Headquartered in Hillsboro, Ore., Laika Studios (Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls) is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a working animation studio this year, founded by Nike CEO Phil Knight's son, Travis Knight.
The indie studio specializes in the exacting art of stop-motion animation and first announced itself to the world as a dominant creative force with 2009's dark children's fable, Coraline, directed by Henry Selick of The Nightmare Before Christmas fame. Laika's upcoming stop-motion samurai tale, Kubo and the Two Strings, is its most ambitious project yet, a dreamlike fantasy saga existing within the shadowy spirit realms of ancient Japan. The initial images and teaser have been very impressive, and this visual Far East fantasia is easily one of the more anticipated entrees on the summer entertainment menu.
Here's Laika's official synopsis:
An epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of “Game of Thrones”) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Akihiro (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and Kameyo (Academy Award nominee Brenda Vaccaro). But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen – a magical musical instrument – Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara), to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family, and fulfill his heroic destiny.
Revel in this ravishing new trailer, then feast on the first round of character posters in the gallery below and let us know if Laika's magical new animation offering is deserving of your loyalty.
Directed by Laika CEO Travis Knight, Kubo and the Two Strings opens on Aug. 19, 2016, and is decorated with the distinctive vocal talents of Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, Brenda Vaccaro, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and George Takei.