Gen Urobuchi is penning script for the King of the Monsters’ first-ever animated theatrical feature.
Even before it was released, the previews for the currently-in-theaters Shin Godzilla made it clear that the movie wasn’t trying to be a kid-oriented, fun-to-watch giant monster flick. No, co-director Hideaki Anno wanted to take a genre known for its lightweight psychology and infuse it with the seriousness such situations would demand in real life, just like he did with robot anime Evangelion.
It’s a tonal decision that’s apparently resonated with audiences, as Shin Godzilla has become a huge hit in Japan, with its box office revenue already surpassing that of Legendary Pictures’ 2014 Godzilla. And it doesn’t look like made-in-Japan Godzilla content is going to be lightening up anytime soon, with the announcement of a CG Godzilla anime movie from serious-as-a-heart-attack anime scriptwriter Gen Urobuchi.
Best known as the writer of Puella Magi Madoka Magica (which did for the magical girl genre what Evangelion did for kids-piloting-robot stories), Urobuchi more recently crafted the scripts for science-fiction detective anime Psycho-Pass and lavish-looking puppet series Thunderbolt Fantasy. “For a Japanese creator, it is the highest honor to be associated with the Godzilla name,” said Urobuchi of his involvement, adding “I am putting all of my efforts into meeting the audience’s expectations.”
While Godzilla has been the star of two different U.S. cartoons, up until last month he’d never appeared in Japanese animated form. And since that appearance was just a guest spot on long-running gag comedy anime Crayon Shin-chan, the upcoming Urobuchi-written feature is Godzilla’s first time to be featured in Japanese animation in his true capacity as King of the Monsters.
Just as Shin Godzilla was co-directed by Anno and Shinji Higuchi, so two will a pair of directors, Kobun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Seshita, share duties on the CG Godzilla project. The two previously worked together on CG anime Knights of Sidonia, for which Shizuno is listed as director amd Seshita co-director. Separately, Shizuno has directed a number of Detective Conan theatrical features, with Seshita serving in the same capacity for the trilogy of Ajin anime movies.
Handling animation production is Polygon Pictures, the studio behind the visuals in Knights of Sidonia and Ajin. So far, only a single teaser image has been released, and while the titular kaiju himself is nowhere to be seen, the spacecraft and high-tech uniforms being worn by the trio of visible humans points to a more futuristic setting than the present-day Shin Godzilla or Legendary Godzilla.
With Legendary already planning a new Godzilla film for 2019, a crossover with King Kong scheduled for 2020, and the very real possibility of a Japanese-produced live-action sequel to Shin Gozilla, one could argue that the franchise’s handlers are running the risk of flooding the market with content. Still, the CG Godzilla anime is set to beat all of those other projects to the punch, with an expected release in 2017.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where’s he’s promising, right here and now, to go watch the CG Godzilla movie if the talking bear lunch lady from Knights of Sidonia is also in it.