Anime Next 2014: Wrap

What do you do when ten guys and Luna Haruna want to take a picture together?

It is pretty funny because after the memorable photo op, one of the main promoter person wanted to see if we can help her promote Luna. I guess that’s not a problem, if people want to do the work. But it’s a little weird since the lot of us are DDs and we like the whole live aspect and the fact that Luna is pretty much textbook “small and cute” as far as appeals go. FWIW, Luna is very much the harajuku-style fashionista, but also otaku. She’s got this slightly dorky feel to it that comes off as endearing, but at the same time very professional about her fan interactions. I can see why clothes look good on her, but as mentioned by others, she’s no Ray.

Anime Next is in my proverbial back yard, so it was trivial to attend. To up the difficulty I decided to host a BBQ so that made extra work on my end. Not a big deal, other than hosting about 6 people in my place and we watched Chokaigi one night, and played MJ/OFA the other. And I think we watched episodes of Jojo and Mangaka and Assistant because, why not?

Season 1 Episode 7

The other narrative story is seeing Studio Trigger from Shigeto Koyama and Hiromi Wakabayashi (Waka)’s point of view. Technically Koyama is not part of the studio, but he’s one of those Gainax bros and worked on all those shows, such as Gurren Lagann and Panty Stockings. I think at one point Koyama said that Imaishi, as a Gainax “underclassman,” wanted to “take responsibility” for their original creations, thus the split. I’m not sure what to say exactly but that’s one interview I have to pour over. Waka is very talkative, so he ended up answering like 80% of the questions. This is also possibly the first time we got a good look at Inferno Cop, which is kind of the “other side of the coin” to Panty Stocking. Seems like these two guys were big on it in a pet project kind of a thing. They used something like a “side project” kind of a style at work, where they would spend 12 hours on KLK on every 1 hour on Inferno Cop.

KLK, of course, is the big, mean, Aniplex-y machine this summer and the reason why Trigger will make 3 (or more?) trips to US cons this year. Waka and Koyama played big roles on it, which the Sushio interview in the KLK mook shed a lot of light on. Seems like what happened was that Sushio’s ideas at first were too conservative and these two guys would make it more…interesting? Seems like both Waka and Koyama would go to design meetings and rile things up? It’s hard to see that from Koyama, who has a cool and reserved demeanor but he’s definitely pretty playful once you see him in the wild. Oh yeah, so like, Koyama got a marshmallow shooter and shot it into the air, at the KLK cosplay impromptu gathering after the panel. Because there was this nudist beach guy who can catch it pretty well (with his mouth). There you have it.

To me, Koyama is a big deal. I think he’s a big reason why Star Driver is noteworthy, and while Enokido is probably the root cause of all that jazz, I really dig this guy’s stuff. That became a little more obvious when the two whipped out all these cute Mako drawings by Koyama during the KLK panel, both as design/WIPs and as final illustrations…well, cute isn’t exactly right, kind of like the slightly off-cute that stereotypifies superflat, except this is suitable for mass consumption…like the Wooser end card he did. Or just watch KLK ED2 again. And how he designed…Chuck.

It was nice to meet @trigger_tattun finally, to see how this guy is, and hopefully this gives us westerners more opportunity to interact with the Trigger team and see what’s going on behind the scenes.

If there was a side story, it’s about how Anime Next this year is weirder than ever, with WCS qualifier and a fashion ball (NOT a costume ball), and how that walkway between the Doubletree and the G-Sec (how the cool kids say it, I guess) gets more crowded than ever. And that there was these girls cosplaying IM@S sailor swimsuit outfits (see G4U volume 9). I can’t ask for much.

Water(idol)sports

I ran into more Ps than ever this year, partly because of that Hawaiian shirt I wear. I ran into that Makoto P I met last year at Anime Next, but this time armed with meshi so hopefully more productive things can come with it.


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