Table of Contents
| Zoku Otaku no Video
1985 Graffiti of Otaku Generation
Zoku Otaku no Bideo
|Directed by: Mori Takeshi|
|Produced by: Inomata Kazuhiko, Kanda Yoshimi|
|Written by: Okada Toshio, Yamaga Hiroyuki|
|Storyboards by: Higuchi Shinji|
|Music by: Tanaka Kōhei|
|(See extended staff credits)|
|Production company: GAINAX|
|Original release date: December 20, 1991|
|Running time: 46 minutes|
Set on building their own company and making it big in the industry, Kubo and Tanaka face the harsh realities of the corporate world. Friends become rivals, and former loved ones become bitter enemies. Can Kubo really claim the title of Otaking? Will Otakuland ever be built?
Work Hard, Party Hard
Hei-Cast and Shin-Etsu are Japanese chemical brands.
In the opening scene, Tanaka's apron is identical to the one that Otonashi Kyōko wears as the caretaker of Maison Ikkoku (Ikkoku-kan) — “Piyo Piyo.”
The pencils, drawing compass and scissors are stored in a can of Kirin the Gold beer. For a little piece of information, the legal drinking age in Japan is 20. The brushes are in a can of Pocari Sweat, a brand of non-carbonated sports drinks. Unlike how the name would suggest, it does not thankfully contain any sweat.
The plastic model kit box next to Kubo is a MS-06 Zaku II, the Principality of Zeon's military workhorse in Mobile Suit Gundam.
The dialogue is a direct parody of Even a Monkey Can Draw: Manga Class (Sarumanga), a three-volume satirical manga that mocks instructional drawing books like Toriyama Akira's Hetappi Manga Kenkyūjo. Almost all genres and clichés are covered. If one were to use the work as a serious guide while making his/ her own manga, it would end up as little more than a collection of the worst clichés imaginable.
The garage model kit companies Tanaka names are both real: Inoue Arts is an individual, and Kaiyōdō is a major company in the industry. The leaflets shown in the background are from Kaiyōdō's and Inoue Arts' product catalogs. Inoue's catalog shows a garage kit of the final battle from King Kong vs. Godzilla, where King Kong shoves a tree in Godzilla's mouth. Tamiya is a renowned model kit and supplies manufacturer.
Following the two black-and-white convention photos, snapshots of Gainax founding members appear. Respectively, they are Okada Toshio, Akai Takami and Anno Hideaki.
A model of ATM-09-ST Scopedog from Armored Trooper VOTOMS is placed on top of Tanaka's black shelf.
In the next scene, the leaflets advertise DAICON IV Bunny Girl garage kits.
Hobby Japan is a toy and game hobbyist magazine founded in 1969. The company also operates a mail order store.
Monthly Bandai Making Journal (Bandai Mokei Jōhō MJ) was a smaller sister publication to Bandai's B-Club Magazine. Both publications advertised Bandai's model kits and toy replicas. The cover illustration for the 1985 issue #9 features a VF-1 Valkyrie in Battroid mode from Super Dimension Fortress Macross.
Pretty Figure MJ was a supplemental publication from Bandai, which showcased female character figurines and dress up dolls with full-color page spreads. The characters seen in the first issue cover include: Lum (Urusei Yatsura), Morisawa Yū/Creamy Mami, Asagiri Yōko (Leda), a Mobile Suit Girl (an anthropomorphic Gundam), Ayukawa Madoka (Kimagure Orange Road), Little Memole, Luchina Pressette and Maki Rowel (Vifam).
In the last leaflet, one of the kits shown is a Metaluna Mutant alien, from This Island Earth.
Carbon Copy Girl
After 1960, making copies of self-published works with spirit duplicator machines (also called by brand names of Ditto, Banda and Roneo depending on region), mimeographs and hectographs began to be phased out by more convenient methods of photocopying and offset printing.
In the first montage, Kubo makes enlarged copies of the DAICON Onnanoko (Little Girl) garage kit advertisement with a photocopier. Note that the Roman numerals are flipped, meaning that the ad is for a sixth DAICON event. In the real world, though, DAICON VI didn’t occur until 1993. The big text on the copier reads: “Magnify / Shrink”
DAICON is a part of the Japan Science Fiction Convention (Nihon SF Taikai) that has been held every year since 1962.
The name DAICON is a pun: dai means big, con means convention. Put those together and it becomes daicon, which means a Japanese daikon radish. Thus — big radish convention.
For DAICON III, a group of fans were asked to produce a film for the convention's opening ceremony. Those amateur animators would form the company that later became known as Gainax. The animation features a young schoolgirl meeting up with two humanoid aliens, who give her a cup of water and ask to bring it to the daikon. When she starts her journey, the girl encounters many popular culture characters and other references, and must fight against them before she can get to the daikon. Due to the very restricted budget, the feature was made on vinyl sheets instead of actual cels and shot with 8mm film.
