Otakon 2017 Interview: Tomoki Kyoda (EUREKA SEVEN)

At Otakon 2017, I had the opportunity to interview Tomoki Kyoda—director of one of my favorite anime series ever, Eureka Seven. He was at the convention to promote the world premiere of the film EUREKA SEVEN HI-EVOLUTION, and I spoke to him the day before the showing.

Eureka Seven was originally created as a media mix project with video games and manga telling side stories or different, alternative narratives from the anime. How much of a say did you have in the spin offs?

With the spin offs, we would say, “We want so-and-so” for a concept. The various directors and mangaka we were working with would present their spin offs to us, and we would check over them.

My next question concerns Eureka herself. Her appearance changes throughout the series, especially when she gets covered in scars. It’s a very bold decision, I think—especially for anime. What was the thinking behind changing her appearance?

When we were doing the original story, Mr. Kenichi Yoshida and I were talking about what we could do to provide lots of inspiration and different paths the story could take. One of the inspirations that someone came up with was, “What about drastically changing her appearance?” So we actually took that and went with it.

What is it like working with creators Dai Sato, Shoji Kawamori, and Kenichi Yoshida? Do you have any interesting production stories to tell?

With regards to Mr. Sato and Mr. Yoshida, we were actually all born in the same year, so we all have an understanding of our pros and cons; what each of us do well and what each of us do not so well. But with regards to Mr. Kawamori, he is a person we look up to. He is a very interesting person, and his works are also very interesting. But then if you meet him in person… whoa. You’re going to notice that he’s more interesting than anything he’s actually done. So, if we start talking about Mr. Kawamori, we’re going to go past two hours like it was nothing, so let’s just leave it at that.

In revisiting Eureka Seven with the new movies, what feelings are you hoping to evoke in old fans and those who have never seen the series?

First of all, I’d like to say that, for old fans coming back to us, thank you very much. I hope they will actually be very accepting of this, since, even if we use some old footage, it doesn’t mean that we could do something just like the old version. In that sense, it’s in many ways a new movie. I hope they will be very accepting of it. With that being said, for new fans I hope they take it for what it is, and accept it for what it is, and that they will see what Renton and Eureka and Anemone have to do in order to live through that world. So the greater idea I have for everyone is acceptance, really. I hope everyone will accept EUREKA SEVEN HI-EVOLUTION for what it is.

Thank you very much!

Let Us Give Thanks to Our Anime Overlords

2009 has been a crazy year for anime, with ups and downs and all-arounds, but amidst a weakened global economy and an industry going through some serious growing (or shrinking) pains, I find there is still plenty to be thankful about.

I am thankful for…

Great shows being licensed or made available streaming so that when I say Glass Mask is a FANTASTIC SHOW, you can now go and watch it. And Monster is on TV!

Some stellar guests at anime conventions. Between Ishiguro, Tomino, and a whole bunch of others, this has been a highly informative and unforgettable year of conventions. Thanks to Ishiguro and Tomino as well, for telling me all about Nagahama Tadao.

An explosion of new blogs. As the years pass, they just keep coming and coming. Keep it up, the only way to improve your writing is to keep writing.

An industry which is still trying, despite what others might claim. There may be some “safe” shows out there, but we’re also continuing to see the mediums that are anime and manga being challenged and made better as a result.

An Eureka Seven Movie. Sure, it might not be quite what I’d like from an E7 movie, and it didn’t capture what made the TV series great, but I am still grateful that such a thing could be made 3 years after the original finished.

Genshiken 2 out on DVD! Get it as soon as possible. Ogiue is waiting.

The friends I’ve made and the people I’ve met through the fandom. Truly you have made this an unforgettable year.

Got a Pocketful of Rainbows, Don’t Know What to Do With ‘Em

Others and I will be attending the Union Square showing of the one-night-only US theatrical premiere of Psalms of Planets Eureka Seven: Good night, sleep tight, young lovers, which is sure to be a rip-roaring good time and a great way to spend an evening. I’ve actually already seen the movie, but I wouldn’t pass the chance up to see it in a theater. The theater showing will be dub only, but it isn’t that much of a problem, and I’m interested in seeing how the dub crew tackles this movie.

If you want to read my review of the the E7 movie, it’s right here.

I also managed to win a copy of volume 1 of the Eureka Seven light novel adaptation, so there’s a good chance I’ll be reviewing that some time in the future. Who knows when though; I still have a Gundam 00 Second Season Review to write!

This is Your Mythology: Psalms of Planets Eureka Seven – Pocketful of Rainbows

EDIT: I previously labeled this movie as “Pocket Full of Rainbows” only to realize that the title is actually a reference to the Elvis Presley song “Pocketful of Rainbows.” As such, I’ve changed the title and the associated category accordingly.

When the Eureka Seven movie was announced, speculation began as it always does. BONES said they would be retelling the story of Renton and Eureka, and using some of the existing footage from the TV series in the movie. Fans wondered if this meant the movies would be a retelling of the TV series with content edited to make it flow better as a movie, not unlike the First Gundam movies. Preview images and trailers started being released showing Renton and Eureka together as small children, something that never happened in any previous Eureka Seven media. Now that Psalms of Planets Eureka Seven – Pocketful of Rainbows (or as it’s apparently called in English, Psalms of Planets Eureka Seven – good night, sleep tight, young lovers –) is out, we know that the plans for this movie were much more ambitious than most anyone expected.

