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Anime Expo - Friday Report

By: Andrew Tei
Date: Friday, July 05, 2002

Nobuhiro Watsuki

WARNING! The last question listed at the bottom of this page contains a major Kenshin spoiler. Do not read past question number 31 if you haven't seen the second Kenshin OVA series

Oh dear GOD this line is long. We finally made it inside O_o..... we'd given up hope. So here we are tired (Rei faaar more than me - he was in the AMV line this morning) and hungry and seriously lacking caffeiene. Here's the Q&A; session.

Question:1. What was your involvement in the OVA?

Answer:The director was in charge, thought Watsuki checked in on the script and the designs (making sure that Tomoe's ears didn't show). Watsuki said he felt frustrated that the OVA series seemed to more interesting than the manga!

Question:2. What character is Kenshin are you most attached to?

Answer:Yahiko, heh. Not strong but WANTS to be strong and be more manly. Watsuki would like to be someone like Kenshin, but his life style just doesn't match this.

Question:3. Saitou vs. Kenshin - who would win?

Answer:If it was purely a fight - Saito, but if he was protecting something - Kenshin.

Question:4. The ending of the Kenshin manga seemed rushed, were you satisfied with the ending?

Answer:He is happy with how he ended Kenshin - it was a good place to end. Most series keep being pushed and pushed until they lose popularity ad die. Watsuki was glad Kenshin did not end like this.

Question:5. How much research did you do on the Meiji period and its people?

Answer:Kenshin started as a shot story without much research. In the year and half, he had between when the series started he read a LOT of books. He wanted to draw kimonos and swords, so its not very accurate to the Meiji period.

Question:6. Why did you choose the Meiji Period?

Answer:Watsuki didn't want to draw the old hairstyle from Edo period, as it looks kinda strange. He is also a big fan of the Shinsengumi, but he couldn't do the actual revolution since he wanted to do more human drama.



Question: 8. What do you think of the TV arcs that were not based on the manga at all?

Answer:You can't help having original episodes for a TV series. They could have gone even wilder, dragging Kenshin to Hokkaido or the US.

Question:9. In regards to the anime - TV vs. OVA, happy vs. drama, action va. violence - in retrospect which one did you perfer? Which one represented your work best?

Answer:(sigh) In a lot of ways the OVA for the art, but the happy happy feel of the TV series was also good. Watsuki wants to continue to write what he believes, and he does like happy endings.

Question:10. Will you ever write the story of Soujiro's ten year vagabond trip?

Answer:Drawing such a thing would be really depressing, and he'd rather write what happens AFTER. It might make a good series.

Question:11. What are you favorite aspects of Kenshin and what do you have in common with him?

Answer:Kenshin can sacrifice himself and use his sword for others. Watsuki feels he is most like Kenshin in how he draws upon the past and gets all gloomy about it. Sometimes Watsuki would think "Why can't Kenshin look FORWARD for once??"

Question:12. How was Sanuske created?

Answer:Sanuske was created much later then Kaoru and Yahiko. Watsuki needed a guy friend for Kenshin who would punch him and say "WAKE UP". Wasukie feels he didn't write all he could have about Sanuske, and that a character like him would make an interesting main character.

Question:13. What advice to an amatuer artist would you give?

Answer:Learn how to convey what you think is interesting to others, so THEY find it interesting. Good art is secondary to this. If others don't find it interesting, its not gonna work.

Question:14. In the last volume of the manga, you mentioned working on a series staring Yahiko. Is there a possibility of you still doing this?

Answer:Watsuki doesn't have any plans to write any seqeuls for a while, and the plans for his next series are in the works. Maybe in 4 to 5 years.

Question:15. In the last manga, you talked about yourself as a commercial artist. A lot of commercial artists get stuck in a rut, do find yourself doing this?

Answer:Watsuki says you should draw what you are currently in love with. You want to draw what you like, but you also want people to like it. He doesn't draw just for the money, and doesn't want to always draw in the same style.

