GKIDS Acquires Masaaki Yuasa’s Animated Feature ‘Inu-Oh’

GKIDS has acquired the North American distribution rights for Masaaki Yuasa’s animated feature Inu-Oh. GKIDS, Japanese production company Science SARU INC. and its partner Asmik Ace, Inc. made the announcement today. This marks the fifth collaboration between GKIDS and Yuasa. The production company worked with Yuasa on his films Lu Over the Wall, The Night is Short, Walk On Girl, Mind Game, and most recently, Ride Your Wave. GKIDS is set to release Inu-Oh theatrically in 2021.

The film follows the titular Inu-Oh, the legendary 14th century Noh performer, who is born with unique physical characteristics. As a result of his appearance, the horrified adults cover every inch of his body with garments, including a mask on his face. One day, he meets a boy named Tomona, a blind biwa player. When Tomona plays a delicate song of tangled fate, Inu-Oh discovers an incredible ability to dance.

Inu-Oh and Tomona become business partners and inseparable friends, using their creative gifts to survive on the margins of society, as song after song gain them notoriety and propel them to stardom. Through the songs, Inu-Oh mesmerizes his audiences on stage and gradually begins to transform into someone of unequaled beauty. But why is Tomona blind? Why was Inu-Oh born with unique characteristics? It is a story about the friendship of Inu-Oh and Tomona, who dance and sing to get to the truth and break each other’s curse.

“With each new project, Masaaki Yuasa continues to push in new and exciting directions across genres and styles,” said GKIDS’ President David Jesteadt. “Inu-Oh is already one of our most anticipated films of 2021, and we can’t wait to share more of Yuasa’s remarkable work with his fellow fans.”

Inu-Oh was presented as a work in progress at the 2020 Annecy Film Festival. The film features character creation from manga artist Taiyo Matsumoto (Tekkonkinkreet), who previously collaborated with Yuasa on the anime adaptation of Matsumoto’s series Ping Pong the Animation.

David Jesteadt of GKIDS and Mai Kato of Asmik Ace negotiated the deal for North American rights.

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