Crunchyroll to Stream Saudi Arabia's Manga Productions, Toei's The Journey Film This Spring
Crunchyroll announced on April 12 that it will stream Saudi Arabian media company Manga Productions and Toei Animation's animated collaboration film The Journey (Journey: Taiko Arabia Hantо̄ de no Kiseki to Tatakai no Monogatari) this spring.
The film held its North American debut at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California on April 12. Crunchyroll did not confirm in what languages it will stream the film, but did state the film's English dub stars: Chris Judge, Johnny Yong Bosch, Jennie Kwan, Bryce Papenbrook, Alejandro Saab, Christopher Sabat, Steve Blum, Hesham Elshazly, Cedric Williams, and Hussein Mohammed.
Manga Productions is streaming an English-dubbed trailer for the film.
The film was originally scheduled to open in 2020, but instead premiered in Japan in June 2021. Manga Productions describes the film:
An invading army threatens to destroy Mecca and enslave its peaceful inhabitants. Aws, a seemingly simple potter, is one of the few ready to stand up against the massive invading army to defend their home. But when he discovers a long-lost friend he believed to be dead, his dark past is revealed.
Manga Productions has signed theatrical distribution deals for the movie with VOX Cinemas in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with Toei's distribution company T-Joy in Japan, and with Koch Media in six European countries.
The film's Japanese cast includes:
- Toru Furuya as Aws
- Kotono Mitsuishi as Hind
- Hiroshi Kamiya as Zurara
- Yūichi Nakamura as Nizar
- Kazuya Nakai as Musab
- Takaya Kuroda as Abraha
Kobun Shizuno (Detective Conan films) directed the film, and Atsuhiro Tomioka (Pokémon films) wrote the script. Tatsurō Iwamoto (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney game series) was the film's lead character designer, and Kaoru Wada (Ninja Scroll, Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, InuYasha, Ace Attorney) composed the music. The companies produced the film in both Japan and Saudi Arabia (Manga Productions has branches in Riyadh and Tokyo). Manga Productions fully financed the film, and has the worldwide distribution rights.
Manga Productions has previously collaborated with Toei Animation on a number of anime projects, including "The Woodcutter's Treasure" short and the Future's Folktales series, the latter of which is getting a second season.
Manga Productions is a subsidiary of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Foundation, also known as MiSK, and named for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. The company aims to create animation, comic, and video game projects to "promote Saudi ideas and messages internationally." MiSK signed a memorandum with Japan's Digital Hollywood University in October 2017 to train Saudi designers and programmers in creating animation and games. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman established MiSK in 2011.
In February 2021, the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence assessed that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi was a Saudi journalist who relocated to the United States and wrote for The Washington Post newspaper before being killed in 2018. The Saudi Arabian government "completely reject[ed]" the U.S. assessment. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has also been criticized for pursuing a war in Yemen that caused a humanitarian disaster and for cracking down on dissenting voices. He has alternately been praised for ending a ban on women drivers in 2018.
ANN reached out to Crunchyroll regarding its release of the film and working with Manga Productions, but the company did not respond to ANN by press time.