The Grand Prize of Ads
Besides GP’s 11:00AM-8:00PM opening hours, the magazine advertisement reads:
Grand Prix, known also as GP, operates the GP Shopping
Center in order to better leverage products for you.
If you are interested in the inside scoop in the field of
garage kits and the anime industry, want to improve GP's mail
order products and would like know the latest news in GP,
please feel free to apply for our store.1)
It was this advertisement that Fukuhara most likely answered to.
Sleepers at the Lot
During the Grand Prix foundation montage, a monthly reserved parking lot is shown and these two cars are parked there: The red car is a 1982 Honda City AA R, whereas the silver car resembles a 1983 Honda Accord 1800RXT hatchback.
In addition, at the start of the 1985 episode, a yellow Honda City can be seen. In episode three of the 1984 anime adaption of Tsugihara Ryuji's 1982 manga What's Up Mechadoc (Yoroshiku Mechadoc), Team Mechadoc's Kazami Jun drives a yellow Honda City R, with delinquent girl Ono Reiko (who insists being called Sukebo Komachi) riding shotgun, and they have to chase down a black City. During the final chapter of the story, racer Nakamura Ichiro drives a yellow City Turbo II.
It is also related to the custom Honda Today G that appears in Fujishima Kōsuke's 1986 manga You're Under Arrest (Taiho Shichauzo) as the duo's patrol car of choice. The real Honda City came with a Honda Motocompo folding scooter as an option, which likewise appears in You're Under Arrest.
Among the pile of fan letters, there is a drawing of Lum from Urusei Yatsura.
Hot Off the Press
Another Metaluna Mutant appears in Grand Prix's display window. Other figurines include: VF-1 Valkyrie (with Lynn Minmei on the cover), Heavy Metal L-Gaim, Dream Hunter Rem, Otonashi Kyōko, DAICON III Onnanoko, DAICON IV Bunny Girl, Kamen Rider (inside a box), Mechani-Kong, Godzilla, and M.O.G.U.E.R.A.
The next scene follows with a bunch of Japanese magazine spoofs. “Meno” is a spoof on Mono, a 1982 Japanese fashion magazine, covering a mix of Japan/US fashion trends and gadgets. Some references seen on the cover are Gorenger Red, Ultraman, Space Battleship Yamato, Heavy Metal L-Gaim, RX-78-2 Gundam and DAICON IV Bunny Girl.
“Finetoys” is a play on Fineboys, a 1986 fashion print targeted towards male university students. Kamen Rider and DAICON IV Bunny Girl are on the cover. “Brutas” is a spoof on the Popeye spinoff magazine Brutus, with Anno Hideaki on the cover. Brutus is a lifestyle magazine that’s devoted to pop culture, lifestyles, and the Tokyo life, in general. The first issue was released in 1980.
Weekly Young Magazine is a 1980 manga anthology marketed towards adult male audience, featuring glamor models in addition to manga. Think Sports Illustrated, with comics added in.
Lastly, Popeye is a 1976 magazine covering US-style fashion for city boys — fashionable urban young men similar to metrosexuals. In short, it’s the perfect magazine for city boy Kubo. Godzilla and DAICON IV Bunny Girl are on the cover. Olive is Popeye’s sister publication, aimed at urban women.
Tōkyō Sports (Tōspo) is a daily sports newspaper started in 1960. Here, the paper shows profiles of Tanaka and Kubo, stating that they are 21 years old. The newspaper compares the garage kit boom to the popularity of Dakko-chan.
Dakko-chan was an inflatable doll made by Takara, which was very popular Japan in the 1950s and ‘60s. The toy was made of formed plastic, and designed to attach to a person’s arm to hold it comfortably. Its design has sparked discussions about possible racism, as the toy resembled the inappropriate racial caricatures of people of African descent.
During the TV montage, Lum (Urusei Yatsura), DAICON IV Bunny Girl, DAICON III Onnanoko, and Godzilla can be seen. The second girl in the background is wearing Lum's tiger bikini. Some of people standing behind Kubo and Tanaka as they cut the ceremonial rope are among their close friends, including Satō, Hino, Iiyama and Fukuhara.
The “Forest of Otaku” (Otaku no Mori) segment in the listing for the TV show It's OK to Laugh! (Waratte Iitomo!) is a nod to the Manga no Mori (Forest of Manga), a former chain of stores in and around the Tōkyō area. The host, Yamori, is a play on one of Japan's most famous TV comedian/personalities, Tamori. Kubo Akira is an actor who has played in many Tōhō films, including Throne of Blood and Destroy All Monsters.
