The 2nd Dimension

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Shirow's Tank Police Going CG

According to AnimeNation:

The May issue of Japan's Animage magazine includes a bonus DVD containing a promo clip for the full CG animated "TANK S.W.A.T. 01," created by Urda creator Romanov Higa and based on Masamune Shirow's Tank Police Dominion manga series. Japanese fan site Shirowledge hosts a full page ad for the animated clip.

According to Anime News Network:

TANK S.W.A.T. 01 is the first work from the Digital Tokiwa Village Project, a government initiative aimed at fostering independant CG animation. Digital Tokiwa brings promising creators together in Osaka, giving them the chance to collaborate. The artists creative independance is respected by the program, however it provides them with business guidance in areas of sales, financing and advertising. Although release details have not been announced, TANK S.W.A.T. 01 will receive its first official presentation on March 18th at the L-Osaka building in Osaka. [Source: Natsume Maya]

Masamune Shirow's (Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed, Orion, Black Magic) Dominion manga has been previously released as anime in in two different OAV series -- Dominion: Tank Police, and New Dominion: Tank Police. The original Dominion OAV is is not exactly my favorite anime, but it does hold a personal significance to me because it was the first anime series that I was (knowingly) exposed to. That was way back in... I don't know... something like 1994 maybe. It was airing on the Sci-Fi Channel on their annual week-long Japanese animation marathon. (The next year I think they started a "Saturday Anime" series where they would show a new anime movie every week. But I don't know what happened to the run after that.) I just happened upon it one day while channel surfing, and that pretty much started my unbridaled obsession with the medium. Ah, the nastalgia...

Anyway, I am guessing that this is going to end up being something similiar to the Appleseed movie in terms of visuals (cell shading and all), but I don't know for sure.

That Digital Tokiwa Village Project is interesting though. I wonder if they are trying to push CG animation as a way of competing with (or at least matching the success of) Studios like Pixar and Dreamworks. Considering how Japan's previous attempts at CG feature films (Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within, and Appleseed) seemed to be box-office flops -- especially in comparison to the traditional cell animated films like Howl's Moving Castle (though Miyazaki's films may be more of an acception than a rule) -- I kind of fail to see why that kind of push would be necessary. Maybe they're just trying to encourage the use of technology to enhance the medium, considering how animation is an influential Japanese cultural export.

Anyways, I'm glad to see that animators are getting more respect and support from their government. I'll be interested to see how the TANK S.W.A.T. 01 movie turns out.

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