GKIDS, celebrating its 15th anniversary as a producer and distributor of award-winning and artist-driven animation from around the world, has announced that it has acquired all North American distribution rights for Lonely Castle in the Mirror. Directed by Keiichi Hara, the film features animation from the lauded A-1 Pictures, and is adapted from the novel of the same name by Mizuki Tsujimura.
Lonely Castle in the Mirror held its International Premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival – marking the first time a Japanese animated feature was selected for the festival – and additionally had its US premiere at the New York International Children’s Film Festival. It was nominated for the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, and was released domestically in Japan in December 2022.
Hara worked with various past collaborators on the project, including screenwriter Miho Maruo, composer Harumi Fuuki, as well as acclaimed artist Ilya Kuvshinov for visual concept and castle designs.
GKIDS handles North American distribution for Keiichi Hara’s previous feature films Summer Days with Coo (2007) and Miss Hokusai (2015). GKIDS will release Lonely Castle in the Mirror theatrically in both its original Japanese language and an all-new English dubbed version in Summer 2023.
The all-rights North American distribution deal was negotiated between GKIDS and NTV.
“We are thrilled to be able to work again with director Keiichi Hara,” said GKIDS President David Jesteadt. “His latest film is a deeply emotional story about the private struggles we all go through, and the small yet joyous connections with others that make life worth living. I can’t wait for North American audiences to join us on a trip to the Lonely Castle in the Mirror.”
Original Language: Japanese
Runtime: 116 minutes
Director: Keiichi Hara
Producer: Hirotaka Aragaki, Kei Kishiyama
Script: Miho Maruo
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Music: Harumi Fuuki
Japanese Voice Cast: Ami Touma, Takumi Kitamura, Sakura Kiryu, Rihito Itagaki, Naho Yokomizo, Minami Takayama, Yuki Kaji, Mana Ashida
Shy outcast Kokoro has been avoiding school for weeks when she discovers a portal in her bedroom mirror. She reaches through and finds herself transported to an enchanting castle where she is joined by six other students. When a girl in a wolf mask explains that they have been invited to play a game, the teens must work together to uncover the mysterious connection that unites them. However, anyone who breaks the rules will be eaten by a wolf.
From acclaimed director Keiichi Hara and based on the bestselling novel by Mizuki Tsujimura, Lonely Castle in the Mirror is a heartfelt drama about the pains of growing up and the unlikely bonds that can bring people together.