DAICON III Onnanoko appears on the Wonder Carnival poster. Next to Kubo is a figure of Nadia (Secret of Blue Water) and Gigan, another Tōhō monster. One of the schematics on the wall is for Mazinger Z, as seen in the show's ending theme sequence.
Kōrakuen Stadium was one of the main baseball stadiums in Tōkyō until its demolition in 1988. “Wonder Carnival” is a nod to Wonder Festival, which has been around for nearly 30 years as of this writing. Founded by Gainax, it's primarily a modeling trade fair, with other merchandise like T-shirts and cels also being sold. In this scene, a giant statue and small model kit of Godzilla, yet another Metaluna Mutant, Gigan, and a model submachine gun are among the things seen here.
In the 1987 GP segments, Kubo's tie pin is the Terrestrial Defense Force emblem from Ultra Seven.
References in Kubo's imaginary scene about Otakuland include Attack Mode SDF-1 Macross, Space Battleship Yamato, Tower of the Sun and following with these:
- Show/hide picture
Before the company meeting, Fukuhara is holding the sketchbook the same way as the main character in the cover of Shingyōji Tatsuya's adult manga Croquis. Even the sketchbook font is the same. Croquis was published by Wanimagazine in June 1, 1991.
The word croquis is French for “sketch.”
The painting behind Satō in the meeting room depicts a World War II-era warship.
Journey to the North-West
Kubo's airborne journey begins from Tōkyō by flying over Kyūshū, bypassing South and North Korea. As he approaches Běijīng, Kubo is greeted by Chinese officials and a painting of Máo Zédōng. He reaches his final destination around Hā'ěrbīn, a military industrial zone in Northeast China, by jeep.
The factory blueprints read the following from top-right to left:
- GP China Factory I
- Factory IV
- Factory II
- Factory III
- East Zone
- Mainland China Fuzhou Construction Inspection
In the magazine spelling the doom of garage kits, there is a reference to Hikari no Densetsu (Legend of Hikari), a 1985 manga by Asō Izumi. The series revolves around a girl named Hikari, who aspires to be a rhythmic gymnastics champion. The same magazine references The Pogo; a Japanese punk rock band formed in 1985. Sex Appeal is the seventh track on their 1991 album, titled Search Out!.
Xiǎo Bái Lóng, Kubo's assistant in China, speaks Japanese with a stereotypical “Chinese” accent. Shampoo from Ranma ½ and China-san from The Spirit of Wonder: Miss China's Ring (The Spirit of Wonder: China-san no Yūtsu) are also depicted as speaking this manner. The name “Xiǎo Bái Lóng” itself is likely a reference to the song of the same name (Little White Dragon) performed by Chinese-Japanese pop idol Lynn Minmei (Líng Míngměi) in Macross.
When Fukuhara appears in the meeting for new mascot Märchen Doll Maki, a magazine titled Sex Pistols is seen on the table. Sex Pistols was an infamous English punk rock band formed in 1975, known for songs like Anarchy in the U.K. and God Save the Queen. The magazine contains a smiley face with a streak going over its forehead, reminiscent of the logo of Alan Moore’s influential 1986 graphic novel, Watchmen.
Märchen Doll Maki's design is modeled after Creamy Mami. In Magical Angel Creamy Mami, Morisawa Yū uses her wand to transform herself into the 16 year old pop idol and sing songs that she would be otherwise unable to.
Kusudama are Japanese party balls made from paper, with a rope attached. When the rope is pulled, the ball splits open, spewing confetti as a declaratory banner unfurls. They share several aspects with the Mexican piñata, and are often used for celebratory occasions such as store openings and weddings.
For Whom the Bamboo Tolls
Tanaka arrives at the Ryōtei Water Garden by executive car. The Ryōtei Water Garden is a luxurious traditional Japanese restaurant. Ryōtei, and similar establishments, often only allow admittance to those with invitations, making them an ideal location for discreet business meetings. Visitors may be offered entertainment by female hostesses known as geisha.
Geisha are traditional entertainers, who are versed in the arts of classical music, dance, games, and conversation. Contrary to popular stereotype, traditional geisha are not prostitutes.
Pieces of shamisen play can be also heard. The shamisen is a traditional Japanese three-stringed guitar instrument. It is comparable to a banjo in its appearance, and played with a pick known as a bachi.
Later, a shishi-odoshi can be heard striking in the background. A shishi-odoshi (literal translation: “deer scarer”) is a device designed to scare away birds and animals that are harmful to agriculture. Most commonly, though, the term refers to the sōzu.
A sōzu is a water fountain that's commonly found in Japanese gardens. It consists of a segmented bamboo pipe, pivoted on its balance point. A stream of water flows into the upper end of the tube, which accumulates and eventually causes the pipe to pivot and strike a rock, making a distinctive rapping sound. The noise is intended to startle wild animals. Sozu are also used to simulate the atmosphere of a traditional upper class Japanese household.
