Call it wishful thinking, but I’m still holding out hope for a Bleach sequel, and anyone familiar with director Shinsuke Sato’s work can, in some capacity, understand why. Granted that this includes folks attending this year’s SXSW where cinephiles can catch the latest glimpse of his new Warring States Period epic, Kingdom, as big a deal in Japan as it is, Sato might make some much-deserved headway here.
Kingdom is based on mangaka Yasuhisa Hara’s highly successful and long-running 2006 Weekly Young Jump publication from Shueisha, and subsequent anime series from Pierrot. A live-action adaptation was announced last Spring following a rousing video promo celebrating the manga’s 10th anniversary in 2016.
Toho’s new trailer footage further introduces Kento Yamazaki (Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable, The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K.) in the role of Shin, and the tragic quandary that prefaces his ill-fated meeting with Eisei (Gintama co-star Ryo Yoshizawa), a young king whose power-hungry half brother, Seikyou (Inuyashiki co-star Kanata Hongo), has put a price on his head. Saiki K. and Gintama 1 and 2 co-star, actress Kanna Hashimoto joins the roster as Karyouten, a military strategist and warrior who joins Shin and Eisei on their harrowing quest.
Set in ancient China during the Warring States Period, the comic ‘KINGDOM’ by Yasuhisa Hara and published by Shueisha tells on a grand scale the tale of a war orphan, Shin who dreams of becoming a great general, and the young king Eisei (later the first emperor of Qin) who aims to unite China.
Toho’s new extended trailer further beefs up its global appeal with the help of an English voice-over, as well as captions and subtitles to couple with the film’s Japanese dialogue. And of course, One OK Rock whose title track, “Wasted Nights”, stands to be some of the best music I’ve ever heard in a trailer for a film that looks this sprawling and spectacular.
Rounding out the cast are Masami Nagasawa, Kanata Hongo, Shinnosuke Mitsushima, Masahiro Takashima, Jun Kaname and Takao Osawa for its April 19 release in Japan. Columbia and Walt Disney Pictures are reportedly overseeing its rollout overseas, so I’m keeping an eye out for its release in the states. That and a Bleach sequel, which is simply a must.