North American premiere

The Wonderland

Directed by Keiichi Hara


Official selection

Annecy 2019, Shanghai International Film Festival 2019


Keiichi Hara


Miho Maruo


Mayu Matsuoka, Anne Watanabe, Kumiko Asô, Masachika Ichimura, Nao Tôyama


Fuji Creative Corporation

Japan 2019 115 mins OV Japanese Subtitles : English
Genre AnimationFantasy

Akane’s not the most motivated teenage girl, most of the time. She’s even less thrilled to be sent to visit her aunt Chii — to pick up her own birthday present, no less! Akane is a bit put off by Chii’s daffy, distracted character, but she has always adored looking around at the odd finds in her aunt’s little bric-a-brac store. The oddest thing in the place, though, is one that finds them. Emerging from the basement trapdoor, his top hat and mustache immaculate, is the alchemist Mr. Hippocrates and his elfin apprentice Pipo. He has reason to believe that it is Akane’s destiny to be the Goddess of the Green Wind, who will save a world in crisis, the world beyond. Akane herself is less than convinced, but soon enough, she and Chii are stepping down into the basement — and out of this world!

On the other side of that unassuming portal is THE WONDERLAND, a fantastical anime adventure bursting with imagination. Sachiko Kashiwaba's 1988 children's book Strange Journey From the Basement, from which the film is adapted, affords director Keiichi Hara an abundance of opportunities to play with a rich palette of colours, a steady succession of surprising new settings to invest with life, and a funky trunk full of oddball characters and contraptions. Hara’s two previous animated features, COLORFUL and MISS HOKUSAI, both took home an armful of awards — that latter, three awards here at Fantasia alone! With his thoughtful and assured direction, as well as characters and visuals designed by trendy, Tokyo-based Russian artist Ilya Kuvshinov, THE WONDERLAND is most indubitably the place to be. – Rupert Bottenberg