Day 2 was by far our busiest day of the convention as we saw, among other stuff, the world premiere of the FLCL 2 trailer, 3 new Trigger properties announced, and much, much more. Check out our recap video then hit the jump for our individual takes.
Patrick's Day 2
Day 2 Recap
Day 2 started bright and early at the Aniplex of America panel at 11AM. No guests this time, but they had two PR reps out working the crowd that seemed very knowledgeable about the material, a welcome departure from the last time I went to their panel two years ago.
While the crowd got hype the first third of the panel was fairly slow with them showing trailers and talking about shows that are available streaming right now. The only highlight was a new subtitled promo video for ufotable’s Touken Ranbu, which began streaming the previous day.
After the now streaming section they moved to the now available (on physical media) section. No surprises in this section except for a new trailer for the Mahouka film, in theaters later this month. As fun as the hosts were they spent a little too much time vamping and had to rush through to get to the announcements. The announcements were chock full of BD release dates that you can find on their website, as well as a physical release for the Fate/Grand Order OVA and the Record of Grancrest War, a novel by the same author as Lodoss War.
Luckily enough, the Crunchyroll panel followed and I was able to sit in the same spot. The Crunchyroll panel was like the Aniplex of America panel: this season’s stream acquisitions along with a couple of surprises. The main surprise for me are plans to bring the Japanese dub for the first three volumes of RWBY to the site on July 7th; the Japanese dub is full of A-list seiyuu including Ami Koshimizu (Ryuko from Kill la Kill).
Crunchyroll also announced a couple of Fall simulcasts: the new Kino’s Journey and a new series based on Harajuku mascot girls named Urahara. The other big drop was Seven Seas joining their digital manga brand, allowing for Centaur’s Life, Isekai Shokudou, and Knight’s and Magic to have their respective manga up while their anime are simulcasted.
The last bit of info from CR was about their upcoming Crunchyroll Expo in Santa Clara. They have most of the main voice cast of FFXV attending, as well as famed animator Hiroshi Shimizu and Final Fantasy artist Yoshitaka Amano. Amano will be bringing along an entire art exhibit, very exciting for someone with as huge a portfolio as him.
The definite highlights of the day came next with the FLCL and TRIGGER panels. We have full write-ups for both so please do check those out. After leaving the TRIGGER panel I headed upstairs to check out the world premiere of Ancient Magus Bride.
This premiere was a real treat, they finally adapted my favorite part of the manga and did it perfectly. Without spoiling anything the anime manages to keep the same beautiful atmosphere of the manga while making improvements wherever possible. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a perfect adaptation of a manga I was sure couldn’t fit a tv screen.
From Magus Bride I went to the JAST USA panel, hoping to finally get a release date for Eiyuu Senki. Unfortunately, it seems like a bug is preventing the game from going to press just yet, but they’re still planning on a summer release date. The rest of the panel was full of new game announcements, including Majikoi from Minatosoft, a huge pickup for sure.
The last surprise was the announcement that JAST is working with Oyari Ashito to bring his new game, Machine Child, out in the states at the same time as Japan. Machine Child plays like his last game, Little Witch Romanesque. The story is about raising humanoid robots, with art Oyari himself and music by NieR: Automata’s Hoashi Keigo. If you want to support the project it’s active on a Japanese website similar to Patreon at enty.jp/machine_child.
I ended the day with the Future of Galgun panel. For those of you who don’t know, Galgun is an on-rails arcade style shooter about shooting high school girls with your “pheromone shot” – you can probably guess the tone of the game from that. As someone who is into both VR and that tone of game it got me pretty hyped. It allows the player to use cover similar to the Time Crisis series while having enemies come from all directions thanks to the use of the VR helmet. They had their demo running on the Vive HTC – I really hope they can get it working on the PSVR so more people can experience it. The audience is out there.
Marc's Day 2
This was my first panel of the day and what a way to start it all off, let me tell you. It was hosted by Maki Terashima-Futura and Mitsuhisa Ishikawa from Production IG, and Jeson Demarco and Bill Austin from Toonami. An exclusive poster with the FLCL 2 logo and a new design for Haruko was given away, featuring some clothing and musical instrument changes that are definitely worth noting. Maki didn’t waste any time showing us what we all wanted to see, as one of the first things done was showing the trailer (more than once). It features several new characters, including our new main character Hidomi, a mysterious masked woman and presumably Hidomi’s high school friend and love interest. It also featured an appearance by Haruko at the end which of course sent the crowd into a frenzy. The audio for the entire trailer was a brand-new never-before heard song from the Pillows, something I think everyone was expecting but still very excited to hear anyways. Some original locales from the first series were teased, including the giant iron, so I think it should be expected that we return to the town from the first series at some point in the new series. Other assorted things I noticed were some very Evangelion-inspired environments, a giant Godzilla-like eye, and an insane-looking super sentai-like battle suit shown for a split-second. No doubt these will all make more sense in context but they were still really exciting to get glimpses of.
