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Behind the scenes of golfing sensation Tonbo!

Behind the scenes of golfing sensation Tonbo!

Written by Ross Locksley on 17 Apr 2024

Beloved golfing manga Tonbo! has been released in the West on Amazon Prime. The series appears in Japan's most popular Golfing magazine, Weekly Golf Digest, and has sold more than 1.9 million tankobon copies in Japan alone. With the introduction of a brand new anime, the series is now slated to be heading worldwide. Masakazu Kubo, creator of the classic Pokemon TV series will act as Executive Producer and production will be handled by studio OLM, which gives the series some serious pedigree. After all, OLM's Pokemon anime has helped make the pocket monsters the number one character brand across the globe!

Adding to the raft of talent, Jin Gu Oh (Pokemon Horizons, Beyblade Burst) will direct and BAFTA Nominated composer Nobuko Toda (Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045, Suzume, Ultraman) will provide the series' score.

Director Jin Gu Oh
Tonbo! Director Jin Gu Oh

The audience will follow Tonbo, a young girl living on a remote island who meets an ex-golf champion living in exile. A natural talent who started playing at age 8, she starts with nothing more than a 3-iron (the real-world Jumbo MTNIII Pro Model no less), her adventure begins as she sets off to become history's greatest golfing champion, beginning in Tokara, via Kumamoto and then into the wider world. As she travels she'll meet more players and learn new techniques and acquiring more clubs, increasing her options and finding new ways to win .

Tonbo! behind the scenes of the CGI
Creating the CGI for the series

Along the way she'll showcase her unusual techniques, all of which were demonstrated accurately within the manga and have been reproduced for the show using multi-angle 3D animation, so golf pros can actually study the swings and emulate them if they wish. This element of realism really elevates the show, making it instructional and entertaining for golf newbies (like me) or seasoned professionals looking for inspiration.

Oi! Tombo
The shots as portrayed in the manga

The characters designs have been updated for use in animation by Akira Takeuchi (known for directing Yo-Kai-Watch Movie 6, One Piece & Boruto) and as you can see, their appearance has been softened somewhat to add appeal and make animation easier (I can only imagine how exhausting manga Tonbo's hair would be to animate!)

"While the central theme of this work is golf, it also beautifully captures the relationships between Tonbo and the island's inhabitants, creating a story that is both heartwarming and, at times, tear-jerking. I was conscious to maintain the integrity of the work's unique world, drawing characters with a focus on preserving the atmosphere."

"Each character is distinctive, with their own personalities and traits, making them a joy to illustrate. I am eagerly looking forward to sharing this work with a wide audience, regardless of their age, gender, or interest in golf, and I am excited for them to experience it."


Oi! Tombo
Character Design updates by Akira Takeuchi.

The first series will feature 26 episodes split across two cours, with the first airing in Japan this April and concluding in October on TV Tokyo and BS TV Tokyo. The anime will make its global debut on platforms such as Aniverse and Spacetoon (see our news article for a full list) and It's Anime Youtube channel, managed by REMOW, a company that is principally owned by Japan's largest publishing company, Shueisha

Check out the behind-the-scenes gallery below, and be sure to check out Tonbo! now on Amazon Prime!

©Ken Kawasaki & You Furusawa/Tonbo Project
©Ken Kawasaki & You Furusawa/Golf Digest Sha

Ross Locksley
About Ross Locksley

Ross founded the UK Anime Network waaay back in 1995 and works in and around the anime world in his spare time. You can read his more personal articles on UKA's sister site, The Anime Independent.

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