In addition to the screening, there was an exciting talk show by the directors of Japan Anima(tor)’s Exhibition. The goals of the exhibition were to make opportunities for animators to create anime with flexible and diverse ideas and to develop future talents. The talk show was about the future of the animation production and animators.
- Q: Do you usually stock ideas of animation?
- Q: What do you think about the future of CGI animation? (also about the fusion of CGI and hand-drawn animation.)
- Q: The website and the smartphone appreciation of Japan Anima(tor)’s Exhibition are highly designed, and they are also translated in English. Does this mean Japan Anima(tor)’s Exhibition is meant to develop globally?
- Q: The third season is about to start. Is there anything that have changed compared to before the exhibition started? Also, was there any influence on creators?
- Q: What do you think about the pirated products?
- Q: What do you think about the music productions and their systems?
- Q: Is there any plan to expand the top rated episode into a feature film?
- Q: What do you think about funds for creators, such as crowdfunding?
- Q: What can we do as anime fans?
Q: Do you usually stock ideas of animation?
Amemiya: It is better to stock the ideas. I used to not stock, so I had a hard time. (Q: How about in this exhibition?) It wasn’t hard for me this time.
Hiramatsu: I didn’t choose a topic in the first season, but I did in the second season. I picked up what I came up with when I thought of social issues these days. I thought Japan Anima(tor)’s Exhibition was an only chance to work on that kind of issue.
Yoshizaki: I’m usually thinking only about making videos. Whatever I see is a movie material, and I always think how to make it into a video. Also, I try to create something out of what I get excited most. (Q: How about when you made ME!ME!ME!?) I don’t remember why I made it.(made the audience laugh.) I think there was something that fired me up, but I just don’t remember.
Q: What do you think about the future of CGI animation? (also about the fusion of CGI and hand-drawn animation.)
Yoshiura: I mainly use hand-drawn animation, but I do use CGI as well. For example, it was a popular style that airplanes and robots were CGI and characters were hand-drawn a while ago. However, in recent animations, the hand-drawn characters are sometimes made by CGI for long shots, and they are not so distinctly different by visual. We can now choose the way to build characters whichever fits the scenes, so CGI and hand-drawn animation would be blended more frequently and more precisely together.
Emoto: I think CGI will become the majority. The hybrid of CGI and hand-drawn is popular today.
Tani: The ratio of CGI to the animation will definitely increase. It’s good to try it if you are interested. I mean, “what you do by CGI” is important.
Suppose there is one animation in which the camera goes around the character and the background dramatically changes. The question is “Should we draw it by hand? Or use CGI?” Whether we should use CGI or hand-drawn animation depends on a lot of factors such as budgets, staffs’ skills, the schedule, and the targeted customer segment, but I think there is no right answer.
Before CGI was invented, the question was “Should we draw it, or not?” Japanese animation, also known as “Limited animation,” often chose “to not draw.” The animators who could choose to draw it were the most skillful creators at that time.
As I mentioned above, I think there is no right answer. We should judge which way fits the animation in each case.
Q: The website and the smartphone appreciation of Japan Anima(tor)’s Exhibition are highly designed, and they are also translated in English. Does this mean Japan Anima(tor)’s Exhibition is meant to develop globally?
Kawakami: I’ve been expecting to show this exhibition globally. We planned to make the English version in the beginning, but there was an issue in terms of censorship. What I did, in particular, was to judge what is OK to deliver and what is not, especially sexual contents. We have to consider the global standard.
The official website of Japan Anima(tor)’s Exhibition is designed with RWD(Responsive Web Design). It means Japan Anima(tor)’s Exhibition considers the wide range of screen sizes (from smartphones to big screens). Also, two languages (English and Japanese) are available, and we can see that Japan Anima(tor)’s Exhibition is planned to develop globally. “Diversity” is one of the themes of this exhibition, and it seems to be not only for the anime works but also for the exhibition itself.
By the way, many of Japanese websites are old fashion. There are some reasons, such as lack fonts in Japanese and the functional difference of Japanese users’ demand, but I personally think they should have at least RWD. I always get disappointed when a big web page comes up on my smartphone. These days, most people view websites by smartphones, and I think it is wonderful that Japan Anima(tor)’s Exhibition consider it.
Q: The third season is about to start. Is there anything that have changed compared to before the exhibition started? Also, was there any influence on creators?
