At Anime NYC 2019, mobile developer Rayark and anime studio Production I.G announced their plans to adapt the hit rhythm game Deemo for the big screen. With production expected to be completed sometime in 2020, the movie will be helmed by such talent as Junichi Fujisaku, the screenwriter behind Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Blood+, and Yuki Kajiura, the composer behind some of the theme songs found in Sword Art Online, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Fate/Zero, and more.
We had a chance to sit down with Rayark CEO and Executive Producer Ming-Yang Yu and Production I.G. CEO Mitsuhisa Ishikawa to learn about how this collaboration came to be and how much time went into creating the film project. Please see our full interview with the duo below:
To start things off, please tell us how this collaboration came to be.
Mitsuhisa Ishikawa: Pony Canyon and Production I.G’s relationship was already strong thanks to Attack on Titan. We at Production I.G wanted to provide more opportunities to young people, so we created Signal.MD and WIT Studio. While WIT Studio is already working on Attack on Titan, we see the Deemo movie as an opportunity for Signal.MD to make a name for itself, too. The Deemo movie will mark Signal.MD’s rise to fame.
What was your inspiration behind Deemo?
Ming-Yang Yu: The Sakura trees. They reminded me of fairies living in another world.
How dark will the Deemo movie be? Mr. Yu has expressed his fascination with the horror genre before, so can fans expect to be scared during the experience?
Ming-Yang Yu: While Signal.MD and Production I.G do have their own point of view on the project, the film will be mysterious in nature.
From a narrative perspective, how do you plan on translating the game into a movie?
Ming-Yang Yu: Deemo’s storyline in the game is straightforward but short. In order to expand the plot a little bit, we plan to tell what happens to the girl after the events in the game are over.
How much time did it take to make the film?
Mitsuhisa Ishikawa: In this situation the game’s concept was already solid, so production lasted around six months. Normally, however, production lasts a lot longer – I’d say around two years.
Where will the Deemo movie release? Are Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services on the table?
Mitsuhisa Ishikawa: For now, the Deemo movie will be released in theaters. We will think about releasing the film in other places after that.
Did you give a lot of thought to the global appeal of the film?
Ming-Yang Yu: For us, telling a great story is the most important part. At the same time, we want fans to find the story for themselves, too.
Mitsuhisa Ishikawa: Usually, it depends on the kind of material you’re working with. Sci-fi and fantasy is a little easier than live action, as those genres transcend cultural norms. With this project, we really wanted to make a moving, emotional experience that would make people react no matter their culture. We want everyone to have fun with it.
Can you give us an idea of what the production process was like for the film?
Mitsuhisa Ishikawa: We had to find the right balance between our schedule, the budget, and the quality of the animation. Though there are limitations placed on us, it gives us an excuse to pour more heart into the project.
Will you both be working together again after the film releases?
In unison: We hope so!
As requested by Ponycanyon, Deemo the Movie’s copyright is as follows: