While the anime industry booms, recognition is also growing for Japanese animation that doesn’t quite fit that label. A motor of that growth is New Deer, a production and distribution company founded by Nobuaki Doi in 2015, with a view to promoting independent animation at home and abroad (it also runs New Chitose, the only animation festival to take place in an airport). The company has announced a slate of eight productions, which serves as a who’s who of renowned Japanese indie animators.
The slate is headed by New Deer’s first animated feature, Mirai Mizue’s Journey to the West. As the title suggests, the film is an adaptation of the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West — already the source of many animated works — by Mirai Mizue, whose abstract shorts have won prizes at Annecy and many other festivals. According to Japanese entertainment website Natalie, the film will have a sci-fi style, and will also touch on how the coronavirus may change society.
New Deer is also teaming up with France’s Miyu to produce six shorts by directors who, between them, have caught our eye over the years and won prizes at festivals like Annecy and Berlin. Natalie reports that the plan is to sell all these films online in some form this year.