We’re all missing conventions at the moment.
And that’s why I was over the moon to hear that All the Anime were holding their first-ever virtual convention over on YouTube on May 30th and May 31st.
I wasn’t entirely sure on how the virtual convention would work, but it did follow the usual convention routine with panels, Q&As and, of course, announcements which I loved. I realise that some people may not have been able to attend Cloud Matsuri or may not have even known it was a thing, so I’ve compiled all the announcements and important points here from Day One.
This is quite a long post, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!
All The Anime Presents
The first panel of Cloud Matsuri was centred around All the Anime and their new upcoming releases. Some of these may have been announced back in October during MCM London, but it’s certainly nice to see more of the titles being worked on! So, what are they working on?
B: The Beginning
This was quite the surprise to hear, to me anyway, but All the Anime are releasing an Ultimate Edition of B: The Beginning, a supernatural police thriller from Production I.G. Some of you may have seen it on Netflix before now, but it’s certainly safe to say that the Ultimate Edition looks amazing. It contains the entire first season on Blu-Ray, includes an A4 art book, A4 art prints and a soundtrack CD and the team at All the Anime have confirmed they have the rights in both the UK and the US, so you can get your hands on this no matter what side of the pond you live on! B: The Beginning is expected to be released in October 2020 with updates expected soon.
Another surprise to me, All the Anime has also confirmed that they are releasing a Collector’s Edition of Bartender – a seinen slice-of-life series about a bartender who can give advice and a fitting cocktail to absolutely any customer that walks. Although I may have differing opinions to some about Bartender, this is an instant purchase for me as I love how they’re bringing such a rare series to the UK on Blu-ray. Over two discs, Bartender will only appear as a sub-only release as there has never been an English dub, but the Collector’s Edition also comes with recipe cards and four Bartender-themed coasters. The release date is TBA, but it is expected in the second half of 2020.
Code Geass Lelouch of the Re;surrection
Code Geass doesn’t need an introduction, but Lelouch of the Re;surrection is the latest title in All the Anime’s Code Geass movie lineup. A sequel movie to Lelouch of the Rebellion III – Glorification (the final movie that retells the Code Geass series) and not a sequel to R2, it is expected to be released on Blu-ray in the second half of 2020. More details to follow soon.
Another big announcement was All the Anime’s licensing of Demon Slayer. Also being granted a Collector’s Edition, the first season of this popular supernatural demon series should be coming to Blu-ray in the UK later this year, with more details to follow in the coming months.
K: Seven Stories
K has been appearing in All the Anime’s catalogue repeatedly for quite some time now, so it makes sense that they announce the next chapter in the K series – K: Seven Stories, seven short films continuing a beloved supernatural drama series. This is another release due later this year and more updates should be following soon.
Another release that no-one expected to see being announced! Planetes has been out-of-print for a very long time, this space-themed classic is coming to Blu-ray for the first time in the UK later this year and it will also be the first English Blu-ray release for Planetes anywhere in the world! An unconventional sci-fi series that portrays the vastness of space as the background for those living there with ordinary lives, it has drama, romance and everything you could want. As with prior announcements, more information should be coming soon.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
This is the big one. The announcement I got literal goose-bumps for. This was no joke to anyone. Neon Genesis Evangelion was announced with a very simple graphic, but that was all that what was needed. Coming in 2021 as an Ultimate Edition, the original 26 episodes TV series will be released on Blu-ray. Not only that, but this Ultimate Edition will also see the two movies The End of Evangelion and Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death (true2) be released on Blu-ray as well. Full details will be confirmed later this year, but this is certainly one that people are already hyped about!
Introducing: Screen Anime
Following the physical releases, the next panel centred on Andrew Patridge (the CEO of Anime Ltd.) talking about the company’s new venture – Screen Anime. This is, in essence, an online film festival. Every month, four movies and a series will be made available to stream and these are selected based on a theme. Currently, for the first month, the theme is sci-fi and Screen Anime are currently offering Promare, Patema Inverted, Royal Space Force: Wings of Honnemaise, Penguin Highway and Wolf’s Rain. They also offer a weekly watch-along.
