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Komada - A Whisky Family Premiers in Japan - featuring “phantom” Japanese IB whisky

There’s always a surprise in the anime scene - if there exists a niche interest, soon enough, you’ll bet someone’s going to make an anime (or manga) about it. 

Fate has it that it’s time for an anime movie to be entirely about whisky - not suited men and their dates sipping drams on polished bartops, but a true behind-the-scenes peek at the labours of love that goes into making the liquid gold. On 10 November 2023, the 90-min runtime film Komada - A Whisky Family premiered in 166 theatres across Japan. 

ZEMON Stills are featured in the music video. Saburomaru Distillery is the first distillery to use these copper cast pot stills. Source: GAGA Corporation (Youtube)

Komada A Whisky Family (駒田蒸留所へようこそ [which more accurately translates to “Welcome to Komada Distillery]) tells the tale of a young female president Rui who took over her family’s business, tasked to bring back a rundown distillery and a long lost signature whisky. 

Here’s the official synopsis of the movie:

“Kotaro visits Komada Distillery for a project on Japanese craft whisky. Led by young female president Rui, who took over the family business, the distillery works hard to reproduce its signature whisky, Koma, which they had to stop making years ago. However, not to mention financial backing, too many clues are missing to revive the once lost whisky.”

Official movie poster. Source: IMDB

This movie is the fifth instalment of P.A Work’s “Working Series”, which features the lives of ordinary working adults and their daily struggles. Earlier works include Hanasaku Iroha (2011), SHIROBAKO (2014), Sakura Quest (2017), and The Aquatope on White Sand (2021). 

Director Masayuki Yoshihara co-founded animation studio P.A Works.

This movie is also director Masayuki Yoshihara’s first feature-length film, with the veteran working on notable anime classics like Ghost In The Shell: Standalone Complex, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Eden of the East and The Eccentric Family. The protagonist, Rui, is voiced by Saori Hayami, the voice actress for Yor in Spy x Family. Saori Hayami also sung the theme song “Dear my future”. 

You can watch the music video here

In an interview with Masayuki Yoshihara at the Tokyo Film Festival, whisky production was a poignant theme to showcase the troubles of young working adults - given that whisky can take up to 10 years to mature before seeing the light of day, it perfectly exemplified the struggle with time and patience.


The movie was supported by the craft distilleries in Japan - including Eighama Distillery 江井ヶ嶋酒造, Niigata Kameda Distillery 新潟亀田蒸溜所, Sakurao Distillery 桜尾蒸溜所, Wakatsuru Distillery 若鶴酒造, Nagahama Distillery 長濱蒸溜所 and Saburomaru Distillery 三郎丸蒸留所. Wakatsuru Distillery were neighbours of the animation studio, welcoming the animation team to do their research on premise. Other distilleries have also lent support.


Source: gaga.ne.jp

Saburomaru Distillery has released a whisky with the key visual poster as the label of the first collaboration with the movie, which went on lottery sales on 18 August.

Source: gaga.ne.jp

In a second collaboration, five distilleries were on board - Ichiro’s Malt Malt & Grain Ambassador’s Choice, Nagahama Single Malt Batch 775, Mars Shinshu Distillery Komagatake 2018 Cask No.3973, Hinomaru Whisky Triple Cask SHERRY & CHERRY & SAKURA, Saburomaru Single Cask 2020 3 Years #200126.

Rui tries to rediscover and recreate the whisky her family was famous for. Source: yomiuri.co.jp

In addition, Japan's first independent bottler of Japanese whiskies T & T Toyama (whom Takahiko Inagaki, the head distiller of Saburomaru, is helming), has recently finished crowdfunding. In the movie, the KOMA whisky was the signature whisky that Rui was trying to rediscover and recreate - pointing towards being a peated one. The real KOMA whisky would be a bottle that is blended from whiskies across various distilleries across Japan, under Takahiko’s supervision at Saburomaru Distillery. 


The above two bottles are featured in the movie. Source: @SaburomaruD (Twitter)

Read more about Takahiko Inagaki, Saburomaru Distillery and T & T Toyama here.



88 Bamboo Editorial Team