The "Nadashio" incident: The Maritime Self-Defense Forces tried very hard to cover up their involvement in this affair, afraid that public opinion toward them (which was already bad) would only get worse. Only after a concerted effort by the survivors of those who had been killed in the disaster did the SDF own up to its part in the tragedy.
Hit, Hit, Hit
At the end of the sequence where Kubo and and Tanaka meet up again at the Märchen Maki line, the scene transition pays homage to late Dezaki Osamu's (1943-2011) directional style, where dramatic moments turn into pastel-chalked stills. This was employed by Dezaki in the 1968 anime adaption of Tomorrow's Joe (Ashita no Joe) to such a great effect that many other creators continue to reference it from time to time.
The alarm clock features Wapiko, Gyopi, and one of the farm animals, which are characters from Goldfish Warning! (Kingyo Chūihō!), a 1989 manga by Nekobe Neko. Having them in an alarm clock allows the pun to also work in English.
Goldfish Warning! received a 54-episode anime adaptation in 1991, the same year Otaku no Video was released. The series was directed by Satō Jun'ichi at Tōei Animation. After working on Goldfish Warning!, Satō went on to direct the first season of Sailor Moon with Ikuhara Kunihiko.
The two characters depicted in the clock are Goldfish Warning! lead Wapiko, and Gyopi-chan, presented in their anime forms. In the series, Gyopi-chan is a highly valuable goldfish, who was left to a young girl named Chitose by her late parents. Due to the fish’s value, it’s a constant target of the family attorney. Chitose’s classmates, including Wapiko, repeatedly thwart the lawyer’s attempts to steal Gyopi.
In the Otaku no Video 1985 storyboard draft, iconic character Doraemon was on the clock the place of the Goldfish Warning! cast. Doraemon is a 1969 manga, which was created by artist duo Fujiko Fujio. The series follows the misadventures of Doraemon, a robot cat from the future, and a young boy named Nobita.
The VHS cover art that appears behind Tanaka is for Battle Mode, a 1990 promotional anime parody video directed by Anno Hideaki, with character designs by Kikuchi Michitaka. The feature was produced for an anime goods shop located in Nara prefecture.
Sonic Soldier Borgman: Lover's Rain is one of the series mentioned in the back cover.
The two VCR advertisements are for National (Panasonic) 1978 Omnivision IV and Mitsubishi 1988 HV-S75 S-VHS recorder. At the original retail price, the S-VHS unit would have cost over $1360 in 1991.
Lastly, the leaflets are General Product's info sheets for their spot-sales at the summer dōjinshi market.
When Fukuhara arrives at Tanaka's house, the notice behind her reads: “Step quietly!”
Say the Magic Word
Satsuki's magical incantation to transform into Misty May is: Puruporo pararin, mya mya totoro!
Even though a rabbit is perceived as a silent animal, “mya” is used as an onomatopoeia for a rabbit’s cry in Japanese. If you ever wanted to transform into a bunny girl, that would make sense, right? The rest is silly rhyming onomatopoeia that could fit as the description of breasts jiggling asynchronously, otherwise known as “Gainaxing” by fans.
“Totoro” may be a reference to Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbor Totoro https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Neighbor_Totoro(Tonari no Totoro). The feature, which was directed by anime legend Hayao Miyazaki, made its theatrical debut in 1988. Otaku no Video would be released three years later. Totoro was also referenced in Gunbuster, another Gainax production.
The girls in the background of the scenes where Tanaka is describing the Misty May storyline are take-offs on B-ko's gang from Project A-ko. The girls are depicted wearing uncommonly long skirts as part of their sailor fuku, a trope indicating that they are “tough” or delinquents (sukeban fashion).
Satsuki herself is based on Minky Momo, a magical princess from the land of dreams. Misty May , Satsuki's alter-ego, is a pile of in-jokes as well. Basically, she’s Cutie Honey crossed with the DAICON IV Bunny Girl. Whenever Cutie Honey transformed into one of her various identities, she could briefly be seen in the nude. Everything else is Sonoda Kenichi's interpretation of the Bunny Girl from the DAICON IV Opening Animation (see the “effects” sampling from the Otaku no Video 1982).
Posi-King and Nega-King are clear takeoffs of King, from Gainax’s Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. The names “Posi” and “Nega” are borrowed from the mascots in Magical Angel Creamy Mami.
Several cardboard boxes can be seen behind Tanaka. The left crate is for mikan, a Japanese orange fruit; while the right one is for apples.
Animedia is an anime magazine from Gakken Publishing that launched in 1981. The publication is a competitor to other big-name anime magazines, like Animate and Newtype.
