'Shell' producers taking 'Drive'

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TOKYO -- The Japanese company behind "Ghost in the Shell" said Monday that it is collaborating with manga artist Shirow Masamune to create an animated series titled "Real Drive."

Production I.G. and Masamune will work with director Kazuhiro Furuhashi ("Le Chevalier D'Eon") to bring the suspense anime series to the screen in April.

Nippon Television Network Corp. is jointly producing the show, while Junichi Fujisaki is writing the screenplay and manga artist Tetsuro Ueyama, who worked on "Metal Guardian Faust," is in charge of the character designs.

The story line centers on a "cyber diver" who investigates the real world in the year 2061 and the world's networked society, which is known as "The Metal."

"It is a little early to start to talk about overseas distribution, but we are sure that, since this is another collaboration between Masamune and Production I.G., there will be a large audience from among the people who enjoyed 'Ghost in the Shell,' " said Francesco Prandoni of Production I.G.'s international operations division.

The companies are not disclosing the budget for the series or the number of episodes in the series.
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