T.A.T.u. Paragate (lost production material of unreleased anime film starring Russian music duo; 2004)
t.A.T.u. Paragate was an anime movie originally planned for release in 2004. The film was to feature the members of Russian pop duo t.A.T.u as anime protagonists. The film was announced in 2003 and was to be animated by iMOVE, known for animating countless popular 2000s anime, including Death Note and Inuyasha.
t.A.T.u. was a Russian pop duo formed in 1999, consisting of Lena Katina and Julia Volkova. Their first hit single was "All The Things She Said" in December 2000. The song follows the plight of a teenage girl in love with another girl, and in the music video, Katina and Volkova appear in school uniforms and romantic situations. The band's manager, Ivan Shapovalov, was inspired to make a sapphic-themed pop group after seeing the Swedish film Show Me Love.  While Katina and Volkova were not actually romantically involved, their stage personas were, and their anime personas were also planned to be a couple.
Only two promotional images were ever officially released. These featured Katina and Volkova adapted into an anime art style and now in a cyberpunk setting. A 12" vinyl record containing remixes of "All The Things She Said" was released in 2002 with an anime cover, but its packaging makes no mention of t.A.T.u. Paragate. A promotional snippet for t.A.T.u Paragate did appear in the January 2004 issue of Newtype (printed December 2003), which included a rough plot outline and a crew list. The snippet also claimed that the movie would be released in November 2004.
However, in early 2004 the members of t.A.T.u. broke their contract with Ivan Shapovalov. They claimed Shapovalov was too concerned with drumming up scandals for t.A.T.u., and were tired of his lesbian fetishizing. The group underwent new management, and shortly after, Volkova went on maternity leave. t.A.T.u. Paragate was quietly shelved not long after, since Shapolavov was a major component of its production and even owned the rights to the "t.A.T.u." group name. The official website went offline in 2005.
Due to the limited official information and few released images, let alone any known animation footage, it is possible that the film was never produced beyond the script stage.
According to the Newtype article, the film was slated for a November 2004 release. The confirmed crew were as follows:
- Ivan Shapovalov would direct the plot and music elements.
- iMOVE would be the animation house.
- Shinichiro Watanabe would produce the opening animation.
- Directed by Norio Kashima and Susumu Kudo.
- No voice actors were confirmed at this time.
The film's plot was not yet confirmed, as was described in the "Story" section:
"A bit of a hot topic in Japan, the Russian high school duo t.A.T.u is becoming an anime. Aside from the story, we wonder, will Julia and Lena play themselves? Although details are yet to be confirmed, it seems this could become a big sensation for anime?"
The movie was also advertised with limited merchandise at Comikket 2003. Aside from a small poster illustration of Katina and Volkova nude and embracing, no other exclusive material was available at this event.
A website for Paragate was created on December 3rd, 2003 for promoting and revealing more news and information about the movie. The news and staff information only reiterated what was said by Newtype article and a section promising the plot of the movie and biography of the production was never updated. The website shut down shortly after the release date of the movie passed.
- ↑ https://web.archive.org/web/20180211071905/http://tatumedia.com/post/13311041014/lena-katinas-interview-in-story-caravan
- ↑ https://web.archive.org/web/20061220092920/http://www.ananova.com/entertainment/story/sm_864931.html
- ↑ http://home.att.ne.jp/banana/ananas/etclog/comicmarket2.htm
- ↑ https://web.archive.org/web/20031211121441/http://www.tatu-paragate.jp/index.html