Newtype is a magazine from Kadokawa Shoten, which first hit the market in 1985. The name “Newtype” comes from Mobile Suit Gundam, where Newtypes are people who have evolved beyond the capabilities of an ordinary human.
At the sneak preview for Misty May, the plate above the Misty May merchandise reads: Goods Stand (baiten).
Barely visible, below the full row of reserved Misty May VHS videotapes are tapes for Blue Comet SPT Layzner, a 1985 science fiction anime directed by Takahashi Ryōsuke.
Tōkyō Sports is the magazine reporting about Giant X's conquest of the market with garage videos.
In the next scene, every single paper in the stand features articles about Misty May and Giant X. Magazines include:
- Como, a magazine for mothers.
- “an-en” is an-an, a women’s magazine with glamor photos of men and women, established 1970.
- Shūkan Bunshun is a weekly newspaper in print since 1959.
- “PoPoTeen” is Popteen, a fashion magazine for teenage girls.
- Shūkan Myōjō (Weekly Venus) was a celebrity news magazine started in 1958.
- “Rey”, actually Ray; is fashion magazine for office ladies and female university students that launched in 1988.
Not in video, but existing in original production art: SPUR and “Cam Can” are women’s fashion magazines. The latter is a twist on CanCam.
Funnily enough, while this montage’s reference to Mikhail “Gorby” Gorbachev implies that the Soviet Union would still be around in 1999, it was dissolved on December 25, 1991 — less than a week after Otaku no Video 1985 was released. A staple food in Eastern European countries and Russia, black bread is a bread made from rye flour, and is usually dark brown in color. Compared to white bread, it is healthier and keeps hunger away for longer.
“The Japan That Can Say 'Oh No!'” is a takeoff on “The Japan That Can Say No”, an essay by right-wing politician Ishihara Shintarō and late Sony co-founder Morita Akio.
Entry of the Gladiators
Kubo, Tanaka and Fukuhara drive up in FAB 1, Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward's Rolls-Royce, from Thunderbirds. Respectively, they are dressed as Kodai Susumu from Space Battleship Yamato, and Char Aznable and Lalah Sune from Mobile Suit Gundam.
In-jokes about Tokyo Otakuland itself: the structure is based on the Attack Mode SDF-1 Macross, but its arms are the Nautilus and New Nautilus from Nadia, its torso is from Yūsha Raideen (Brave Raideen, another pre-Gundam Tomino Yoshiyuki giant robot series), and its legs are from Tetsujin 28-gō.
References appearing include:
- Show/hide picture
Scott Tracy, Akarenger, Kiki, the Exelion ship and Takaya Noriko, Amuro Ray and Lalah Sune, Nausicaä (in her flight suit), Kamen Rider 1, Tower of the Sun, Chirico Cuvie, and Mighty Jack also appear in the sequence. Not shown, but present on the full original artwork for the scene are Nene Romanova and Priscilla "Priss" S. Asagiri, and the masts for Space Battleship Yamato and Space Pirate Battleship Arcadia.
The island where Tokyo Otakuland sits is in the shape of the emblem of the Science Special Search-Party, from Ultraman.
Kubo's line is a reference to Nostradamus' X.LXXII prophecy that in July 7, 1999, “un grand Roi d’effrayeur” — a Great King of Terror would descend from the skies and thus bring the end of the world.
Kubo’s proclamation can be also compared to Edward I of England. Commonly called “Great and Terrible King”, Edward I was a popular reformist ruler, who altered numerous aspects of feudal and common law, while keeping England united via harsh military rule, and expanding the empire with wars of conquest. Much like Kubo forever changed the face of otakudom, Edward I changed the meaning of government for the people of England.
The Teletype dated Sept. 13, 1999 is another obvious reference, this time to Gerry Anderson's Space: 1999. You will recall that It was on this day that the nuclear explosion blew the Moon into outer space. From that point in the video, you never see the moon.
Around the Universe in 365 Days
The only reason Edogawa-ku is mentioned in the epilogue is because when Harumi and Urayasu sink, Edogawa-ku, being somewhat nearby, is also likely to go under. Urayasu City is the location of Tōkyō Disneyland.
The submarine which Kubo and Tanaka are aboard is the Wadatsumi, the same submarine that was used in Japan Sinks.
Written by science fiction novelist Komatsu Sakyō, Japan Sinks (Nihon Chinbotsu) is a 1973 disaster novel inspired by the theory of convergent tectonic plates. The novel begins with a mini submarine operator, who is tasked with investigation of why an island has sunk below the ocean. The Japanese government has to evacuate of millions of people and seek help from nations worldwide before Japan sinks completely. The novel has received several live-action adaptations over the years. The first movie, which is also known as The Submersion of Japan, was released by Tōhō in December 29, 1973.
