Lonely Castle in the Mirror Anime Garners Special Mention at Stuttgart Festival!

The anime film adaptation of Mizuki Tsujimura’s novel Lonely Castle in the Mirror (Kagami no Kojō) has been honored with a Special Mention at the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film in Germany. This accolade comes as a recognition of the film’s delicate and courageous narrative, which tackles the significant theme of overcoming loneliness via the unlikely bonds of friendship. The Stuttgart festival, which took place from April 23-28, awarded its main AniMovie prize for the best animated feature film to Benoît Chieux’s Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds, marking another year of celebrating excellence in animation storytelling.

Notably, Lonely Castle in the Mirror joins the ranks of esteemed works such as Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo, Makoto Shinkai’s The Garden of Words, and Mamoru Hosoda’s Mirai, which have previously won or received special mentions at the festival. In 2019, Hosoda’s Mirai clinched the award, following Shinkai’s win in 2014 and Miyazaki’s in 2010. Additionally, Sunao Katabuchi’s In This Corner of the World was similarly honored with a Special Mention in 2017, underscoring the prestigious nature of this recognition within the animation industry.

Following its premiere in Japan in December 2022, Lonely Castle in the Mirror was brought to North American audiences by GKIDS in June 2023. The screenings offered both Japanese with English subtitles and an English dubbed version, making the heartfelt narrative accessible to a wider audience. This international screening speaks to the universal appeal of the film’s story, inviting diverse audiences to partake in its emotionally rich journey.

The film, directed by Keiichi Hara, known for his work on Colorful, Miss Hokusai, and The Wonderland, was produced at A-1 Pictures. Miho Maruo, who had previously collaborated with Hara, penned the screenplay for this adaptation. Character design was led by Keigo Sasaki, noted for his work on Blue Exorcist, ERASED, and The Seven Deadly Sins, with Russian artist Ilya Kuvshinov contributing to the visual concept and castle design. The music, composed by Harumi Fuuki, further envelops the story in an engaging auditory experience. Shochiku was responsible for the distribution of the animated feature within Japan.

In recognition of its artistic and narrative achievements, the Japan Academy Film Prize Association nominated Lonely Castle in the Mirror for Animation of the Year at the 46th annual awards. The film’s plot revolves around a group of teenagers, each pulled from their solitary lives into a mystical castle by their bedroom mirrors. Within this enchanting setting, they embark on a quest for a hidden room that promises the fulfillment of a wish, under the condition that they leave by five o’clock to avoid punishment. This narrative, ripe with both adventure and introspection, emphasizes the power of bravery in sharing personal stories as a key to salvation.

Based on the novel released in 2017 by Tsujimura in Japan, and brought to English readers by Doubleday in April 2021, the story of Lonely Castle in the Mirror resonates with themes of isolation, friendship, and the courage to confront one’s own narrative. Through its multifaceted characters and imaginative setting, the film and the book invite audiences and readers alike into a reflective journey on the essence of connection and understanding in the face of loneliness.


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