During the panel, Andrew confirmed the releases for June. Following a theme of ‘unusual high school life’, the movies available will be Weathering With You, Your name., Fireworks and Anthem of the Heart, although the final one is not confirmed as of writing. He also confirmed that there are apps in the works, so relying on watching these on your Internet browser will not be a long-time thing. Apps in their works are confirmed to be for iOS, Apple TV, Android and Amazon Fire. He also mentioned (whilst answering a viewer’s) that they are also looking into getting an app for the Playstation, but this certainly won’t be happening soon.
Not limited to just Anime Ltd. releases, Screen Anime is a subscription-like service and festival passes start at £3.98/mo. Alternatively, you can also buy a year pass for £39.98. As of writing, Screen Anime is only available in the UK and Ireland.
Manga UK Presents: One Piece Stampede Voice Cast Q&A
By the time this panel came around, there had already been a couple of adverts relating to One Piece, but the movie thus far had not made an appearance. The panel consisted of pre-recorded footage (due to timezone differences) of Christopher Sabat, Ian Sinclair and Patrick Seitz, three voice actors involved in the new One Piece: Stampede movie, answering questions submitted previously by fans on social media.
Ian Sinclair mentioned that he now sees Brook as a part of himself and he embraces this part of him. He sees his job now as a mission to make his friend [Justin Cook], who is the producer, laugh. Sinclair also mentioned that One Piece is his favourite anime when sick and in the mood to binge-watch a lot of episodes.
Meanwhile, Patrick Seitz (who voices Frankie) told us the story of his acting career, advising wannabe actors to get out there and join acting clubs to get the appropriate assistance in terms of how to be a good actor. When asked about what anime character he would like to voice, Seitz mentioned that he would voice absolutely anyone should DOOM receive an anime adaptation.
A History of Studio Orange
This panel centred on Eiji Inomoto and Kiyotaka Waki giving us a little more insight on the production process at Studio Orange, especially on their hits Land of the Lustrous and BEASTARS!
The founder of Orange, Eiji Inomoto, spoke about he first time CG animation became relevant in PlayStation 2 games introductions. At the time of him working on Zoids: Chaotic Century and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, he had been working freelance but eventually needed more people to help him, so he established Orange – his own studio. The name Orange comes from a play words in the Japanese language.
Inomoto admitted that the studio has faced some difficult times and admitted that they had to ‘put [their] all’ into Land of the Lustrous, otherwise there would be no Studio Orange. They have always been unsure about how the audience would perceive CG animation as there is so little series out there that has this style but there is room for growth and we will see a lot more coming soon.
BEASTARS was by no means their first anime involving animals. Star Fox Zero: The Battle Begins required animating animals, but they did use new techniques in their latest series. To capture the emotions of the characters throughout the show, Studio Orange actually used facial tracking software to capture them as realistically as possible.
Inomoto also gave us some insight into the industry opinion on Netflix, admitting that this was the most CEO-sounding aspect of the interview. Because of Netflix, he admitted that BEASTARS received more budget and received a stricter schedule than the typical schedules normally used in Japanese anime TV series, which he finds to be a good thing for the Japanese anime industry.
Meanwhile, Kiyotaka Waki spoke about his start at Madhouse where they mostly use hand-drawn animation. This being said, had exposure to CG and he saw the potential even then. When BEASTARS was taken on by Netflix, he realised that it wouldn’t just be compared to anime but also live-action series and that is, he mentioned, something they spoke about and considered when scripting the series.
Inomoto closed the panel by confirming that they are working on something that ‘might be familiar’ and also some full CG remakes that they can, hopefully, confirm before long. They are also very grateful for the support they have received from overseas and appreciate the fan mail nad comments and gthe blog and on scial media.
Following the theme of BEASTARS, director Shinichi Matsumi and producer Hyuntae Kim talk about the production of the series.
Shinichi’s career started when he went to film school. He enjoyed making fantasy films but soon realised that he was unable to capture the ‘right’ type of fantasy in live-action so turned to animation instead, as it allowed more creativity. He describes this as not purposefully wanting to enter animation, but rather the opportunity to do so came to him first. Hyuntae Kim also attended film school. Shinichi recalls watch Astro Boy and Looney Tunes as a child, but admits that these didn’t really have an impact on his own animation work. Kim, on the other hand, remembers watching Mirai Shounen Conan and watching American cartoons on a channel aimed at American soldiers. His realisation that animation could be used for telling a range of different stories came from waching Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue after his military service.
