Modest Heroes (Japanese: ちいさな英雄-カニとタマゴと透明人間-, Hepburn: Chīsana Eiyū: Kani to Tamago to Tōmei Ningen) is a 2018 Japanese animated anthology film produced by Studio Ponoc. The film is the first volume in the studio's Ponoc Short Films Theatre anthology, and includes films written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Yoshiyuki Momose, and Akihiko Yamashita.

Modest Heroes – Ponoc Short Films Theatre, Volume 1
Two small boys carrying crab-claw spears huddle together on a large branch under the ocean.
Theatrical release poster
Revised HepburnChīsana Eiyū: Kani to Tamago to Tōmei Ningen
Directed by
Written by
  • Hiromasa Yonebayashi
  • Yoshiyuki Momose
  • Akihiko Yamashita
Produced byYoshiaki Nishimura
Music by
Distributed byToho
Release date
  • August 24, 2018 (2018-08-24) (Japan)
Running time
53 minutes

Plots edit

"Kanini & Kanino" edit

Kanini and Kanino are tiny anthropomorphized freshwater crab siblings who live underwater in a nearby stream. Their father, Toto, is taking care of them while their mother, Kaka, has gone away to give birth. When they suddenly find themselves alone, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey to find their father. All of the dialogue is performed in a made-up language.

"Life Ain't Gonna Lose" edit

Shun Yashima is a young boy born with a lethal allergy to eggs. Every day, then, his family focuses on protecting Shun from contact with eggs. Shun has to eat special meals at school, his classmates must be careful not to spit on him and get saliva with egg all over him, and Shun has to take his allergy into consideration when he thinks about going on a school field trip. At the same time, his mother tries to maintain her career as a dance teacher. One day Shun mistakenly consumes egg products when his parents are away from home.

"Invisible" edit

A man struggles with not being seen by those around him. Throughout the day, he is ignored by everyone else, and even begins to lose his physical permanence. An unexpected stranger speaks to him... and then the invisible man suddenly has an opportunity to be a hero.

Characters edit

"Kanini & Kanino" edit

Kanini (カニーニ, Kanīni)
Voiced by: Fumino Kimura[1]
Kanino (カニーノ, Kanīno)
Voiced by: Rio Suzuki[1]
Toto (トト, Tōto)
Voiced by: Masaki Terasoma[1]
Kaka (書か, Kāka)
Voiced by: Yūko Sasaki

"Life Ain't Gonna Lose" edit

Mom (ママ, Mama)
Voiced by: Machiko Ono (Japanese); Maggie Q (English)[1]
Shun Yashima (矢嶋シュン, Yashima Shun)
Voiced by: Sōta Shinohara (Japanese); Henry Kaufman (English)[1]
Dad (パパ, Papa)
Voiced by: Kentaro Sakaguchi (Japanese); Todd Haberkorn (English)[1]
Doctor (医者, Isha)
Voiced by: Kentaro Sakaguchi (Japanese); Todd Haberkorn (English)[1]

"Invisible" edit

The Invisible Man (透明人間, Tōmei ningen)
Voiced by: Joe Odagiri (Japanese); Liam O'Brien (English)[1]
The Old Man (盲目の男性, Mōmoku no dansei)
Voiced by: Min Tanaka (Japanese); Mick Wingert (English)[1]

Production edit

Studio Ponoc announced on March 27, 2018 that it would be launching a new project called the Ponoc Short Films Theatre (ポノック短編劇場, Ponokku Tanpen Gekijō), an anthology of animated short films divided into volumes based on their themes.[2] They announced that the first volume would be titled Modest Heroes, and would consist of three short films by former Studio Ghibli staffers Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Yoshiyuki Momose, and Akihiko Yamashita.[2] The film is produced by Yoshiaki Nishimura.[2] Yonebayashi's 18-minute "Kanini & Kanino" (カニーニとカニーノ, Kanīni to Kanīno) is a fantasy adventure film with music composed by Takatsugu Muramatsu, who had previously worked with the director on When Marnie Was There and Mary and the Witch's Flower.[1] Momose's 16-minute "Life Ain't Gonna Lose" (サムライエッグ, Samurai Eggu) is a drama film scored by Masanori Shimada. The soundtrack is the first Shimada has composed for a film, having previously only worked in television.[1] Yamashita's 13-minute "Invisible" (透明人間, Tōmei Ningen) is an action film with music by Yasutaka Nakata.[1] The anthology's ending theme song is "Chiisana Eiyū" ("Modest Heroes") by Kaela Kimura.[3]

The film was originally intended to have four rather than three segments, with the fourth being directed by Ghibli director Isao Takahata. However, Takahata died on April 5, 2018, so the film was limited to three segments.[4]

Release edit

The film was released in Japan on August 24, 2018.[2] The film was released to DVD and Blu-ray by Walt Disney Japan on March 20, 2019.[5]

On October 10, 2018, GKIDS announced it had acquired the North American distribution rights to Modest Heroes. It was released there on January 10, 2019.[6] The North American home video package (Blu-ray/DVD combo) was released on June 18, 2019, distributed by Shout! Factory.[7]

Modest Heroes was released onto Netflix around the world on September 6, 2019, as "A Netflix Original Movie" (except in Japan and in North America).

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Loo, Egan (June 17, 2018). "Studio Ponoc's Modest Heroes Anime Anthology Unveils Cast, Composers". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2018-06-24. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Pineda, Rafael Antonio (March 27, 2018). "Studio Ponoc Reveals Anime Short Anthology Project by Ghibli Veterans". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2018-06-24. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  3. ^ Ressler, Karen (July 4, 2018). "Studio Ponoc's Modest Heroes Anime Anthology Film Unveils 1st Animated Trailer". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2018-07-05. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  4. ^ Loo, Egan (August 19, 2018). "Producer: Ghibli's Isao Takahata Would Have Made Modest Heroes Anime Short". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2018-08-19. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  5. ^ "スタジオポノックが豪華スタッフ&キャストで贈る『ちいさな英雄-カニとタマゴと透明人間-』が、3/20(水)にブルーレイとDvdで発売決定!デジタル配信開始!|ブルーレイ・DVD・デジタル配信|ディズニー公式".
  6. ^ Ressler, Karen (October 10, 2018). "GKIDS Licenses Studio Ponoc's Modest Heroes Anime Anthology Film". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2018-10-10. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  7. ^ Yonebayashi, Hiromasa; Yamashita, Akihiko; Momose, Yoshiyuki (2019-06-18), Modest Heroes: Ponoc Short Films Theatre (in Japanese), Shout! Factory, retrieved 2019-05-15

External links edit