Warner Bros. began streaming a “special video” for director Keiichi Hara‘s Birthday Wonderland (English title: The Wonderland) anime film on April 22. The video outlines the Wonderland world that Akane enters, with the video narrated by Nao Tōyama as the character Pipo.
Warner Bros. also began streaming two more clips from the film on April 22.
Mayu Matsuoka is voicing the protagonist Akane in her first anime role. Other cast members include:
- an as Chi
- Masachika Ichimura as Hippocrates
- Kumiko Asou as Midori
- Nao Tōyama as Pipo
- Keiji Fujiwara as Zan Gu
- Akiko Yajima as Doropo
The film opened in Japan on Friday, and will screen in competition at this year’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival in June.
Russian artist Ilya Kuvshinov designed the characters and visuals, Miho Maruo wrote the script, and milet performed the image song “Wonderland.” The film is an adaptation of Sachiko Kashiwaba‘s 1988 children’s book Chikashitru Kara no Fushigi na Tabi (Strange Journey From The Basement).
The story follows Akane, a girl with no self-confidence. On the day before her birthday, she meets a mysterious alchemist Hippocrates and their student Pipo, who both tell her they’re on a mission to save the world. Together, they set out from the basement for “Wonderland,” and Akane finds herself labelled Wonderland’s savior.
Hara’s most recent work, Miss Hokusai, debuted in May 2015. The film won the Jury Prize at Annecy in June 2015. Hara also won the Asiagraph 2015 Tsumugi Prize in recognition of individuals who have made valuable contributions to digital art.