Over the course of several decades, legendary director Hayao Miyazaki has created some of the world’s most beloved anime films. His works include titles such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
But long before those successes, there was Future Boy Conan, Miyazaki’s very first solo directing credit. Released on Japanese television in 1978, Future Boy Conan was a 26-episode anime series based on the 1970 novel The Incredible Tide by Alexander Key.
The story follows Conan, 20 years after a terrible war fought with magnetic weapons caused the Earth’s axis to tilt, and earthquakes and tidal waves destroyed civilization. Conan is born into this new world, raised by his adopted grandfather on an isolated island. But his life is forever changed when a mysterious girl named Lana washes ashore, pursued by shadowy operatives who seek to use her in a new scheme to control what’s left of the world.
If you’re in the US, there’s a good chance that you haven’t seen Future Boy Conan. Despite being released in several countries around Asia, the series has never officially been released in the U.S.
Apparently the reason for that is the fact that Alexander Key did not like the changes that Miyazaki made when adapting the book for television. The story goes that after seeing a preview of the show during production, Key hated it so much that he directed his heirs to never allow it to be shown in the United States.
Key then died in 1979, but his family adhered to his wishes, and filed a cease and desist order against a company who tried to release a dubbed version on VHS in the U.S. in 1992.
But now, over 40 years after Key’s death, minds must have been changed, because anime producer and distributor, GKIDS, recently announced that not only will Future Boy Conan be available in the U.S. but it’s getting a 4K restoration and a brand new English dub.
There is no word yet about exactly how you’ll be able to watch the show. But browsing the GKIDS catalog it seems that most of their content is available in digital formats, in a addition to blu-ray.
With the popularity of anime in general, we’re sure Future Boy Conan will be a highly anticipated release. And when you add in the name of Hayao Miyazaki, there are undoubtedly many, many fans who will be looking forward to this one.
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