DUBAI: The first Saudi Japanese anime “The Journey” is set to screen next week at Grauman’s Chinese Theater on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The film, a cultural collaboration between the Riyadh-based Manga Productions company and Japan’s Toei Animation studios, was due to premiere at the venue on Tuesday.
Set 1,500 years ago, it tells the story of warrior Aws, who rises above his troubled past to redeem himself and his faith by leading a team into battle to defend the holy city of Makkah.
“The Journey” was released in the region in June. Movie goers were able to watch it in Japanese or Arabic with English and Arabic subtitles.
Anime, and Japanese culture in general, have long been popular in Saudi Arabia. It is hoped that “The Journey” will pave the way for more co-productions that combine the rich heritage and culture of the Kingdom with the distinctive Japanese style of animation.
During production of the flick, Saudis flew to Tokyo to work closely with Japanese experts to learn the skills and techniques needed to bring “The Journey” to life.
In a previous interview, Abdullah Al-Husaynan, the assistant art director and background designer on the film, told Arab News: “This was our first movie ever, and for Toei Animation, they are veterans, they are experts in the field.
“However, we are experts in Arab culture; it is our playground, and they are beginners in that, meaning we were teaching each other, and it was a mutual educational journey.”