Question:16. Since little of the Jinshu arc was animated were you satified with the end (whether this referred to the end of TV or the new OVA I can't tell) ?

Answer:He would have been happy to see more but its not like he can just say "please make more". If there is enough fanbase saying "We want more" Sony might get off their . . .

Question:17. What historical figures had the most impact on the creation of Kenshin?

Answer:There was an assasin of the revolution(who's name was missed), who had his own mind, and never really bent to the government. He did end up repenting for his killing, however he DID get executed for never submitting to the government.

Question:18. What parts of Kenshin are you most and least proud of and what would you could?

Answer:He was very proud of Yahiko's battle around vol. 5 Watsuki was very happy with how the character was protrayed and got a lot of positive feedback. Watsuki was not proud with Jinshu arc, since he put in too many enmies. He would have made more of contrast between Einishi and Kenshin. With Enishi by himself, fighting for what he lost.

Question:19. How did you create Shishio and which villians are your favorite?

Answer:Shishio IS Watsuki's favorite villian. He portrays all the vile parts of his mind ^^

Question:20. What are you other favorite manga series?

Answer:Watsuki can't really read it manga like a normal fan, but he enjoys One Piece. He thinks One Piece will make it here.

Question:21. What about manga works your by friends?

Answer: The One Piece artist was an assistant of his, but Watsuki doesn't think of him as an apprentice anymore Now he's a rival.

Question:22. How much fanfic and doujinshi have you read about Kenshin and what do you think about what they do with your characters? (GREAT reaction here from Watsuki)

Answer: We does read stuff he's sent, but he doesn't go looking for it. He doesn't appreciate people who draw it JUST cause its popular and will sell. If you are drawing it out of love, well, its their choice even if its smut . . or yaoi. But to note - he has his own Kenshin worldview, so don't ask him to tell you that if Kenshin and Sanosuke are togther (a fan in Japan did this) - PLEASE don't do that.

Question: 23. What is the origin of Oro?

Answer:He was surpised it caught on so much, since it's just a sort of "huh" thing. It was kind of a placeholder and he ran away with it. Kenshin ended up using it more than he thought he would.

Question: 24. What is your next project?

Answer:He's sorry but he can't discuss much about it yet. But he wants to draw something involving alchemey, everything else is still secret. If everything goes well, we'll start seeing it near the end of 2002, or the begining of 2003.

Question: 25. How did you come up with Kamatari Honjo? How does it feel to see people cosplay your characters?

Answer: The idea was provided by the artist for One Piece. The idea of the cross dresser came from a pun. Then it became a matter of "what type of queer", and he went with "cute" type. Watsuki appreciates all the Kenshin coplayers, and he takes photos of them

Question: 26. Are you going to Comiccon?

Answer:He did go last year, but he can't since he's working on new series.

Question:27. Do you have a martial arts background, and it seems like Kenshin never changes his clothes in the TV series?

Answer:Watsuki has practiced Kendo and his love of sword comes fom that. He's very weak thought, and if he was a good kendoist he wouldn't be drawing manga. Little kids think characters change if you change their clothing.

Question: 28. Where did you get the ideas for the special attacks, and what is Shishio's ????

Answer: A lot of the moves are based on real martial arts moves, just over exaggerated. The other half are created by him flinging a sword around in the privacy of his room. Others are homages to favorite games, like Samurai showdown. I couldn't make out the rest.

Question: 29. What do you think of the success of your former assistants?

Answer: One Piece and Shaman King both became great successed as anime. Both are now equals and are good friends. They all used to all live together, but they betrayed him and moved out.

Question:30. It was a great shock to see that Kenshin was such a killer in his teens, so how could you make him so young?

Answer: The editors wouldn't let Kenshin be in his 30s for the series, and 28 was as young as he could get. Looking at the time period, it wasn't so strange as life spans were MUCH shorter then.

