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The Journey The Journey

Armies clash in a battle of Koranic proportions in The Journey, a film that marries Arabian mythology with anime production values.

The feature tells the story of Aws, a potter with a secret past who’s caught up in an epic battle to defend his city Mecca. It is co-produced by Saudi Arabia’s Manga Productions and Japan’s venerable Toei Animation. Watch the trailer (with English subtitles) below:

The Journey is directed by Kobun Shizuno (the Detective Conan films, Knights of Sidonia), from a script by Atsuhiro Tomioka (Pokemon films) and with character designs by Tatsuro Iwamoto (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney game series). Originally due to premiere in 2020, the film will now come out on June 25. It will be released in the MENA region by Vox Cinemas and in Japan by Toei subsidiary T-Joy.

Manga Productions conceived the project and fully financed it — to the tune of $10-$15 million, according to Variety. The company worked with Toei on the story and character design. Saudi artists trained in Japan, and the animation was then produced across Riyadh, where Manga Productions is based, and Tokyo, where both Toei and Manga Productions’s satellite studio are located.

Manga Productions is a subsidiary of Misk Foundation, which was set up by Mohammed bin Salman before he became crown prince of Saudi Arabia. The studio aims “to create content for global audiences with international standards, support local talent, and showcase the region, its people, and its culture.”

It previously collaborated with Toei on a short film, The Woodcutter’s Treasure, and a 13-episode tv series called Future’s Folktales.