The Deer King The Deer King

The hotly anticipated release of the anime feature The Deer King has been delayed indefinitely in Japan, as the country grapples with a spike in coronavirus cases. The film was due to open on September 10; it had already been delayed from September 18, 2020.

Fittingly, The Deer King is set in a fantasy world ravaged by a strange illness. The story follows the exploits of a young girl and a onetime soldier who was enslaved by his enemies. Ghibli veteran Masashi Ando and Masayuki Miyaji directed the film, an adaptation of the namesake novel series by Nahoko Uehashi. The production studio is Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell) and the distributor is Toho.

Japan’s Covid cases have risen sharply in recent weeks, as the Delta variant tears through the country. Last Friday saw 25,892 new cases — a record. The majority of the population is under a state of emergency, and theaters in these areas are generally being asked to close at 9 p.m. (Hard lockdowns of the sort used in the U.S. and elsewhere can’t be legally implemented in Japan.)

The Deer King screened at Annecy and Fantasia International Film Festival, where it won the won the Bronze Audience Award for Best Animated Film. GKIDS is due to release it in North American theaters early next year.

Reviewing the film at Fantasia, our critic Kambole Campbell wrote: “The Deer King is truly engrossing and rich in its world building, but it leaves enough unsaid that viewers will walk away wanting even more.”

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