Is Studio Colorido the next Studio Ghibli? 10th-anniversary festival celebrates online on YouTube in May 2022

Netflix and Studio Colorido enter into a joint collaboration. Photo credit: Netflix

Is Studio Colorido the next Studio Ghibli? Animation studio Colorido has just signed a multi-year deal with Neflix to co-produce three anime films.

The first, Drifting Home (Ame Wo Tsugeru Hyouryuu Danchi), will premiere on September 16, 2022. It is produced by Twin Engine. Fans of Penguin Highway, Burn the Witch and A Whisker Away can’t wait to see what magic Studio Colorido will bring to Drifting Home.

Studio Colorido’s first film was Penguin Highway, which was released in 2018 and screened in more than 30 countries.

A Whisker Away was distributed exclusively on Netflix in 2020 and made their top 10 film rankings. A Whisker Away was directed by Tomotaka Shibayama alongside Junichi Sato. The screenplay was written by Mari Okada and the music was composed by Mina Kubota. The film’s opening song, titled Hana ni Borei, and the ending song, titled Usotsuki, were both sung by Japanese rock duo Yorushika.

Poster visual for the upcoming film Drifting Home.
New English poster visual for the upcoming Drifting Home movie. Photo credit: Netflix

Hiroyasu Ishida directed Penguin Highway in 2018 at the young age of 29. Drifting Home will be his second feature film to direct at the age of 33. Hiroyasu Ishida won the 42nd Japan Academy Prize for Animation of Excellence and the Fantasia International Film Festival Kon Award (prize for best animation).

Drifting Home: Adorable puppy love, supernatural mysteries and adventure await…

The plot revolves around Kousuke and Natsume, who are childhood friends. However, their relationship becomes strained as they age and begin to develop a “puppy love” for each other. Due to these new uncomfortable feelings, the two sixth graders begin to avoid each other as they no longer know how to behave around them.

One day, during summer vacation, they decide to visit an old condominium they grew up in that is about to be demolished. The place holds many precious memories of their childhood together.

While exploring the apartment complex, they are suddenly struck by a mysterious supernatural phenomenon. When they regain consciousness, they discover that the condominium has been adrift in the middle of a mystical ocean and that their friends are trapped there with them as well. Kousuke, Natsume and their friends must work together to find a way to return to their former reality before it’s too late.

A new trailer for the film has just been released by Netflix.

Official Netflix trailer of Drifting Home.

Studio Colorido’s legacy began with Penguin Highway

Penguin Highway was originally a Japanese science fiction novel written by Tomihiko Morimi and published in 2010. He was later picked up for a manga serialization in Media Factory’s Monthly Comic Alive from March 27, 2018 to February 27, 2019. Following the manga’s success, an anime film adaptation was made by Studio Colorido and premiered in August 2018.

The plot revolves around a young fourth grader named Aoyama-kun. When penguins suddenly appear in his village, he sets out to find the mysterious reason behind this phenomenon. He discovers that it is somehow related to the power of a young witch who works at a dental clinic.

Aoyama-kun and the witch surrounded by penguins.
Aoyama-kun and the mysterious witch are surrounded by penguins. Photo credit:

The film possesses the same surreal and whimsical qualities that anime film enthusiasts have come to expect from Studio Ghibli films like Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. Penguin Highway set the “theme” for the next few films that Studio Colorido would animate.

Hiroyasu Ishida directed the film, Yojiro Arai oversaw character design, Makoto Ueda wrote the screenplay, and Umitaro Abe composed the music. The film’s theme song is titled “Good Night” and was sung by the popular and renowned Hikaru Utada, whose songs have always had a very whimsical, fairytale vibe to them.

The film premiered on September 2, 2018 at Crunchyroll Expo in San Jose and was released on April 12, 2019. The film is now available on DVD Blu-ray and digital from Shout! Factory.

Who thought they’d see a coke can turn into a penguin?

Watch the Penguin Highway trailer here:

Penguin Highway trailer.

Studio Colorido is next collaborating with Bleach creator Tite Kube!

Burn the Witch was originally a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tite Kubo, best known for his manga Bleach. In July 2018, it was published as a one-shot in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. After this, it was decided that there would be a serialized sequel to the one-shot in Weekly Shonen Jump with a one-season release schedule.