Question:31. Were you influenced by Mushashi's teachng in anyway?

Answer: There aren't too many similarities between the two except for strength of self and strength to protect.

The panel ended with a lot of applause for Watsuki, and it was off for caffiene.

Q&A; report by Mariela Ortiz(Sapphire), with editing by Andrew Tei(Reikun)

Please continue down for a question which contains a MAJOR SPOILER if you haven't seen the second OVA series which has not been released in the US yet


Question:7. SPOILER - Why did you kill off Kenshin at the end of the new OVA?

Answer:Watsuki didn't have any input in it, he let the director run wild with it. If he kept drawing the manga, Kenshin's death wouth probably have gotten to Kenshin death, but he didn't want to do it. Kenshin went through so much crap and deserved a happy ending. But he can't say which is right and which is wrong, it's a personal taste thing. For the DVD box for OVAs, Watsuki wrote some comments about the ending. So hopefully ADV will translate it.

Central Park Media

John O'Donnell and Justin Sevakis were present.

New acquisitions are ALL OF UTENA, Alien 9, DNA^2(TV and OVA), and Neko Jiro-so

The first item John brought up was Slayers, which he admits to being an embarassment to CPM. 6 episodes from the new remaster had the same phase inverted audio. They analyzed the entire chain, and CPM says they screwed up. You can exchange the DVDs at the spot at a convention. Plus you also get a coupon for a small discount on one of their boxsets.

John then proceeded with a display of their catalog for the upcoming months. Some of the extras on the Project A-ko DVD include some of the extras on the Japanese LDs. DVNR was used on Record of Lodoss War Enhanced and Project A-ko to restore the video. The Project A-ko boxset will contain the CD soundtrack. There are so hilarious interviews with the Project A-ko creative staff.

There will be alternate angles on the MD Geist DVD with an amazing 26 Extras including commentary! Oh joy! Basically for the alternate angles, you can watch MD Geist with images of the comic book CPM did. There is also a storyboard version.

There will also be a Mecha Masters boxsets, that includes such titles as MD Geist 1 & 2, Cybernatics Guardian, and Genocyber. The soundtrack for MD Geist will be included in the boxset. Actually, there will be 2 bonus CDs in there altogether, plus a bonus DVD.

The long awaited second YYH movie will be coming out in October, with the title of Poltergeist Report for the name of the movie. Harmagedon will also include an audio commentary with Rintaro. The Grave of the Fireflies DVD will have an interview with Takahata.

BAAF also is locked in for the next 4 years at. BAAF will have the US premiere of Millenium Actress. The BAAF will also have the premiere of the English dub of the Cowboy Bebop movie.

In November, we will see the first volume of The Black Rose Saga. There will also be a Legend of Himiko Boxset which wraps up the series.

In December, Vol 3 of Patlabor will come out and they will speed up production.

We then moved onto a video demonstration of CPM titles, seeing some of the extras that they will be included. The comic alternate angle was shown. Basically you can zooms and moving pans of comic pages.

ANIME 18 - "WHERE THEY BANG YOU FOR YOUR BUCK" - You got the new La Blue Girl remastered DVD Collection coming out in August. The cut out footage will not be restored. Love Lessons and Twin Angels Vols 1 & 2 will be out in September/October. In November/December there is La Blue Girl Returns Collection, and Twin Angels Vol 3 & 4.

Report by Andrew Tei(Reikun), Mariela Ortiz(Sapphire), and Jason Yeh(wolve)


Keith ran the panel.

Manga in negotiations for 3rd Patlabor Movie

There will be an EVA movie box(decemeber), and Keith says they will have the DVDs out on 7/30 and 9/24. You will be order the box. Keith claimed to have the check disc, but we did not see it.

