The forest beckons, just beyond our reach.

Earlier today, NHK unveiled the broadcast schedule for their upcoming The Piano Forest (Piano no Mori) anime series. The title will begin airing on NHK on April 8, at 24:10 (4/9/2018 at 12:10AM).

Gaku Nakatani will direct the series at Gainax Fukushima, with Sumie Kinoshita (Girlish Number, A Sister’s All You Need) filling the dual role of character designer and chief animation director. The team of Mika Abe (Danchi Tomoo) and Aki Itami (Rainbow Days, Flowers of Evil) is in charge of series composition.

The series will star the following:

  • Kai Ichinose (Adult): Sōma Saitō
  • Shūhei Amamiya (Adult): Natsuki Hanae
  • Kai Ichinose (Child): Ryoko Shiraishi
  • Shūhei Amamiya (Child): Yō Taichi
  • Sōsuke Ajino: Junichi Suwabe

Aoi Yūki will perform closing theme song Kaeru Basho ga Aru to Iu Koto (To Have a Place to Come Home To).

The Piano Forest manga launched in the pages of Kodansha’s now-defunct Young Magazine Uppers in 1998. The series ran through 2015, switching to Weekly Morning magazine after Young Magazine Uppers‘ demise. The title spans 26 collected volumes, in total.

Madhouse produced an anime film based on The Piano Forest, which hit theaters in 2007. Masayuki Kojima (Made in Abyss, Monster) directed the project, while Shigeru Fujita (Eureka Seven: Hi – Evolution, Monster) provided character designs. Ryuta Hourai wrote the movie’s screenplay.

Manga resource Baka-Updates describes the title as:

A tranquil tale about Shuhei Amamiya, who transfers to Moriwaki Elementary filled with hope and ambition about his new life. But it doesn’t take long before he gets picked on by the class bullies, and gets involved in a dare to play the mysterious piano in the forest, leading to his meeting an enigmatic child that goes by the name of Kai Ichinose, who seems to be the only one capable of getting sound out of the thought-to-be broken piano. His ability earns him the respect of Shuhei and his music teacher, former master pianist Sosuke Ajino. At first Kai is resistant to refining his art but after hearing Sosuke play a Chopin piece he just can’t seem to play by himself, he relents.

Source: Ota-suke

Update 2/22/2018: Ota-suke’s reporting was incorrect. The series premieres on 4/8/2018 at 24:10. We’ve updated our coverage to reflect this.