By Dalton McClain / May 29th, 2013
Nizo Yamamoto, who has worked as an art director for Studio Ghibli on films such as Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke and Grave of the Fireflies, is looking to make an anime film by the name of Kibō no Ki (The Tree of Hope) to support the areas hit by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami disaster.
Kibō no Ki is based on the Takata-Matsubara pine tree grove located in Iwate prefecture. The earthquake and tsunami, which hit in 2011, destroyed the two-kilometer coast and around 70,000 trees. Only one pine tree remained standing and it became a national symbol of hope for Japan’s recovery after the disaster. Although the tree itself later died, the tree was molded into a monument and was placed in the same spot as the original tree.
The film will be based on Man Arai’s photo book of the same name. Arai, who is best known as the lyricist for the song “Sen no Kaze ni Natte” by Masafumi Akikawa, is working as the project’s scriptwriter and will also be in charge of the music for the film. Here are some concept art images by Yamamoto featuring a woman named Layla, the spirit of the lone pine tree, and a young man named Upashi:
Yamamoto is looking to raise funds for the film via the crowd-funding website WESYM. Currently, the campaign has raised over 60,000 “SEEDs” toward the goal of 47,150,000 (each SEED costs 1 yen or about $0.01 in USD). WESYM will host the crowd-funding campaign for another 123 days. The staff is hoping to release the film in theaters sometime in 2014.
Kibō no KiThe Tree of Hope