Fuji TV has announced the production of a major animatedfeature based on Brave Story, afantasy novel by Miyuki Miyabe that has sold 420,000 copies since publicationin March of 2003.

The production company will be Gonzo Digimation, ananimation house responsible for several hit TV series, including Hellsing and Gantz, as well as best-selling straight-to-video animations and therecent theatrical feature Spirit.

The director will be Koichi Chigira, whose credits includethe TV series Last Exile and Full Metal Panic and thestraight-to-video film Gatekeepers. Brave Story will be his first theatricalfeature.

Buena Vista International will distribute - the company'sfirst-ever theatrical release of a major Japanese animated film in Japan --while providing part of the Y1 billion ($9.3m) budget. Fuji TV and Gonzo willbe the main investors, with the exact percentages still to be decided .Releaseis scheduled for the summer of 2006.

The story concerns a ten-year-old boy who is left alone byhis father's disappearance and his mother's near-fatal accident. Distraught, heenters a mysterious building said to be haunted by ghosts and soon findshimself in a 'vision world.' There he learns magic, accumulatestreasures and meets a goddess who says she will grant him one wish.