The brief question and answer session after the screening of the K-On movie yesterday was preceded by the announcement that a further, dedicated event would take place the next day. Free but ticketed, it was an unmissable opportunity to get an insight into what K-On was like to develop as well as working for one of the premier animation studios, Kyoto Animation.
Starting off with a message from Andrew Partridge, the festival organiser, that there should be no recording of any kind: video, audio or photographic. This reinforced yesterdays message passed down from the production company and with news that it would be enforced this time around, the message was loud and clear. (This means except for authorised stills if they are ever released, no photos on this post)
The final day of the Scotland Loves Animation festival started off with the first Tiger and Bunny movie at half past noon, however a special ticketed question and answer session with the K-On director, Naoko Yamada, had been organised for 1pm. It was an opportunity I couldn't pass up so I'm entirely unaware as to how Tiger and Bunny: The Beginning turned out.
For the session itself, due to the size and detail there's a full post on an intriguing insight into Kyoto Animation, anime in general and Naoko's working life.
The second event of the day was not a single film at all, but four shorts under the Anime Mirai (Anime Future) banner. From up-and-coming animators and as a show-reel for animation studios, the Anime Mirai project was started in 2010 and sees money from the Japanese government distributed to companies in order to train the next generation of young animators.
Continuing the "What the devil am I watching?" theme, day two of the Glasgow leg of Scotland Loves Animation started with After School Midnighters which had more than a touch of Pixar envy to it. Continuing his introductions, Jonathan Clements revealed that this was originally a short by the production staff in order to bolster support for their abilities.
At one point it looked like the short wouldn't go anywhere until it found its way onto French TV which catapulted it into a film. Originally featuring the animation of previously inanimate objects - a vampire, Jesus Christ and an anatomical model - only the latter made it to the final film. Produced by T-Joy who also own numerous theme parks around the globe and who are also set to distribute the Evangelion 3.0 movie, this was obviously an opening salvo in a wider push for global recognition.
Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright (Gyakuten Saiban) kicked off the Scotland Loves Anime Glasgow weekend at the Glasgow Film Theatre. An odd choice - a live action film pistol-starting an animation festival - a state of affairs not lost on the imitable Jonathan Clements who provided a brief introduction and set the context for the film.
I was reliably informed by the GFT's staff that the event had sold out, and with nary a spare seat in sight it was a difficult claim to dispute. When it came to the question of who had played the games, nearly everyone's hand in the auditorium shot skyward, myself excluded. A ten minute playtest of the Japanese DS version (which bizarrely had English subtitles) when it came out hardly constituted familiarity with the Phoenix's court-room pointing simulator.
On the face of it, Hiroki Azuma calling otaku "Database Animals" seems self explanatory; you only have to look as far as sites like MyAnimeList or AniDB to understand the near feral desire to categorise and analyse and verify. Were that the whole story, Otaku: Japan's Database Animals would be an unfulfilling read which thankfully is far from the reality.
If that sounds a little like an otaku Escher painting you're not far wrong
Coming from Minnesota Press, the same publishing house house as Beautiful Fighting Girl, Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams as well as the Mechademia series, the book is in good company with its academically targetted, psychological study of otaku as a recent cultural phenomenom. Indeed core to the book's central theory is that otaku are very modern, only coalescing in the early 1970's.