Dice Tsutsumi’s 4-episode animated series, set in a world filled with oddball gods and monsters of Japanese mythology, tells the tale of a brave, free-spirited girl who must fight to protect her peaceful village.
Netflix has just released the first teaser trailer for ONI: Thunder God’s Tale, the highly anticipated new CG animated limited series from Academy Award-nominated animation studio Tonko House (The Dam Keeper). The 4-episode project is created by Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, who also serves as showrunner and executive producer, and written by Japanese anime writer and award-winning filmmaker Mari Okada (Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms, Anohana, The Anthem of the Heart, A Whisker Away).
ONI is set in a world filled with the oddball gods and monsters of Japanese mythology. One of the creature’s free-spirited daughters, Onari, is determined to follow in the footsteps of the mighty heroes of lore, but her unique powers are yet to be revealed. Does she have what it takes to fight to protect her peaceful village from the encroaching threat of the gods' mysterious enemies, the “Oni”?
Tsutsumi, who was honored in 2021 with the June Foray Award at the 48th Annie Awards, noted, “The story of a brave girl caught between two worlds divided is, at its core, not only a very personal story for me, but one that’s become personal for everyone involved including our absolute dream cast. Every one of these incredible talents from our dream list accepted with such passion and empathy for the story, and collaborating with them has been equally humbling and inspiring. They've given souls to our characters and unparalleled performances for our animators."
The cast includes Momona Tamada; Archie Yates; Craig Robinson; Tantoo Cardinal; Brittany Ishibashi; Omar Miller; Anna Akana; Charlet Takahashi Chung; Miyuki Sawashiro; Yuki Matsuzaki; Seth Carr; Robert Kondo; and George Takei.
Though ONI is an English language production, Tonko House jumped at the chance to work with Okada, one of Tsutsumi’s favorite Japanese screenwriters. Announcing her addition to the project in 2021, he shared, “Mari is an incredible talent, and I knew she would be the perfect creative partner to capture both the strength and vulnerability of our heroine, Onari. Out of wonderful serendipity, Mari found her own connection to this story which further fueled her entertaining yet emotionally charged approach.”
The series is also executive produced by Kondo and Kane Lee, co-executive produced by Sara K. Sampson and Megan Bartel, and produced by Sampson. Tonko House provides the animation.
Watch the teaser trailer for Tonko House’s ONI: Thunder God’s Tale:
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.