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Anime Expo 2011
Production I.G. panel

by Bamboo Dong,

Despite the early morning start time, there was already a long line of attendees eagerly waiting for the Production I.G panel. The first few minutes were chatty and informal, with Production I.G., LLC vice president Maki Terashima asking the audience how long they had been attending Anime Expo, and the Production I.G panel in particular, and giving away Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex DVDs for questions like, “How are you?”

Shortly afterwards, Maki listed some of the properties that Production I.G has finished since last July, including Kimi ni Todoke, Eden of the East, Break Blade, Sengoku Basara 2, Sengoku Basara – The Last Party, Oblivion Island, Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san, Solid State Society 3D, Tansuwarashi, Moshidora, Blood C, Appleseed XIII, Usagi Drop, and Cyborg 009. She also spent some time talking about Momo e no Tegami (A Letter to Momo), a film directed by Hiroyuki Okiura of Jin-Roh fame, who's been working on the project for the past seven years. The film is set to be released in 2012.

Production I.G has also released a comic book called The Innocent, a collaboration between Spider-man producer and current IG USA chair Avi Arad, who provided the original concept, writer Jun'ichi Fujisaku, who is credited for writing several episodes of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and YaSung Ko, a Korean manwha artist living in Japan. The property has been licensed for North American distribution by Yen Press, who will be providing 10,000 complimentary copies at San Diego Comic Con. The book has been shared with Marvel legend Stan Lee, director Sam Raimi, and actor Nicholas Cage, all of whom gave positive comments regarding the property. Cage, in particular, provided a quote comparing the book to a haiku that blends anime and Lichtenstein, achieving “comic book poetry.” Future plans for the property involve possibly creating a live-action movie, directed by Arad, or possibly an animated movie. Upon talking about who they'd use as a director, Maki mused, “I don't know who we'll use… Oshii..?”

Regarding the CG-animated film, Oblivion Island, Production I.G is still in negotiations with a distributor, but hopes to close the deal by either Otakon or San Diego Comic Con. The studio has already recorded the English dub, with Christine Cabanos as the main character. A brief clip of the dub was shown at the panel. Maki mentioned that the movie “took forever to make,” adding that, “when you draw a cute character, it looks cute on paper, but when you turn it into 3D, it looks creepy.” Because of that, it took a year for the staff to come up with the 3D design of the main characters.

During the Q&A that followed, one of the attendees asked whether or not Production I.G would be animating any of Masamune Shirow's other intellectual properties, to which Maki responded that they were “working really closely with him. I'm sure in the future you'll see more from him.” However, she was unable to provide any further details.

As to whether or not there are more plans in the works for more Ghost in the Shell projects, Maki motioned with her hands that she was up to her neck with information, but said, “I can't talk about it. Today, I can't say anything, but you'll figure it out eventually.”

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