Keiichi Hara’s name is relatively obscure with international fans, but he’s currently one of the most acclaimed anime directors in Japan. He’s formed a reputation for directing compelling character dramas, like Colorful and Miss Hokusai, and looks to continue the trend with his new movie.
Birthday Wonderland is an adaptation of Sachiko Kashiwaba’s 1988 book Chikashitru Kara no Fushigi na Tabi (Strange Journey From The Basement). It follows Akane, a girl who lacks confidence. Just before her birthday, Akane meets an alchemist named Hippocrates and their student Pipo. They tell Akane that they are trying to save the world, and they set out for Wonderland — of which Akane is a prophesized savior.
Birthday Wonderland will open in Japanese theatres on April 26.