Choc Shock

So that’s Scotland Loves Anime done and in the bag, and me off to get the afternoon train to London. It’s been a great nine days that’s seen me interviewing Satoshi Nishimura and Shigeru Kitayama in Glasgow, and discussing Translation at Edinburgh University — some very impressive and inspiring  students there, including one who did some amazing MSc work comparing professional work and fansubs, and who’s got his just reward, a cushy job in Frankfurt localising for Nintendo.

Friday was the Education Day at the Edinburgh Filmhouse, where I led 20 Animation students through the miseries of production accounting, legal, packaging, and broadcasting. Within two hours, they were pitching a 13-episode TV series about evil overlord Tone Def and his incompetent space pirates trying to steal chocolate from Earth, and held off by an alien pop group, while I enumerated all the reasons they were going to get sued. There was much shouting and laughter, but also, I think, a bit of learning going on. And so we have Choc Shock, to add to previous workshops’ story ideas such as Decontaminators (from the Irish Film Institute) and Hattie Bast: Mummy’s Girl (from Screen Academy Wales). This time, we incorporated recent unexpected discoveries I have made about the correlations between TV ratings and the longevity of toy lines, based on claims made by Tokyo Movie Shinsha’s Keishi Yamazaki in his book Terebi Anime Damashii.

On Friday afternoon, we had Nik Taylor from Rockstar talking about the development of Grand Theft Auto 4, and Oscar Wright from Scott Pilgrim taking us frame-by-frame through the film’s anime inspirations. I found this particularly fascinating, not only for his excerpts of influential cartoons, games and comics, but for the debates over how many frames onscreen sound effects should be held for. Then a panel about finding work in the industry, in which Helen Jackson of Binary Fable joined us to discuss the applications of student skills in the real world. A fantastic day. Meanwhile, Michael Sinterniklaas has been around all weekend, discussing dubbing and localisation on several panels, and taking a bow at the screening of Summer Wars, for which he has just recorded the lead voice in the English dub. He’s a force of nature, bubbling with industry insider information, and peppering his stories with a thousand voices. He’s back in England for next week’s London Expo, and I think fans are in for a treat.

From Friday night onwards there were more screenings to introduce: Redline for a boggled crowd, followed by a screening of Professor Layton that was entirely transformed by a bonus giggling lady in the audience. Also, I appeared to be sitting in front of Admiral Ackbar, who kept saying: “IT’S A TRAP!” Sunday morning was an unexpected and illuminating encounter with Joe Peacock, who talked me through the Akira exhibition that has been at the Filmhouse all week — including some amazing original cels that show nine planes of movement.

Scotland Loves Anime has been an incredible success — there were people in town who had travelled from as far afield as France for the premiere of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya; we had entertaining Japanese guests for Trigun; Redline made everyone feel like they’d been shot out of a cannon; the Education Day was truly educational, and everything rounded off with a sold-out screening of Akira. As festival director Andrew Partridge said himself, would Katsuhiro Otomo have ever imagined a packed screening for his film in the capital of Scotland, 22 years after its original release?

11 thoughts on “Choc Shock

  1. Sounds awesome. Congrats to Festival Director Mr. Partridge on putting together such a success, as well as the hard-working guests like yourself.

    Love to hear some more about the fansub/prosub comparison MSc work.

  2. Okay I’m going to split my different points up:

    I’m guessing the hypothetical chocolate show would be endorsed to also sell a particular chocolate brand in a commercial which would benefit both parties as well.

    I’ve played some of the Scott Pilgrim game on playstation 3 so it’s a little easier to see where some of the Japanese influence is apparent, But I’m a little baffled as to where GTA 4’s relevance is in the world of anime or the convention.

    Lastly, the Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, is this a series follow on to ‘Melancholy’ or some movie? I picked up the 14 episode box set earlier in the year but it’s still cellophane wrapped on my shelf. I keep telling myself to watch more shows, but never find time.

  3. Yes, the hypothetical TV show came attached to a food product: “Rockolate”.

    The actual name of the organisation that runs the event is “Scotland Loves Animation”. “Loves Anime” is a feature of the Japanese focus of this particular year’s line-up, and likely to be the focus of next year’s, too, but it doesn’t preclude animation from other countries in later years. The education day was arranged primarily for animators, and featured contributions from various areas of the field.

    The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is based on the fourth book in the series of novels, and hence comes after the TV serials.

    And the fansubbers versus professionals comparison was genuinely surprising — in other words, it revealed the exact opposite of what I was expecting to hear. It was based on mensurate packets of data in two anime shows, as a means of testing which things were regarded as worth translating, which things could be translated, and what policies the translators preferred to employ. Turns out that some fansubbers aren’t as smart as they think they are… And that some of today’s fans don’t realise how much they owe to pros of yesteryear.

  4. Not that I am aware of, but I did suggest to the author that it was exactly the sort of thing that should be published. Legions of undergraduates would have weeks of fun duplicating his methods to test his results.

  5. Nice write-up!

    Scotland Loves Anime was a great deal of fun – not least because of guests such as yourself introducing the films. I’m sure the students were inspired by the education day (and I certainly was. I’ve already got hold of a copy of Shaolin Soccer after Oscar Wright showed some clips in his reference reel for Scott Pilgrim…).

    Have fun in Finland.

  6. Helen if you enjoy the cartoon-like comedy violence of Shaolin Soccer, you could do a lot worse than pick up Stephen Chow’s ‘Kung-fu Hustle’ and ‘CJ7’, though the second of the two is kind of a children’s story. Earlier Chow films rely on his dialogue and jokes, which are both lost in translation (literally) so his visual comedies reach a wider audience.

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