Toyama Prefecture anime show aims to strengthen families

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

“Mai no Maho to Katei no Hi” (Mai’s magic and family day), an animation program conceived by the Toyama prefectural government to support family ties, is set to begin airing on regional television stations on Feb. 20.

Produced by P.A. Works, an animation house based in Nanto city in the prefecture, the 29-minute show will also be broadcast on local cable channels from late March and made available for viewing on the Internet.

A 30-second promo clip is now up on a related website.

The aim of the show is to promote Toyama Kenmin Katei no Hi (Toyama prefectural residents’ family day), which falls on the third Sunday of each month. The day encourages healthy lifestyles for youngsters.

The anime is inspired by a contest-winning essay written by an elementary school pupil, and its theme is the importance of family ties.

It centers around Mai Tatsumi, an 8-year-old girl who magically reads the thoughts of her family members. The story begins as Mai’s father decides to make every Saturday “family day,” a day on which the whole family does something together. They all decide together what to do, thus strengthening their family bond.

A highlight of the show is the use of popular voice actresses, including Sumi Shimamoto, who voices Mai’s mother, and Mami Koyama, who plays the role of her grandmother.

Established in 2000, producer P.A. Works chose the rural city of Nanto as its home turf. Most other companies in the animation industry have their operational bases in Tokyo.

P.A. Works is known for hits such as the “Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva” movie and animated TV series “CANAAN.”

The studio is eager to promote Toyama Prefecture through animation.

In 2009, it produced “Longing For a Tear-Bringing Sky,” a short anime series aimed at promoting sightseeing spots across the prefecture.

The studio also scouted out locations in Nanto to use as a base for its commercial animated TV series, “True Tears.”

The prefectural government is distributing 2,000 DVDs of “Mai no Maho to Katei no Hi” to nursery schools, kindergartens, elementary and junior high schools and libraries in the prefecture.

From this spring, images of the Tatsumi family will be used on posters and in other media to promote the prefecture’s sightseeing destinations.

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