Montpellier: Dreamland, from manga to anime, a highly anticipated adaptation

. (©DNA / The Owl Company / Ellipsanime)

Published by Pika Edition since 2006, dreamland is considered as the first French manga. Its creator, Reno Lemaire, located his story in his hometown Montpellier. While the release of volume 21 is eagerly awaited, the streaming platform Anime Digital Network (DNA) woke up the fan community by announcing the anime adaptation from Dream Land.

Place de la Comédie in anime

On Monday, ADN broadcast on social networks a first teaser where we saw the Place de la Comédie in the manner of a Japanese animation. The slight doubt that remained was lifted the next day as to an adaptation of Dreamland.

Imagined by the Montpellier Reno Lemaire, the story features Terrence, an 18-year-old teenager, a student in the final year of STT at the Mas de Tesse high school, who has since become Jules Guesde, who has a panic fear of fire since the death of his mother in a fire when he was only seven years old. One evening, while dreaming of his mother trapped in the flames, Terrence manages to overcome his fear and then meets a mysterious man who tells him that he has become a Traveler. From that moment, every night, during his sleep, the teenager finds himself transported to Dreamland, the world of dreams, where he leads many adventures and will meet incredible people.

If Dreamland is developed in manga format, its narration and drawing stand out. With a strong and particularly rich history over the length, the series has a large fan community. By the end of the first cycle in volume 19, more than 530,000 volumes had been sold.

DNA, from broadcaster to co-producer

This Wednesday, June 15, DNA revealed a lot more during a live on Twitch on the occasion of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. An important project for the platform which has in its catalog more than 430 old or recent animation series, i.e. more than 12,000 episodes available for free streaming. A broadcaster who is now moving up a gear by becoming a co-producer.

“ADN offers the best of Japanese animation and is now open to all types of animation. There is such a richness that you have to have this tool to show all the diversity of animation. The objective is to be a help for the talents in order to see their projects come out” explains Benoit de Tauriac, managing director of ADN before the presentation of the first three original co-productions of the platform: “The last adventure of Count Lance -Dure” with Ankama Animations, “Le Collège Noir” with La Cachette studio and “Dreamland” with La Chouette and Ellipsanime.

Videos: currently on Actu

From paper to screen

Even if the fans were waiting for this transition to animation, it is a real surprise as Reno Lemaire did not seem so far inclined to accept a transposition of his work. La Chouette Compagnie, Ellipsanime and ADN have brought together all the ingredients to give them their full confidence. Unlike Radiant, an Ankama Animation creation developed by a Japanese studio, Dreamland will thus be the first French manga adapted by two French studios.

Montpellier in animation.
Montpellier in animation. (©DNA / The Owl Company / Ellipsanime)

At the origin of the project, Sylvain Dos Santos, director of La Chouette Compagnie, explains: “It is the most iconic manga for an entire generation. It’s been years that I want to adapt Dreamland and I bite my fingers. Thanks to DNA this can be done. From the moment they arrived, it became concrete. And, that is freedom. It’s the only broadcaster who understands Japanese animation and our way of looking at things. That was the key to making a good adaptation of Dreamland. Especially since we are expected at the turn, there are people behind. And it shouldn’t disappoint Reno either.”

An adaptation

Reno Lemaire who has kept the project a secret since January 2021. “I trained to become president. I lied to everyone,” he jokes. Not hiding his lack of love for Japanese animation, he warns: “Fans are waiting for a series as long as a shonen but when you condense the important moments you can end up with few episodes. Antoine and Jean-Luc understood Dreamland and the characters”.

The two screenwriters Jean-Luc Cano and Antoine Manuel have indeed operated the switch between paper and animation in order to cover the 19 volumes of the manga in three seasons of 10 episodes of 22 minutes. Readers will therefore not find the plot exactly, but don’t worry. “Yes, we haven’t adapted, but it’s still Dreamland. The idea was that nothing happens if Reno does not validate. Everything we did was in agreement with him,” explains Jean-Luc Cano, specifying as to the screenplay elements that were set aside: “If Dreamland works, there is a way to do a lot of spin- off”.

And if some fans were worried about possible censorship not thinking in particular of Mojoland, Reno Lemaire was very clear: “I am already self-censoring. There will be nothing censored because there is nothing to censor. When things are brought up with intelligence, there is no censorship”. And to emphasize the importance of working with “a French animation studio that shares the same sensitivity, unlike what a Japanese studio could have done”.

Change of graphic style

However, we will still have to wait. After this announcement, the series will soon enter the production phase and the first episodes should be presented at the end of 2023. Among the elements given, we know that Reno Lemaire will follow the creation stages, in particular with Nicolas Jaffré in charge of character design, that the voices will be in French with dubbers who will not be known voices and that the credits could be signed by the group Shaka Ponk.

The Japanese will perhaps discover the Place de la Comédie thanks to Dreamland.
The Japanese will perhaps discover the Place de la Comédie thanks to Dreamland. (©DNA / The Owl Company / Ellipsanime)

A 2min30 trailer directed by Charles Lefebvre will nevertheless be unveiled on Monday June 20 on the DNA social networks. Even if these will not be images taken from the series, it will still show more of the change in graphic style clearly oriented towards Japanese animation evoking Jujutsu Kaisen. “It’s a more adult style that follows the evolution of the reader. We wanted to bring more maturity to the design. Reno’s contribution has been exceptional. It’s rare that an author agrees to modify the original work,” explains Xavier Morelli, executive producer at Ellipse Animation. “When I saw the finished trailer with the music, the effects… it kills! Judge Reno Lemaire.

On paper, Dreamland animation has everything to be a success with a major focus on export. “That’s the goal, there’s no question about it. Dreamland is a universal work capable of reaching every country in the world,” clarifies co-producer Sylvain Dos Santos. Enough to make excellent international publicity for Montpellier, as the screenwriter Antoine Manuel, a native of Clapas, pointed out: “As French people, we know certain parts or districts of Japan thanks to all the anime we have seen. It is very pleasing to say that with Dreamland some Japanese will discover Montpellier and thus promote this city”. And Reno Lemaire to warn amused: “The first episode is a tourist guide”.

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Montpellier: Dreamland, from manga to anime, a highly anticipated adaptation

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