Here's some choice excerpts (i.e. the good stuff) from my interview with the creators of Hatsune Miku that went up yesterday on Crunchyroll News. I post them here because the site is region blocked to Japan. Go here to read the whole thing.
Hiroyuki Itoh is the CEO of Crypton Future Media, and is joking referred to as “the father of Hatsune Miku”.
Wataru Sasaki was the developer of Character Vocal Series 01: Hatsune Miku and continues to develop the VOCALOID software.
There’s been some talk from fans who really want to see a VOCALOID anime, while others think the characters are fine now without a continuing story. Where do you stand on the idea of expanding the characters and their world?
Wataru Sasaki: Anime is made by old men (“ojisan” is the word he uses - PM). I think that Miku fan’s imaginations and the people who think about Miku’s different songs and styles are way more creative than anime. I have so much expectation for the young generation and I want Miku to be a container for the energy of those people. We don’t need anime because I think the fan’s creativity is at a higher level than anime. I want to keep the fans aware of that fact.
What has surprised you the most about the Miku phenomenon?
Hiroyuki Itoh: It’s only been about ten years since people started using the internet. And I think we are still in the process of discovering what can be done with it. During the process of distributing the internet to people, many things and industries will be replaced by newer forms. For example: music, e-commerce, or social networking sites like Facebook. Maybe an older institution like the telephone will shift into a totally new industry sometime soon. I won’t say that Hatsune Miku may destroy the music industry, but…I am looking forward to making some kind of impact. I feel like we are involved with something very new. I want Miku to be some kind of symbol or icon for the changing of industries. For the sake of a bright future, I hope that Miku will be recognized for that.
Sounds like the discovery of the atom…
Hiroyuki Itoh: Yeah, that’s right, just like the atom.
You told me before that “Understanding why Hatsune Miku is so popular among the youth all over the world will also give you understanding on the future of the entertainment business”. What do you think the future of the entertainment business looks like?
Hiroyuki Itoh: That’s a tough question. We should ask, “What is the entertainment business?” Is it the business of entertainment? Maybe the future of the entertainment business is no longer business. For example, right now, a lot of people are enjoying YouTube. The contents are made by users. The provider is not doing this as a business. The act of making contents itself is already entertainment. It’s just that there’s not so much money involved. But the consumers respond to the creator by replying with comments and clicking “like” buttons. Eventually the creator or provider might get some kind of reputation or value and can finally end up making business out of it. By leaving comments and interacting, consumers aren’t just consuming. They’re now shaping the entertainment business. That means, to consume entertainment is now equal to creating entertainment. So we need to redefine the meaning of what the entertainment business is. That is the future of the entertainment business. And Hatsune Miku is one of the experiments.
Wataru Sasaki: Right now, a lot of young people are consuming energy drinks and playing games on the internet. But who made the game they play? The game producer. But who ends up making money? Maybe the owner of the company. The more kids there are enjoying a game, spending their money on it, the more old guys, who have nothing to do with making their entertainment, wind up making money. I simply think that’s not cool. People that you don’t know, people that the game user has no relationship with; the more you spend your money, they gain your money. That’s a fact. This leads to a situation where it is harder and harder for creators to make a living. So, to create a good situation for creators and producers means to offer good entertainment that a lot of young people enjoy. That’s why redefining what “entertainment business” means is needed now. This is the part that we need to change the world about.
Shibuya-kei boy clothiers VICE FAIRY recently made some parka tie-up items with One Piece. I guess they need to make a new movie soon or something since these here parkas are now "more than half off" at fifty-two percent (i.e. 4,250 yen) at the rather amazing site known as craze.jp. The rhetorical question: who doesn't need the words VICE FAIRY boldly emblazoned on their chest in flamin' letters?
Today, I woke to find that producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki - who was to Yamato what Gene Roddenberry was to Star Trek – had died at age 75, drowned in a boating accident.
I’ll be eulogizing Nishizaki, perhaps my favorite all-time anime industry personality; a man equal parts Walt Disney and Scarface, at longer length at the Otaku USA website.
