American Debut?

May 6, 2012

I had hoped the Gianism Fes event would reveal some more staff/cast info, or at least show the long PV that was shown at TE Memorial Night after the Nico stream ended (the one that supposedly has Yuuhi in it), but no such luck.

BUT, Yoshimune revealed something else that is perhaps even more interesting.  According to him, he’s been invited to Anime Expo to mark the premiere of Total Eclipse.  He further states that they’ve arranged to screen the show at the same time the show broadcasts on Japanese TV.  AX takes place at the beginning of July, right when the summer season starts, so it’s certainly possible to do so.

Since this is huge news, I should add some caveats.  No matter how high up the chain Yoshimune is, this is still just one man saying this.  I don’t consider this an “official” announcement – that would need to come from either the Total Eclipse or Anime Expo websites.  And since AX is two months away, there is still plenty of time for plans to fall apart and things to go awry.  And finally, he seems to be talking only about a special screening at AX – this is not in any way an announcement that TE has been picked up for simultaneous streaming.

All that said – after watching the video several times, I think it’s clear Yoshimune is not hesitant or hedging himself at all when he is talking about this.  He truly believes this is going to happen, and obviously he should know.  And they have clearly arranged to talk about this at the event – this was not some off-the-cuff remark.  So I think it’s safe to say that, barring some major hiccup at the last moment, this is going to happen.  How awesome is that?


Gianism – Takayuki Inagaki Part 2

May 3, 2012

Q: We heard Yoshimune-san was asking to see things like “the engines firing reverse thrusters as the TSFs land”.

A: When Yoshimune-san and I talk, we often say things like “I loved that scene from that show!”  Even when we’re supposed to be having a meeting about something else, before we know it we’ve drifted off into fanboyish or military talk, and we have to scramble to get back to the main point (laughs).  In that way, Yoshimune-san and I have a lot in common with respect to our love of mechs, so I would definitely like to put in a lot of scenes that will please that kind of military or mech fan.

Q: It appears Yoshimune-san will be involved in the story construction, so what kind of story are you making?

A: This is a work with many core fans, so our first priority is making them happy.  But this is a TV series that will be aired on a public channel, so Yoshimune-san and I talk a lot about constructing the story so that people who don’t know the original work can understand the story easily.

Q: By that, do you mean inserting some exposition about what TSFs and BETA are for the people who don’t know the original work?

A: Yes, but animation is meant to be entertaining, so we’re trying to avoid exposition for the sake of exposition.  I want to make something that people who don’t know the franchise can still enjoy, while those who do know the franchise will smile knowingly.  It wouldn’t be good to make a show that exists only for exposition.

Q: It seems that Yoshimune-san wants to make the anime a standalone work that stands apart from the original novels.

A: There’s a lot of that, and it can be fun to compare an anime to the original work and point out where things are different, but if you make too many changes, people can get confused.  I am continuing to consult with Yoshimune-san to find the right balance as we go on.

Q: How are you portraying a world that has been pushed to the edge of destruction by the BETA invasion?

A: Alternative and Total Eclipse are in part about how humans behave in a horrifying condition like war.  This is supposed to be a piece of entertainment, so the viewer doesn’t have to think that hard about it if he doesn’t want to, but we’re making a show where you can get a feel for how humans behave in extreme conditions.

Q: How will be the BETA be portrayed in animation?

A: The BETA left a strong impression in the original, and Yoshimune-san told me that the BETA were inspired by zombie movies, so I want to put in a touch of horror.  I think they’ll be pretty disgusting, but we’ll be putting this on TV, so we’ll have to suppress the more grotesque stuff.  But I think fans have been waiting a long time to see the BETA and TSFs moving, so please look forward to it.

Q: We heard it was hard work gathering staff members who knew the original work.

A: There are a lot of detailed settings and it’s easier on staff members if they already know the original, so we would ask each staff member “Do you know Muv-Luv?”  So rather than gathering people who liked it, it was more like we wouldn’t gather people who didn’t like it.  Because of that, the staff members would make the character designs and mech designs exactly like the original, and when I told them “If you try to animate that, the animation process is going to become very difficult, so you need to cut down on the number of lines”, they hated me (laughs).  But if we try that, we wouldn’t be able to animate an entire TV series, and as the director I just can’t approve that, so they made the revisions while weeping (laughs).  The meat of a mech show is the mech designs.  When I was an animator, I would often see animators who would receive the mech settings and say “This mech design looks stupid and I don’t want to draw it”, and throw it away (laughs).  But the Total Eclipse mechs look cool, and the staff members are fans who feel “I want to draw this properly”, so I think this is a happy project that is beloved by the staff.

Q: The Total Eclipse novels describe the mech settings in great detail, so how is the anime going to handle this?

A: Of course, since this is a story about TSF production, I also want the anime to go into detail about the mech settings.  In the novel, there would be many detailed descriptions like “The jump unit’s engine output was such and such . . .”, but in the anime, we can depict that directly with visuals, so in fact it might be easier to understand than the novels.

Q: How is the story being constructed?

A: Fundamentally, we’re following the original.  But the novel is written from an outside point of view, so we’re going to go a little deeper into characters’ motivations and viewpoints.  The novels end with a very gripping cliffhanger, so we’ve been talking a lot with the original creators about how to handle that.  Whether we do it like the novels or create an original ending will be “something to look forward to in the final episode” – that’s probably something we’ll be saying right up to the final episode (laughs).

Q: Finally, please give us a message for the fans.

A: Fans have dreamed for years of seeing TSFs and BETA move in animation, and as a fan of the original myself, I too feel like screaming “They’re finally moving!” (laughs)  This work will not betray the fans’ expectations, and even for fans who don’t know the original, this work will let you enjoy some awesome mechs and awesome girls, so please look forward to it.