Holy crap, nothing I posted this week was supposed to be connected in anyway at first. Here I have two posts for two events in one week. Not only that, but they are thematically resonant as well. What is that theme you may ask? Passion. To be honest, I think this is the best way to start off this little Anno August thing because this is also a pseudo tour of Studio Gainax’s history form 1981 to 1995 as well. You know, besides Nadia because I already covered that series last year. In general, Hideaki Anno (Chief Animation Director of these openings) and the rest of the starting members of Studio Gainax made the Daicon opening films.
And what are these films that I mentioned in this post’s title and the ending of last paragraph you may ask? What can I say other then short, fan films that are full of pure otaku spirit and energy? These opening films were shown at annual science fiction conventions in Japan named Daicon 3 and 4. If you are interested in seeing them. Be prepared for what you are about to see. Especially with Daicon 4. Together they are only about 10 minutes in length together so they won’t take too much time I hope. If you don’t have the time, I left some very vague descriptions for you. Still, that won’t be enough at all.
A girl is given a task to give water to a dying diacon, is chased by a guy in an armored suit from Starship Troopers. After it’s dead, she fires missiles from her backpack to kill Godzilla references, Gamara, and Science fiction references.
Pure science fiction and animation fandom music video centered on the girl from the last opening flying around in a bunny costume with ears and beating up some references as well. Twilight by ELO plays throughout it.
So how do you feel after watching these? Energized? Excited? Bored? I want to know? Do you believe that these were fan made? No really, do you? It’s completely crazy, I know. Still these films are Gainax itself. Pure, unfiltered Gainax (this is a noun, right?) and you can see each openings influence and thought patterns their material from this point forward. I don’t’ just mean when Haruko flew around on a guitar in a bunny suit in FLCL. That’s obvious. I mean the strong female character with fanservice, the references, the love of science fiction, the heart, and so on. It’s all so fun and wonderful feeling.
Do you know what the major difference is between one Daicon opening compared to the other? Experience. The Daicon III version was made by college sophomores from Osaka University of the arts who had only a general idea what animated was like. After the three people worked on a little project called Super Dimensional Fortress Macross and gaining some friends, Hideaki Anno and the others who worked on the previous film had a more focused edge when creating something. The result is a better, and much more polished product that you can clearly see here. Not a single layer of heart was replaced though, it’s just as fan forward and awesome.
I can honestly say that I am still completely awed by these openings. I’ve almost watched them endlessly since starting this Anno August activity/thing. How well they are animated, what they represent, and everything. These aren’t perfect (though Daicon 4 is close) but it’s honestly stunning how these exist. I’m glad that I got an opportunity to share these two things with you, even if they are only Youtube videos instead of at a theater somewhere. I think they are an important piece of Anime history that need more affection in today’s newer anime spread because of how influential they are. These opening animations are completely unreviewable to me because of that.
Passion and love can only get you so far. Eventually, more notoriety and experience are needed to continue to do what you want. Hideaki Anno was still incredibly young and very fan motivated from his fan projects he worked on instead of paying and showing up for his studies. Still, it seems like Hideaki Anno had a wonderful round of luck when he found his way into working for another ground breaking anime figure, Hayao Miyazaki. Why? Because Anno worked the more complicated parts Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind. (Hint hint, look out for Wednesday.)
Let’s end this post with a question and story time. What is something that you were proud of creating when you were younger that helped move your career forward or you just did it for fun? Either is fine.