Many if not most fantasy fans love Lord of the Rings. Many love anime, and many love both. Even so, you probably wouldn't have expected to see Tolkien and anime in the same sentence. At least, that was until last week, when Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim was announced by Warner Bros. Animation and New Line Cinema. So, is the new addition to the Lord of the Rings franchise going to be an anime?
As it turns out, this is exactly what is going to happen. Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim is going to be directed by anime veteran Kenji Kamiyama who is known for popular anime titles including Eden of the East (2009) and several Ghost in the Shell media including Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society (2006) and others. Add the fact that the new film was announced by Warner Bros. Animation, and you know that it's most definitely going to be an anime.
So far, we have limited information regarding the plot of The Lord of the Rings: The War of Rohirrim and the characters that are going to appear. What we do know, is that the main location will be Rohan. This fan-favourite location is a kingdom of horsemen known as the Rohirrim, and home to characters like Theoden and Eowyn.
These characters are not very likely to make an appearance, of course; the anime film is going to be set 250 years before the events found in The Lord of the Rings book and film trilogy, and it'll tell the story of Helm Hammerhand, the ninth King of Rohan. This essentially makes the anime a prequel, but it should probably still be considered as a Lord of the Rings adaptation since Helm is found in the book's appendix.
After all, the Tolkien Estate has not sold the rights to The Silmarillionor any other work by Tolkien that was published posthumously, meaning that directors and film/tv writers can only work with what material is at least mentioned in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Such is the case with the upcoming Amazon series, for instance.
We have to wait for the anime film to come out to see if it does Middle Earth justice, but at the end of the day, the chosen medium isn't as strange as some might originally have thought. Over years, many famous works of British fiction have been made into excellent anime, and while this is less common now than it was in the 90s, The War of the Rohirrim might well be epic.
As of June 2022, the full English-speaking cast was announced for the animated film. Cast members include Brian Cox in the role of Helm Hammerhand, Gaia Wise as his daughter, Hera, and even Miranda Otto, one of the most famous characters from Rohan! Otto will reprise her role as Eowyn and she'll be the story's narrator.
Other cast members include Luke Pasqualino in the role of Wulf, Helm's antagonist, as well as Lorraine Ashbourne, Yazdan Qafour, Benjamin Wainwright, Shaun Dooley, Laurence Ubong William, Michael Wildman, Bilal Hasna, Jude Akuwudike, and Janine Duvitski.
A Japanese cast has not yet been announced, so it remains unknown whether or not the anime will also be in Japanese.