Animation Kobe 1997: An Attendee's Report

"Animation Kobe 1997" took place Nov. 23-24 of this year.
GAINAX received awards for the TV series version of "NEON GENESIS EVANGELION" last year, but this year both "Evangelion" movies had been nominated. In addition, the computer game "NEON GENESIS EVANGELION: Girlfriend of Steel" was nominated in the interactive software category (read: computer games). And finally, it had already been decided that Sagisu Shiro would receive this year's Best Music Score award for the "Evangelion" soundtrack.
GAINAX General Manager Takeda Yasuhiro took a group of staff with him to the Kobe Port Pier Hall for the event, and filed this report.

Sunday, Nov. 23:
Things got pretty lively, starting just after the hall was opened. A large crowd had formed outside the event hall. It being a Sunday, there were lots of parents on hand, with their kids. The showings for the nominated features at this event were free, and everyone was making absolutely certain of the screen times for the particular features they had come to see.

"DEATH•REBIRTH" started right after the opening ceremonies ended. A hush descended over the hall as the film began and everyone stared intently at the screen. Some people in the audience were even shedding tears near the ending...
After the screening was over, there were people talking about the ‚s‚uversion of the story, as well as the version they had just seen. Those of us who'd come from GAINAX confirmed with our own eyes just how vast the scope of Eva fandom is, and we all unwittingly broke into smiles.

In the lobby, there was a demo version of "Girlfriend of Steel". The sight of all the passersby who stopped short to get a good look at it warmed our hearts even more. We got in close, hearts going pitter-pat, to find out their reactions. They were talking solely about the characters in Eva, especially "Kirishima Mana", the new character made originally for the game! We were all as happy as could be.

Monday, Nov. 24:
This was a holiday, meaning that the crowd was every bit as big as the day before. "THE END OF EVANGELION" was screened in the afternoon. The attendees this time were even more intent than they were yesterday. And after it was over, we saw fans talking excitedly about their impressions of it. There's just no measuring how we felt at having the fans legitimize us.

Now, once the rest of the scheduled showings were over, the last, but by no means least, part of the event was the awards ceremony! The MCs were entertainer Minami Kaori and voice actor Kamiya Akira.
The first award presentation was for the Special Audience Choice Award, which was selected by ballots cast by the attendees themselves. Representatives for each of the nominated features lined up on the dais, while a spotlight swirled around the heads for one long, tense moment. Then it came to a stop--directly over the head of GAINAX's own Takeda Yasuhiro! Thanks to the enthusiastic suppport of the attendees, both Eva movies received this award.
Standing there on the dais, Takeda managed to get his comments out in between smiles, but it was clear nonetheless that he was delighted to receive this unexpected award.

Then it was time at last for the official awards to be presented.
In the Best Theatrical Film category, Miyazaki Hayao's record-setting "Mononokehime" took top honors, followed by "Shojo Kakumei Utena" in the Best TV Series category, and "Gundam Wing Endless Waltz" in the Best Originally Packaged Video Feature category. Then came the presentation of the Best Interactive Software award. Once more the spotlight went round and round, and it stopped on...Kato, publicity manager for "Girlfriend of Steel"!
Given that all the other nominees were for console game systems, that the award went to "Girlfriend of Steel" can be seen as a sort of vindication of gaming on personal computers.

Thus it was that Eva received a total of three awards: the "Special Audience Choice Award", the "Best Interactive Software" award, and the "Best Music Score" award, which had already been given to Sagisu Shiro. And we think it's all because of the unwavering support of you, our fans. And we'd like to take this space to extend our appreciation to you all. Thank you all very much! We hope that you'll like our future creations too. Stick with us!

Awards Comments

For the Special Audience Choice Award
and THE END OF EVANGELION: Air/For You, My True Heart

(Anno Hideaki, Chief Director)

For the Best Interactive Software Award
for "NEON GENESIS EVANGELION: Girlfriend of Steel"

I'd like to thank all of our fans. I believe that "NEON GENESIS EVANGELION: Girlfriend of Steel" was nominated from among all the multitudes of titles (of the five titles nominated in this category, only "Girlfriend" was a personal-computer game), and received this award, entirely because of you. Thank you very much.
(Kato, Publicity Manager)