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"Our Sound" "Our Sound"

Ever-reliable animation distributor GKIDS has acquired North American distribution rights to the indie Japanese animated feature On-Gaku: Our Sound from director Kenji Iwaisawa, based on the manga by Hiroyuki Ohashi.

The quirky slacker comedy follows a trio of high school delinquents who decide to start a band in a quest to impress their only friend Aya, avoid a rival gang, and – most importantly – jam out.

The film has received raves, with some reviewers calling it an “instant classic” and it won the top feature prize last year at the Ottawa animation festival, where it world premiered. It is currently in the Contrechamp competition section at Annecy.

In an interview with Cartoon Brew, director Iwaisawa spoke about the unique challenges of producing the film, which stretched out over seven years and employed a crew of relatively inexperienced animators.

On-Gaku: Our Sound reminds us of our favorite indie comedies while remaining a wholly unique film,” said Rodney Uhler, GKIDS’ director of special projects. “Kenji Iwaisawa’s remarkable hand-drawn work has created a film full of quotable lines, distinctive characters and infectious style. It remains one of the most fun viewing experiences we’ve had all year, and we can’t wait to share the film with audiences.”

GKIDS will release the film sometime later this year.

Uhler negotiated the deal for North American rights with Emico Kawai of Nikkatsu Corporation.