Studio Ponoc—which was founded by alums of Studio Ghibli—made a big splash in the U.S. earlier this year with its debut feature Mary and the Witch’s Flower. But the animation studio just released details about its next movie, which features a trio of stories that look positively magical.
The upcoming film is titled Modest Heroes and will be an anthology of short films. Each short film will have a distinctive feel, a different animation style, and its own director.
— Studio Ponoc Int'l (@ponoc_intl) March 27, 2018
Hiromasa Yonebayashi (When Marnie Was There, Mary and the Witch’s Flower) will direct “Kanini & Kanino,” which is visually closest to Mary and the Witch’s Flower and Studio Ghibli.
The second short is called Life Ain’t Gonna Lose,” according to Studio Ponoc’s international social media account (but whose title translates to “Samurai’s Egg”), which will be directed by Isao Takahata, which showcases a more hand-drawn look.
“The Invisible Man,” which uses watercolors in its animation, will round out Modest Heroes with Studio Ghibli lead animator Akihiko Yamashita taking the reins.
The jump to animated shorts is an attempt to try something different from Studio Ponoc, which is still a new and growing animation studio.
“Are we to sit idly on the foundation others have made as we make our films? No,” Studio Ponoc CEO Yoshiaki Nishimura said, according to SoraNews24. “We have to create a new area where the rich artistic qualities of animation can be discovered, and I believe short animation is somewhere we can do that.”
Modest Heroes will be released in Japan on Aug. 24, and while there’s no U.S. date on the horizon, it’s possible it’ll make the U.S. jump eventually; there’s a fanbase for Japanese animated films in the U.S. with Mary and the Witch’s Flower making nearly $2.4 million at the box office.