After the trailer was shown a few times, the team on stage launched into explaining how and why this new series was being made. Demarco explained that the story focused on our main character Hidomi and her high school friend/love interest getting caught up in Haruko’s return, and the greater battle between Medical Mechanica and the pirate king Atomsk. Ishikawa-san (the president of IG) then explained how they wanted this series to be like if IG and Bones collaborated, and said that Masahiko Minami (the president of Bones) felt the same way. Maki followed this up with the exciting announcement that animation staff from Bones would be working heavily on the show, featuring animators from One Punch Man, One Piece, Space Dandy, My Hero Academia, Psycho Pass, Naruto and much more. Throughout the panel Ishikawa-san emphasized that they were using FLCL 2+3 to nurture the current generation of young animators in the same way the first series did way back in the day, which is really encouraging to hear as it seems everyone involved is very concerned with respecting the legacy of FLCL while bringing it into the modern day.
After this, an audience question and answer section started and while usually this is where I’d check out of most panels, this time it actually netted us some useful information. The first big chunk of new information I was excited to hear was the fact that the Pillows are not only providing music for FLCL2+3, but actually scoring it as well, meaning all the music for the two new series will be completely original. Demarco then went on to talk about how since Toonami and Adult Swim are on the production committee for the show, they have actual creative input and are focused just as much as everyone else on making sure FLCL 2+3 stand alone as their own series and aren’t just a basic sequel to the original. Maki spoke briefly about the new series’ release in Japan, and revealed that IG are partnering with Toho for this in order to gain a wider audience in Japan than perhaps the original series had (the original series sees almost no play in Japan nowadays, especially compared to the US). Demarco confirmed what was held to be an inevitability at this point, that the dub would be premiering on Toonami in real time as the episodes are released in Japan.
One question was particularly interesting to me, as it involved the idea of Gainax veterans from Khara and Trigger being involved in these new series. Ishikawa-san then revealed that not only would some of them be involved, but that some of their episode directors already lined up are “Gainax veterans”. This is again very good news for the new series as one of the things that made the original so unique was the touch of young animators and directors at Gainax back in the day. One of the more interesting things that came up during random conversation was the fact that apparently Production IG has been constantly asking the staff at Adult Swim about broadcast standards for nudity on US television. Ishikawa-san then followed this up later when answering a question about why they waited so long to make a sequel with “Well, we waited until you all weren’t minors anymore” lending credence to the idea that this series might be FLCL grown up a bit. Another interesting question was regarding the choice of overall director Motohiro and writer Hideto Iwai, to which Ishikawa-san responded that Motohiro directed the Psycho-Pass movie and was approved by Kazuya Tsurumaki, and Iwai was brought in by Motohiro himself because he believed him to be the best fit for the job. Tsurumaki apparently attended several stage productions Iwai had written and gave his wholehearted approval after that, which was good to hear.
A little bit later, Ishikawa-san also somewhat casually dropped that a manga adaptation of the new series would be in the works at some point, followed by Demarco saying that FLCL 2 and 3 are their own separate series and would premiere at different dates in 2018. Finally, Demarco was asked again about a specific release date and while he wouldn’t give specifics, he let go that it would “not be too far into 2018”. With that, the panel ended and we moved on very quickly to the next exciting panel full of announcements, which was Studio Trigger.
Good Smile Company x Overwatch
This one was relatively uneventful. In attendance on stage were Aki Takanori (CEO of GSC), Takuro Akiyama (Planning Director of GSC), Kyojin Nakajima (Planning Manager at GSC), I.G. Sakai (Planning at Max Factory), and surprise guest Adam Gershowitz (Senior Game Producer at Blizzard). The first half of the panel detailed the prototype and approval process for Nendoroid Tracer and Mei, and Figma Tracer. It involved a lot of photos of early prototypes, internal comment sheets, and back and forth with the Overwatch art team. Next, the unpainted prototype of Figma Genji was shown off, as well as the painted prototype of Nendoroid Mercy. They looked pretty much how you would expect those things to look. Finally, they began a special announcements section that was 100% Nendoroids. Below are the full list of Nendoroids they announced:
-Yuri Plisetsky (Yuri on ICE!!)
-Alphonse Elric (Full Metal Alchemist)
-Lotte and Sucy (Little Witch Academia)
-Roy Mustang (Full Metal Alchemist)