The new musical animation film “Inu-Oh” featuring Yuasa Masaaki as director, Matsumoto Taiyou as original illustrator, and Nogi Akiko as screenwriter, depicts the unknown pop star “Inu-Oh”, which had been portrayed in the theatre art of Noh for over 650 years. For the first time, images (still in the making process) of the new work along with original illustrations of the characters and more will be revealed at the “2020 Annecy International Animated Film Festival”, which is scheduled to be held from Jun. 15, 2020.

“Inu-Oh” is originally a novel titled “Heike Monogatari: Inu-Oh no Maki” which depicts the friendship between the really existed Noh player Inu-Oh, who became famous along with Zeami Motokiyo in the early 14th century (Northern and Southern Courts – Muromachi period), and a blind lute priest named Tomona.
Besides the director Yuasa Masaaki, the character original illustrator Matsumoto Taiyou, and the screenwriter Nogi Akiko, it has been revealed that Itou Nobutake as the character design and animation director, Nakamura Gouki as the art director, Matsumoto Norio as the main animator, and other well-known members who teamed up with Yuasa Masaaki in works such as “The Tatami Galaxy” and “Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!” will join the cast as well.

The “2020 Annecy International Animated Film Festival”, which is scheduled to be held online for the first time from Jun. 15, will feature a special program titled “Work in Progress”, where film and anime professionals will be gathered together. The event will introduce the creation process of “Inu-Oh” and other upcoming works that have been carefully selected for this occasion.
Director Yuasa Masaaki himself will be featured in the film festival’s program from 4:00 p.m. on Jun. 15, revealing the background that describes the main theme of this work, which is the “depiction of an unknown Noh performer as a pop star”. In addition, part of the animation work (still in process), character sheets, and original illustrations of the characters by Matsumoto Taiyou will be revealed for the first time.

“Inu-Oh” is scheduled to be released in 2021.

[Extract from director Yuasa Masaaki’s commentary in “Work in Progress”]
Director Yuasa explained about the two protagonists, saying, “Inu-Oh is a very cheerful man who lives his life according to his own decisions, even in the midst of adversity. Tomona is a blind lute priest who recognizes the world from what he hears. Once he meets the cheerful and self-confident Inu-Oh, he starts to open his heart, and together they become more and more popular. Regarding the original design of the characters, despite the historical setting, he said, “I want to reproduce the same elegant atmosphere of Matsumoto Taiyou-san’s illustrations in the film” and “I also want to express the way the images come into view one by one from the sound made in total darkness”, while revealing various test images.

He also added, “The image of traditional performing arts may seem difficult to understand, but I found it interesting that it gained so much popularity at that time. As new genres of pop music (punk, hard rock, hip hop, etc.) came recently on the scene making people so enthusiastic about it, I want to show my work with a variety of unique expressions” and “Many people feel that they don’t get repaid for what they do. But if they do it properly, it will remain somewhere. This is a concept that I hope this work will be able to express, since I feel that the story of the two protagonists, Inu-Oh and Tomona, will be a source of encouragement for many of us”.

(C) “INU-OH” Film Partners