In 1975, film producer Roger Corman obtained the US rights and used stock footage from the film to produce a movie titled Tidal Wave. Lorne Greene starred as US Ambassador Warren Richards in new inserted scenes and most of the human drama was removed, resulting in a much shorter running time compared to the original work.
Kubo's outfit is Kodai Susumu's spacesuit from Space Battleship Yamato, and Tanaka's is Char Aznable's spacesuit from Mobile Suit Gundam. When Kubo says, “Otakuland… Oh, it's all so dear to me…” he is misquoting a line which Okita Jūzō, first captain of Yamato, said just before he died in the original story. As he looked on Earth, just as the Yamato was returning from its original historic voyage to Iscandar, Captain Okita said, “Earth… it's all so dear to me…” and died of the radiation sickness that had been plaguing him throughout the journey. When Kubo and Tanaka enter Otakuland's elevator and exit at the final floor, they arrive in Space Battleship Yamato's observation deck.
Satō is wearing the outfit that Electra wore in the last five episodes of Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water.
The spacecraft that Tokyo Otakuland transforms into is Ambassador Magma, with the nose cone of Kaitei Gunkan (The Undersea Warship), from a Tsuburaya Productions effects film of the same name, circa 1960.
In the final Teletype, “Eltrium” is the main ship featured in the last episode of Gunbuster.
Portrait of an Otaku 1985
In Satō Hiroshi's room, there is tower of military plastic model kit boxes in the left corner. Next to them is a model of Tetsujin 28-gō on the shelf and various manga. One of the models on top the television is Alien Baltan, from Ultraman. At the table where Satō is sculpting, there is an Optimus Prime (Convoy) toy from Transformers on top of a jar. The small figure he is sculpting is an MS Girl, an anthropomorphic representation of a Gundam as a girl.
“Shon Hernandez” is a combination of Shon Howell and Lea Hernandez who, together with Craig York (the real person in this segment), were the core personnel of General Products USA.
In Shon's shared room, there is a poster and a framed photo featuring Lynn Minmei from Super Dimension Fortress Macross. The anime magazine Shon picks up is Animedia and the plastic model box is for Space Battleship Yamato, which he has already completed and put on display.
At the end of the segment, he is walking in front Animate, a Japanese character goods shop.
As best as we can determine, this is what Shon is saying in the background:
If you want to, please, be my guest. Well, ahh, boy, you know Japan has so much of this, this wonderful stuff. I could talk about it for hours but if I had to put it into a word… just one, it'd be wonderful.
That'd be it. Yeah. Anyways… Stuff like this… I got, I got hooked on Japanese comics and animation 'cause they're so different from American comics. They… evolve. They mature in a [totally] different way.
For example, America, we've got a few really good graphic designers like, uh, Syd Mead. Uh, but… compared to Japan, it's just like… hardly any, and in Japan, all-all kinds of graphics designers, all kinds of mechanical designers are… involved in animation, manga, related arts[?], stuff like this. It's really amazing.
Oh, my favorite character? Ahh, oh yeah, that's gotta be Lum. Yeah. I've been thinkin' about it for a while, and… America's number one evil symbol, it's, uh, Satan, right? And… a demon, Satan. And Lum's a demon too.
Yeah, 'cause they're all… ahhhh… beautiful, sexy. But she's still a demon. And… defined that idea, I like that bind… together.
Animec, initially Manific; was an anime specialist magazine published by Laporte. The publication kicked off in 1978, but struggled to keep its readership in the crowded market, leading to its cancellation in 1987. In addition to anime, Animec covered special effects films. A rarity for its time, the publication included production materials such design sheets, which were not commonly distributed previously.
“Murayama Akira” saying that a person can walk into an anime studio with just a “Good morning” is a reference to the typical greeting used in the industry. “Ohayō gozaimasu” (Good morning) is the greeting used regardless of the actual time of day or night. This is quite appropriate, as most anime folk have little idea what time of day it is.
The game featured in Osamu’s segment is Cybernetic Hi-School (Dennō Gakuen), an erotic visual novel that’s basically a strip quiz game. It was developed by Gainax in 1989 for Japan-only computer platforms NEC PC-8801 and Microsoft MSX. For answering a series of 25 questions pertaining mainly to otaku subjects, the player is rewarded with a stripping scene that features the character giving the quiz. In this part, school class representative Serizawa Hiroko, the main main character, makes an appearance.
Osamu's computer is an Epson PC-286VF, a NEC PC-9801-compatible clone computer. This means he is playing the upgraded PC-98 version of the game. Also, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water stickers are pasted on the chassis and monitor frame. There is a Nadia book as well.
