A Studio Ghibli producer is helping make an anime movie based on The Imaginary by A. F. Harrold and Emily Gravett. Yoshiyuki Momose, animation director on the NiNoKuni movie based on the RPG games, and Mary and the Witch’s Flower company Studio Ponoc, are also involved.
Published in 2014, The Imaginary follows Amanda, a child that tries to protect her imaginary friend Rudger from Mr Bunting, who hunts entities that are made up. When they’re separate, Rudger has to evade Mr Bunting and find Amanda before she forgets about him and moves on. The first teaser for the animated movie adaptation plays on the whimsy of it all, talking about wildlife and animals “no one’s ever seen”, a young boy nobody else can see, and hinting at a whole world of “Imaginaries”.
Yoshiaki Nishimura, who worked on Howl’s Moving Castle, the Tale of Princess Kaguya, and When Marnie Was There for Studio Ghibli, is producer. He’s produced both Studio Pono’s previous films, Mary and the Witch’s Flower and Modest Heroes, and is apparently keen to keep collaborating with them.
In Japan, where the film is titled Yaneura no Rudger – Rudger in the Attic – the release date is summer 2022. No international release window is given, but the trailer is subtitled, suggesting UK, US, and other regions could be seeing it around the same time.
A Japanese poster has also been released:
Official poster of "The Imaginary" new animated movie by Studio Ponoc.
Directed by Yoshiyuki Momose (Ni no kuni movie, Ghiblies 2, Tomorrow's Leaves…). pic.twitter.com/FqIVB23Mih
— Catsuka (@catsuka) December 7, 2021
Both Mary and the Witch’s Flower and Modest Heroes enjoyed wide distribution, the latter coming to Netflix in 2018. If The Imaginary goes to the same streaming service, it’ll be in good company with Bubble, from Attack on Titan and Death Note director Tetsurō Araki.
We’ll keep you informed on when you can watch The Imaginary – in the meantime, give the best family movies a read, for more heartwarming tales.