The first hit by the creator of Voices of a Distant Star and 5 Centimeters Per Second is getting an animated TV adaptation.

Many anime fans’ first exposure to Makoto Shinkai was 2002’s Voices of a Distant Star, the emotional science fiction story for which the celebrated director single-handedly created the visuals. His first critical success, though, was actually a roughly four-and-a-half-minute long short called She and Her Cat, which won multiple awards upon its completion in 2000.

She and Her Cat, which is told from the perspective of a stray who’s taken in and given a home by a young women, is included as an extra on the Voices of a Distant Star DVD. Audiences with whom the short struck a chord have had plenty of time to rewatch it over the past 16 years, but come spring they’ll finally have something new to look forward to with the start of the She and Her Cat anime TV series.

The just-announced series is titled She and Her Cat –Everything Flows- to differentiate it from its 2000 predecessor, which carried the subtitle Their starting points. She and Her Cat –Everything Flows- will air as part of the Ultra Super Anime Time block, which is a real show and not a South Park parody of Japanese animation. Carried by broadcasters Tokyo MX and BS11, each 30-minute episode Ultra Super Anime Time contains installments of three different anime series.

Shinkai is listed as “original creator” in the credits for She and Her Cat –Everything Flows-, but doesn’t appear to be heavily involved in the project (which isn’t surprising considering that he’s busy working on a brand-new film that’s scheduled to open in August). In his place, direction for She and Her Cat –Everything Flows- will be handled by Kazuya Sakamoto, who should be well-versed in non-traditional narratives and sentimental storytelling after his work as an episode director on the Clannad and Haruhi Suzumiya franchises. Replacing Shinkai as the voice of the titular cat is voice actor Shintaro Asanuma.

It’s not exactly clear whether the She and Her Cat TV series will be an expanded retelling of the original short, or whether it will function as a prequel or sequel. In the original, the cat (who serves as narrator) makes reference to his owner leaving their apartment every morning to go to work, but the description for the upcoming series bills it as “The home life of a woman going to junior college and her cat, drawn with a warm touch.” The sole promotional image (seen in the tweet above) also depicts a woman with shorter hair than in the original. It also suggests that unlike the black-and-white 2000 short, viewers can expect the new series to be in full color.

She and Her Cat –Everything Flows- premiers on March 4.

Sources: Jin, Otakumu via Anime News Network