Daicon III Opening Animation (1981 IMDb)

Categorization

Theatrical short animation. A short film featuring constant music—apparently taken from various other anime—and one mute line of dialogue, functioning as an emblem of a major convention: the 20th Annual Japan National SF Convention, a.k.a. Daicon III because it was the third one set in Osaka. Produced by several of the co-founders, which is basically how they got together.

Subject

An elementary-school girl is contacted by two weirdos who land in a space shuttle of some kind. They want her to deliver a beaker of “water” to Daicon. She sets off to do this, but runs into a hostile lizard, who wants the water and brings a starship trooper. The battle is on! Various SF monsters and vehicles—including some non-Japanese—try to stop her. Will superhuman strength and a well-stocked backpack be enough?

Commentary

Campy music, poor animation. Daicon (dai meaning big, con for convention) is homonymous with daikon, which means giant white radish, the vegetable the main character encounters.

References here: Blue Blazes (2014).

Anno Hideaki Japanese production Yamaga Hiroyuki animation movie

Sequel:

Daicon IV Opening Animation (1983 IMDb)

Categorization

Theatrical short animation. Produced more industrially for the same emblematic purpose two conventions later, this time using coherent music (primarily “Twilight” by ELO, and the preceding “Prologue” track from the 1981 album Time, illegally). There is less plot but a stronger effort to really represent SF, particularly to illustrate its escapist mindset and sense of wonder. The film is legendary as an icon of Japanese geek subculture.

Subject

The original story is briefly recapped using new animation and slow synth music. “Prologue” follows as the Daicon ship moves through hyperspace. “Twilight” begins and the girl ages. Rapid fights with her in a bunny suit segue into air surfing and cameos, whereupon the surfing sword splits, dives down and levels cities. Cherry blossom petals take the place of dust on the shock waves. The now barren earth heaves and breaks, showing new water, and life bursts forth again.

Commentary

Less than six minutes of video brilliantly encapsulate the raw exhilaration of fantastic fiction, whilst providing visual references to a ton of classics, all of them probably older than I am: see Murakami Takashi's Little Boy (2005) for a longish list. Doraemon cosplaying as Char, a tiny prototype of the “Gainax bounce”—the earliest instance of which may possibly have been Ryan Larkin's Walking (1968)—2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and hexagonal terrain gaming, it's all in here.

This short made possible the foundation of Studio Gainax (1984) and the birth of Wings of Honneamise: Royal Space Force (1987). Anno Hideaki directed the “nuclear” blast and would go on to key animation for the kyoshinhei of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984).

References here: “Don't mention the war!”, Re: Cutie Honey (2004), Cassette Girl (2015).

Anno Hideaki Japanese production Yamaga Hiroyuki animation movie