Well, this piece of news has magically eluded me for a frightening amount of time. As early as May of this year it was announced that there would be an anime film based on a science fiction novel by Mayumura Taku, ‘Nerawareta Gakuen’.
Anime studio Sunrise (Mobile Suit Gundam, Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne, and Code Geass fame) will be at the helm, and the film is due on November 10th in Japan. It was only today however, that I found out AKB48’s own Watanabe Mayu was cast to voice a major character. What the hell?! I was already looking forward to this film, but finding out that she would play a leading role was a pleasant surprise.
‘Nerawareta Gakuen’ was a novel from the 70’s that had numerous adaptations, including two live action films and four dramas. This adaptation seems to have switched character’s genders and changed few story points from the novel but the core seems to be there:
Spring marks the start of another new school year at a junior high school in Kamakura. A new transfer student, Ryoichi Kyogoku (Daisuke Ono) joins the 8th grade. Kyogoku has a very special proficiency in telepathy and has been ordered by his father to use this ability to scan other people’s minds and take over the school.
He instantly gains popularity at school from his good looks and charisma and he sets about taking control of the school. As people begin to fall under Kyogoku’s spell, he covertly manipulates his followers and pushes aside anyone who gets in his way.
With the school almost completely under the control of Kyogoku, only one boy seems unaffected – Seki. Does Seki have what it takes to save everyone from the clutches of mind control?
The novel definitely spawned some… interesting stuff (Just youtube or tumblr it), and the plot sounds ridiculously silly on paper but I’m interested to see how this plays out. So far it looks like the focus is more on romance, and the sci-fi elements more fantastical than horrifying.
Nevertheless, it’s great to see that Watanabe is getting more seiyuu work since she’s so enthusiastic about anime and had since played a big role in AKB0048. It seems like a logical progression for her as a staple senbatsu member and an aspiring voice actress to participate in mainstream projects that aren’t closely tied to AKB.
It’s been said that Supercell (Bakemonogatari fame) will be providing the opening song, ‘Ginniro Hikousen’, while Watanabe will be singing the main theme of the film, ‘Sayonara no Hashi’. You can hear them both in the trailer below, as well as some Mayuyu voice acting:
It looks like quite the production, and I hope it creates more voice acting opportunities for her in the future. There’s also video of her performing a few lines and being interviewed here.
What’s more, the international premiere of this film will be in Edinburgh, Scotland! Why? Well, because Scotland Loves Animation (SLA) is hosting the screening. Instead of waiting until November 10th, they will get to show the animation-loving folks in Scotland ‘Nerawareta Gakuen’ on October 20th, three weeks in advance! Now all we need is for Mayu to announce that she will show up at the premiere so Garry can book his ticket as fast as humanly possible.