So I went to Animazement today - not much on the agenda but a few panels and such.
The coolest one I went to was the first one - the panel held in memory of Noboru Ishiguro, with his wife Yumi in attendance.
Also on that panel were Hiroshi Nagahama (the director of Mushi-shi) and Haruhiko Mikimoto.
The panel started out with each panelist reminiscing, mostly talking about how they met Mr. Ishiguro and the impact he had on their lives. The real interesting part was afterward though - when the audience was allowed to reminisce about their experiences with his work. There was a really great back and forth between the audience and the trio on stage. After a bit the panel actually became very Megazone-centric, Mrs. Ishiguro talking about how’d she’d found memos of her husbands from when he was working on it - revealing that the story had come to him after a trip to Las Vegas, having experienced enclosed environments there meant to simulate skies and such.
Nagahama was especially enthusiastic, nodding along with the audience members as they told their stories. After Mrs. Ishiguro’s comments, he talked at length about Megazone’s influence on himself and the industry saying that he first saw it in high school and how many taboos it broke for Japanese animation at the time. Sex scenes, the destruction of actual land marks, ridiculously detailed mecha - it had it all. He then went on to explain how Ishiguro had totally called Hatsune Miku and Vocaloids with Eve. At that time Mikimoto chimed in, adding that when working on Macross Ishiguro had tried to pitch Minmay to record companies as a “fake” idol like Hatsune Miku only to be met with rejection and condescension.
In the end, the panel itself felt sort of the opposite of what I expected - I came out of it less sad a little more inspired and appreciative of Mr. Ishiguro - which I thought would be impossible since I already respected him a great deal.
Later I tried to catch the dedicated Haruhiko Mikimoto panel, but it had been pushed forward an hour unbeknownst to me, so I ended up only catching the last 15 minutes or so. I still managed to get his signature though, as you can see. While I was waiting there was line adjacent to the Mikimoto one for some visual kei band. A girl approached me and asked what it was for. I just said “Haruhiko Mikimoto” only to be met with a “HUH?” and I scrambled to respond with “Macross’s character designer!” She just kind of shot back “WELL WE’VE GOT (the band) NOIZ!” I really only think that band exists to play this convention.
Finally I attended Masao Maruyama’s MAPPA panel. It was sparse on details as he wasn’t really in a position to announce anything, but he did mention that Shinichiro Watanabe has another anime in the works for them set to come out next year. He talked at length about his experiences with Osamu Tezuka’s Mushi-Pro and even brought up the Supernatural anime saying that he was a fan of horror and the show, so he was happy to make it happen. He also spoke about Redline for a moment, saying that ultimately he felt it was worth pursuing even though it was a huge time and money sink. Preserving Takeshi Koike’s ability to make what he wanted was top priority.
I asked him about Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s Ninja Scroll sequel and the possiblity of MAPPA being involved in any capacity only to be met with a no and a bit of explanation of licensing conflicts. His philosophy with MAPPA inspires hope, however, saying that he only wishes to work with directors he personally likes and would like to create unique animation.
To end the panel, Mr. Maruyama showed off a cute short made to inspire earthquake victims. It had a music piece written by Yoko Kanno and I for the life of me can’t remember who directed it, sadly.
Anyway, it was all pretty cool shit.