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Studio Ponoc released a teaser trailer of the upcoming animated flick The Imaginary and what a mesmerizing sight it is. The jump into this imaginary world is bound to make you feel like hovering in the visually stunning and narratively engaging utopia of Ghibli films. Well, that is why the title is so. The first look of this feature-length anime is enough to bring up a comparison with the ever-praised Ghibli classics.

Not too long ago we all celebrated the release of the new Barbie movie and that feeling of childhood nostalgia is to be reverberated through another form of media. The imaginary connects with the concept of creating our imaginary friend. To many kids, Barbie was something that acted out according to children’s imagination and later on forgotten as adult life tragedies took over their minds.

Despite the cruel reality, everyone does cherish the memory of pretend and play as they represent that sweet innocence. Well, that is the case for many of us and The Imaginary is going to take this concept to a whole new level. I was so infatuated with the theme and the art style of the film that I forgot my daily dose of praising Horimiya!

The Imaginary Trailer

New Classic Maker In Town

We have seen Studio Ghibli incorporate dark truths and tiring adult life stories into innocent harmless children’s movies like Disney (Not anymore!) where viewers get endless shots at making theories thus Studio Ponac should not be so far off from that. It was founded on April 15, 2015, by Yoshiaki Nishimura and it then gained the support of many animators who previously worked under Studio Ghibli like Hiromasa Yonebayashi and so on.

The given name Studio Ponoc comes from the literal Serbo-Croatian word pónoć, meaning “midnight”, which signified “the beginning of a new day”. This goes to show that everyone indeed had high hopes for the Studio and maybe it would be the next modern Studio Ghibli. “Mary and the Witch’s Flower” was the studio’s first feature film and we found out that the art style had been the same as any Ghibli masterpiece.

However, it is highly anticipated that while the aesthetic might be somewhat similar, the stories and characters will have a new shine to them. Their first movie was a great success and was able to reach number six of the highest-grossing films of the year in Japan, allowing Mary the character, to be their Mascot. And their next attempt at another great soulful creation is to be ‘The Imaginary’. The teaser has me hyped up about it, so much so that I immediately asked to write the article when the opportunity presented itself.

Studio Ponoc also produced an animated short film titled ‘Tomorrow’s Leaves’ in collaboration with the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, inspired by Olympic values of “Excellence, Friendship and Respect”. This animated short film officially premiered and was made available on YouTube by the International Olympic Committee on July 23, the opening date of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo which you can check out!

The Imaginary - Poster - Deshi Geek
The Imaginary – Poster – Deshi Geek

The Imaginary Pays Homage To Reality In A Most Creative Way

Just like what we see in the real world The Imaginary narrates a world where imaginations can be created but also be trampled by others. Rudger our protagonist is unfortunately a conjuration of someone’s imagination and cannot be seen by others, except for us of course and his imaginative creator. Now, this can be categorized in the realm of psychological fantasy but then again it is a scion of reality as well. The Imaginary sure is complex.

His creator is a super creative girl named Amanda and their shared existence is confined to the attic of Amanda’s residence which does give us flashbacks of ‘Arrietty’. Together they delve into her vibrant imaginations but find out that their fate is inevitable as Rudger will also fade with time due to human forgetfulness. The Imaginary is set to give us an emotional toll that many of us are not ready for at this rate.

Baffled by this, Rudger still clings to a glimmer of hope while boarding on a discreet journey chasing after Mr. Bunting, who is similar to the Pirate Mr. Hook but hunts imaginaries instead. His journey leads him to the unknown territory that has “The Town of Imaginaries” which is a sanctuary for the forgotten ones. This encounter marks the start of a thrilling journey that determines the future path of cherished friendships and bonds.

The Imaginary Teaser

Hype Talk

We know that The Imaginary is a movie directed by Momose Yoshiyuki, the person working behind many other renowned movies like Grave of the Fireflies, Spirited Away, Whisper of Heart and Porco Rosso but the most similar work that goes close to what the movie has revealed so far is that of ‘Ni no Kuni’. Though Ni no Kuni is the most popular role-playing franchise the adaptation was received positively as well.

So, it goes to say that the upcoming movie ‘The Imaginary’ will be nothing less. Coming to similar types of works with the concept of imagination we have wonderful films to watch while we wait. We have Hirune Hime: Shiranai Watashi no Monogatari which is Napping Princess in short, a movie where the girl learns more about her family as she discovers her imaginative world to collide with the real world and apparently becomes a hero.

Now even though this film takes imagination in a positive direction we also find the terrifying side when the imaginative mind brings in terrible and frightening company like the mysterious, magical and devilish Egg Fairy in The Anthem of the Heart. No matter which direction The Imaginary decides to take we can assume the ending to be as emotional as the ending of the movie “Drifting Home” as the wonderful creators personify a whole resident building followed by many other abandoned ones.

The Imaginary - Scene - Deshi Geek
The Imaginary – Scene – Deshi Geek

We all have a strong connection to the place we call home, just like the people living there. We bond with the building or area itself as we grow up and spend most of our childhood in that surrounding. Thus, it goes to say none can imagine that separation and it feels like the same emotions will be found in The Imaginary as well. Parting ways with a childhood buddy, despite it being in our imaginations can never be easy.

We can only hope for it to be a sweet ending and keep making up theories behind it to share. Luckily the waiting time for it is a lot shorter. The Imaginary will be released on the 15th December 2023 and we are surely in for a treat!


A newbie in town, self-proclaimed mysterious writer who writes a series of continuous stories along with old and modern poems. Can you find yourself in one of her writing segment? Do you get the same sense of nostalgia?

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