It has been known since December 2021 that the Japanese animation studio Ponoc is working on a new film. This is an anime adaptation of the novel The Imaginary (Jap. Yaneura no Rudger ) by AF Harrold and Emily Gravett. With a view to the Japanese premiere in winter 2023, a first trailer has now been released (see below). The cast is also fixed.
The studio Ponoc, known among other things for the film Mary and the Witch's Flower , wanted to bring the new anime to Japanese cinemas as early as summer 2022. Due to "new challenges" regarding production methods and the pandemic, the film had to be postponed. Now, The Imaginary will premiere in Japan on December 15, 2023 . Yoshiyuki Momose is directing The Imaginary , while Yoshiaki Nishimura is producing.
The Japanese main cast is as follows:
- Kokoro Terada as Rudger
- Rio Suzuki as Amanda Sakura
- Ando as Lizzie
- Riisa Naka as Emily
- Takayuki Yamada as Jinzan
- Atsuko Takahata as Downbeat Grandma
- Issey Ogata as Mr. Bunting
Bloomsbury Publishing published AF Harrold's original novel The Imaginary in the UK in 2014, illustrated by Emily Gravett. In German-speaking countries, the novel is available from Heyne Verlag under the title Amanda's invisible friend .
This is what The Imaginary is about:
Rudger is Amanda Shuffleup's imaginary friend. No one else can see Rudger – until the evil Mr. Bunting shows up at Amanda's door. Mr. Bunting chases fantasy creatures. It is rumored that he even eats them. And now he's found Rudger.
Soon Rudger is alone and running for his imaginary life. He must find Amanda before Mr. Bunting catches him – and before Amanda forgets him and he fades to nothing. But how can an unreal boy exist alone in the real world?