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Brave Story


Wataru sets out on a journey to save his family.
(c) 2006 Fuji Television, GONZO, Warner Entertainment Japan, Inc,
Dentsu, SkyPerfect WT.

Several major anime movies were released in the summer of 2006, and many kids had trouble deciding which one they wanted to go and see. But one movie in particular captured the imagination of children across Japan. Brave Story took four years to make and features a thrilling adventure story and spectacular images.

The leading character in this story is an ordinary fifth-grade boy called Wataru. He has a normal, fun everyday life. One day, though, his father, who has always been kind to him, leaves home and abandons his family. Wataru's mother is so shocked that she collapses with gas poisoning and is taken away in an ambulance.

Amid this shock, Wataru remembers that a new student at school, Mitsuru, told him about an amazing door that can change your destiny. One day Wataru suddenly finds the door at the top of a staircase while exploring a local building called the Yurei Building (yurei means ghost in Japanese). He sees Mitsuru, who is about to enter the door. Before disappearing through the door, Mitsuru says, "If you go through the door to the other side, you can change your destiny. You can make one wish, and that wish will come true." Determined to bring his family back together, Wataru sums up the courage to jump through the door. On the other side he finds himself in a totally different world of magic and fantasy. There he becomes an apprentice hero and sets out to find five treasures.

This story was created by the well-known best-selling novelist Miyabe Miyuki. The original book was a big hit, selling 400,000 copies, and it is also a popular read in school libraries. The world of Brave Story has spread among children in a variety of forms, including a manga comic based on the book and a video game titled Brave Story: Aratanaru Tabibito (Brave Story: The New Traveler).

A system called Our Brave Fund was set up alongside the Brave Story movie. For each person who goes to see the movie, ¥10 (about 10¢) is donated to the Japan Committee for UNICEF. Just one month after the movie was released, over ¥10 million (about $83,000) had been raised. The money will be used to help children struggling from the effects of HIV/AIDS in the African country of Malawi. The spirit of adventure visible in Brave Story - the spirit of trying to change the world we live in - may help to improve the lives of children in Africa.

(Updated in November 2006)