Director Kunihiko Ikuhara (REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA, YURIKUMA ARASHI) unveiled on Thursday a new trailer for his upcoming series, SARAZANMAI. This is the first of what will eventually be five PVs released this month. Each clip will showcase a different character from the show. This one introduces the main protagonist, Kazuki Yasaka, and it has already raised quite a few eyebrows.

Kazuki narrates over a stunningly photo-realistic city about how we live in a densely connected world. And yet, he cannot find someone to connect to. He signs off wondering if he can connect with you. In typical Ikuhara fashion, most of the trailer is profoundly enigmatic and plain cool-looking. What’s more is SARAZANMAI will be an ambitious co-production between studio MAPPA (YURI ON ICE!!!, BANANA FISH) and Lapin Track. It will make its debut in April 2019 during Fuji TV’s Noitamina block.

Blending Reality and Anime

Ikuhara is well-known within anime circles for his visually daring direction, but SARAZANMAI could be on another level. Much of the magic in the new teaser comes from how seamlessly real footage mixes with animation. Animated characters are set against real-life backgrounds, a mesmerizing aesthetic intended to present new insights into the way we live.

Sarazanmai Anime Reality Image
Ikuhara enlisted the services of Tao Tajima to create a smooth composite of anime and real-life. | Image: Animate Times

Ikuhara’s ability to scout talent is unparalleled, in this instance bringing in filmmaker and visual designer Tao Tajima. Tao Tajima’s expertise allows for the cohesive photo-realism that is so prevalent in the trailer. You can check out more of his exquisite work here.

SARAZANMAI: More Ikuhara Madness

The look of this anime clip is definitely one of the most remarkable in years. However, it’s probably not representative of the final product, at least not to the degree advertised. Even so, Ikuhara is clearly showing his intent to expand the aesthetic of anime with his new project. More than likely, he’ll integrate magical realism into SARAZANMAI in some capacity through discovering more artists with unique voices and skills.

Sarazanmai Main Character Designs
SARAZANMAI’s first character designs of the main protagonists as a policemen duo| Image: Comic Natalie

After all, it’s been only 4 months since Ikuhara released some original (and considerably distinct) character designs for the show. His shift from his usual focus on female characters to male characters was already bold. The new trailer has seriously confounded expectations once more. Who knows what this series of special PVs could have in store for us next.


Are you looking forward to Ikuhara’s new original show? Let us know in the comments below.


Featured image from Animate Times.

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