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Shikizakura - What We Know So Far

First announced as a new original anime in 2018, "Shikizakura" from Chukyo TV and Sublimation was described as a "near-future science fiction drama." At the time, it was said to be a 12-episode series that would finish production by 2020, according to the Anime News Network. In 2019, additional information came out about the cast members, theme song, and visuals. At that time, the release date was revised to 2021 — and now that the target year has arrived, we're starting to see new information about the series come out more frequently.

Although there's not a whole lot of information available yet about the show, at least in English, "Shikizakura" appears to be a combination of hand-drawn and CGI animation, which is being used to tell a story about a teenage girl fighting "Oni," or demons of some kind, in a powered suit. So, it's not really new ground for an anime to tread upon, but it could still be one to watch, as the trailers hint at a good amount of action and suspense along with some interesting visuals. Here's what we know so far about "Shikizakura."

What is the release date of Shikizakura?

"Shikizakura" is currently set for an October 2021 premiere, so it won't be long before viewers get to see it. The Fandom Post reported that the show was been picked up by Houston-based Sentai Filmworks and the HIDIVE streaming service, who will presumably take care of American distribution. HIDIVE will apparently have the show available to its subscribers in October. The exact dates have not yet been announced.

This anime is one of the rare ones that doesn't have a manga origin, but a manga adaptation by Hayato Aoki was announced for a December 25 release in Futabasha's Monthly Action magazine, which is apparently ongoing. Also, "Shikizakura" has already had a screening of its first episode in the U.S., which took place during a live-streaming event at Anime Expo Lite on July 4 (via CBR.com). Unfortunately, it was a one-time-only event that was not made available later, so if you weren't on at the right time, you missed it.

Who are the characters in Shikizakura?

The main character in "Shikizakura" is Sho Miwa (or Miwa Kakeru, played by Yūdai Noda), a high-school student who becomes a part of the team that fights the Oni in this science-fictional world. Other characters in the series include Kippei Nagatsu (Daisuke Nakamoto), Ōka Myōjin (Miho Mashiro), Ryō Hattori (Shōto Mizukami), Kaede Naruse (Eri Sakazaki), Haruko Yamada (Natsuki Ochial) and Ibara (Shingo Yoneyama).

Some of the characters, as depicted in an Anime News Network piece, look like students in Japanese school uniforms. Ibara is represented in a full armored bodysuit. Interestingly, the seven main cast members are new talents, all pulled from auditions by NYK Promotion. In 2019, at Los Angeles' Anime Expo, the staff also held an audition for an English-speaking role in one episode of the series (via Anime News Network)

Most of the show's staff members are said to reside in Nagoya in the Tōkai region of Japan, which is the setting for the show, and some of those involved are board members at Sublimation. 

What is the plot of Shikizakura?

According to the show's website, Kakeru gets involved in a battle with an Oni, "who appears from another world and eats people" according to Google Translate. There's a powered suit involved, called "Yoroi," which combines technology with ancient arcane techniques to protect people from getting possessed by the demons. By chance, the high school student somehow gets one of these powered suits and becomes a semi-regular member of a heroic team that's trying to get rid of the Oni and defend the "Myojin Ouka," a shrine maiden.

Apparently, the word "Shikizura" refers to a place or perhaps a season with cherry trees, in which the human world intersects with the demon world. Kakeru's encounter makes him (via Anime Expo's writeup) want to help the good guys fight their battles against the oni. There may be some kind of dance involved — we're thinking it involves the shrine maiden.

Beyond that, viewers may have to wait until October to know what the show's all about, but that shouldn't be too long, considering how long everyone has already waited.