Sazae-san, the world’s longest-running animated television series, announced on its official website on Sunday that new episodes will resume airing on June 21. New episodes of the show were halted on May 17 due to the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The three short stories “Neesan no Megaphone” (Big Sister’s Megaphone), “Namihei, Chichi no Hi Sotsugy” (Namihei, Father’s Day Graduation), and “O-Sawagase Ikka de Sumimasen” will be featured in the June 21 episode (Apologies on Behalf of My Troublesome Family).
The current episode delay marks the first time since 1975, 45 years ago, that the family anime has had to rerun old episodes due to a lack of new episodes in production. The anime’s staff had decided that continuing to produce the anime was no longer feasible.
On April 4, voice actress Midori Kato said on Radio Nikkei’s “Ch Keiba Jikky Chkei” program that the Sazae-san anime has put a stop to voice recording sessions indefinitely due to COVID-19 concerns. On the show, Kato plays the titular Sazae Fuguta. Kato stated on the radio show that she is fine right now.
In October 1969, the anime adaptation of Machiko Hasegawa’s family life manga Sazae-san premiered. Each week, anime is usually the most popular animated series in Japan. The show was given the Guinness World Record for the longest-running animated television series in 2013, which it was awarded again last year.
Sazae-last san’s production halt occurred in 1975, when the first “oil shock” resulted in an increase in production costs. Since last month, Chibi Maruko-chan hasn’t aired any new episodes. After Sazae-san and Detective Conan, Chibi Maruko-chan is almost always the third most popular television anime series. (On Fuji TV on Sundays at 6:00 p.m., right before Sazae-san at 6:30 p.m., Chibi Maruko-chan airs.)
On March 21, Hiroshi Masuoka, the voice actor for Sazae-husband san’s Masuo, died of cancer. In 2019, Hideyuki Tanaka took over as Masuoka’s voice actor. In April, the Sazae-san anime debuted a new opening sequence for the first time in ten years. Since January 1974, the opening sequences have depicted the titular Sazae character traveling around Japan.
The new opening is set in Tokyo for the second time, following the opening that aired from April 2010 to March 2011. Tokyo Station, Sensji, Mt. Takao, Rainbow Bridge, and Toyosu Market are among the new additions.