Anno: I didn’t expect to have the third season in this exhibition. Many creators came up and told me they want to do it. It was good to have Ultraman and Gridman produced. Originally, animations were diverse, but they get polarized these days. I wanted “diversity,” and I wanted to see it in new animations. I think it worked out pretty well. There is a certain number of fans who like this kind of project. There is no other place where we can make these diverse animations, so I think it was good to do it. I don’t think it would be a major type of production, though.
There are some reasons why animations have lost their diversity. We can’t blame it because it was the result of the enormous effort to establish the productive environment for TV-series animation.
Some people may say, “Most animations look the same these days,” but I think we can also say it is amazing that animations have been produced continuously under this hard economic condition.
Originally, the beauty of animation was to challenge the diversity, and that was how animation should be. That side of animation should remain in the future, but it is difficult in today’s productions. We need to seek a new type of animation production as they discussed in the following questions.
Q: What do you think about the pirated products?
Yamada: This is a hard question, but what do you think, Mr. Tsurumaki?
(The audience and the panelists laughed.)
Tsurumaki: I do watch YouTube, and I sometimes watch some anime on the web when I miss one on TV, so I can’t strongly say “That’s illegal!” Is it called MAD? I watch them and they look cool without a story. They are purely made of synchronism of actions and music. I don’t think fan arts are worthless, but I don’t know how much I can tell about them.
Pirated products and copyright issues on the internet have a good side and a bad side. I honestly think we cannot control them which side they turn. Hopefully, they will turn to the good side.
Q: What do you think about the music productions and their systems?
Horiuchi: I don’t focus on music much in the animation production. But when I have the job like music clips, I sometimes witness the moment that animation gains the music. I sometimes feel the greater power in music than in visuals. If music can dynamically link to the animation, it will expand the possibility of the animation production.
Hikawa: Music and animation are both the real-time arts. They are compatible. Sometimes they match perfectly, and sometimes they are slightly off. It’s like an effect of an orchestra.
Q: Is there any plan to expand the top rated episode into a feature film?
Anno: There is a chance, but it’s hard. Do you know how much time and money we spent for Yamashita’s one!? We could make these animations because of this exhibition’s environment. There are other sponsors and productions. I hope some of them will do, such as SUNRISE.
I think it is a good idea to try unique animations and characters in this kind of ambitious project, and then expand the one which has gotten popular. Today’s animation productions don’t have the idea of challenging. I think we can also find some sponsors outside Japan, can’t we…?
Q: What do you think about funds for creators, such as crowdfunding?
Anno: I’m really glad for those people, but it’s not that easy because we have to consider rights and others. We cannot necessarily make animation just by funding.
Kawakami: There are some successful cases which raised funds globally, but it is difficult if we do it only in Japan.
Anno: It costs a lot of money to make one animation. It doesn’t cost like Ghibli movies, but theatrical movies cost millions. It’s not easy to recover it. We could do this project because it is not meant to be recovered. Today’s animation sales scheme no longer earns enough money. We cannot recover the fabrication cost by the scheme of production partnerships. There are some reasons, but first we should have a strong will. If we love animation, we could start with that. What we want to make, and what we want to see. I want people to see them on a big screen.
The Japanese market will slowly shrink, so we need to consider international markets for any type of business. The animation business is not an exception. It should be developed globally, and it will be important for creators to do self-marketing. In Japan, self-marketing is not so popular for creators. We should set an environment that encourages Japanese creators to practice self-marketing in the future.
Q: What can we do as anime fans?
Amemiya: If you really love anime, you should come to the animation production. I want you to join us. It will definitely help.
Anno: What you just said was great, Amemiya! I’m impressed for the first time in a long time! (The audience laughed and clapped.)
Amemiya: We sometimes get praised like this, so please join.
Yamada: How about you, Mr. Maeda?
Maeda: Please buy, watch, and touch them. Come closer to anything you are interested in
Today’s animators have joined the animation production because they want to make anime like the ones they watched and loved in their childhood. They are now making anime which makes young people dream to be animators. Their animations will create the next generation of animators again. This is how the future of animation is developed. It should continue naturally, but many medias often focus on the bad side of being animators these days. Hopefully, new people who love anime and have a different point of view will get together with current animators and will bring something new to the animation production. We will also do our best to be a part of it.