Anime Trivia

Dai

Thousand Master
Anime is a weird and wonderful industry. What are some of your favourite bits of anime trivia?

I'll start off with a well-known one, but which never stops being strange. Back when they were released at Japanese cinemas in 1988, My Neighbour Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies were screened as a double bill. They're undoubtedly among the best works from Miyazaki and Takahata respectively, but it would be hard to think of two films less suited to being screened together, especially for young children.
 

WMD

Railgun
Anime is a weird and wonderful industry. What are some of your favourite bits of anime trivia?

I'll start off with a well-known one, but which never stops being strange. Back when they were released at Japanese cinemas in 1988, My Neighbour Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies were screened as a double bill. They're undoubtedly among the best works from Miyazaki and Takahata respectively, but it would be hard to think of two films less suited to being screened together, especially for young children.
I didnt actually know that. Its weirdly funny!

I've always enjoyed this story (I hope I'm remembering it right. I'm sure it's on the bonus features for the show): Samuel L Jackson was having a meeting with his agent and noticed a dvd with Afro Samurai written on it so he distracted his agent and swiped the disc. When he later watched it it was test footage for the show and he called his agent and told him he was going to be Afro Samurai and to make it happen. After receiving the call in Japan the makers were like "Well I guess this is going to be in English then!"
 

Geriatric hedgehog

Thousand Master
My Neighbour Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies were screened as a double bill.
I wonder what times these were screened then. If they started with Totoro at 9pm then maybe they would have expected the kids to doze off by the second movie. If not, then the Japanese must teach their kids about the true horrors of life at a very young age... Grave of the Fireflies is my favourite Ghibli movie by far and is absolutely harrowing.
 

Greboruri

Brigade Leader
Back when they were released at Japanese cinemas in 1988, My Neighbour Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies were screened as a double bill. They're undoubtedly among the best works from Miyazaki and Takahata respectively, but it would be hard to think of two films less suited to being screened together, especially for young children.
Tokuma Shoten thought that Totoro as a stand alone film would be too much of a financial risk, so they decided to pair it up with Takahata's adaptation of "Grave of the Fireflies" which was based on a well known short story and producers at Tokuma Shoten believed that cinema goers would come to see that film. In the end many school boards decided to book out screenings for students to see that film, so it worked, but the films still made a loss at the cinema.

Oddly Toshio Suzuki later stated that they know that they would loose money on the films theatrical screenings but went ahead anyway because they wanted make Totoro. Takahata didn't like the paring of the films because Totoro was screened first and some people left the cinema because they couldn't watch to the end after seeing the joyful and upbeat Totoro.
 

Geriatric hedgehog

Thousand Master
Random bit I think someone else mentioned in the simulcast thread, or I read somewhere, whilst re-watching Evangelion, regarding episode 4 of the original series. This is the one which has Shinji running away and was quite a fantastic but melancholy episode, with the excellent drawn out scene at the train station. I thought this was pure Anno, and an indicator of how the series was always dark from the start and rather avant garde in its direction. However, apparently it was mainly rest of the team responsible who pushed for the way this episode was constructed and not Anno himself. Found that very interesting as with everything around Anno, it can be easy to forget all the other talent that helped create this series.
 

Dai

Thousand Master
Masamichi Amano is one of my favourite composers, mainly on the strength of his orchestral scores for Giant Robo and the girls' baseball anime Princess Nine. You would think that he'd take radically different approaches to those two shows, but he actually gives them similar treatment, with the latter amped up to epic proportions by the music. In fact, the penultimate episode of Princess Nine ends with a cue taken verbatim from the end of Giant Robo episode 4. Thanks to both scores having been performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic, the music fits in seamlessly. In another self-referential moment, and a bit of a cruel joke, he introduces the baseball team's overweight catcher with a short phrase of Giant Robo's theme.

Probably his oddest callback to his previous work occurs in the episode where the baseball team scouts a former sprinter. The video of her previous races is accompanied by, of all things, the ending theme from Urotsukidoji 3!
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Totoro was screened first

Hah, I’ve heard about the two films being a double feature before, but I’ve always wondered which one came first.

Despite never having seen the final film, I’ve always been kinda fascinated by how the Japan/US co-produced Little Nemo project passed through the hands of so many notable anime directors during the 80s. Miyazaki and Takahata were briefly attached, but left due to dissatisfaction with the script. Various pilot films were produced over the years by others, however, notably including Yoshifumi Kondo (later of Ghibli) and Osamu Dezaki.

Dezaki’s film is the most interesting, being full to the brim of his trademark special effects in the lighting, the stylised water and little details like the reflections in the floating bubbles, but it’s perhaps not surprising that it wasn’t produced in full - it’s arguably a bit too weird for the US family audiences of the time. The film that Kondo worked on is rather poignant though, as I think it’s a glimpse into what he might have achieved at Ghibli after Whisper of the Heart, (he was said to be Miyazaki and Takahata’s favoured succcessor), had he not died suddenly in 1998, aged just 47.

