Klonoa (lost production material of cancelled film adaptation of Namco video game series; 2016-2019)
Hitoshi Ariga's artwork of Klonoa in his design for the cancelled Klonoa Henshin film adaptation.
Klonoa is a video game series of platformers developed and published by Bandai Namco, with it’s first release being the 1997 Playstation title Klonoa: Door to Phantomile. Since it's inception and despite a limited amount of games, the series nonetheless has a passionate cult following. Within the 14 year gap between 2008's Klonoa (a remake of Door to Phantomile) on the Nintendo Wii, and 2022's Klonoa: Phantasy Reverie Series (a remaster of the main two games in the franchise) there an attempt to renew interest in-between that dormant era of no games. Specifically, an animated adaptation of Klonoa was in development, before being cancelled years after it’s initial reveal.
In October 2016, an animated film of Klonoa was revealed to be in development by Henshin at TIFFCOM, the Tokyo Film Festival's rights market. Henshin's founder, Rob Pereyda signed on as the producer and Hitoshi Ariga to write the script, design the characters, and co-produce the adaptation. The storyline was planned to be set in the same timeline as the games, though would have a narrative original to the movie. In January 2017, now former Gamexplain member and creator of Good Vibes Gaming, Ash Paulsen, was brought on for a associate producer role. In November 2018, Hideo Yoshizawa (Yoshizawa previously worked on the Klonoa games as a producer, and had also joined the movie's production) stated despite no recent news, it was still going to release on Twitter in a replay to a fan, though Ariga shared he couldn't say a word about it in the same thread.
On January 4th, 2019, Ariga confirmed on Twitter the proposed animated adaptation was sheleved due to the trouble production it was having, though he expressed hope on another Klonoa project materializing in the future. However, the now deleted Klonoa Anime Project Twitter account (the official page for the movie) posted a Tweet saying the film was no longer "with them" on December 31st, 2018, suggesting the film's end might've been in motion earlier then when Ariga posted.
Shortly afterwords in the same month, Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada had revealed insights about the film on Twitter via a tweet longer. Not only did Bandai Namco have no involvement aside from a deadline they put on Henshin, but the film's own death was from Henshin themselves.
During the film's short lifecycle, concept art from Ariga was drawn and can be found on Twitter. Notably in all of them, Klonoa has an attire that was meant exclusively for the film and wasn't based on any of his outfits from the orignal source material. While Klonoa would return, after nearly 15 years of inactivity and in honor of the franchise's 25th anniversary, in the form of the Phantasy Reverie Series collection composed of remasters of Door to Phantomile and Lunatea's Veil, as announced during a Nintendo Direct on February 9th, 2022, it's unknown of this proposed film adaptation will ever materialize.
- Twitter thread on the film's entire 2016-2019 development. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- The film's 2016 announcement. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- Paulsen's producer reveal on his Twitter. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- Tumblr post on the November 2018 update of the adaptation from Yoshizawa and Ariga on Twitter translated in English. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- English translation of the film's cancellation on Ariga's Twitter. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- The last tweets of the Klonoa anime project account on Twitter. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- English translation Harda's January 2019 tweet longer, released shortly after the news of the film being scrapped. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- 2016 concept art from the film. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- 2017 concept art from the film. Retrieved 07 Feb '21
- 2018 concept art from the film. Retrieved 07 Feb '21