Modest Heroes

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Modest Heroes – Ponoc Short Films Theatre, Volume 1
Two small boys carrying crab-claw spears huddle together on a large branch under the ocean.
The film's theatrical poster.
HepburnChīsana Eiyū: Kani to Tamago to Tōmei Ningen
Directed by
Produced byYoshiaki Nishimura
Music by
Distributed byToho
Release date
  • August 24, 2018 (2018-08-24) (Japan)
Running time
53 minutes

Modest Heroes (Japanese: ちいさな英雄-カニとタマゴと透明人間-, Hepburn: Chīsana Eiyū: Kani to Tamago to Tōmei Ningen) is a three-part Japanese animated anthology film produced by Studio Ponoc. The film is the first volume in the studio's Ponoc Short Films Theatre anthology, and includes films directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Yoshiyuki Momose, and Akihiko Yamashita.


Kanini & Kanino[edit]

In a world of magical creatures, Kanini and Kanino are tiny humanoid siblings who live underwater in a stream. Their father currently takes care of them while their pregnant mother has gone away to give birth. When a heavy current carries their father off, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey to find and rescue him.

Life Ain't Gonna Lose[edit]

Shun is born with a lethal allergy to eggs. Every day, then, the family is focused on protecting Shun from contact. Shun has to eat special meals at school, his classmates must be careful not to spit on him and get saliva with egg all over him, and Shun has to take his allergy into consideration when he thinks about going on a school field trip. At the same time, his mother tries to maintain her career as a professional dancer. One day Shun unknowingly eats something that endangers him.


A salaryman is not only invisible but also needs to hold on to a heavy weight to stay on the ground. Throughout one day, he is always ignored by everyone else, and he nearly floats away when he loses the fire extinguisher he uses to hold himself down. But then a blind man speaks to him, making him feel better about himself. The invisible man then suddenly has an opportunity to be a hero.


Kanini & Kanino[edit]

Kanini (カニーニ, Kanīni)
Voiced by: Fumino Kimura[1]
Kanino (カニーノ, Kanīno)
Voiced by: Rio Suzuki[1]

Life Ain't Gonna Lose[edit]

Mom (ママ, Mama)
Voiced by: Machiko Ono (Japanese); Maggie Q. (English)[1]
Shun (シュン, Shun)
Voiced by: Sōta Shinohara (Japanese); Henry Kaufman (English)[1]
Dad (パパ, Papa)
Voiced by: Kentaro Sakaguchi[1]
Doctor (医者, Isha)
Voiced by: Kentaro Sakaguchi (Japanese); Todd Haberkorn (English)[1]


The Invisible Man (透明人間, Tōmei ningen)
Voiced by: Joe Odagiri[1]
The Old Man (盲目の男性, Mōmoku no dansei)
Voiced by: Min Tanaka[1]


Studio Ponoc announced on March 27, 2018 that it would be launching a new project called the Ponoc Short Films Theatre (ポノック短編劇場, Ponokku Tanpen Gekijō), an anthology of animated short films divided into volumes based on their themes.[2] They announced that the first volume would be titled Modest Heroes, and would consist of three short films by former Studio Ghibli staffers Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Yoshiyuki Momose, and Akihiko Yamashita.[2] The film is produced by Yoshiaki Nishimura.[2] Yonebayashi's 18-minute "Kanini & Kanino" (カニーニとカニーノ, Kanīni to Kanīno) is a fantasy adventure film with music composed by Takatsugu Muramatsu, who had previously worked with the director on When Marnie Was There and Mary and the Witch's Flower.[1] Momose's 16-minute "Life Ain't Gonna Lose" (サムライエッグ, Samurai Eggu) is a drama film scored by Masanori Shimada. The soundtrack is the first Shimada has composed for a film, having previously only worked in television.[1] Yamashita's 13-minute "Invisible" (透明人間, Tōmei Ningen) is an action film with music by Yasutaka Nakata.[1] The anthology's ending theme song is "Chiisana Eiyū" ("Modest Heroes") by Kaela Kimura.[3]

The film was originally intended to have four rather than three segments, with the fourth being directed by Ghibli director Isao Takahata. However, Takahata died on April 5, 2018, so the film was limited to three segments.[4]


The film was released in Japan on August 24, 2018.[2] The Film was eventually released to DVD and Blu-Ray by Walt Disney Studios Japan on March 20, 2019.[5]

On October 10, 2018, GKIDS announced they had acquired the North American distribution rights to Modest Heroes. It was released there on January 10, 2019.[6] The North American home video package (Blu-ray/DVD combo) is scheduled for release on June 18, 2019, being distributed by Shout! Factory.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Loo, Egan (June 17, 2018). "Studio Ponoc's Modest Heroes Anime Anthology Unveils Cast, Composers". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2018-06-24. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Pineda, Rafael Antonio (March 27, 2018). "Studio Ponoc Reveals Anime Short Anthology Project by Ghibli Veterans". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2018-06-24. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  3. ^ Ressler, Karen (July 4, 2018). "Studio Ponoc's Modest Heroes Anime Anthology Film Unveils 1st Animated Trailer". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2018-07-05. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  4. ^ Loo, Egan (August 19, 2018). "Producer: Ghibli's Isao Takahata Would Have Made Modest Heroes Anime Short". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2018-08-19. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Ressler, Karen (October 10, 2018). "GKIDS Licenses Studio Ponoc's Modest Heroes Anime Anthology Film". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2018-10-10. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  7. ^ Yonebayashi, Hiromasa; Yamashita, Akihiko; Momose, Yoshiyuki (2019-06-18), Modest Heroes: Ponoc Short Films Theatre (in Japanese), Shout! Factory, retrieved 2019-05-15

External links[edit]