Four chapters were released from August to September 2020 and are considered a continuing series. Studio Colorido produced the anime film Burn the Witch, which premiered in Japan on October 2, 2020.

Burn the Witch was directed by Tatsuro Kawano. The film is distributed by Shochiku. The theme song for the film is titled Blowing and sung by Nil. On October 1, 2020, Crunchyroll streamed the film in a three-episode format. Viz Media will release the series on DVD.

Poster visual for Burn the Witch featuring Noel and Ninny.
Noel and Ninny patrol Reverse London in search of unruly dragons. Photo credit:

The story of Burn the Witch takes place in the Bleach universe which, as any true anime otaku knows, is full of evil spirits called Hollows and the Shinigami or Soul Reapers who defeat them. In the anime/manga Bleach, high school student Ichigo Kurosaku has the ability to see ghosts and one day gains soul reaper powers from Rukia Kuchiki. He then fights Hollows at her side.

Burn the Witch is about two witches named Noel Niihashi and Ninny Spangcole who work for the Western Branch of Soul Society, located in Reverse London (an alternate version of London that exists in another dimension). Noel and Ninny are protection agents working for a mysterious organization dedicated to dragon protection and management called Wing Bind. Your primary responsibility is to protect the dragons and make sure they don’t harm any of the innocent civilians in London who cannot see the dragons flying around them.

This particular film has an imaginative, medieval feel with added surreal elements. Watch the official Crunchyroll trailer for Burn the Witch here:

Studio Colorido rose to prominence after its success with A Whisker Away

In the story A Whisker Away, Miyo Sasaki is an upbeat, energetic high school girl, though her relationship with her father has been strained since his remarriage. The way her new stepmother tries to act like her new mother irritates and stresses Miyo.

Miyo develops a crush on one of her classmates – Kento Hinode. Focusing all her time and energy on her crush and finding weird ways to show she likes him manages to distract her from her own problems.

However, these “love tokens” only serve to confuse Hinode as to Miyo’s true intentions. Miyo begins to lose hope that her feelings will ever successfully convey Hinode when a supernatural opportunity presents itself that allows her to transform into a cat with a mask. In her cat form, she is finally able to get close to Hinode and win his affections.

Screenshot from the movie A Whisker Away starring Miyo.
Miyo ponders whether or not to keep using the magic cat mask. Photo credit:

Hinode names the adorable white cat with blue eyes “Tarou,” after a pet he used to have. Realizing that she cannot help Hinode with his real-life problems, which she learns about in cat form, Miyo understands that she must make a difficult decision – remain close to Hinode as Tarou or reveal her identity, and risk losing Hinode’s affections lose to help him as her human self.

Check out the trailer for A Whisker Away currently streaming on Netflix:

Official Netflix trailer of A Whisker Away.

Tomotaka Shibayama’s upcoming movie scheduled for release in 2024 does not have a title yet

Not much is known about the upcoming movie, directed by Tomotaka Shibayama, who directed the popular hit A Whisker Away.

“The new film I am planning is a mysterious love story set in a winter season. I aim to deliver a work that will be an uplifting experience for all, while carefully portraying the extraordinary things that suddenly arise in everyday life and the emotional growth of the characters. We hope you will enjoy it.”

Tomotaka Shibayama

Visuals released for Shibayama's 2024 feature film
Released visuals for the 2024 feature film directed by Tomotaka Shibayama. Credit: Netflix/Twitter

Koji Yamamoto, the President of Studio Colorido, issued a statement on their deal with Netflix on their official website.

“Netflix connects Japanese films to users around the world. Over the next 10 years we aim to continue creating original works that are unique [Studio] Colorido with confidence,” said Yamamoto. “We will use this milestone of 10 years since our inception as an opportunity to partner with Netflix to deliver ‘works that are one-of-a-kind [Studio] Colorido for the world.”

Studio Colorido is currently celebrating their 10th anniversary and they will be hosting an online festival on YouTube on May 6th, 2022! Make sure you head over to Twin Engine’s YouTube channel to check it out.

It’s also worth mentioning that Studio Colorido was involved in Pokemon: Twilight Wings.

What it’s about, fans can only speculate third party Movie in the Netflix collaboration will be, but it will be full of whimsy and fantasy for sure.

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