Imaginary friends are in. Ryan Reynolds and John Krasinski’s recent movie, IF, was all about them. And now, they’re back in a whole new way, gorgeously animated and full of heart. Netflix recently released a trailer for The Imaginary, a gorgeously animated movie from Studio Ponoc. Hailed as a Studio Ghibli equivalent, Studio Ponoc really has outdone itself with The Imaginary. The hand-drawn animation could not be more beautiful, nor could it more powerfully convey the animated movie’s themes of love, loss, fear, and freedom. Even from just this short trailer, we feel completely riveted by The Imaginary. Take a look below to experience the Studio Ponoc adventure for yourself.

Watch The Imaginary Trailer

No imaginary friend wants to believe their human will forget them. But could it be true that the only thing more powerful than imagination is reality? The villain of The Imaginary sure does want you to believe that as he brings shadows to the beautiful dreamworld in this trailer. And It sure does seem that way sometimes, in real life. But we bet The Imaginary will have us believing in our dreams more powerfully than ever.

The Imaginary Studio Ponoc Netflix Movie setting

Synopsis, Cast, and More

Alongside the trailer, you can check out Netflix’s official synopsis of The Imaginary below:

Studio Ponoc’s The Imaginary portrays the depths of humanity and creativity through the eyes of young Amanda and her imaginary companion, Rudger, a boy no one can see imagined by Amanda to share her thrilling make-believe adventures. But when Rudger, suddenly alone, arrives at The Town of Imaginaries, where forgotten Imaginaries live and find work, he faces a mysterious threat. Directed by renowned animator Yoshiyuki Momose (Spirited Away), The Imaginary is an unforgettable adventure of love, loss, and the healing power of imagination.


That hits us right in the feelings. The Spirited Away connection hits loud and clear. Personally, that’s one of my all-time favorite animated movies. So, I love to see the legacy of it continued in The Imaginary‘s trailer. It also doesn’t hurt that Studio Ponoc’s lovely animation combines itself with an incredible voice cast that includes Hayley Atwell as Lizzie, Kal Penn as Zinzan, and LeVar Burton as The Old Dog.  Louie Rudge-Buchanan (Rudger), Evie Kiszel (Amanda), Sky Katz (Emily), Jeremy Swift (Mr Bunting), Jane Singer (Granny Downbeat), Ruby Barnhill (Aurora), Roger Craig Smith (Snowflake), Courtenay Taylor (Cruncher-of-Bones), and Miles Nibbe (John) also star.

A release reveals that “The groundbreaking hand-drawn animation of The Imaginary is heightened by first-of-their-kind techniques of light and shadow.” We can’t wait to turn a closer eye on this groundbreaking movie.

When Will Studio Ponoc’s The Imaginary Release?


The Imaginary will release on July 5, 2024. It will stream on Netflix.