to be written as a screenplay. I’m pleased that I can be involved in not only the screenplay, but also in the images and sound as a director. In the meantime, I feel pressured, though I will get through my task thanks to the production staff.
The creators I’ve been admiring, my contemporary workmates I respect and rely on, and young staff members who give me new inspiration; the production staff members support me with their earnest work and enthusiasm. I spend a long time with them and discuss things over and over. While checking materials which have been done for the anime, I remember the excitement of watching anime during the summer holidays in my childhood. I remember the exhilarated feeling of the unknown world on a screen coming out and spreading over the real world endlessly. The movie is still in the production process, though I’m certain that it will be a fantastic anime movie that will surpass my full ability thank to the brilliant staff members.
It’s a story of an encounter and a farewell depicting human interactions. My objective is to make an anime movie to which everyone can relate. I hope you will enjoy the movie.’
Kenji Horikawa Profile
Kenji Horikawa was born on 5 May 1965 in Konan, Aichi prefecture. He is an anime producer and president of anime production company P. A. WORKS. He has produced many anime works including Movie Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home (2013)
Comment from Kenji Horikawa
‘I remember I talked to Mari Okada about how I wanted her to produce an anime work which is filled with one author’s thoughts and sensibilities. I wanted her to depict the inner-self of a deep, mysterious person within a story that only Okada can create, which is impossible to achieve only through teamwork. I was confident that she could write such a story.
After a while, she contacted me saying, “I have a story that I want to create as an anime work. Could you let me direct it?” I was taken aback at her proposal, but I felt her determination from her forcing her words out slowly and with great effort. I agreed with it on the condition that it would be a theatrical movie.
I was at a read-through by the cast members which gave me great confidence in the movie. I noted it as “thank you for giving me the work. I’ve begun to appreciate the director.”
I try not to talk about the theme of the movie with Okada. I want to feel the sensibility which is peculiar to her and undercurrent of the story. I’m going to watch the movie repeatedly to feel what makes her works so special. The works which she creates unconsciously. It’s a story of someone who loves and who is loved, questioning about love by the characters who are her flesh and blood. Her story became her movie, which was only possible by her directing it and synthesizing images and sound to her own words.
The staff who support a novice director has an ability of positive thinking, “this work must become brilliant. I want to make it the best work.” As a producer, I’m struggling everyday thinking about its schedule, because no one wants to compromise. When the production of the move finally wraps up, I’d like Okada to pick up my bones, as I’ll probably be burned out producing this movie.’
Anime Movie Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou
Director / Screenplay: Mari Okada
Chief Director: Toshiya Shinohara
Original Character Design: Akihiko Yoshida
Character Design / Chief Animation Director: Yuriko Ishii
Background Art: Kazuki Higashiji
Art Designer / Concept Design: Tomoaki Okada
Music: Kenji Kawai
Sound Director: Kazuhiro Wakabayashi
Animation Production: P.A.Works