Guyver is being worked on. It will have the Japanese Language Track. Virus Buster Serge in Septemeber on 3 DVDs. There are legal issue with the Fist of the North Star movie. They claim Giant Robo for next year, and ROD(moved to Apr 2003) will be on 1 DVD. There no dates for MKR. Gunbuster also supposedly will be next year. New Dominion class wil lalso be coming. Astroboy is moved to 2003 due to Spielberg having a license for the CG movie.

Report by Jason Yeh(wolve)

Right Stuf

Shawn Kleckner ran the panel.

They are about to celebrate their 15 year anniversary. Its a big year for anniversaries. First off though was a demonstartion of the KKNJ Volume 1 DVD.

Acquisitions include, Gravitation - TV, Muryo, Nonamura Hospital, Hooligan, and Spotlight

Some adult titles that we are still working on getting correct tiles include: Dark, Lovedoll, Girl Next Door, Ijiri Sisters, Tres Marias, and more to come.

We should be getting a complete list in the next day and be able to detail which titles are REALLY adult, and which are just ecchi.

They also have the Live Action Angel of Darkness movie.

Things in production - Dagazier 3 is dubbed and produced, so it will be the next up. KO Beast dubbing is about to start. Comic Party they HOPE to have started by the end of the year

Gigantor, which they are releaseing with Rhino in September will be in a box set a la Transformers - it is just the dub - but the transfer is completely new. Similarly, Kimba DVDs are coming in early 2003. They are working with Rhino because it allows for a better transfer of series with old film elements.

About Boogiepop and the home vid vs. TV footage, they are not getting a lot of response from the licensor - so any kind of rerelease would not be anytime soon.
Comic Party - will probably no more than 4 discs, they pretty much got all the extras from the licensor, including interviews with the Japanese voice actors. In fact, starting with volume 2 of Karekano they too will have interviews with the Japanese VAs. He does not anticipate the rest of the show being as delayed as the first disc, disc 2 is almost ready to go into proofing.

In non-TRSI anime related news - but related to their store, the new slayers replacement discs are in. Again. They should be getting sent out now. And expect empty esca boxes to go on sale in about two weeks LIMITED LIMITED.

There was nothing specific to be said about getting Yamamoto TV. And the remaining few catalog titles they have, it very much depends on the status of the license, and do they even have DVD rights.

Report by Mariela Ortiz(Sapphire), Andrew Tei(Reikun), and Danny Hong(Merliwolf)


Shizuki ran this panel.

Synch Point is now officially the production division of AnimeGamers which is an arm of Brocolli International. Thanks to all the corporate restucturing, many projects were halted - they are sorry about that.

She believes that some places will probably get FLCL somehwat early. However, she was not able to bring an actual disc along, merely two proofs, one for the dub, which was quite . . . interesting and one of the director's commentary. It begins with a whole discussion on lefties vs. righties - apparently, it does have a bearing on the show. The dub does keep the honorifics. There are no current plans for a FLCL box set.

The second sub track that was used on the first Gonna be an Angel disc may not be used on future releases.

With the whole reorganization they aren't aquiring anything new at the moment.

Interesting non SP note - the Bebop movie does have same ADR writer as the series.

Report by Mariela Ortiz(Sapphire), editing by Andrew Tei(Reikun)


Jake Forbes, Joel Barral and Mike Kiley ran this panel.

Viva la MANGA!

The TOKYOPOP Manga Revolution

Or so their powerpoint presentation said! For the Right to

Left Manga campaign has exceeded all their expectations.
And accordingly the first part of the presentation was

centered around the manga and print portions of the


Their new artbook line is about to launch with the CCS

artbooks (which should come out every other month) and then

followed by the Magic Knight Rayearth artbooks. In both

cases they are stiving to make them as much as possible a

recreation of the Japanese editions. Though I'm pretty

sure MKR will NOT be hardcover. Part of the reason for

choosing these to launch that line is that the name "CLAMP"

is meaning a lot in the book business these days. (Which

is their reasoning why a relatively new series like Chobits

is selling so well)

In the fine tradition of creating new words - their film

comics line are being dubbed Cinemanga. The first of these

are the Cardcaptors ones already on the shelves.

