Calling all 4*Townies! The immensely popular Pixar and Disney animated film “Turning Red” will be getting a manga spin-off, to be released by Viz Media in spring 2023.
The anime publishing company made the announcement on Twitter Friday, writing, “Get behind the music of Canada’s top fictional nineties boy band 4*Town in ‘Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red: 4*Town 4*Real.’” The story will be written by Canada-based comic book creator Dirchansky, with art by KAIfee.
Upon its release in February of this year, “Turning Red” — directed by Oscar-winning “Bao” filmmaker Domee Shi — became a sensation for its authentic representation of teen girls and Chinese heritage. The story follows 13-year-old Mei (Rosalie Chiang), who strives to break free from her over-protective mother (Sandra Oh), in the process triggering a hereditary curse that causes her to transform into a giant red panda.
A significant plot point also covers Mei and her friends’ obsession with the fictional NSYNC-like 4*Town (consisting, incidentally, of five members). In an act of rebellion, Mei decides to attend the band’s concert after being strictly forbidden from doing so, given that it’s the same night as a traditional ceremony meant to cage the panda. But boy band fever didn’t just extend to the characters, with 4*Town’s hit song “Nobody Like U” — written by Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas, with vocals from the latter and actor Jordan Fisher — debuted on the Billboard’s Hot 100. It’s the first song from a Pixar film to hit the charts.
According to Viz Media’s description of the comic book, the manga will explore the boy band’s day leading up to their Toronto concert in the movie. Members Robaire, Jesse, Tae Young, Aaron T and Aaron Z tour museums, shop and rehearse in a dance studio leading up to the sold-out event (unknowing of the panda-crashing that will take place). “Only the realest fans deserve to get this up close and personal with Tween Beat Magazine’s Hottest Band of the Year!” the synopsis reads.