The base model PC-286VF-STD retailed for ¥298,000 in 1989, which amounts to roughly $2,240 USD at the historical rate. The computer specifications were:
- Intel 80286 processor at 6/10/16MHz
- 640KB main memory (expandable to 14MB)
- Two 5¼-inch floppy disk drives
- 20/40Mb optional hard drive
Uesaka Hidehiko’s bag in his “Portrait of an Otaku” segment features art from Ranma ½, including male and female Saotome Ranma, Shampoo, and Hibiki Ryōga. He is holding a Mobile Police Patlabor dōjinshi in his left hand, and doesn’t throw it away when he escapes. The Ranma ½ bag wasn’t as lucky, as it’s carelessly thrown at the hassling interviewers.
Maze of Otaku
According to an interview with Okada Toshio in Animerica Vol. 4 Issues 2-5, he wrote the initial version of the script, which was then expanded on by other Gainax staff. In the second Japanese commentary track of the Blu-ray release, Yamaga Hiroyuki states that he (Yamaga) wrote the script under the pen name of Okada Toshio.
General Products, also known as Zenepro, was a specialty store located in Ōsaka that sold science fiction and anime-related goods. The store was in business from February 14th 1982 to 1992. Okada Toshio, a university drop-out at the time, had opened the store with a loan from his parents. The store originally belonged to the Okadas' family business. He was also a central figure running the DAICON III convention and and sold the DAICON III Onnanoko garage kit at the General Products store. While General Products wasn't the first one of its kind in Japan, it was the first one to be successful.
Otaku Baka Ichidai is an autobiographical piece by Murahama Shōji. The book's title is a play on the manga Karate Baka Ichidai (Karate Master). Loosely translated, it would mean An Otaku-Crazy Life.
Otaku no Hon (The Book of Otaku) is a 1989 book containing various essays edited by Machiyama Tomohiro on the topic of otaku and the otaku culture. This book would later serve as a partial inspiration for Otaku no Video.
Maid to Order
During Satō's figure carving segment, Murahama calls him Satō-rin. -rin is a playful Japanese honorific used as a nickname among peers.
The honorific is used for how it sounds, rather than for making sense. Not all names can have the -rin suffix attached. For example, Akabori becomes Akaborin, but Asuka cannot become Asurin.
Murakami Takashi is an artist and designer who entered the international spotlight with his controversial fiberglass sculptures crafted by BOME. One of these sculptures is Hiropon (1997), which depicts a female character wearing only a tiny bikini top, with massive breasts squirting a stream of milk that forms in the shape of a jump rope. It was auctioned for $427,500 in May 2002. Since then, Murakami has designed patterns for Louis Vuitton bags and other products, and exhibited paintings, animation, and sculptures worldwide. His creations are frequently compared with the works of Andy Warhol, whom Murakami cites as an inspiration.
The sculpture Inoue Kikuko talks about is Miss Ko², a busty maid character wearing a very short dress, an apron and a hair bow.
Kubōka Toshiyuki is an animator and director. At Gainax, he served in various key staff roles for Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise, Gunbuster and Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. Kubōka made his directorial debut was in 2012, when he helmed the three-part feature film adaptation of Miura Kentarō's Berserk manga, Berserk: Golden Age Arc. Berserk: The Golden Age Arc I - The Egg of the King, which hit Japanese theaters February 2012, was the first of these films.
Lum Invader, who’s commonly referred to as Lum-chan, is the female protagonist in Urusei Yatsura (Those Obnoxious Aliens). She is an alien who hails from planet Oniboshi, and usually wears yellow tiger stripe bikinis. Despite her cute looks, you don’t want to get on her bad side. Those who do will find that things get quite electrifying, in more ways than one! Moroboshi Ataru seems to forget this time and time again, as he engages in lecherous antics.
If you see a random character wearing a yellow tiger bikini, it's likely a reference to Lum. Her character continues to be popular even today, and makes appearances in various media, including an advertising campaign for Suntory's energy drink Regain, that ran in June 2014, with model Matsubara Sumire portraying Lum.
Urusei Yatsura did receive a new 2008 animation titled It's a Rumic World: Urusei Yatsura - The Obstacle Course Swim Meet (Za Shōgaibutsu Suiei Taikai). The feature was included as part of a crossover of Takahashi Rumiko's characters.
Princesses and Stripes
Princess Maker is a long-running series of life simulation games where the task is to raise your adopted daughter and aid her in becoming a true princess. The game was developed by Gainax for NEC PC-9801 computers. it hit Japanese retailers on May 24 1991, with ported versions following later. The sequel, Princess Maker 2, received an English-language version, though it was never officially released.
Silent Möbius - Case: Titanic is another Gainax game for PC-9801, which was released on August 10, 1990. The title is a visual novel based on Asamiya Kia’s Silent Möbius manga and anime series. In the game, the player investigates a strange ship that has appeared in the skies of Tōkyō.