Future volumes and titles in the manga line will include

the color pages that were in the Japanese collected

editions. Their upcoming release of WISH will have all its

color pages AND what were the undercovers in the Japanese

release, will be IN the volumes, so fans here won't miss

out on that art.

As a side note I should point out that several more volume

2s were given away or were for sale here - so those of you

waiting for Chobits 2 at your store - it getting there

SOON. That didn't stop the feeding frenzy here though!

Despite our thinking that this panel would be void of

announcements - two things WERE announced, the Akira film

books (no date but soon) and the original Lupin the Third

manga by Monkey Punch, which should be starting in

November. There will be more details on that release at


In the world of anime - while no more details were given on

the 3 disc St. Tail set that will wrap up the series, a

tentative time frame of EARLY NEXT YEAR was given.

With Vampire Miyu about to wrap, Joel hopes to be making

more vampire related announcements in the future, but we'll

have to ponder the meaning of that.

For GTO, 5 DVDs will be out by the end of the year, and

both volumes 4 and 5 will have interviews with the mangaka.

They promise that much GTO merchandise is coming.

As for the future -
1st and 2nd quarter 2003 should Brigadoon and Marmalde Boy,

with Brigadoon planned for 6 DVDs. Since the MB manga is

doing well, they have good expectations for the anime.

More details on both of those should come by the end of the

year, as current production wrap up.

Also set for sometime in 2003 are Initial D, and Reign (AKA

Alexander.) ID is their marquee title, the one they intend

to get on TV and market for all its worth but there are

still no details on a release. However this push on that

title may lead to things that will diplease many fans -

starting with volume 2 of the manga, the characters have

all been renamed, and while we are still promised "the

original Initial D that you fell in love it," and thanks to

the wonders of DVD that seems possible for the anime, the

manga seems to be stuck. They seem to believe they have

the Third Stage movie, but no one seemed entirely sure.

To answer a question asked every week on the manga forums,

YES they do still have the Karekano manga but they have no

date other than "sometime in the future." There are

apparently many parties that have a say in this release,

and pleasing all of them has proven difficult.

As the panel ended and we were all being rushed out of the

room for the GXP presentation, we had many questions left

unasked, so I would like to thank both Jake Forbes and Joel

Barral for taking some time out of their schedules to

answer a few more for me. (And deal with my babble)

The reason GTO 4 is coming out so much later than 3 is

simple, 3 came out far sooner than planned. It happened to

be ready in time.

Reign will be on 4 discs and the mysterious reason for its

name change - "Reign" is a more evokative name than

Alexander. It better sets the tone . . . and the logo

looks cooler.

While nothing is definate with Marmalade Boy, it will

probably have a similar release style to GTO in terms of

episode count.

The ongoing "sometimes yes, sometimes no" translating sound

fx in their manga line should be standardized by the August

releases, which is to retouch little assides and subtitle

larger sounds that are a part of the art. The early messes

were due to several different people working seprerately to

get the books out fast. GTO is particularly problematic

with its tons of small print - and a monthly release

schedule, but they think the kinks have been ironed out. If

all goes well these things will being fixed in future


The remaining monthly issue for St. Tail and Miracle Girls

have officially been cancelled, but they are still commited

to finishing both series in GN form.

One reason for the apparent weirdness in when Diamond gets

their books, vs. when other get their books is that they

have switched to a new printer - so Diamond doesn't pick

from them directly anymore. TP sends the books to them AND

to other channels, and since bookstores go though 3 levels

of distributors, sometimes they will get them first,

sometimes they will get them weeks later.

Shaolin Sister and other delayed titles are still in the

works, they have not disapeared.

