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Preview leaves us wanting to see so much more of the planned series.

In recent years, a handful of Western-produced animated series have shown degrees of artistic or thematic influences from anime, such as Steven Universe and Avatar: The Last Airbender. Western animation set in Japan, however, is a far scarcer thing, although that situation may be in for a bit of a change if director Evan Viera has his way.

Viera is one of the founders of Los Angeles-based animation studio ROYGBIV, and has recently released a teaser trailer for the company’s flagship project, titled Aiko.

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Set in the Japan of a bygone era, Aiko follows its protagonist, along with her younger sister and an elderly sage, as they grapple with the invasion of their homeland by an army of demons.

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As the story unfolds, Aiko finds that the power to save those she holds dear is hidden inside herself. While clearly a work of fiction, the project website says that Aiko’s storyline will crisscross actual historical events, and that it’s narrative will eventually spread beyond the confines of Japan.

▼ Although this clever rock formation on a snowy plateau leaves no doubt how inspirational Japanese culture is to the animators.

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What’s been revealed of the plot so far sounds far more somber and intense than the typical American cartoon, and ROYGBIV says its intended audience is teens and older viewers. There’s also an impressive amount of artistry on display in Aiko’s two-minute trailer, with atmospheric use of light and shadow, a variety of wide-angle and close-up shots, and liberal movement of the camera to create a sense of dynamic scale.

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Unfortunately, Aiko doesn’t yet have a distributer or broadcaster attached to it. Viera says an entire season’s worth of episodes has already been planned, though, with the teaser showcasing some of the script’s highlights so far. Here’s hoping the project finds the funding it needs so that we can see the rest of them too.

Related: ROYGBIV website, Aiko official website (1, 2)
Source: Japaaan
Images: Vimeo/Evan Viera