There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to XFlag and Tatsunoko’s newest anime film, Pandora to Akubi. To say a bit about the production and those involved, most long-time anime fans can easily recognize Japanese animation giant Tatsunoko, who worked on such beloved series as Speed Racer, Tekkaman, and recently the Gatchaman Crowds series. XFlag, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer to the field of animation production, getting their start instead with the massively-successful mobile game Monster Strike. They’ve produced a few anime based on the game, and were recently-announced as co-producing Studio Trigger’s newest film, Promare.
Something that may also be curious to a lot of Western viewers — the origin of the two titular characters. Pandora, who will be voiced by Yui Ogura, is an original character from Monster Strike itself. Having opened a mysterious box despite her grandpa Zeus warning her not to, Pandora now has to collect the “fragments of disaster” that have scattered across the world from the box. Her partner is Akubi, who will be voiced by Sally Amaki. Ever heard of 1969’s Hakushon Daimao? My guess is not, but it was really popular as a kid’s show when it broadcast in Japan! She’s a genie who appears from the necklace Pandora finds herself with anytime the wearer yawns, hence a rather fitting name.
Akubi is pictured left, and Pandora to the right in both of the movie’s key images.
If I had to guess, the reason that most of an English-speaking audience would be interested in this film would be due in no small part to the actress voicing Akubi. Sally Amaki is a Japanese-American idol who currently belongs to the group 22/7. Sally gained a huge following in late 2017 when Twitter user @nise_shi uploaded a compilation video of the idol speaking both English and Japanese during day-to-day work and private activities. Most amusing of course is when speaking English, she would muse about very American things like Girl Scout Cookies, all while providing some rare and frank insights into a mostly insular industry. Since taking off, Sally’s character Sakura Fujima has gone on to be the official face of 22/7 in terms of English-language promotion, ever hosting her own “Virtual YouTuber”-like series for the group.
She has noted that her original intent in moving to Japan was to get into voice acting, and I think that huge congratulations are in order. Not only has she landed this huge lead role, but she has already appeared in one of the current season’s hit anime, Kaguya-sama: Love is War as Betsy in episode 4.
IT TOOK ALL THE CONTROL IN MY BODY TO NOT SPOIL THIS INFORMATION I KEPT IT A SECRET FOR 2 MONTHS
It’s my first big role outside of 22/7 and I’m one of the main characters 🥺
— 22/7 Sally Amaki/天城サリー(Gintoki Enthusiast) (@sally_amaki) March 1, 2019
My guess is that this role doesn’t require any English-speaking, but who knows what may come down the line. Here’s to Sally’s continued success!