Updated: Aug 5
Written by: Adrian Andulan
Published on: August 5 2021 at 7:52 AM PHT (GMT+8)
Saudi Arabia and Japan collaborate for Saudi Arabia's first anime film. Titled 'The Journey', the film is set in the ancient Arabic peninsula and tells a folklore story of a young man and his allies defending Mecca.
Saudi Arabian animation studio Manga Productions, and Japanese animation studio Toei Animation have come together to tell a folkloric tale that puts an anime spin to Arabian folklore. Based on four different stories that focus on Arabian culture, the film is the first anime movie from Saudi Arabia, and the first animated movie ever made by the country. Manga
In a press release, Animation and Comics Department Manager, Artistic Producer and Director Sara Mohammed shared their thoughts on the film. In an article released by Zawya, “Anime culture is huge in the Middle East and especially in Saudi Arabia, so being the first to develop and premiere a Saudi anime movie has been an exciting rollercoaster experience. We wanted to preserve the authenticity of the Saudi culture in The Journey while staying true to the Anime style production, so striking that delicate balance was of paramount importance to us. We have no doubt that The Journey will be a big hit and will satisfy cinemagoers’ craving for local content.”
Essam Bukhary, CEO of Manga Productions, also shared the importance of the film. In an article by Screendaily, Bukhary said that “The Journey is a milestone project for Manga Productions, which since its start has been seeking to be a global pioneer in creative content.”
The production includes Japanese director Kobun Shizuno, known for directing the animated ‘Godzilla’ trilogy on Netflix as well as the 15th to 21st ‘Detective Conan’ movies, and screenplay by Atsuhiro Tomioka. Voice actors for the movie include Toru Furuya, Takaya Kuroda, and Hiroshi Kimiya. The Saudi voice actors include talents such as Nassar AlNassar, Abdul Rahman Al Warthan, Jasim Al Nabhan, Abdu Shaheen, and Rasha Rizq.
The animated film ‘The Journey’ was released on June 17th, 2021, and has been in theaters in the Middle East, Japan, and Europe. The film is available to experience in 4DX technology.
Synopsis (courtesy of IMDB):
As a ruthless invader threatens to enslave their people and destroy the Kaaba, a sacred sanctuary, the people of Mecca take up arms. Only able to muster a small force against the massive army, defeat seems all but inevitable. Aws, a seemingly simple potter fighting to protect his family, is forced to reveal his dark past when he discovers amongst the defenders a long-lost friend believed to be dead - a warrior named Zurara. As fear threatens to break their resolve, Aws' strength of faith compels him to stand and fight. Aws battles his own doubts and fears as he tries to unite his friends and compatriots on the eve of battle. Abraha's army is fast approaching, and the fate of Mecca and its people hangs in the balance. Will the people of Mecca defeat the colossal army with nothing but their simple defenses and their love for their city?