Just back from the Tokyo International Anime Fair 2010 (TAF2010) and can’t wait to tell you about the promo videos I saw.
The highlight of the event for me was definitely the five minute preview for GARO The Movie 3D Red Requiem [Official site]. I think I’ve seen a few posters for the TV series at previous anime trade events, but I know very little about the story. Not that I needed to. The preview moved briskly from scene to scene and was full of magical sigils in 3D and giant robots with beautifully detailed mechanics. Even the title was done using 3D kanji, with the brush strokes seeming to flare out into the audience. Looks way better than Avatar and I’d bet it cost a fraction of the price. It’ll be out in autumn 2010, so watch out for it.
I also saw two more 3D-ised anime trailers; Blassreiter and Last Exile at GONZO’s [Official site] booth. Neither of these were intended for the 3D market and it shows, although less often than you would think. During fight scenes, it looks fantastic, although 3D should make directors rethink what kind of shots and what point of view they’ll use. However, when cel-like animation is used, it tends to have black lines surrounding the characters and buildings and so looks more like a bumpy cardboard jutting out of the screen. Fix this and we’re cool, okay?
The trailer for Space Pirate Captain Harlock [Official press release] made its premiere, along with GAIKING. I must admit, I didn’t realise Harlock wasn’t played by a real actor at first. Lest you think me completely stupid, let me point out he appears mostly in shadow. The rest of his surroundings looked as real as any Hollywood movie (as in Star Trek and, again, Avatar). The coolest point was that many of the designs and costumes in Captain Harlock are ridiculous. I refer to the ship with the huge skull on it, of course, amongst many other smaller details. But in this, it breaks through the clouds in all its stupid glory and looks real. Can a flag fly atop a spaceship in a vacuum? I think not, but it does in this animation and it is cool. My only annoyance was the American voiceover. I can’t really justify this. All I can do is point out that I love a number of American cartoons, but I don’t like dubs even when they are considered the default in Japan. Or, perhaps, particularly when they are the default in Japan.
Another trailer premiere was for Togainu no Chi [Official site] anime. Nitro Plus claimed they would show a trailer for a new, top secret anime project at the Tokyo Anime Fair, but everyone figured out what it would be pretty quick and they admitted it a day later. It’s supposed to be BL (yaoi), but the trailer showed more over-the-top cool fighting than the usual BL trappings, so I’m interested in seeing how it turns out. There needs to be fewer generic BL merchandising machines and more plot-based dramas where the guys involved happen to be gay. If they can work in some explosions, spaceships shaped like skulls and 3D battles, that would be great.
The Kuroshitsuji II trailer [Official site] was another TAF2010 exclusive. First off, I love the manga and despise the anime. And now, we have a rip-off of an anime I didn’t like in the first place. Despite this… I didn’t hate it. I also couldn’t hear it well because of all the other sounds going on around the booth, so maybe I’ll start hating it properly later. Anyway, the first thing I liked about it was that there was a spider eating a butterfly, emphasising that the evil butler (Claude) will eventually eat the boy’s (Trancy’s) soul. Good. Let’s get that out there. The second point was that it was so excessively stupid that it went right round the dial to become cool again. In one iconic(?) scene, Claude throws his glasses up in the air, uses the standard cutlery-as-weapons schtick, then looks upwards so his glasses to fall back in place. In other points of note, the entire reason Claude is named Claude is so he can be called Kuro. I guess that means there’s some significance in that Trancy abbreviates to Tora, or ‘tiger’ in Japanese. Also in the trailer are three identical servants and a maid with a bandaged eye. Finally, it’s stated that it takes place in the latter half of the 19th century, but I don’t know if it puts it before or after Sebastian and Ciel.
I also saw a preview for Rainbow [Official site] which is a drama set in a prison for juvenile boys in 1955 and stars Oguri Shun. I love hearing about anime that covers new topics. I even had a quick read of the manga that had been left out in the viewing room and it seemed a fascinating, gritty historical piece. The anime (as much as they showed us), didn’t do it justice. It was much cuter and had a voiceover plus an info dump where each boy in turn fights their cellmate ‘sempai’ and their name is read out. Still looks sufficiently interesting though.
The main reason I went on Sunday rather than Saturday was because I managed to get a ticket to a special invite-only event for Arakawa Under The Bridge [Official site]. This was a total waste of time. Described as a ‘baton touch’ event between Hanamaru Youchien (Hanamaru Kindergarten) and Arakawa Under The Bridge, but very few people had seen the previous anime as, like me, they’d applied for tickets from the Arakawa site. So when the Hanamaru panda came out and danced for us, we really didn’t care. Then they brought out a man in a kappa suit to represent Arakawa Under The Bridge. The panda and kappa had a bit of a tussle, then they showed us the video for the OP and ED themes and video messages from four of the seiyuu. I just… what the hell were they thinking? I would have been happy if this was done as a regular booth event, but with all that applying for tickets and queuing, I expected something special.
Advice for attendees
You don’t have to buy a ticket in advance, but it will cost less money. Tickets on the day cost 1000 yen.
You can start queuing to enter the Big Site without a ticket, but buy a ticket inside the building as soon as you are able.
It’s fairly cold outside, but warm inside. Dress appropriately.
There are no cosplayers (apart from booth staff) at this event.
If you have a child who is elementary school age or younger, you are entitled to use the family entrance and jump the queues. Ask a member of staff for details.
As with Comiket, plan a route that will take you past all the booths.