New York Comic-Con 2012 Sunrise Panel
by David Cabrera,
This was an extremely straightforward panel: the prolific studio simply went through a list of its prodigious current output, talked a little bit about the shows they were currently working on, and ran trailers. Presenters were director Masayuki Ozaki, Akane Hagino in marketing, Tiger and Bunny producer Kazuhiko Tamura, Studio 8's Dai Otsuka, Studio 9's Yusuke Shimizu, and Studio 10's Takahashi Maekawa. (Sunrise has 12 independent studios, each producing content at the same time.) It was noted that while Sunrise was no stranger to NYCC, this was the first time they had quite this many of their creators sitting on a single panel.
After calling a parent out for bringing a baby to a show like this, the panel began.
Of course, Tiger and Bunny was one of the biggest fan draws of the panel. Producer Tamura told us that this was his first time in New York City. Furthermore, the show's Sternbild City is modeled after our lovely town, and he was quite pleased to finally set foot in Sternbild's real-life inspiration. The trailer for the film version The Beginning was of course saved for the very end of the panel.
Maekawa of Studio 10 is responsible for the Phi-Brain puzzle series, and he teased that if the audience watched the show (entering a third season in 2013) and tried to solve the puzzles along with its characters, that their IQ might just go up.
Accel World staff promised that while their shows took place in different cities-- Tiger in “New York”, Accel World in Tokyo-- Accel World would deliver even better action! This led to some chuckles at the apparent rivalry.
At the introduction of Daily Lives of High School Boys, Shimizu stood up and acknowledged that he was in fact cosplaying one of these very plainly-dressed high school boys. The show's appeal was explained simply: the guys are so dumb that it starts to be cute. The riverbed scene early in the show is based on a location right by Sunrise's studios.
Horizon In The Middle Of Nowhere was tough to introduce simply because the source material is so complicated: they told us that the series was said to be unfilmable in any medium. The story was summed up as succinctly as was possible: “In the show, we take three hours to explain what's happening.”
Cheers came for Binbougami ga!, the story of a high school girl (the staff made a point of her attractiveness) possessed by a god of poverty. This is a show with a young staff (in anime, that's people who are still in their 20s!) and it was described as having a lot of energy. The trailer supported this claim.
At this point, the focus shifted to new and upcoming work. Since Sunrise was covering everything they were working on at the moment, even totally unknown kids' fare like Battle Spirits and Zorori The Naughty Hero Super Adventure (the best sentence I've heard all weekend; the trailer had a pig that farted a ladder or something) had a moment.
Gintama is coming back, and it was explained that the high energy level of the show simply wears out staff, necessitating the two breaks the show's taken. A new movie is coming, and during the trailer the Japanese readers in the crowd delighted in the pun “Kintama”. Look it up.
Next was a case study in idol marketing, with two shows that took on the subject with dramatically different approaches. Aikatsu! appeared firmly targeted at the Pretty Cure crowd in character design, general aesthetic, and involved collectible cards just like Battle Spirits. On the other hand, Lovelive was a co-production with Lantis and Dengeki G's magazine. Meticulously detailed idol dance sequences made Lovelive's aim-- the otaku who spend fortunes on Idolm (at ster) and AKB48-- all too clear.
The Code Geass sidestory The Exiled Akito needed no introduction and was run through very quickly. If you didn't know Geass, the beautiful trailer sure didn't help. All you need to know is that it's, in their words, a ”mega hit”!
Psychic School Wars is a film adaptation of a novel by Taku Mayumura; the book has been adapted more than once in live-action but never animated, and Sunrise wanted to offer a different spin on the story. Speaking of idols, AKB's Mayu Watanabe stars.
And finally, Gundam stuff. The HD remaster of Gundam SEED and the OVA series Gundam Unicorn continue to exist, and the 7th-episode finale of Gundam Unicorn is coming... one day. The surprise Unicorn-related guest was dub director and Angelo voice actor Michael Sinterniklaas, who'd just gotten off a plane. With this, the panel was left to Q&A from the audience.
Both the adaptation of Gundam: The Origin and Yoshiyuki Tomino's mysterious new project were basically under wraps: when audience members asked about them, all they got was “they exist, but we can't say a word else”.
Finally, a fan requested that the Tiger and Bunny Private Hero app be released in English. As it was with a lot of requests for American releases (like an East Coast showing for The Beginning), the answer was that they'd love to, of course... if a whole lot of us asked a whole lot of times.
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