Saudi-Japanese anime ‘The Journey’ becomes first Arabic film to screen at Grauman’s Chinese Theater

Manga Productions also announced a new partnership with Crunchyroll following the US premiere of “The Journey.”

The tripa Saudi-Japanese anime, became the first Arabic film to screen at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, a movie palace located on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The film by Manga Production Company, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s MiSK Foundation, was made in cooperation with Japan’s Toei Animation. Actors Toru Furiya, Hiroshi Kamiya and Takaya Kuroda, who dubbed the film into Japanese, joined director Kobun Shizuno and executive producer Shinji Shimizu at the premiere. Several Japanese MPs and business leaders also attended the event, as well as a large media presence.

Directed by Shizuno Kobun, The trip was shot using anime-style animation and took two and a half years to make.

Inspired by Arabic folklore, The trip tells the story of Aws, a potter with a secret past, who is caught up in an epic battle to defend his city. Japanese dubbing artists include well-known names in the Japanese region such as Toru Furuya, Takaya Kuroda and Hiroshi Kimiya, while the Arabic version was dubbed by artists such as Abdu Shaheen, Rasha Rizq and Nassar AlNassar.

After the American premiere of The trip, Manga Productions also announced a new partnership with Crunchyroll, an anime, manga, and drama distributor in the Americas. The deal, Manga Productions said, will help the company expand its audience and compete globally.

Crunchyroll has already started distributing The trip to over 50 streaming platforms across North and South America, giving over 125 million viewers access to the film.

Essam Bukhari, Managing Director of Manga Production Company, said, “We are delighted that thanks to The trip, Arab and Saudi cinema settles in Hollywood, the capital of cinema. We screened at the historic Chinese theater, and this is just the beginning of movies released by Manga Productions and other Saudi films. We are proud of this partnership with Crunchyroll, which is one of the largest animation platforms in the world. We will work with them to connect Saudi art and creativity to the world.

Eng. Abdulaziz Naghmoush, Director of Marketing, Distribution and Business Development at Manga Productions, added, “The trip The movie is now streaming on 20 platforms in Japan, and we have already signed distribution deals in the Arab world, Japan, Asia and Europe, where the movie got a high rating compared to other movies from animation that aired at the same time.

The film was originally slated to premiere at Cannes in 2020, but was canceled during the pandemic.

Manga and Toei have previously collaborated on The Lumberjack’s Treasure, a 20-minute animation based on Saudi folklore. The team is also producing a 13-episode animated television series.

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