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The Indestructible Studio Gainax: Part II


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belvadeer





PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:02 pm Reply with quote
Thank you for reminding me that I still need to get the Nadia Blu-ray.
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Zhou-BR



Joined: 28 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:38 pm Reply with quote
Watching Nadia years after having watched both Gunbuster and Evangelion made me feel like I had found the missing link between the two. The desert island/Africa episodes really are as atrocious as people say they are, turning what could have been a masterpiece into a show that's 2/3 gold and 1/3 garbage, and once Anno comes back to direct the last five episodes, it's like he became a completely different person.

I felt like I was watching Anno lose his innocence in real time, and some of the imagery and visuals in those last episodes of Nadia feel like precursors to what he would do years later with Evangelion. I would love to read a detailed account of what happened during Nadia's production, but reminiscing about it would probably be too painful for some of the people involved.


Last edited by Zhou-BR on Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:43 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Marzan



Joined: 29 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:40 pm Reply with quote
Gainax didn't do anything halfassedly back in day. Even when they had to do bad (Nadia island arc) they took it to the absolute max.

We are badly in need of a release of the Gunbuster OvA in BD too. Only the movie version has one at this point.
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Zin5ki



Joined: 06 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:09 pm Reply with quote
Zhou-BR wrote:
I felt like I was watching Anno lose his innocence in real time, and some of the imagery and visuals in those last episodes of Nadia feel like precursors to what he would do years later with Evangelion.

I quite agree. The visual arrangements and mechanical designs in Nadia's better sections allow for the Island arc to be relegated to an amusing memory rather than a sticking point. Anyone who is deterred by the bygone setting foregoes one of the most satisfying (and indeed one of the most heartening) science-fiction adventures of its era.
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:28 pm Reply with quote
Marzan wrote:
Gainax didn't do anything halfassedly back in day. Even when they had to do bad (Nadia island arc) they took it to the absolute max.


I wasn't going to bring this up, because it's absolutely nitpicking, but this line right here made me change my mind.

In those early days of Gainax (late 80/early 90s), not everything the company touched was done "to the absolute max". Not included, though maybe vaguely alluded to, in this article were Gainax's OVAs that they obviously only did because they needed money. These were 1989's Beat Shot!!, based on a raunchy golf manga, 1990's Circuit no Ohkami II: Modena no Ken, based on the racing manga of the same name, & 1991's duo of Money Wars: Nerawareta Waterfront Keikaku, based on a manga about the stock market, & Blazing Transfer Student, based on Kazuhiko Shimamoto's iconic manga. Alongside the Appleseed OVA from 1988, which was brought up in the article, Gainax doesn't bother to include any of these productions in their "WORKS" page, likely indicating that the company has little to no real personal attachment to them.

That's mainly because most of them aren't really any good. Blazing Transfer Student is obviously the main exception, though that got saddled with being released as a laserdisc-exclusive at first (OLA!), and it didn't even receive anything better than a VHS release until the HD remastered Blu-Ray a few years ago. As for the others, Money Wars is surprisingly decent, Circuit no Ohkami II is downright boring, & Beat Shot!! is a wannabe softcore hentai, right down to literally casting two porn actresses to voice two of the female characters. The animation in these other three OVAs (again, ignoring BTS) is pretty poor & lazy, and considering that none of these were handled by any of Gainax's notable names at the time, it's obvious that Gainax did not give these OVAs the kind of care & attention that their works are generally known for. These were nothing more than "for-hire" jobs, so that they could actually stay open to work on stuff like Gunbuster & Nadia.

They're not really worth checking out, unless you're intensely curious, but they are an interesting view at a time when Gainax was still a "normal" anime studio that sometimes had to take on "for-hire" work just to keep the lights on.
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Cardcaptor Takato



Joined: 27 Jan 2018
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:02 pm Reply with quote
It's interesting to see that Gainax saw Royal Space Force with such cynicism when it first came out when it seems like nowadays it's fairly highly regarded as an anime classic, at least by anime critics, even if it might not be as well known by mainstream anime fans as some of Gainax's later works. It's certainly a movie I enjoyed watching and I was really impressed by it's visuals and the complexity of it's story.
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Posts Sometimes



Joined: 27 Jul 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:53 pm Reply with quote
Cardcaptor Takato wrote:
It's interesting to see that Gainax saw Royal Space Force with such cynicism when it first came out when it seems like nowadays it's fairly highly regarded as an anime classic, at least by anime critics, even if it might not be as well known by mainstream anime fans as some of Gainax's later works. It's certainly a movie I enjoyed watching and I was really impressed by it's visuals and the complexity of it's story.

Of course they were a bit cynical about it, Royal Space Force had virtually no chance of making a profit. It had an 800 million yen budget at a time when Nausicaa was seen as an unprecedented mainstream success for grossing 740 million yen. All things considered, it's surprising that Gainax didn't go under after making it. They liked it as a movie, but it was horrible for them from a business perspective.
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TurnerJ



Joined: 05 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:54 pm Reply with quote
Zhou-BR wrote:
Watching Nadia years after having watched both Gunbuster and Evangelion made me feel like I had found the missing link between the two. The desert island/Africa episodes really are as atrocious as people say they are, turning what could have been a masterpiece into a show that's 2/3 gold and 1/3 garbage, and once Anno comes back to direct the last five episodes, it's like he became a completely different person.

I felt like I was watching Anno lose his innocence in real time, and some of the imagery and visuals in those last episodes of Nadia feel like precursors to what he would do years later with Evangelion. I would love to read a detailed account of what happened during Nadia's production, but reminiscing about it would probably be too painful for some of the people involved.


