Studio Wit’s Osama Ranking Trailer Brings Ghibli Charm – and Deaf Representation

Studio Wit (Attack on Titan, Vinland Saga) has released a trailer for its newest anime adaptation, Osama Ranking. Based on the manga of the same name, and set to air in October 2021, Osama Ranking follows a young prince named Bojji. While trying to become the world's greatest king, he also becomes friends with a shadow named Kage.

However, Bojji is a boy who is Deaf, which makes things even more difficult for him, and the people of the kingdom don't take him seriously. They talk behind his back and mock him, believing him weak because he can't even wield a child's weapon.

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For Osama Ranking, Studio Wit has decided to go with a completely different style from its other animated titles, like Attack on Titan. It's softer with a brighter palette that's reminiscent of Studio Ghibli's art style, particularly Howl's Moving Castle. The faces are drawn with rounder features and the linework is thin. Even more muscular characters have a softness to them. Intense scenes like battles are dynamic and the movements are fluid.

More and more studios are beginning to take on stories that feature characters with disabilities following the worldwide success of movies like A Silent Voice, an animated film that also features a Deaf character. It has become a shining example of a character with a physical disability done right, with the story also telling of how people with such disabilities are treated and viewed by society. The 2015 anime Gangsta likewise features a Deaf protagonist, and while it handled the topic of deafness with care, a lack of funding led to a decline in quality and the studio's eventual shutdown.

Marginalized groups are starting to see better representation in anime in general, from people who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, to people who live with physical or mental disabilities, to people who live with mental illnesses. They aren't being played for laughs, villainously or as people to be pitied or saved.

While not every anime featuring a character from one of these groups is delicate with how they handle these topics, more studios are starting to understand they have a responsibility to show people as they truly are and not just as a stereotype. Osama Ranking is the latest in the increasing number of anime trying to tell the story of a character who succeeds despite their disabilities while also learning to accept who they are.

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