RIYADH: The Saudi-Japanese anime film “The Journey” had its Japanese premiere at the Hamarikyu Asahi Hall in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, on Sunday.
The film by Manga Production Company, a subsidiary of the Mohammed bin Salman Charitable Foundation (MiSK), was made in cooperation with the Japanese Toei Animation. Actors Toru Furiya, Hiroshi Kamiya and Takaya Kuroda, who dubbed the film in Japanese, joined director Kobun Shizuno and executive producer Shinji Shimizu at the premier. Several Japanese MPs and company heads also attended the event, along with a large media presence.
The company had already screened the film in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, Jeddah and Dubai. It is now being shown in cinemas in nine Arab countries. It is also available with 4DX technology — the first Saudi movie to present this experience to audiences.
The film, which was shot using anime-style animation and took two and a half years to make, involved a team of 300 Saudi specialists worked alongside their Japanese counterparts.
Set about 1,500 years ago, it presents the ancient civilizations in the Arabian Peninsula and Middle East. It follows the story of Aws and the people of Makkah who are forced to take up arms to liberate themselves and their city from enslavement by a ruthless general.
“I was delighted to watch this epic tale that presents our ancient civilization in the Arabian Peninsula in an attractive form that supports the journey of rapprochement between the two peoples since 1955,” the Kingdom’s ambassador to Japan, Nayef Al-Fahadi, said, adding the Saudi government “welcomes everything that would support the relationship between the two friendly peoples at all levels, based on the firm belief that we have partnerships that support further cooperation.”
Dr. Essam Bukhari, CEO of Manga Production Company, said: “The Kingdom and Japan have built their relationship through trade in oil and other goods, and today this relationship is further strengthened through our close partnership in the field of culture and entertainment.” He said the film is the company’s first cinematic collaboration with Toei Animation.