Those episodes were never supposed to have been produced to begin with. Originally it was lined out as a shorter, leaner production, but due to popularity it got extended, which is why those episodes were farmed out. Anno even declared that he wasn't pleased with the outcome. He made a shorter edit of the show, "The Nautilus Story", about six hours long which dialed out those unnecessary episodes.

Yeah, those episodes really did sour my appreciation of Nadia, which I loved otherwise. The dub is also one of the first Monster Island dubs to turn out very well. (Charles Campbell and Lowell Bartholomee both fell in love with the project while doing the dub of it, and it shows.) Inconsistent accents aside, the voices for the kids and the Grandis gang were perfect, and the acting was really good for the most part. There are some awkward bits in the beginning, but I found the cast really settled into their roles as the show went on and really hit it out of the park by the finale. I tried watching it in Japanese once, honest I did, and I didn't find it any better. It's one of my favorites to watch dubbed.
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Blackiris_
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:48 pm Reply with quote
Great article again, looking forward to more!

I have one remark, though:
Quote:
The original story of Nadia was pitched by Hayao Miyazaki, but after discussions, he dropped out from the project, leaving the director's spot open.

This sounds a bit like Miyazaki was actually considering directing Nadia, but as far as I know, this was never the case. Nadia was based on an old concept by Miyazaki in the 70s that NHK chose not to animate at that time, many years before the actual anime came to frutition (Future Boy Conan, which aired 12 years before Nadia, uses some of the ideas).
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Psajdak



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:58 pm Reply with quote
Gunbuster has the best ending in history of anime.
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Ouran High School Dropout



Joined: 28 Jun 2015
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:33 pm Reply with quote
Posts Sometimes wrote:
...Royal Space Force had virtually no chance of making a profit. It had an 800 million yen budget at a time when Nausicaa was seen as an unprecedented mainstream success for grossing 740 million yen. All things considered, it's surprising that Gainax didn't go under after making it.

In point of fact, Gainax teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, but the studio heads didn't file the court paperwork...and the studio somehow stumbled on.
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doomydoomdoom



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:55 pm Reply with quote
As far as Gainax goes, I really think the stuff mentioned in this article is their best, Honneamise, Gunbuster and Nadia (and throw in Otaku no Video for good measure, and maybe just MAYBE their very interesting Kare Kano experiment).

I saw Eva when I was 11-13, and I was dumbfounded. I may revisit it again someday but I've been able to avoid the prospect for a little over a decade now. I saw Gunbuster about 6 or 7 years ago and was dumbfounded again, but maybe that one's worth a revisit. I really think Nadia was a better series, the infamous island episodes notwithstanding. I did end up skipping them when I watched it and never looked back, so I think my overall impression of Nadia was stronger. But of course it has that traditional depressing and bitter Anno ending.
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Animegomaniac



Joined: 16 Feb 2012
Posts: 3807
PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:44 am Reply with quote
So Nadia exists because Inoue was a good producer but it's not as good as it could be because Okada was a bad president/manager who was backed by the entire Gainax production team and they all forced Inoue out prior to starting work on his pitch?

Wow, they really do deserve everything they got then. "Hey, we're artists who value loyalty, what do we know about money?" I keep rereading that passage, looking for the actual power play or some countering but no, it just went from "Okada kind of sucks" and "I'm Okada and I do kind of suck" to "We love Okada and we demand that he is put into charge."

It makes me wonder if they're aware of what a "figurehead" is or why it's not a good idea to give them money or power?

Can't wait to read about the Evangelion mess. Which reminds me of yet another Gainax mess, Gunbuster.

Quote:
In fact, the sixth and final episode was shot entirely in black and white, actually costing the studio even more money than they'd planned for.


So completely the opposite of running out of money first and having to go from color film to BW film? It's space, it's black with white spots. As artistic visions go, this is as bad as making Godzilla into the Host with googlely eyes/beady eyes.

This would be funny if it wasn't so depressing. I can't wait...
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Zhou-BR



Joined: 28 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:23 am Reply with quote
Animegomaniac wrote:
So Nadia exists because Inoue was a good producer but it's not as good as it could be because Okada was a bad president/manager who was backed by the entire Gainax production team and they all forced Inoue out prior to starting work on his pitch?

Wow, they really do deserve everything they got then. "Hey, we're artists who value loyalty, what do we know about money?" I keep rereading that passage, looking for the actual power play or some countering but no, it just went from "Okada kind of sucks" and "I'm Okada and I do kind of suck" to "We love Okada and we demand that he is put into charge."

It makes me wonder if they're aware of what a "figurehead" is or why it's not a good idea to give them money or power?


According to Yasuhiro Takeda's "The Notenki Memoirs", Gainax's staffers didn't force Inoue out of the company out of blind loyalty to Okada, but because his business plan for Nadia was irresponsible and going to lose them lots of money. And it did.

Animegomaniac wrote:
Can't wait to read about the Evangelion mess. Which reminds me of yet another Gainax mess, Gunbuster.

Quote:
In fact, the sixth and final episode was shot entirely in black and white, actually costing the studio even more money than they'd planned for.


So completely the opposite of running out of money first and having to go from color film to BW film? It's space, it's black with white spots. As artistic visions go, this is as bad as making Godzilla into the Host with googlely eyes/beady eyes.

This would be funny if it wasn't so depressing. I can't wait...


Shooting most of the last of episode of Gunbuster in black and white was a stylistic choice by Anno, who felt there would be too much visual information on the screen otherwise. Although I'll always wonder what the episode would look like in color, I can imagine how the incredible amount of spaceships, beams and explosions in it could cause a mind-numbing effect on the audience that would undermine the emotional side of the storyline. I call it "the Michael Bay effect".
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Barciad



Joined: 11 May 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:53 pm Reply with quote
I'd say this would be worthy of the plot of a TV series. Only it's slightly less believable than 'Twin Peaks'.
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