Greetings All. Here’s another bulletin from Fanime 2012…
Another fun day of geekery at Fanime 2012 today. Great to be surrounded by anime people - it's such a rare occurrence in America. On the video side, caught up with some vintage Rurouni Kenshin in the “Nostalgia Room” (sigh) and the screening of Hoshi o Ou Kodomo. Once again, sheer astonishment at how beautiful Shinkai’s work is – visually, he’s simply without peer. I still feel this film isn't his best work narratively (see my review for much more) but it has a real bittersweet power to it nonetheless. And damn, does it look good. Very impressive turnout, too.
Also, got a chance to meet Zanibas from RC and a couple of friends for a drink at the maid café. Not quite like they are in Akiba, but my first exposure with a maid café as interpreted by American otaku, and the company was fantastic - it was great to shoot the shit about anime with other hard-core fanatics. It was also my first time playing Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em Robots (no, that isn't me in the video - I'm behind the camera) in at least 15 years…
My first major panel of the day was Kia Asamiya. He’s a designer and artist of considerable renown, and has worked extensively in both the manga and US comics industry as well as his work in anime. He was mainly at this panel to talk about his design work for the new live-action Kamen Rider series, Kamen Rider Fourze, of which he showed us the first episode (no subs). It’s written by Kazuki Nakashima of TTGL and Oh! Edo Rocket fame, and has that signature Nakashima zaniness to it. But let me tell you, being in a room full of Kamen Rider obsessives when you’re a neophyte is a pretty weird experience. Also, Asamiya-san has the greatest screensaver ever – shots from the myriad stuff he’s worked on and some amazing stuff he’s just a fan of. Alas, no pics or video at this panel.
Some of the highlights of Asamiya-san’s Q & A:
- His design for the setting for Fourze is based on an American high school.
- There are 40 switches on Kamen Rider’s belt.
- The original KR toys (40 years back) were designed specifically to give kids something to play with that resembled something their parents would have told them not to play with.
- His favorite incarnation is the original series from 40+ years ago.
- On the difference between the manga and comics industry: in manga, there’s a collaboration between the mangaka and the editor but ultimately, the mangaka is the most important voice in what the final product will look like. With comics, the publishers basically tell the writer what they want in the final version.
- In Asamiya-san’s view, the Japanese manga industry is “collapsing in on itself” due to the increased importance of electronic media, which it isn’t doing a good job of adapting to. One of his own series is scheduled to be canceled (he didn’t say which).
I’ll also be posting some highlights of another fantastic panel with Koyama Shigeto that I attended this eveing, so stay tuned. As of now I’m undecided about returning for the half-day tomorrow – I’m exhausted.