Otaku USA Magazine
INTERVIEW: Talking Theatrical Anime with Eleven Arts

sound! euphonium

Going to the movies is a special experience, and Eleven Arts wants to make sure that experience includes more and more anime titles at the theatre.

“Eleven Arts was established back in 2003,” said CEO Ko Mori. “In the past ten years or so, we’ve been focusing on North American distribution and theatrical releases with Japanese anime titles. We’ve distributed quite a few well-known titles in theatres, including the Evangelion series and Sword Art Online. Right now, we are putting out about 5-6 titles per year in theaters in North America.”

At Anime Central, the Midwest’s largest anime convention, Eleven Arts announced their next theatrical release: Sound! Euphonium: Our Promise, A Brand New Day. “It’s a continuation of the TV show, but this is an original feature length animated film,” Mori said. “It’s also related to Liz and the Blue Bird, which we released last year in theaters and earlier this year on DVD.”    

liz and the blue bird

Chris Platt, executive assistant to the CEO at Eleven Arts, said that while Sound! Euphomium comes from a series, even people who haven’t watched the series can enjoy the movie, which is about a high school band club. It will be screened with Fathom Events, a distributor that Eleven Arts has teamed up with multiple times, starting with the theatrical release of Boruto. The subbed version of Sound! Euphonium will play on July 11, and the dubbed version on July 15.

“The next film is being released in August and it’s Millennium Actress,” said Mori. “It’s a legendary title directed by Satoshi Kon. Originally this film was released back in 2002. But this one is a 4K remaster.”

“We’re super, super excited to work on Millennium Actress,” said Platt. “We’re doing our best to make sure everything is done very carefully and that it’s done in partnership with the Japanese producers. Making sure everything is respectful of him [Kon] and his vision has been our main focus for Millennium Actress. That comes out in everything from the promotional materials to the dub. I think a lot of the newer generation of anime fans maybe haven’t seen the film. Maybe it’s one of those classics you’ve heard of but haven’t seen. Now fans can really see firsthand why Satoshi Kon is such an incredible artist.”

“What we want to create for fans is the physical experience,” Mori said. “There are lots of anime TV series the fans really love, but what we’re bringing to theaters are the feature-length animated films. We want them to experience something different. Sometimes we do giveaways. Sometimes we do extra content at the events. We feel like we’re creating the event together to enjoy with fans.”

Besides anime, Eleven Arts also releases one to two live-action movies a year. “We are very selective with live-action work,” explained Mori. “We as a company have to feel like those are the right titles for us to put everything into. We want the fans to be pleased with the titles.”

Platt said the company is also getting more into merchandise. “That way fans who really love these films can interact with them, with a pin on their bag, or a T-shirt. We do have a Penguin Highway pin and T-shirt. We are looking to make some announcements soon for merchandise for other titles as well.   

Speaking of announcements, Mori teased that there are some big ones coming up, including stuff to be revealed at Anime Expo in July. “We have so much going on,” he said. “We’re pretty active on social media: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We try to be close to the fans.”

Danica Davidson, along with Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya, is the author of Manga Art for Intermediates. In addition to showing how to draw manga character types in detail, the book describes how professional Japanese manga creators work, including common techniques and what drawing utensils they use.