A popular meeting place, Shinjuku Alta is a department store most identifiable for its large outdoor television installation which was the first of its kind in Japan. The building hosts six floors of fashion specialty shops, restaurants, and convenience stores.The seventh and eighth floors house Studio Alta, where It's OK to Laugh! was broadcasted for over 30 years.
Sun Road is a famous shopping arcade located in front of Kichijōji Station. Tōkyū Cherrynard, also known as Diamond Street, is the name of the shopping arcade located at the east side. Located on that street is Kozasa, a confectionery store that sells traditional Japanese sweets such as yōkan, which are blocks of jelly containing red bean paste.
A tatami is a flooring material used in traditional Japanese rooms. They are usually made from rice straw, compressed wood chips or polystyrene. A standard small-sized room of 4.5 tatami has four full length tiles and one half-length tatami tile. An average single full tile is 1.53 m², meaning that a 4.5 tatami room is approximately 6.89 m² (74.1 ft²). The actual size of the room may vary.
Ojamanga Yamada-kun is a 1979 satirical comedy manga by Ishii Hisaichi about a family called the Yamadas. Yamada Yoshio is an old grumpy man and head of the family. He comes home daily from the pachinko parlor. The series is not to be confused with My Neighbors the Yamadas, a Studio Ghibli adaption of another Ishii Hisaichi manga.
Robots on Film
Mobile Police Patlabor is a 1988 anime and manga series from creative group Headgear. The title is set in the near future, in a world where construction robots known as Labors have revolutionized numerous aspects of daily life. With the introduction Labors and incidents related to them, though, a new form of policing was needed. Enter the Patrol Labor. And thus, the birth of the Patlabor.
In April 13 2014, to promote the live-action movie project The Next Generation - Patlabor, a life-size AV-98 Ingram Patlabor, complete with its own hydraulic lift truck was displayed in front of Kichijōji Station.
Headgear was a five-person group, which was set up so that the creators could retain ownership of their work while gaining more leverage in negotiating content licenses. The members of the group were:
- Yuki Masami (Birdy the Mighty)
- Izubuchi Yutaka (RaXephon)
- Itō Kazunori (Magical Angel Creamy Mami)
- Takada Akemi (Kimagure Orange Road [Character Designer])
- Oshii Mamoru (Angel’s Egg, Jin-Roh, Ghost in the Shell [Director])
Created by Hirai Kazumasa and Kuwata Jirō in 1963, cyborg 8 Man is one of Japan's earliest superhero characters. In the United States, it was localized 1965 as Tobor the 8th Man. The second live-action adaption, 8 Man: For All the Lonely Night (Subete no Sabishii Yoru no Tame ni) premiered at the Tōkyō Dome stadium in December 12, 1992.
As said by Sano and Satō, itasha (Italian car) used to mean high-performance, exotic European cars that were imported into Japan. During the Japanese bubble economy, it was not unthinkable to see a Porsche rolling on the streets of Shinjuku. With the start of the moe anime boom at the turn of century, the meaning of itasha was redefined as “painful car,” due to the potential embarrassment and the high costs involved. While the cars still could be high-end tuned models, they are typically painted in bright colors, and plastered with decals of cute female characters from anime and games. Before, the decoration was usually limited to placing stickers on the dash. More currently, itasha have even participated in officially sanctioned racing, such as the Hatsune Miku BMW Z4 GT3 in the Super GT series.
Pen² is a genetically engineered intelligent penguin and Misato's pet in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Teto is a fox-squirrel (kitsunerisu) that was given as a pet to Nausicaä by Lord Yupa in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
Haro is Amuro Ray's green, ball-shaped robot companion in Mobile Suit Gundam.
What is common with all these mascot characters is the design that lends well to plush toys and other merchandise, an aspect of kawaii culture that is visible throughout modern Japan.
A Flash in His Eye
When Murahama mentions cel miscolorings, he uses the industry term iropaka. In the past, traditional animation used celluloid sheets where the colors were painted. An incorrectly colored cel meant that the cel would have to be redone, or overlaid with a correction sheet for retakes. But not all productions had this luxury — especially those with extremely tight budgets and schedules, which meant errors appearing more often in the finished work. When production switched to digital animation, miscolorings became uncommon because a mistake could be usually corrected with a few mouse clicks.
In Japanese, the word anime simply means any kind of animation, so even Western-made works can be called “anime” in Japan.
In the translated remarks from the Japanese release insert of Otaku no Video, Higuchi Shinji talks about the “finished white box” of a disc release. White box (shirobako) is the term for a pre-production screener from the replication facility; in the old tape days these came in a plain white tape sleeve, thus the term — which is still used today. For AnimEigo's Blu-ray Kickstarter campaign, the “Patron Inspector” tier backers received screener discs, for example. And of course, there is the 2014 anime series of the same name by P.A.Works referencing this practice.