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The Sky Crawlers: Mamoru Oshii's New Film Unveiled!

June 20, 2007

Somewhere, in a country similar to ours
There are children who do not became adult
They are very similar to us

Mamoru Oshii, the world-famous Japanese filmmaker, whose works include Ghost in the Shell (1995) and Innocence (2004), will direct a new feature animation film, The Sky Crawlers, to be released in Japan in 2008.

The film is based on a popular five-part novel by a best-seller writer, MORI Hiroshi, who enjoys enthusiastic support from younger generations and has sold over 8 million copies of his works in total. The story unfolds in another 'possible' modern age. The main characters are youngsters called "Kildren", who are destined to live eternally in their adolescence. The Kildren are conscious that every day could be the last, because they fight a "war as entertainment" organized and operated by adults. But as they embrace the reality they are faced with, they live their day-to-day lives to the full.

After reading the novel, Director Oshii praised it as "a work that should be made into a movie for young people now." Clothing, food and housing are in abundance in our modern society, and yet we carry an unfulfilled vacuum in our hearts. "It is time to face this new perception to our existence through the Kildren, who live indefinitely in eternal adolescence, and this theme should be dealt with now," claims Oshii earnestly. The author MORI regards his novel, The Sky Crawlers "as the most difficult among all of my works for film adaptation." However, MORI declared himself "surprised and relieved at the same time to know the director was going to be Mamoru Oshii," and gave his immediate consent.

Mamoru Oshii is best known worldwide for the epoch-making Ghost in the Shell, that topped the Billboard video chart in the US, and its sequel Innocence, the first Japanese animation film to compete for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes International Film Festival. His philosophical speculations and revolutionary visual approach that run throughout his oeuvre had a definitive impact on many film directors, including Luc Besson of The Fifth Element (1997) and the Wachowski brothers of The Matrix (1999).

However, Oshii declares that he is sealing off his method of direction so far. While distancing himself from the original novel "to create a more entertaining work," he has promoted an up-and-coming scriptwriter, Chihiro Ito, who depicted youngsters' sensitive feelings beautifully in two acclaimed movies, Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World (Sekai no Chushin de Ai wo Sakebu, 2004) and Spring Snow (Haru no Yuki, 2005).

The animation production is by the top animation studio in Japan, Production I.G, which has been underpinning the quality of Oshii films. The music score will be written by Oshii's most trusted composer, Kenji Kawai.

The Sky Crawlers is going to be a completely new Oshii film.

The Sky Crawlers is a collaborative project by Nippon Television Network Corporation and Production I.G, Inc., distributed in Japan by Warner Entertainment Japan Inc., to be released in theaters nationwide in 2008.

Based on the novel by MORI Hiroshi (published in Japan by Chuokoron-Shinsha)
Screenplay: Chihiro Ito
Music: Kenji Kawai
Executive Producers: Seiji Okuda, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa
Producer: Tomohiko Ishii
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Sequence Director: Toshihiko Nishikubo
Character Designer/Key Animation Director: Tetsuya Nishio
Mechanical Designer: Atsushi Takeuchi
Art Director: Kazuo Nagai
Art Settings: Takashi Watabe
Color Designer: Kumiko Yusa
Visual Effects: Hisashi Ezura
CGI Supervisor: Hiroyuki Hayashi
Line Producer: Toru Kawaguchi
Animation Production: Production I.G
Distribution in Japan: Warner Entertainment Japan

Official website (Japanese only)