Once again, Eureka Seven focuses on the boy named Renton and the girl named Eureka, only this time any hint of the previous series beyond a superficial level are thrown out the window. As mentioned before, now Renton and Eureka are childhood friends who are separated and then reunited amidst a war with an inhuman enemy called the Image. Connecting them is a small fairy named Nirvash, whose words only Renton can understand. Front and center in Pocketful of Rainbows are the concepts of mythologies and dreams, as the movie explores the effects their existences have upon the world and what they mean for human beings.

This is a new world with a new history, and familiar faces are anything but. If you’re approaching this movie without ever having seen any of Eureka Seven in its other incarnations, rest assured that they have little to no bearing on the events of the movie. If you’ve ever seen the Vision of Escaflowne TV series and the Escaflowne movie, the level of difference in Pocketful of Rainbows is even more pronounced. In fact, spoiling the events of one will actually NOT spoil the other!

For those of you who are fans already, let me tell you just one little thing that will make you realize how different this movie is compared to the source material: In the world of Eureka Seven: Pocketful of Rainbows, there are no such things as Coralians.

This movie uses existing footage better than any anime I have ever seen. This is not simply reusing stock footage to show flashbacks or for the animators to go, “We already animated this once, why should we do it again?” Just like how the characters may look the same but their insides have changed dramatically, the TV series footage is given new life. Even though the same animation is being used on a number of occasions, the context of each scene is so different from when it was originally used in the TV series that the meaning of these animations change entirely. You almost can’t tell that it wasn’t originally made for the movie. This also has to do with the fact that this animation was already impressive in the first place, and the scenes newly animated for the movie are just as good if not better.

Being a movie, Pocketful of Rainbows does not have the luxury of developing the relationship between Renton and Eureka as thoroughly as the original TV series, but it still manages to get a sufficient amount of characterization into them and others. Even though you aren’t given all of the information, the way the characters act around each other will make few of the revelations about character relationships seem jarring or negatively unexpected. BONES knew that this was a 2-hour endeavor instead of a 50-episode series and worked accordingly. It really shows, as I do not feel that this movie was rushed unnecessarily.

Overall, this was a fun and thought-provoking movie as an Eureka Seven fan. Expect future posts about it as I explore some of the concepts presented in Pocketful of Rainbows, as the movie has gives you a lot to mill over.

For those of you want to see the movie for real inside of an actual theater, you should know that Bandai Entertainment has plans to do exactly that, albeit dubbed. Tickets go on sale August 21st for a September 29th showing in select theaters across the United States.

Eureka SeveN Movie Trailer

It’s out, and it looks awesome. It makes me want to see the movie even more now, even if they are reusing footage from the TV series to save time and money. The TV series was already very well animated so there won’t be much of a disparity, and I get the feeling that unless you’ve watched the show over and over it’ll be difficult to spot all the moments they use existing footage.

But let’s talk about what’s really important: The reversed colors on Eureka’s outfit sometimes. Man, they look so great! I mean, I think in the end I prefer the way it is normally, with the blue on the side and the white in the middle, but the other way around is really visually striking. Maybe they’ll even make a PVC figure with those colors.

I really hope they release this movie on DVD here eventually.

There Are Still Ogiue Doujinshi at Comic Market

Yes, despite Ogiue and Genshiken having nothing new to offer otaku this year, at least a few faithful acolytes are still keeping the dream alive.

Ogiue is a bit of an anomaly in regards to doujinshi. If you’ve ever kept up with that scene, you’d notice that an increase of character-specific doujinshi tends to occur when a manga gets adapted for animation. There might be a few doujinshi out there beforehand, but it’s the anime which brings the pencil to paper. Not so with Ogiue; her doujin heyday was shortly after the climax of Genshiken’s story. Powered by love, care, and perhaps other things, by comparison the amount of Ogiue doujinshi when Genshiken 2 came out was rather sparse. Makes sense though, seeing as the anime never even got to that climax.

Comic Market 75 is to be held this year from Sunday, December 28 to Tuesday, December 30 at Tokyo Big Sight. Don’t forget that there’s something special happening with the Eureka Seven movie too.

Special Eureka Seven Movie Tickets at Comic Market 75

Based on the above image I assume that Pocket Full of Rainbows will be about Eureka’s ascent to the throne of Kei.

Last week the official Eureka Seven website updated with not only a release date (some time during Golden Week 2009) but also an official title. Prepare yourselves for Psalms of Planets Eureka Seven: Pocket Full of Rainbows.

Just the knowledge that this movie is indeed being made and that it hasn’t been inexplicably canned brings me great joy. The title also tells me to play this game and just pretend the little girl is Eureka, or rather Eureka’s tiny alternate movie version.

The movie is described as “One More Love Story.” Also remember that the Eureka Seven PS2 games were described as “Another Boy Meets Girl,” so if you haven’t caught on yet love is an important theme in Eureka Seven.

As for the information at Comic Market, the website says that on Sunday December 28, 2008 they’ll be selling special “Bare Tickets” (I have no what this means) to the first 2000 people to get to their booth. This will allow them to see an advance screening of Pocket Full of Rainbows.

Date: Sunday, December 28, 2008
Location: Anime Booth (Tokyo Big Sight West Building, 4th Floor Industry Booth No.255)

That damn Yoshida

During the New Year months ago, Eureka Seven character designer Yoshida Kenichi posted an Eureka-themed New Year’s Card on his personal site.

I looked at it back in January, not thinking much of it, only noticing that Eureka looked kind of young in it.

Recently, I revisited the image and realized that I’ve seen this Eureka somewhere else…

The Eureka Seven Movie.

So it seems Yoshida dropped a hint on us months in advance and no one, myself included, realized it.

That bastard.