Report by Mariela Ortiz(Sapphire)


After a long day of going to running to panels, I had one last item on my schedule. Nightjar, LLC was going to be attending the con, and I definitely wanted to talk to them. Akira, GateKeepers, Nanako, Sol Bianca, Trigun, Vandread, GTO and Real Bout High School are just a few of the anime DVD they've worked on.

Our meeting place was going to be the Hyatt Lobby, and as soon as I got there I realized what a mistake that was. Tons of cosplayers and con-goers everywhere. Luckily only after 2 minutes I found them, just outside the lobby bar. What a great place to have an interview :)

I was introduced to Felix Mack, Julian Mack, and Jason Pickersgill, a bonus! Jason of Jason71Design has done cover designs for a variety of Pioneer titles including Fushigi Yuugi, Sol Bianca, Gatekeepers, and Serial Experiment Lain. Felix is the Art Director and works on animation, layout, and graphics. Julian does the audio side of the menu and writes music.

Andrew:How does a menu project start? For example, how did TokyoPop and you approach the design of the menus for Real Bout High School?

Felix:First, we watch the show. Next we at Nightjar come up with some ideas and present them to TokyoPop. TokyoPop then reviews it and comes back with theirs. Eventually we both come to a middle ground. For Real Bout High School, the video games was actually a struggle for a while. Video games menus are typically very limited so it took a while to come up with something that would work. Many of the characters seemed like Street Fighter characters to me, like Cammy and Chun Li, so it seemed very natural.

Andrew:How do you determine the layout for the menu?

Felix:Basically, we just determine the layout on paper. We do the front end part which includes producing the artwork, laying it out, coming up with graphics, and menu navigation. The compression studio then takes all take, and while working on the video they code up the menu system. It's the structure of it that we work on.

Andrew:How did work go on the Trigun menus?

Felix:That got pretty challenging by Volume 6. You want to be able to create something that looks cool, but you also have a bunch of titles to work on. By volume 6, you don't want to do something that looks repetitive. When we started working on anime menu, they were typically just stills and very few assets are available. Most of the art in the Trigun menus were created by us.

Andrew:I've been hearing a lot about assets lately, especially due to the Right Stuf's release of Karekano. What are assets exactly, and how many are there typically?

Felix:Artwork. Line art. Any individual element. Source material. Hi-res scans. Typically stuff not from the video. All of that can be an asset. Older showers have very little material we can use for the menus. Then you get a title like GateKeepers and all of a sudden you have seven CDs worth of material to use. Akira was very good with over 5000 stills available. Older titles are very hard to get stuff. All the new digital stuff ....they have tons. Not as bad as covers, where you need really hi-res art.

Andrew:How long does it take to produce your part of the menu?

Felix:About 3-4 weeks

Andrew:What are some of your current projects?

Felix:The newest item I'm working on is the Armitage OAVs. I just started working on it before Anime Expo.

Andrew:What have you done besides anime?

Felix:We've done one DVD for New Line Cinema (Lost Souls). A lot of the work we do is for promotional items. Hollywood can be hard to break into.

Andrew:How big is Nightjar?

Felix:Nightjar is a core of 4 people, with other people hired as occasion needs it.

Andrew:How long as Nightjar been around?

Felix:We've been doing DVD menus since 1998, but we started with music production much earlier.

Using that as a cue, it was time to ask Julian a few questions

Andrew:How does music part of menu creation work?

Julian:It depends. Sometimes they give us the sound track, and sometimes they don't. Due to legal issues sometimes they cannot produce the sound track. We typically don't get sound effects either and have to recreate them from scratch. EDITOR NOTE: They don't get access to the sound effects track that the dubbing studio gets. END NOTE. Music typically runs at a standard of around 40 seconds, and I aim to make the first 25 seconds the most exciting part. Most menu selections are made in that time frame. The timing of the music must be carefully edit to be right, must be matched to the menu, and timed to the video.

Andrew:What music projects have you worked on?

Julian:We pre mixed the OST audio to 5.1, but didn't do the final stem mix. What you hear on the 5.1 player is our stuff seperate, without the effects and voice tracks added.

