It’s nice to hear a success story. An animated short film about gunslingers and samurai, a passion project for its creators, earned enough acclaim to be picked up as a feature film.
Orient City: Ronin and the Princess was a Kickstarter project back in 2016. It raised just shy of $35,000, a paltry sum in the industry, but enough to create the short. Co-directors Ryan Colucci and Zsombor Huszka finished the project this year and released it to the delight of those lucky enough to see it.
It’s the story of Boshi, a ronin (masterless samurai) who pledges to protect a young girl after the assassination of her family. They live in a fictionalized version of the Old West centered around Orient City, which resembles San Francisco with its cable cars and hills.
Boiled down, it’s True Grit meets a samurai flick, with plenty of blood and guts. The look of it follows the story, blending western style drawings with an anime flair.
With its stunning art and animation, Orient City managed to completely enrapture audiences despite its 18-minute running time. Aside from Boshi and the girl, Orient City introduced us to the con man Rooster, the vicious gang known as the Muskrats, and other incredibly vivid characters.
It attracted the attention of art film circles as well, and High Octane Pictures struck a deal with the creators to show the film at various film festivals.
Meanwhile, Spoke Lane Entertainment (Battle for Terra, Suburban Cowboy) is working with Colucci and Huszka to develop Orient City into a feature-length animated film. It’s a natural step. This is an incredibly rich world they’ve created, and it would be a shame to have 18 minutes of footage be our one and only visit.
The full-length Orient City is in the very earliest stages of production, so we likely won’t see it for at least a couple of years. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the short film, and enjoy this trailer courtesy of Hollywood Reporter.