• Ikue Otani, known as the voice of Pikachu, voices the forest fairy PiPi in "Ghost Cat Anzu." Main footage released
Japan Anime News Edit by Satoru Shoji

Ikue Otani, known as the voice of Pikachu, voices the forest fairy PiPi in "Ghost Cat Anzu." Main footage released

It has been revealed that Ikue Otani, renowned for her roles as Pikachu in "Pokémon" and Tony Tony Chopper in "ONE PIECE," will voice the forest fairy Pi-Pi-chan in the animated film adaptation of Takashi Imashiro's manga "Ghost Cat Anzu (Bake Neko Anzu-chan)," set for release on July 19. Additionally, main footage featuring Pi-Pi-chan has been unveiled.

Ghost Cat Anzu

Ghost Cat Anzu(C) Takashi Imashiro, Kodansha / Ghost Cat Anzu Production Committee

Directors Haruko Kuno and Atsuhiro Yamashita co-direct the film, with actor Mirai Moriyama voicing and performing the movements of the titular bake-neko. Officially screened at the "77th Cannes Film Festival" Directors' Fortnight and entered into the "Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2024" Feature Film Competition, this film has garnered attention for its use of "rotoscoping," a technique that traces live-action footage to create animation.

While traditionally used to realistically animate human movements in scenes such as performances and dances, this film focuses on capturing the unique performances born on set and translating them into animation. Under Director Yamashita, live-action filming and simultaneous recording of lines were conducted, similar to a live-action film. Based on this footage and audio, Director Kuno led the staff from Japan's "Shin-Ei Animation" and France's "Miyu Productions" to complete the animation.

Ghost Cat Anzu Poster Visual

Ghost Cat Anzu Poster Visual (C) Takashi Imashiro, Kodansha / Ghost Cat Anzu Production Committee

The film features unique characters such as the bake-neko (Ghost Cat), Enma Daio (King of Hell), Bimbogami (God of Poverty), Kaeru-chan (Frog), and Tanuki (Raccoon Dog). Among them, the particularly charming forest fairy Pi-Pi-chan, who one day wanders into the temple garden and is taken care of by Anzu-chan, stands out.

The newly released main footage shows a scene where Anzu-chan returns a slightly grown Pi-Pi-chan to the mountains. The cute scene features Anzu-chan singing "The house is getting farther away~" while walking, with Pi-Pi-chan adorably clinging to her foster parent.

Regarding her experience voicing Pi-Pi-chan, Otani commented, "Actually, there are four Pi-Pi-chans. One is lively, another is a bit slow, and I tried to distinguish their cries for each character. I hope you enjoy these nuances." Director Kuno praised her performance, saying, "Ms. Otani gave each one a distinct personality, creating a cute symphony in the recording studio!"

The film also features Noa Goto as "Karin," a girl who spends time with Anzu-chan, Munetaka Aoki as Karin's father, Miwako Ichikawa as Karin's mother, Keiichi Suzuki as the temple priest, Shohei Uno as the movie's original character Enma Daio, Shingo Mizusawa as the God of Poverty, Mutsuo Yoshioka as the self-proclaimed great monster Kaeru-chan, and Wataru Sawabe of the music group "Skirt" as Kaeru-chan's acquaintance, Tanuki.