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GKIDS Picks Up Production I.G’s ‘Miss Hokusai’

Critically acclaimed 2D animated feature from multi-award winning director Keiichi Hara to open October 14 in New York and Los Angeles with North American expansion to follow.

NEW YORK -- Independent feature animation distributor GKIDS has acquired distribution rights to Miss Hokusai, the latest feature from Japanese animation powerhouse Production I. G (Ghost in the Shell, A Letter to Momo).  

The film by renowned director Keiichi Hara (Colorful, Summer Days with Coo) took home the Jury Prize at the prestigious Annecy Film Festival, swept the top jury and audience awards at Fantasia Film Festival, and won Best Animated Feature at Sitges and Best Animated Feature at the Asia Pacifica Screen Awards, among others. Miss Hokusai has received glowing reviews from critics on the festival circuit.

Adapted from Hinako Sugiura’s manga Sarusuberi by Miho Maruo (both of whom are women), Miss Hokusai is the untold story of O-Ei, the daughter and artistic collaborator of Katsushika Hokusai, arguably Japan’s greatest artist.

Katsuhiko Hokusai was a prolific illustrator and printmaker, best known for the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which includes the famous and widely produced, The Great Wave off Kanagawa. Hokusai is also known for his erotic illustrations, called shunga, of which is The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife is perhaps the most well-known in the west. Late in his career, Hokusai published a series of pamphlets and art manuals, referred to as “Hokusai's manga,” with sketches and humorous caricatures that influenced the modern form of comics known by the same name, as well as the stylized characters in Japanese animation.  Hokusai’s works can be seen as part of permanent collections at The Met, LACMA, Boston MFA, and other top museums worldwide.

Set in Edo period Japan, the film portrays O-Ei’s coming of age as a young woman, as she struggles with her identity as an artist, her emerging sexuality, and the search for the sublime through art.

Here’s the official synopsis:

As all of Edo flocks to see the work of the famous painter Hokusai, his daughter O-Ei toils diligently inside his studio, unknown to the public. Her masterful portraits, dragons and erotic sketches – sold under the name of her father – are coveted by upper crust Lords and journeyman print makers alike. In public, O-Ei knows and respects “her place,” but at home in the studio, she’s as brash and uninhibited as her father, smoking a pipe while sketching erotic drawings that would make contemporary Japanese ladies blush. But despite her talent and fiercely independent spirit, O-Ei struggles under the domineering influence of her father and is ridiculed for lacking the life experience that she is attempting to portray in her art. MISS HOKUSAI's lively Edo (present day Tokyo) is filled with yokai spirits, dragons, and conniving tradesmen, while O-Ei’s relationships with her famously impetuous father and blind younger sister provide a powerful emotional underpinning to this rollicking and sumptuously-animated feminist coming-of-age tale.

The adult-skewing Miss Hokusai will be released October 14 in New York and Los Angeles prior to a North American expansion.  GKIDS previously distributed Production I.G’s A Letter to Momo.

Source: GKIDS

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.