GKIDS announced on Friday that it has licensed Shika no Ō: Yuna to Yakusoku no Tabi (The Deer King: The Promised Journey With Yuna), the anime film of Nahoko Uehashi‘s Shika no Ō (The Deer King) medical fantasy novel series, and will theatrically screen the film with both English subtitles and an English dub in North America in early 2022. GKIDS is streaming an English-subtitled teaser trailer for the film.
The film is screening this week in competition at this year’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival.
The film was previously slated to open in Japan on September 18, 2020, but it will now open on September 10 this year. Anime Limited plans to release the film in cinemas in the United Kingdom in 2021 if the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation permits.
The main cast members are:
Masashi Ando (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, your name. character design, Tokyo Godfathers, Paranoia Agent, When Marnie Was There, your name. animation director) is directing the film alongside Masayuki Miyaji (Xam’d: Lost Memories, Fusé: Memoirs of a Huntress) at Production I.G Ando is also drawing the character designs, and is the chief animation director. Taku Kishimoto (Haikyu!!, ERASED, Fruits Basket) is penning the script.
Hiroki Shinagawa is credited with concept visuals. Hiroshi Ohno is directing the art, and Ken Hashimoto is the color key artist. Hiroshi Tanaka is the compositing director of photography, and Hiromi Kikuta is the sound director. Harumi Fuuki (Forest of Piano series, Miss Hokusai, Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna) is composing the music.
Kadokawa originally published the novels in two volumes simultaneously in September 2014, and then rereleased the series in four volumes in June and July 2017. The novels have more than 1.5 million copies in print.
The novels center on Van, the head of a group of soldiers who expected to die fighting for their lands against a large empire looking to incorporate their home into its kingdom. Instead of dying, however, Van is taken as a slave and thrown into a salt mine. One night, a pack of strange dogs attacks the salt mine, and a mysterious illness breaks out. During the attack, Van takes the opportunity to escape, and he meets a young girl. Elsewhere, rumor is spreading that only immigrants are coming down with this mysterious illness. The medical scientist Hossal risks his life to search for a cure. Doctors also study a father and child who seem to have survived the illness. The novels tell the interconnecting stories and bonds of those who fight against a cruel fate.
Uehashi’s Moribito and The Beast Player Erin novel series both received television anime adaptations. Moribito also inspired a live-action television series adaptation. The North American publisher Scholastic published the first two volumes of Moribito in English. Uehashi won the Hans Christian Andersen Author Award in 2014.
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