A compilation of three pilot films is currently up on YouTube here:

[Media]
 

Neil.T

Idolm@ster
Takahata didn't like the paring of the films because Totoro was screened first
I’ve always wondered which one came first.
That's interesting, because I'd read (in Clements and McCarthy's Anime Encyclopedia, I think) that it was Grave first. And then while looking for something that would back that up, I found this article...
... that suggests that both running orders were tried. 🤔

It's mentioned at the beginning of the eighth paragraph:

This worked…to a point. The films were made and released together, but the studio quickly found that if they showed Totoro first, people fled from the sadness of GOTF. Even swapping the films didn’t exactly result in a hit.
 

Girls with Guns

Cardcaptor
They even released the two movies together in a unique double-billing set in the Japanese Studio Ghibli silhouette digipak series, in addition to the two regular silhouette singles releases. All three releases can be seen side-by-side together in my somewhat infamous Skittles "Catch the Rainbow" photo of the complete 24-digipak silhouette series collection. The Joe Hisaishi at Budokan, 25 years of Studio Ghibli live concert Blu-ray on the far right is not actually a part of the series - I guess I just included it in there because it's "the 25th," lol!

ghibmyst6.jpg


skittles25.jpg


Ok, I just realized that rainbow photo was taken before they released Ocean Waves, so it's not really the complete collection, my bad - The green set next to Joe Hisaishi is the Kingdom of Dreams and Madness Blu-ray. I took that photo 4 years ago, so I forgot about that. Below is the complete 24 digipak collection, showing the three Grave/Totoro releases at the top right (along with a bonus pic of the group in my theater):

24jpghibli.jpg
ghibliscreen1.jpg
 
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RebelNotorious

Dandy Guy, in Space
I've always wondered about the authenticity of this one despite seeing many articles about it over the years, it's probably also a well known story at this point, but apparently when Princess Mononoke was in the process of being dubbed for it's US release, a certain Miramax executive wanted to cut it down from 135 minutes to 90 minutes disregarding promises not to do so. This then got back to Ghibli themselves and one of the producers then sent a present to the Miramax exec in the form of a katana with the message "No cuts."
 

WMD

Railgun
After K-on was so successful and they decided to do some live concerts the 5 voice actresses decided to actually learn their characters instruments for the shows. Including Mio's v/o learning the bass left handed like the character, even though she was right handed, for the sake of authenticity.
 

Neil.T

Idolm@ster
A compilation of three pilot films is currently up on YouTube here
Those were very interesting, Prof. I wasn't sure which directors' work we'd be seeing in that compilation (and in which order, since I deliberately didn't read the video's description until after), but it seems so obvious now that Kondo's was the middle segment. Genuinely, I allowed myself to be thrown off by the English dialogue (and my lack of familiarity with the project) and actually assumed that it was something that big-budget Disney had had a hand in, such was the technical excellence of it! Very sad indeed to imagine what Kondo could have gone on to make.

I easily guessed the Dezaki film, though, from the in-camera lighting effects straight off the bat, and from its generally psychedelic nature. It was a brilliantly detailed piece of work. I'm glad of the opportunity to see those.

Just for the hell of it, I'll throw in my own related but slightly off-topic bit of trivia. The finished film found itself adapted into a 2D scrolling platform game for the Nintendo Entertainment System under the title Little Nemo: The Dream Master. The game was developed by Capcom and was released in 1990.

 

Neil.T

Idolm@ster
I only found out it was an anime yesterday - I only ever knew it from the game (which I really wanted as a kid, but never got) 😅
I had the chance to get it in CEX a couple of months ago, but I'm glad I turned it down, because I didn't realise at the time that it was a Capcom game! After recently slogging through Mega Man 2 on my NES Mini (with liberal use of save states), I can safely say that Capcom games are way too hard for me. 😅

#Trivia
 

awadama

Cardcaptor
I had the chance to get it in CEX a couple of months ago, but I'm glad I turned it down, because I didn't realise at the time that it was a Capcom game! After recently slogging through Mega Man 2 on my NES Mini (with liberal use of save states), I can safely say that Capcom games are way too hard for me. 😅

#Trivia
I can't handle them either - I downloaded the Mega Man Collection on PS4 ages ago and I'm hopeless at it. Same with the Disney Afternoon Collection - you might expect games based on Ducktales and Chip 'n' Dale to be easy, but they're hard 😭
 

Professor Irony

CYBER FUNKER
Moderator
Most of the Afternoon games aren’t too bad, but Darkwing Duck is basically a Mega Man game in which you have three weapons, two of which are useless, and no passwords...

Darkwing Duck is anime, right? But I digress.
 
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