The Invisible Castle – Lonely Castle in the Mirror

The Invisible Castle – Lonely Castle in the Mirror

A preview of Beyond the Borders

The world of Japanese animation is in fibrillation for the arrival in Italian cinemas of the film "The Invisible Castle" (English title: Lonely Castle in the Mirror), directed by the famous Keiichi Hara and based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Mizuki Tsujimura. Previously welcomed with enthusiasm in the land of the rising sun and nominated for the Japan Academy Prize for Best Animated Film, the work will arrive in Italian cinemas on 11, 12 and 13 September 2023, for an event distributed by Anime Factory.

The invisible castle – english trailer

The Plot: A Bridge Between Two Worlds

The story revolves around Kokoro, a young outcast from her schoolmates who discovers a magical portal through the mirror in her room. Entering a fairy castle, she meets six other teenagers, each with their own problems and insecurities. A mysterious "Queen Wolf" invites them to a game: find a key hidden in the castle to grant a wish. But the rules are strict; whoever breaks the rules will be “eaten by the wolf”.

Loney Castle in the mirror – English trailer

Reflections of Alice

The narrative structure is vaguely reminiscent of "Alice in Wonderland", but with a much darker tone and a deeper representation of adolescent problems. Not just an adventure in a fantasy world, the film presents itself as a magnifying glass on the real difficulties of being young today.

The Challenges of Adaptation

In a recent interview, director Keiichi Hara revealed that the original novel's length presented a challenge in the adaptation. He had to focus on the episodes involving Kokoro, cutting back on secondary characters to keep the film within two hours. Another hurdle was making Kokoro a believable and likable protagonist, despite her initially not too endearing demeanor.

Architecture and Design

The visual creation of the castle was an interesting creative process. Hara worked with artist Ilya Kuvshinov, deciding to go for a medieval exterior aesthetic, but with a lavish and spacious interior. The goal was to represent an environment that was a refuge but also a challenge for the protagonists.

A Global Problem

Bullying and isolation are universal issues, and Hara hopes the film can serve as a catalyst for broader discussions of these issues. In addition to traditional bullying, the director underlined how cyberbullying is becoming more and more prevalent, making the film's plot and themes extremely topical.

The Wait is Almost Over

After a long production period of five and a half years, which saw many ups and downs, "The Invisible Castle" is finally ready to make its international debut. With a gross of over 848 million yen (about 6,3 million dollars) at the global box office, the film promises to be a new pearl in the Japanese animation scene.

And you, are you ready to cross the looking glass and find out what is hidden on the other side? The answer, in a few days, on the big screen.

Technical data

Movie director: Keiichi hara
Gender: Animation, Adventure, Drama
Year: 2022
Country: Japan
Duration: 116 min
Exit date: 11 September 2023
Distribution: Anime Factory, label owned by Plaion Pictures.

Gianluigi Piludu

Author of articles, illustrator and graphic designer of the website