Seeing Jason was finished with a beer, I then turned my attention to him.

Andrew:What are some of the covers that you've worked on?

Jason:Hellsing, Sol Bianca, all the Fushigi Yugi boxsets, and GateKeepers.

Andrew:What resources are you given to work on the cover?

Jason:First I meet with the producer of the project in order to find out what direction he wants to go in. Next we work together on a concept. I like to bring in some outside elements to the design so that it won't look very generic. I typically try to go for the "badass" kind of feel. Usually I try to do something very artistic and subtle and the producers reel me back in since it also needs to be marketable. That made projects like Fushigi Yuugi very interesting since I got to work on something very different. Whether, it was read, blue, black, or green.

Andrew:What about the blurbs on the back of the DVD case? Do you come up with those?

Jason:That's all marketing. Layout is all mine though. Take the slipcases for Fushigi Yuugi. Pioneer wanted them, but I came up with the design for them.

Andrew:What are some of the difficulties taht come up during the production of a dvd menu?

Felix:Things typically go very well, but sometimes there are missing assets and legal issues come up. For instance, a show is produced by Pioneer LDC, but the manga was in Kodansha, but this picture belongs to NewType. You have to be very careful about what images you use anfd everything needs to be approved. Time can also be a big issue.

Julian:Some music pieces are geared towards a specific scene, so that when you try to use it for a menu, you have to go all the way back to the original composer to get permission and arrange royalties.

Felix:One of the hardest parts is balancing something that looks cool, versus something that is usuable. Even something cool has to be useable. Even is something looks look, it has to be useful or some one will complain about it.

Andrew:So, what about Easter Eggs?

Felix:The producer typically decides that. Sometime he wants to do something specific, but at other times you have something that doesn't easily fit anywhere else so you place it somewhere. I'd rather make things easily available.

I would like to thanks Felix, Julian, and Jason for making themselves available for this interview. Here's looking at more excellent Nightjar menus to come!


Shoji Kawamori (Escaflowne TV director/writer/supervisor) , Minoru Takanashi (Escaflowne TV series and movie producer), Masahiko Minami (Escaflowne TV series and movie producer, also founder of Bones) and Egan Loo (panel host & maintainer of Escaflowne Compendium) were present at the panel.

Egan Loo started the panel by introducing everyone and having them say a few words. A representative from Bandai Ent. then took the mic for a few minutes to promote the upcoming Escaflowne TV box set and Escaflowne movie regular and Ultimate editions. After this, the panel jumped right into Questions & Answers. Many of the questions to Kawamori were commonly asked ones, so I did not bother to write those down. Here's a list of questions I thought were more interesting.

Note: This is not an exact transcription of what was said during the panel.

  • Q) Would you like to see more characters like Hitomi in anime?

  • A) Kawamori likes to do stuff that no has before (so in other words, yes).

  • Q) How was it like to work with Yoko Kanno?

  • A) Kawamori has been working with Kanno since Macross Plus and is quite happy with her music. Kanno is quite unique and that's why he enjoys working with her. Minami has worked with Kanno on Cowboy Bebop. He noticed that she comes out with something completely different for each anime series.

  • Q) Where did the idea to use Isaac Newton as a model for Dornkirk (leader of Zaibach) come from?

  • A) Kawamori answers by saying that Newton was an alchemist and wrote a book on alchemy. Kawamori came up with the theory that Newton discovered the "power" [of Atlantis]. He designed Dornkirk as not a bad guy.

  • During the Q&A;, Egan Loo would display appropiate parts of his website via a laptop connected to the TVs. After the the Q&A; sesssion, he showed the Arjuna trailer from the Bandai 2002 promo dvd. Closing statements followed and then the panel ended.

    Report by Jason Yeh(Wolve)

    Anime Music Video Contest

    Hooo boy. Where to start?