Shinichi admits that found the source material of BEASTARS difficult to read as he was more used to the stories and paces founde in Shounen Jump series. That being said, he thought it would good to try something different, especially something that read more like a shoujo manga.
He explained that he had learnt a lot on Land of the Lustrous, including the use of CG and motion capture. For BEASTARS, he realised that CG is usually used for action scenes, not slice-of-life scenes like in the series, and they hadn’t used motion capture before. He wanted to try it out to try and capture the emotional scenes that are shown in the manga.
Hyuntae admits that he didn’t want to use CG for the OP, despite the rest of the show being made in CG animation. He had found the director of the OP due to the Tatami Galaxy, and he was the one that suggested stop motion, showing examples from his own filmography. Hyuntae thought that by doing something you wouldn’t normally see, like stop motion animation, this would lead to more diversity in styles in the future.
Interview with Eunyoung Choi, CEO of Science Saru
This panel acted as Eunyoung Choi’s first English interview since becoming the CEO of Science Saru.
Science Saru is arguably more famous for being the studio Masaki Yuasa founded, but Eunyoung Choi has certainly made her mark. She told the story of how the studio came to be. She was working on a crowdfunded project with Yuasa and had also worked with him on an episode of Adventure Time where they had been given as much creative freedom as possible. They really enjoyed this and debated whether or not to make their projects at another studio or to establish their own. Choi had worked at a studio in management and as a producer before, so despite being unsure about the success of the venture, was excited to give it a go.
Upon being asked about whether or not the studio has gone through some changes since she became CEO, she admits that the studio is working pretty much the same as before. There haven’t been any huge changes so far, but admits that the organsational structure may change as the company continues to grow. It certainly looks different from seven years ago, for exampe, when the company was first set up. The structure of the comapny changes every year, so everyone is given the opportunity to learn something new.
A typical day as a CEO involves having a lot of meetings with different departments (business and creative teams), covering important topics and attending meetings throughout production such as project development and screen meetings. Meetings with external business partners about future and current projects also happen.
For Choi personally, her interest in business matters come before her interest in making animations. She had studied art from being the age of five, but had always dreamt of being involved in business and not working for anyone else but herself. She still loves animation, though, as it combines her interests of film, theatre and books in one. She recalls watching Mirai Shounen Conan as a child. She also recalled on her time living in the UK and studying Western animation. From working in Japan back in 2005, she mentions how the animation industry was male-dominated in most aspects. Nowadays, she believes that there are more women in the industry, particularly in higher positions. At Science SARU, she believes they have a nice mixture of men and women working for them in all positions.
The intereview also covered the use of Adobe Flash at Science Saru. Choi agrees that they have taken loads of advantages from only using Flash animation but admits that it’s not the only to tool they want to use, especially if there is a tool out there that’s better at something or is more efficient in the long run.
According to Choi, Science Saru has a huge respect for Japanese animation, but that they always try to experiment and be creative. “Your team has to be excited about making the project,” were words from Choi that I personally liked and I think it summarises Science Saru perfectly. To end the panel, she confirms that, although they had a busy year last year and earlier this year, they are in the process of making Yuasa’s feature film next year, as well as a TV series with a different director, an anime original TV series and some shorts in between.
Choi also stated that she is very grateful for the support from international fans, also reasoning that without the fans, Science Saru cannot exist.
Crunchyroll Industry Panel
Crunchyroll’s panel was very direct and straight-to-the-point with them advertising shows currently airing from the Spring 2020 season, including Ascendence of a Bookworm, Hamefura and Princess Connect. They also advertised their streaming services, emphasising that they have 1,000 titles available to wach including Re:Zero and Food Wars, as well as announcing their newer venture – Crunchyroll Games – with the announcements of their RPG Grand Alliance and their Overlord game, Mass for the Dead. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the panel was them talking about the future adaptations of Noblesse and God of High School.
Crunchyroll Presnets: Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! Panel
Unfortunately, there were some reptitive technical issues with this stream which made it very hard to listen to what the questions ansd answers were, but All the Anime have confirmed that they will be re-airing this panel at 10pm on Day 2 instead to make up for the technical issues.
Have checked out Cloud Matsuri yet?
If not, you can find more details on the website, here!
I’ll be attending Day 2 of Cloud Matsuri too, so hopefully I’ll see you around!