Directed by Hideaki Anno
Produced by Miyuki Nanri
Nozomu Takahashi
Screenplay by Hideaki Anno
Based on Touhimu
by Ayako Fujitani
Starring Shunji Iwai
Ayako Fujitani
Jun Murakami
Shinobu Otake
Music by Takashi Kako
Cinematography Yuichi Nagata
Edited by Soichi Ueno
Distributed by Tokuma Shoten
Release dates
7 December 2000
Running time
128 min.
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Shiki-Jitsu (式日 lit. "Ritual Day" or "Ceremonial Day") is a 2000 art-house[1] film directed by Hideaki Anno.[2] This film is Hideaki Anno's second live action feature.[3]

The screenplay is an adaption by Hideaki Anno and Ayako Fujitani of Fujitani's novella Touhimu,[2] which was inspired by an emotionally difficult time spent in Los Angeles during her work in her father's 1998 film, The Patriot. Michael Ordona of the Los Angeles Times said the film had "dark themes of mental illness and suicidal ideation".[1]

The film tells the story of a director, played by independent filmmaker Shunji Iwai, who meets an odd young woman, played by Ayako Fujitani, who wrote the novella Tohimu the film is based upon. The story takes place over a period of 33 days. The plot involves these two characters trying to work their way out of a collective emotional funk.[3]

Shiki-Jitsu won an award for Best Artistic Contribution at the 13th International Film Festival in Tokyo.[4]


The film follows a young Director returning to his hometown, a suburb of a larger Japanese city, and an eccentric young girl he meets, whose quirks include saying "tomorrow is my birthday" every day and wearing very unusual clothing.

But as the days go by, it appears that the woman has little touch with reality and is constantly escaping into a fantasy world, while the Director himself is a former anime director who is seeking to do a "real film" and embrace reality. The two eventually fall in love.

In the end, the Director confronts the Woman and her mother, allowing the Woman to make the first steps into the real world. The films ends with the Girl circling December 7 as her real birthday and the words "beyond the 33rd day: unknown".


Hideaki Anno's previous relationship to anime and live action films can be construed the film's strongly contrasted psychological characters, the use of animation and drawings to portray the Woman's inner thoughts, the decision to change the character of the Director's occupation from shopkeeper as in the original novella to director, and the outlook of the character of the Director:

"Images, especially animation, simply embody our personal and collective fantasies, manipulating selected information, and fictional constructs even live-action film, recording actuality, does not correspond to reality conversely, reality, co-opted by fiction, loses its value. 'The inversion of reality and fiction.' None of this matters to me anymore. My consciousness, my reality, my subject, all converge in her. Certainly, she longs to escape into fantasy. Certainly, I long to escape from fantasy." (29:54-30:36)


The film was released by Studio Kajino, an offshoot of Studio Ghibli, run by its former president Toshio Suzuki who served on the film as executive producer. It was given a première at the Tokyo Photography Museum in Ebisu Garden Place on December 7, 2000.


  1. 1 2 Ordona, Michael (March 19, 2009), "Ayako Fujitani", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 2013-02-19.
  2. 1 2 Baskin, Ellen (2003), Enser's Filmed Books and Plays: A List of Books and Plays from Which Films Have Been Made, 1928-2001 (6th ed.), Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., p. 378, ISBN 0754608786.
  3. 1 2 "Shiki-jitsu (2001)". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  4. Short, Stephen (May 13, 2002), "Why the Hell Not?", Time Magazine, retrieved 2013-02-19.
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