Anime Version of Lilo and Stitch Still Popular in Japan
In the US, the popularity of Disney’s huggable blue alien and his best friend has already waned and given way to new franchises, but Japan is a different story, as the Japanese version of Disney’s Lilo & Stitch will be returning to Japanese televisions this June in a new 1 hr anime called Stitch! To Suna no Wakusei (Stitch and the Planet of Sand). Planet of Sand is a follow up to the three previous Stitch! Anime series that aired in the country from 2008 to 2011.
The Japanese version of Stitch is vastly different from the western one even though it retains the blue little alien. In the Japanese series, Stitch has been befriended by a girl named Yuna instead of Lilo (hence Lilo missing from the title). The adventures take place on a fictional island off the coast of Okinawa, instead of Hawaii. The Japanese Stitch has received airtime on different Disney Channels in Australia, Asia, Latin America, Scandinavia, and briefly on Disney XD last year.
Stitch! To Suna no Wakusei focuses on Stitch as he is forced to leave Yuna and Earth behind, in order to take part in a planetary war on the sand planet of Katuna. It is not clear whether Disney Animation Japan will partner with Shin-Ei or Madhouse for the special (both studios being the previous partners for the two previous iterations of the series).