But for now, here’s a quick and dirty English translation of some thoughts on the man by Yoshiyuki Tomino, who was (of course) creator of Mobile Suit Gundam and an original staff member on the 1974 Space Battleship Yamato anime. It perfectly captures the deeply conflicted feelings that Nishizaki can bring up: how he changed the anime industry, pissed people off, inspired others, and did it all HIS WAY.
If I have to say it, producer Nishizaki is the kind of person I hate. I also have to admit he can be a likeable person, too. But I personally prefer not to like him.
Producer Nishizaki was the first person of his kind that I ever encountered in the anime industry. We (in the industry) were not used to meeting this type of person and everyone was stunned by his character. He was so pushy and he used his power to make the staff do whatever he wanted. Honestly, it scared us and we didn’t want him inside the world of anime.
But at the same time, I also thought that the world of anime would never change unless there was a producer who had good sense for sales and marketing. Maybe the reason I felt that way was because I also knew about the world of TV commercials.
Until that time, the anime world was just a gathering place for children. There weren’t so many people who were saying, “we have to take anime to the next level.” Which is what Nishizaki did…
I didn’t like the Yamato phenomenon when it became a hit. But at the same time I thought it was OK that people from outside the anime industry had come in. Instead of a creator, Nishizaki was more like a business person. The feeling of hate I had towards Yamato was more than just a reaction to his style of working. I felt like the times themselves had changed.
The anime industry started with Tezuka and his gang of manga-ka. We were offended by outsiders who used us for business. In that sense, you have to admit we were naïve. I had to accept the style of business that Nishizaki pursued.
We witnessed the process of Yamato getting more and more popular through TV and on-air. We wanted the TV version of Yamato to be a hit like a blockbuster movie and we wanted to create an original movie version. I envied Yamato’s success and thought that anime had a lot of potential. But I didn’t want Yamato to be the ONLY hit anime. So when I started working on Mobile Suit Gundam, I always felt in the back of my mind that “we need to beat that guy up”.
More than anything, I want everyone to copy and become like Nishizaki.
- Yoshiyuki Tomino
(quotes taken from Nishizaki memorial thread via 2chan, exact source: unknown)
I was casing out the men’s floors at the LUMINE EST shopping center at Shinjuku station today for some fresh fly threads when I stumbled across the startling sight of the LUMINERV limited-time store lurking within.
A quadruple set of life-size Ayanami Rei figures heralded a mini-stop of Neon Genesis Evangleion goods. From 10/8 to 11/10, this space on the 5th floor is home to the LUMINERV store (full name – no, I am not making this up: “LUMINERV: We’ll Equally Evaluate the Fashion and the Animation Images”) where the faithful and the curious alike can snatch up Eva polo shirts, daily planners, watches, belts, NERV eco-bags, coffee mugs, and stuff like that.
Other Eva collaboration goods were strewn about inside of other stores on the 5th and 6th floors, such as T-shirts (from Beams), jackets (from goa MEN), backpacks (from Manhattan Portage), sneakers (from Chapter), and even glasses frames (from Zoff). The same deals are going down at the LUMINE MAN store in Shibuya. Full campaign details with participating brands here.
Unlike a lot of the other men's stores in the EST, there actually appeared to be some customer interest in the LUMINERV shop, thus insuring that a.) copyright holder khara will continue to milk this sucker for all it’s worth and b.) the sales staff were too distracted to do anything about a menacing & evil foreigner taking pictures and video. This gift, I give to you...
I love Monchhichi Harlock's cholo hairnet. He needs laser-rapier or
a glass of wine tho.
believe: Monchhichi and
the cast of Galaxy Express 999! Quick, someone take Leiji Matsumoto to the hot
springs...Price is 2,520円-3,045円, about US thirty bucks.
walked by that Monchhichi store
in Asakusa beore, but I never went in...because Monchichi is "for
girls". Although...the online
store has a ton of other strange Monchhichi mash-ups including punk rocker and Chinese army
DISCUSSION TOPICS Can otaku content spread to the mainstream? Otaku subculture vs. mainstream anime and manga Divisions within the otaku community Moe and new models of creativity Otaku power, sexuality, and identification Ukiyo-e: 2010 is 1910 Japan as “the Other” Pachinko! Anime as nationalist propaganda machine Galgames and the end of the Japanese game industry