Having been absent from this thread for almost one month, there are quite a lot of news about anime production I want to share. Some of them are already old news and should go to some other thread -- in particular Winter 2012 Anime thread. And then there are the Amazon anime BD sales ranking for the past 4 weekends. Lest the post gets too long, I would get the Amazon ranking off first. BUT
first.....THISTHE BIGGEST BOMBSHELL IN ANIME WORLD
It is worth quoting Xard's post here again...
Xard wrote:At any rate this is the biggest NEWS BOMB of the month
I mean Jesus:
Planning, Supervision: Yasushi Akimoto
Original Planning, Chief Director: Shoji Kawamori (Macross: Do You Remember Love?, Macross Frontier: Sayonara no Tsubasa, Aquarion)
Series Script Editor, Scriptwriter: Mari Okada (AnoHana, Hana-Saku Iroha, Toradora!)
Character Design: Mikan Ehime (Macross Frontier)
Director: Yoshimasa Hiraike (Working!!/Wagnaria!!, Amagami SS, Sketchbook ~full color'S~)
Executive Producer: Toshimichi Ootsuki (New Evangelion films)
Animation Production: Satelight (Macross Frontier, Aquarion, Shugo Chara!)
- the core of Macross Frontier production is here with Kawamori presumably directing, Ehime/Ebata doing character designs and animation being produced at Satelight
- Yasushi Akimoto himself being the co-planner with Kawamori and a "supervisor"
- Mari Okada doing the series composition. Like her or not she is the hottest, most sought after name in anime writing right now
- Ootsuki being the executive producer
The team is jaw-droppingly strong. Every staff named in the team has tons of success and amazing credentials in their specialized area of anime production. It is no exaggeration to say that all the mocking, dismissive or indifferent otakus in 2ch (there are many AKB haters there) had to stand up and take notice at such come together of these anime celebrities.
Picking Kawamori makes a lot of sense because he is one director who loves idols and has actively incorporated elements of idol music/performance into his works. A director who holds true passion about real life idols and is reliable in execution and delivery is what a project like this needs. And with Kawamori, we have Satelight and Ehime with proven records of making dazzling and entertaining anime.
The role of Akimoto is to be expected, given his status as the top boss of AKB48. At the end he must be there to make sure the result is compatible with the image and direction he wants to take AKB48. The English translation of the "Planning" roles are a bit confusing. Akimoto's is Kikaku 企画 which is overall planning; Kawamori's is Genan 原案 which is for an original anime (which the AKB anime will be) means coming up with the overall idea of what kind of anime it should be, what kind of characters should appear, making final decision of the type of story and its flow etc. You can see that it is quite different from Kikaku. I am surprised that a major anime site like ANN did not make it easier to understand for anime fans.
As for Mari, as Xard said, she is damned hot, having just received many awards for her screenplays written in the last few years. 2ch has very good idea of what to expect from her:
Seriously, I believe the humanity side that Mari is so praised will be the focus in this anime.
Hiraike was noted earlier for not repeating his previous role of directing Working!! in the 2nd season. Perhaps he has already started working on this project so could not free himself for more Working work?
I believe Ootsuki's skill of making Evangelion a "social sensation" will be particularly treasured in this project. Stratospherically famous AKB may be, stepping into anime world still carries its own risk as big scale anime adaptation of real idols is very much an uncharted water.
Guys, this is HUGE
. As far as I can tell there are distinct chances:
- it'll be one of the worst things Kawamori has ever done
- it'll be one of the best things Kawamori has ever done
- it'll be biggest flop of 2012
- it'll be ginormous, terrifying success more than ready to challenge Bakemonogatari and Madoka
If the series makes it big and even fifth or fourth or so of AKB48 otakus hop on the train we're talking about monster hit. Chances are its music sales will make the current giants of the industry (K-ON and MacrossF) look like peanut trade in comparison.
Everything will look small compared to what is selling under AKB name. It is not just Bake or Madoka people are comparing, the talk is about the sales could rival Eva - despite it being an unfair comparison between a TV series and a movie franchise.
This prospect terrified otakus in 2ch. Let me share with you some of the predictions given in 2ch:
- This is clearly aiming at king of kings status We are talking about 6 digit sales!
- Nightmare!! Help!! This thread will turn into scorched earth by AKB believers!!
- AKB Haters (I mean all of you out there), kneel and prostrate yourselves to the conquerors!
