Haruhiko Mikimoto held his annual art exhibition at the Art Jeuness gallery space in Akihabara from Feb. 23rd ~ 27th . As in previous years the main purpose of the exhibition was to drum up some sales for Mikimoto’s (primarily) original art, although the man himself dropped by on Saturday 25th for a small talk session and autographs.
With prices averaging 300,000~600,000 yen and upwards, there was no way that yours truly could afford one of the gorgeous pieces that adorned the walls, however I did hang around for the talk session and the chance to ask the big man a question or two.
(for anyone wondering, those fortunate enough to receive an autograph at these events can only have the signing board provided by the venue autographed. Taking personal merchandise to have signed is not permitted).
At the end of the session, Mikimoto directly addressed the pink elephant in the room – namely, possible plans for Macross’ 30th Anniversary. While he was fairly tight lipped on the subject, he did offer the following tidbits:
-There is currently a proposal for a Macross Exhibition of some kind. This would possibly be held in two locations in Japan for a limited time (ie, similar to the Gundam Museum which was a temporary exhibition held for 2 days in 2009). Discussions are still at a fairly early stage, however he had been asked to provide some of his Macross artwork and was currently in talks as to whether original prints or digital reproductions would be needed.
-Mikimoto will be releasing a new artwork book this year. He is aiming for Spring (hopefully by the end of May) but the release date hasn’t been locked in yet. While the book will be manly his original characters/works, this did lead to the subject of…
-A potential art book of his Macross related works. This is something that he is currently discussing with related parties however talks are at a very early stage. It’s something he is interested in doing but he doubts it would be ready for release this year given how busy he is with his original artwork book and schedule doing Macross The First.
Regarding Macross The First, he mentioned that his publishers had asked that he focus on Macross The First as much as possible this year, meaning that, while he had recently been considering restarting Gundam Ecole du Ciel, this has taken a backseat to his Macross work for the time being. He did, however, say that he wanted to continue Ecole in the near future.
Also regarding Macross The First, while answering another question he noted that he didn’t know whether the story of the Manga would continue past episode 27, Love Drifts Away (愛が流れる). Actually, at this stage he couldn’t even say whether the manga will make it that far.
While getting his autograph, I managed to ask his opinion of a remake of the original Macross. Now, keep in mind that this wasn’t as simple as asking him whether he wanted a remake to be done or not because I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have answered. As it was he protested that he was merely a character designer and couldn’t comment on any goings ons behind the scenes or whether or not new anime was actually in the works. HTat being the case, I had to hedge the question in a different manner – With the current trend of remaking classic mecha anime (Yamato 2199, Gundam The Origin). in his personal opinion, keeping his work on Macross The First in mind, IF the original Macross were to be remade, what would he personally like to see changed or fleshed out?
Mikimoto’s answer was as surprising as it was simple and, in retrospect, should have been expected – he wanted to expand on the love triangle. This was because he felt the Misa-Hikaru-Minmay relationship had ceased to be a love triangle a good two thirds of the way through the story despite the fact that Hikaru didn’t actively choose one woman over the other outright until the final episode. He had more or less drifted towards Misa because Minmay wasn’t around as much. Therefore he would like to see Minmay kept in the picture somehow to keep the love triangle going and then reach a conclusive, convincing end.
Unfortunately I forgot to ask him about the official spelling of Riber’s name – oh well, maybe next time.