    Basically whatever things that could have possibly have gone wrong went wrong. To start with, the line for the AMV competition was non-existant. It was simply a completely unorganized mob of people waiting in front of the door. The doors didn't open until a couple hours after seating was supposed to have started. People were starting to do their own entertainment from stripping in front of the crowd (nothing naughty, mind you) to holding up laptops with AMVs playing. This continued on for roughly an hour and a half.

    Eventually we were finally let in, and we sat in our assigned seats as this was a ticketed event. Being an AMV creator, I had priority seating way up front about two rows away from the Guests of Honor. There was even more waiting, with the tech crews running all around and looking visibly stressed and fatigued.

    Paper airplanes were thrown from the upper levels to see how close they could get to the stage as people cheered them on. Some people tried to start doing a wave, and it took a while for one to catch but once it did, the GOHs were facinated by it. Two of them walked up on stage and managed to start one themselves.

    More paper airplanes were thrown, this time from the lower levels, with one of them hitting one of the GOHs in the back of the head. She didn't seem annoyed by it and seemed to smile it off, but it still wasn't cool. Even MORE paper airplanes were thrown, this time really itty-bitty ones that had a lot of speed to them. Whoever made some of them must work for Lockheed Martin or something, because one of them punctured the screen and got stuck in it. One of the tech people, looking WAY less than pleased, came up and chastized the crowd (using every ounce of will to be polite) about how AX would likely have to cough up $15,000 to replace it

    After a few moments, the GOHs started to filter out of the building. Apparently the Security guys had a 6th sense that things were not going to end pretty, and managed to get the GOHs out of the line of fire. Sure enough, one of the tech heads later came forward and announced they were postponing due to technical difficulties.

    People were lividly pissed at first and the crew was hesitant to explain why they were postponing and people just kept getting even more and more pissed. Eventually one of them finally explained what was wrong, and the crowd went from fire to forgiveness just like that. Apparently when they rendered the AMVs for showing, a lot of them had a reversed field order problem. The submitted masters were left at AX's Anaheim office, and thus those couldn't be used either, plus they were on various different media.

    Their only remaining option was to set up a mess of computers and do a rush job of rerendering the videos in a deinterlaced mode, which would have taken all night to do. I volunteered to help, and so James (tech coordinator), Anneke (another staffer), and I had locked ourselves in tech-ops as we pulled an exhausting all-nighter rerendering them on 4 or 5 different computers we managed to scrounge up. We finished right down to the wire and finally got them on the screen at just a little after 8:00am.

    Now for the actual videos themselves. The entries were:

    Drama Entries Author
    Devotion Tim Stair
    Liles Stephen Cilley
    Silent Lucidity/font> Anthony Bennett
    Because She... Daniel Araujo
    Cursed Fate Charles Bathel
    Adagio for Fireflies Art Smoke
    Still Alvin T. Chang
    Enigma Kamaran Ahmandi
    Rose Rhythms Jason Tennant
    size="1">Shell Shock size="1">Daniel Cecava

    Action Entries Author
    View or Die! Jeames Dunne
    The Look Vlad Pohnert
    Dragon Bebop Z Ryan Molina
    Chemicals Daniel Araujo
    Radinov's Bad Habit Steven Rutter
    The World Loves a Bastard Ted Papadopoulous
    Controlling Afflictions Binh Lam
    Their Lives Peter Stoll
    Destiny of the Dark Vlad Pohnert
    size="1">Path of the Deus! size="1">Senta Miller

    Comedy Entries Author
    Excel Scat Anthony Peiper
    Spectacular Jessica Brunelle
    NYO is WAR Tim Park
    Death Violence and Hate (in an All-Girls Dorm with a Hot Spring) Senta Miller
    A Total Waste of 6min 35sec Troy Williams
    Cybernetic Eyecandy Scott Crim
    Everybody's Free (To Watch anime) Richard Cole
    X-park Cassiopeia Brinks
    Kung Fubop
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