- I know how the BD wil l be packaged:
>> 3 limited editions (1 with photo, 1 with handshaking event ticket, 1 with special jacket cover) and 2 more standard editions
>> no OP/ED CD, buy BD to get the OP/ED song
>> Only in BD can you listen to commentaries made by AKB members
>> Dance PV for the OP will only be available in BD
- At least the staff are reliable, maybe I can watch it as just an anime without thinking of the real AKB
As for my view, I have made it clear herepost/500670/Music-The-Grand-Music-Discussion-Thread-2/#500670
In summary, I think such an unprecedented collaboration between the two pop culture media that Japan is arguably most famous for, idols and anime, is ambitious and a hugely positive development for both. This is history being made and I hope it will be a success, proving anime can reach out to more than just otaku and family/kids/shounen fares and expand the pie while opening another area for idols to showcase their talent and charm.
I'm going out of limb and predict the production values will be astronomical. Kawamori's productions always have high budget but we're talking about THE UNDISPUTABLE TOP MUSICAL ACT IN Japan here as a focus...and to drive the point home we have producer of Rebuild as the executive producer. On the staff side of things we also have likes of Okada and Ebata here, popular names right now... all of this practically screams "money"
I can imagine money being burnt to make it real cool stuff. We already know Kawamori do not skimp on cost and has high standard of what cool-looking anime should be like, and AKB is definitely not short in cash. Just look at the bestselling singles for the current year so far - 6 out of 10 are from AKB, including monopoly on all the top 3 slots (all over 1 million copies sold) !!
I presume these are preliminary design sketches
These sketches seem to be modelled after some of the central members of AKB48. Fanart, perhaps?
As soul.assassin said, it is official concept art also printed on newspaper.
Being a AKB fan, it is not difficult to tell they are the "Godly Eight" (some are pretty easy to tell, some less so)
From left to right:
篠田麻里子 Mariko Shinoda
板野友美 Tomomi Itano
大島優子 Yuuko Ooshima
前田敦子 Atsuko Maeda
小嶋陽菜 Haruna Kojima
高橋みなみ Minami Takahashi
柏木由紀 Yuki Kashiwagi
渡辺麻友 Mayu Watanabe
You can try to match up the Godly Eight in anime form with their real life counterpart in this magazine cover. Just bear in mind the order is not the same!
However, the actual AKB anime will not necessarily star these best known members. According to what I read in news account, the idea is to give the chance to members who have a real talent as seiyuu. And it is not just AKB48, audition will be held for >200 members of the 4 related teams: AKB48, SKE48, NMB48 and HKT48. Apparently ranking from "general election" will not count, though I suspect those who are most famous for being anime otaku (Mayuyu being the most prominent example) will have an advantage.
Besides its being an original anime, there is still no schedule announced yet, thus for the moment Kawamori's work on Aquarion should stay on schedule. What we know now is that only 9 will be selected to voice the anime. I suspect there will be a longish series of reality shows to document how the seiyuu are selected from all these >200 girls, and that would take time (and then there will be training etc). Here the role of veteran producers like Ootsuki could come in useful - it is likely that the final 9 may have very few well known names (I am counting Mayuyu will be one of them) so the big name of AKB alone may not generate a sensation effect.
Anyway, with Akimoto assigning Kawamori and Satelight into doing AKB48 anime I feel like things have come full circle in a sense as at least couple of AKB48 girls are Ranka fans (stumbled upon their blog posts on cosmic cuune last spring
) and IIRC there's still video of youtube of one of them performing Seikan Hikou on TV.
Do you remember who in AKB sang Seikan Hikou?
As I said my post in the music thread, it is also full circle for Kawamori. Instead of working virtual idols, he now gets real idols to work upon, which may have been his lifelong dream since he was a little boy.
Lastly let me translate the comments by Kawamori regarding this project:
I am thinking of fusing the latest CG technology with the "professional spirits" of those idols into a traditional animation that Japan prides herself on, and delivering to the whole world a touching work in which there are laughters, tears and dances and raise the spirit of everyone.
I plan to express the subtle expression and feelings of those girls by undergoing them via deformation process with warmth that can only be made by hand-drawn animation. I want to come up with a high quality video work that is dynamic and speedy while the girls' individual character will also come out.
The story will also be thoroughly original. It will be a tale that is fresh and can be enjoyed by everybody.
Please stay tuned to find out how the AKB48 members and the story will get involved with each other.
This raised my expectation.....
This has turned into a long post. So I will post the 4 weeks of Amazon BD sales ranking later....