I can’t say I’m a huge Ni no Kuni fan (I played a fair bit of the original game but never finished it or got around to the sequel), but I figured I knew enough people who loved these games that I would have known there was an animated movie set in its universe, but I guess learning of its existence through it coming to the west is a good enough way to find out about it.
The localization of the 2019 film was unceremoniously announced on Netflix’s “See What’s Next” account, but the movie’s official page on the streaming service’s site gives it a little more fanfare by calling it “emotional” and “exciting,” and including a trailer for the English dub that Netflix won’t let me embed for you here. So here’s a Japanese one courtesy of EurogamerGermany instead:
The original game was designed in collaboration with Studio Ghibli, and everything that’s come from it since, including the sequel, has carried the same distinct art style. The movie is keeping with that tradition, and looks very similar to its predecessors.
New Year, New Titles
From the final season of #AnneWithAnE to movies like Inception, A Cinderella Story, and The Bling Ring…
Here's everything coming to Netflix US in January! pic.twitter.com/s5DULYUuBK
— See What's Next (@seewhatsnext) December 11, 2019
The Netflix synopsis is fairly simple and reads as follows:
“Two average teens go on a magical quest to save the life of their friend and her counterpart from another world. But love complicates their journey.”
However, fans of the game series will know it’s probably not that cut and dry. While it carries the Ni no Kuni name, it’s not a direct adaptation to either the original game or the sequel, with the main thread being the titular world that its characters travel back and forth between. Here’s the less general synopsis from MyAnimeList:
“High schooler Yuu and his friend Haru get involved in a case involving his childhood friend Kotona, which forces them to go back and forth between another world that is different but is somewhat similar to their world, Ni no Kuni. The real world and Ni no Kuni, when Kotona’s life is in danger, what’s the ultimate choice the three of them have to make in Ni no Kuni?”
The movie will be available to stream Thursday, January 16.
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While Netflix did its best to bury that it was taking on a Ni No Kuni film adaptation localization, the company is doing pretty well with video game adaptations at the moment. The Witcher series, which launched its first eight episodes at the end of last month, has become a hit with fans of the show and newcomers alike. Maybe Netflix will capitalize on the success with audio books read by actor Henry Cavill, who plays Geralt of Rivera. Gotta get in on these cross promotional opportunities, Netflix. CD Projekt Red won’t be lacking in Witcher content to double down on the shows popularity, as the company just signed a new deal with the author of the Witcher books to make more games and other merchandise.