Project Itoh: Explaining ‘The Empire of Corpses’, ‘Harmony’, and ‘Genocidal Organ’

The Empire of Corpses‘, ‘Harmony‘, and ‘Genocidal Organ‘ are a trio of works by the late Japanese science fiction writer Satoshi Itōunder the pseudonym ‘Project Itoh’.   The novels have been (or are in the process of being) adapted into films. While Funimation announced the licenses to all three films and we often refer to them together, they are stand-alone works rather than a true trilogy! It can get a bit complicated, so we wanted to provide a little background for anyone new to world of Project Itoh!

  • Satoshi Itō (Project Itoh) (Oct. 14, 1974 – March 20, 2009)

During his career as a web designer, he wrote a novel called Genocidal Organ and was nominated to Nihon SF Taisho Award in 2007.   However, Itoh had been diagnosed, and dealing, with recurrent cancer since 2001 and hospitalized frequently for treatment. Itoh continued to write novels during his last several years, including Harmony and The Empire of Corpses, and passed away on March 20, 2009. Later on in 2012, Toh Enjoe, a fellow award-winning science fiction writer who had often appeared with Itoh at conventions and in interviews, announced at a press conference that he would complete Itoh’s unfinished novel The Empire of Corpses.  Later, Noitamina adapted Project Itoh’s three novels into animated feature films. All three films were directed and produced by different directors and studios.

This film was released in Japan back in October 2015 and was the first film adaptation of Project Itoh’s works, animated and produced by WIT Studio (Attack on Titan and Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign).  It is based on the award-winning novel by Project Itoh and completed by Toh Enjoe. The novel also won the Best Japanese Long Story category at 44th Seiun (Nebula) Awards in 2013 and the Special Award at Nihon SF Taisho Awards in 2012.

This film was released in Japan in November 2015 and was the second film adaptation of Project Itoh’s novels, animated and produced by Studio 4°C (Berserk: The Golden Arc series and Thundercats [TV 2011]). The film is based on by Project Itoh’s Philip K. Dick award-winning novel. The novel also won the Best Japanese Long Story category at 40th Seiun (Nebula) Awards in 2009 and the Nihon SF Taisho Award  in 2009.

  • Genocidal Organ

The film has yet to release in Japan. The studio originally slated to produce it, Manglobe (Gangsta), filed for bankruptcy in September 2015. Genocidal Organ has been delayed to release in 2017 under a new studio called Geno Studio, with many key former staffers from Manglobe still involved.