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Shoji Kawamori London

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Guys, I managed to get a last min ticket i think from someone that cancelled, i just tried my luck on the day, the 'sold out' sign on the website turned to 'select seat' and i got one.

It was properly amazing. Didn't realise he's actually quite a funny guy. It was in a small cinema, less than 150 people easy. But first! On the weekend before this talk, they were doing a screening of Macross Plus! In one of their larger cinemas, about 280 people capacity. It was all part of the anime season currently on at the Barbican here in London. The version used was some odd version where the subtitles were a bit off... quite a lot of grammar mistakes and Yang referring to Isamu and Guld's relationship after they have their massive dogfight as a 'bromance'.... I don't really remember that from the late 90's Manga UK version i had on VHS haha. Was a great night though to see Macross plus on the big screen (never seen a movie in a 4:3 format at the cinema before) Oh! and this was in surround sound too. Really made Sharon Apple's hypnotic songs towards the end even more creepy! Feeling like she really is all around you. Then after the show met some great people for a drink after too to talk Macross, and general anime too. There was a fella who does the Retro Mecha Podcast that i'm now turning in for every episode. Think some of you guys would like it too. 

Back to the talk, it honestly was so inspiring. He talked about his recent Expo, his work on Demon Ex Machina on the switch... 

Then he went through what i think some of his other talks have been about (that i've read about) as far as where he grew up in the sticks, having a bit of a culture shock moving to a busier town. He showed his love for Thunderbirds growing up and said obviously we (from Britain) knew all about the show, then showed his work on Thunderbirds Are Go, think that was a super proud moment for him personally. 

Went into a bit of his philosophy for storytelling which was great and how that applied to Macross, and particularly DYRL, showing some concept art and storyboards i hadn't seen before, sure it's out there though. He had this slide up about how he was thinking about evolving macross and his thoughts on 'A pilot who doesn't fight but sing' as a slide came up, the next slide Basara was on screen and someone yelled 'Basara!!!' really loud from the very small crowd, Shoji Kawamori loved it haha. 

He also joked about working with Itano (of circus fame) and how they became mates from their love of fireworks and firing them at one another! 

The whole theme of this anime season at the Barbican was basically Ai vs humanity. So he talked about what that meant through Macross Plus. Then he mentioned he had worked with the Barbican before on some art piece ages ago where someone could control a robot in VR (we're talking 90's VR though, this was back in the day) Then he hinted at some of the newer thoughts he's been having. Particularly around how VR hasn't evolved yet to really let us smell or feel things and had a picture up of some flowers on screen the whole time, then talked about that even the picture of flowers was fake. Will be interesting to see what he thinks this thought around false imagery can turn into as a concept for an anime. 

Then after a few more bits of stuff he mentioned how he's working all the time and inspired by a lot. He said he was even working on the storyboards for a Macross Delta movie coming out next year. So hopefully he chucks a bit of London in there! haha. Then it basically ended. He stuck around in the main hall after we all got kicked out before the next film was meant to start. There was a bit of a crowd around him so didn't know what sort of questions they were asking him, but i think they were mainly 'storytelling' questions. As in, what else to him makes a good story etc. so quite good ones. I didn't know what i'd ask him to be honest, plus i had to dash home as it was my girlfriend's last night in the country before she went away for work for a week. But i couldn't miss this! haha. 

Then on the next night (girlfriend out of the way ;-p ), he also did an intro to a screening of Ghost in the shell in the cinema i saw Macross Plus in. He mainly talked about his work with Oshii through the years and that he's never actually met Masamune Shirow. Then he talked a bit about his design for the helicopters in GitS but mainly the sniper attack helicopter and the idea that it should look like a normal helicopter when in it's normal flight mode. But then thought about when it goes into attack mode it should look like something intimidating, and that eagles have the best eyesight so are basically 'snipers of the sky' (the translator was quite good i think) and that the helicopter should get bigger and more menacing. Anyway then he was like 'Right, time to stop and watch the movie!' 

But yeah, the main talk was just great, and amazing that he came all this way too. Other films they are showing are Patlabor (just gone, and sadly couldn't go to that one, would have really liked to) Metropolis.... Paprika.... all sorts, it's a really good mix of movies being shown over the next couple of weeks. Hopefully more to come!

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