Netflix New Fantasy Anime Gives Imagination An Incredible Adventure

By Nina Phillips | Published

Studio Ghibli is known as the studio that fills viewers with a sense of magic and nostalgia with the magical realism in their films. However, another studio, Ponoc, is setting the stage for their own magical films, especially with their latest release, The Imaginary, which is currently streaming on Netflix.

The Imaginary On Netflix

The Imaginary

The Imaginary’s main story centers around an imaginary boy named Rudger (Kokoro Terada) who was created from the mind of a little girl named Amanda (Rio Suzuki). As she spends time with Rudger, he finds out a painful truth; all imaginary creatures are doomed to eventually be forgotten and left behind.

Trying to fight and learn more about this future, Rudger ends up on an adventure to “The Town of Imaginaries” where forgotten Imaginaries live. Along the way, he learns about the importance of connections and familial bonds.

Studio Ponoc’s First Full-Length Film In Years

The Imaginary

The story is based on a novel, also called The Imaginary. It was written in 2014 by A.F. Harrold and illustrated by Emily Gravett. The animation and the book are similar in their premise as well.

The Imaginary is an animated film by Studio Ponoc. This is their first full-length animated film since Mary and the Witch’s Flower in 2017. Yoshiyuki Momose (Grave of the Fireflies) directed the film while Yoshiaki Nishimura (The Tale of Princess Kaguya) wrote the screenplay and produced the film.

A Critical Hit

The Imaginary

This animated film was a hit with audiences. In just the first three days at the box office, the film grossed $478,300. On Rotten Tomatoes, critics gave the movie a stunning 91 percent for the average score. Audience members were close in agreement on the score for The Imaginary, with an average score of 89 percent.

On My Anime List, The Imaginary isn’t quite as popular. Its popularity score is 7780, and it has an average score of 7.06.

The Imaginary features hand-drawn animations, which is a fun touch at a time when computer animation is growing more popular. However, it lines up well with Studio Ponoc’s style.

Studio Ponoc Is Forging Their Own Path

The Imaginary

Studio Ponoc was first founded in 2015 by Yoshiaki Nishimura, who is known for several Studio Ghibli films. However, When Studio Ghibli went through a temporary shutdown, he left the studio and created his own. The studio is meant to be a spiritual successor to Ghibli and it does offer many of the magical and whimsical elements associated with the studio, while still providing its own style and methods to stand on.

The Imaginary is only the second of Ponoc’s full-length films, but based on the reviews, the studio seems to be doing well at starting to make a name for itself. It will be interesting to see what else they come out with in the future.

Stream The Imaginary On Netflix

The Imaginary

Nishimura spent a lot of time learning from Isao Takahata (Castle in the Sky) and Hayao Miyazaki (Ponyo) from Studio Ghibli. As the youngest creator from the studio, Nishimura wanted to keep their memory and teachings close to his heart. However, while he was creating The Imaginary, he realized that to truly grow, he also had to take time to make his own films and a signature style for himself.

Speaking of his creation, Nishimura stated, “If you watch the movie more than once, you will realize that it’s about challenge and eternal recurrence. In Japan, we have this set phrase: flower, bird, breeze, and moon to talk about paintings and art, and it means all that is beautiful in this world.”

If you want to watch The Imaginary for yourself and see this cute and stunning animation, it’s available to stream on Netflix.