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Infini-T Force Premiere At Anime Expo Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Post Report Post to a Moderator        IP Information Go to the top of this page

Hi all!

The Anime News Network website has posted a brief article on the Infinii-T Force panel and premiere of the first episode that was held at Anime Expo on Saturday afternoon.

If you would like to see the article in its entirety, I'll include the link. However, before you click on it, I want to give you a spoiler alert warning, as the article describes the events of the first episode.

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/conventi...remiere/.118038

For those who would prefer to see the episode without that foreknowledge, here are the parts of the article that talk about the panel with Kiyotaka Suzuki and Tomokazu Seki, and the author's opinion of what she saw, minus the more spoilery parts of the article:

In the 1970s, three brothers founded an anime studio that would become synonymous with shōnen action heroes. Building off the success of the live-action special-effects hero Kamen Rider, Tatsunoko Pro would roll out Yatterman, Hurricane Polymar, Gatchaman, Casshan and Tekkaman. Each iteration continues to revisited time and again, with Yatterman Night and Gatchaman Crowds being the most recent examples. The originals crossed over the pond nearly 40 years ago reworked under titles like Battle of the Planets. If your parents were sci-fi fans, they might have caught a few episodes during its limited U.S. television runs. Sentai Filmworks is making an effort to reintroduce the series to the U.S. thanks to recently released DVD sets of Gatchaman, but otherwise Tatsunoko's superheroes remain relatively obscure in Western fandom.

This might best be reflected in the Infini-T Force screening's opening attendance. After the previous Card Captor Sakura: Clear Card Prologue OVA screening wrapped, a packed house filed out of the main events hall. Infini-T Force followed 30 minutes later to a much, much smaller albeit enthusiastic audience. The staff seemed aware of the disparity and Gatchaman voice actor Tomokazu Seki even joked that the stage spotlight was "obscuring" the filled to capacity seating in the back. The staff members characterized Seki as a regular jokester, someone who often sets the recording studio's mood as the leader of the "Science Voice Actor Team."

After director Kiyotaka Suzuki, Seki, and the show's producer warmed up the crowd, Infini-T Force's first episode queued up, and boy did it hit the ground running.


Episode Spoiler Edits Here

The entire premise is pretty dense. The production wanted to both explain how so many superheroes could co-exist in the same place, introduce the heroes to a fresh audience, establish the psyche of its female protagonist, and save room for spectacle. I'd say the first episode succeeded 2/3 of the time. It's strongest in action sequences, a bit heavy-handed with Emi, but outright overwhelming with its cast and enemy introduction. The strongly choreographed battles felt like a breather, if you can believe it.

The elephant in the room is going to be the 3DCG animation. Anime productions are a mixed bag regardless of art style, be it BBK/BRNK, Knights of Sidonia, or Berserk. Tatsunoko Pro's works have been traditionally animated affairs until now. The studio took it upon themselves to delve headfirst into 3DCG animation for the 55th anniversary project. The result is two-fold. On the one hand, outside of the action scenes, the show has that "Playstation 2 cutscene" look. On the other, those action scenes are fantastic. Usually three-dimensional affairs have a wobble to them, where character's movements seem to lack weight or impact. This isn't true for Infini-T Force, which truly excels whether Polymar is transforming into a drill or Gatchaman is throwing exploding mini-mines.

Infini-T Force isn't going to hold the same kind of nostalgia for Western mainstream audiences as it will for their Japanese counterparts, and truthfully some of the show's winks are going to be missed altogether. The barrier of entry can be a bit daunting and the staff did few favors to ease newbies into Tatsunoko's own Justice League. Those willing to tough it out will find a competent 3DCG production for a studio's first go around and an exciting action show to boot.


James

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Thanks for separating out the not spoilery stuff. Smile

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Yeah, thanks, James!



CW: spoilery?!?!

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RE: Infini-T Force Premiere At Anime Expo Post Reply with Quote Edit/Delete Post Report Post to a Moderator        IP Information Go to the top of this page

Hi all,

I spent the first day up at Anime Expo to help with the promotion of Infini-T Force from Udon Entertainment, its English language comic publisher, and to attend the premiere of Tatsunoko’s TV series of the same name. It was a fun day with a lot of activity and attention surrounding both projects.

As mentioned earlier in Udon’s press release, the Infini-T Force comic was released at the show in a special limited edition. Along with it, they printed up four special file folders featuring each of the four main heroes. One of those was given away at random to people who purchased the comic. Finally, a two-sided, full-color postcard was also printed for the day’s autograph session. All items were intended as exclusives to Anime Expo and will probably sell out at the show. I know at least that all of the postcards were given away by the end of the day!

I had been to Anime Expo in the past, but this was my first time attending it at the LA Convention Center. I wasn’t prepared for how much the show had grown! It seemed nearly as crowded as the San Diego Comic-Con.

I didn’t have a lot of time to look around though. I went from Udon’s booth at the beginning, straight down to an autograph session featuring Infini-T Force series director Kiyotaka Suzuki, and voice of Gatchaman, Tomokazu Seki. There was a slight hitch at the beginning of the session and it ended up going late. That meant it ran right up against the start time for the series’ premiere.

quote:

This might best be reflected in the Infini-T Force screening's opening attendance. After the previous Card Captor Sakura: Clear Card Prologue OVA screening wrapped, a packed house filed out of the main events hall. Infini-T Force followed 30 minutes later to a much, much smaller albeit enthusiastic audience. The staff seemed aware of the disparity and Gatchaman voice actor Tomokazu Seki even joked that the stage spotlight was "obscuring" the filled to capacity seating in the back.



When I got there, I thought the premiere looked well attended, but it was a little late starting and I didn’t take note of the crowd by the time they brought the director and actor onstage. However, someone from Tatsunoko did make a comment afterward that they wished more people were present.

The premiere began with AX’s emcee who gave a brief rundown of the history of Tatsunoko and some of their greatest known shows. Speed Racer, Tekkaman, Casshan, Gatchaman and others were mentioned. Then he brought Mr. Suzuki and Mr. Seki onstage along with a representative from Tatsunoko Productions. No surprise, Mr. Seki got a huge welcome.

After some very quick hellos, all expressed their desires for people to enjoy what they were about to see and to understand that this was the absolute first time this series was being shown to the public. Then it was time for the show! It was presented in Japanese with very well done English subtitles.

I won’t go too much into the plot of the pilot, but I will say that it started off very differently than the comic. The two properties were clearly the same idea but the series started off in its own direction. It’s possible that later episodes may go back to cover some of the ground from the comic however.

All four heroes appeared in the first episode and most had opportunities to display their signature moves and abilities. One interesting thing about Ken - he was portrayed as a little bit older, with short grey hair and stubble on his chin. He even got teased lightly about his age a couple times. I liked this idea, it could give some new dimensions and paths for the character.

I thought the pilot was very energetic and a solid start for the new show. It’s a bit too early to tell how things are going to play out, as with any first episode of a series. The audience at Anime Expo seemed very into it, and when it ended on a cliffhanger, there was a huge groan and more than a few people yelling “More!!!” Unfortunately there was no credit roll or theme song to report about.

Mr. Suzuki and Mr. Seki appeared on stage again at the end to say they hoped everyone enjoyed it. They gave a few more details about the production on their own and during a Q & A session, a few main points were:

- Mr. Seki was the mood maker in the cast. He joked around a lot making it difficult for his fellow cast to read their lines without laughing. He said they described him best as “weird.”

- There is no set number of Infini-T Force episodes determined yet. They did not answer where they were in the production run at this point.

- One person asked about one of Tatsunoko’s newer heroes, Karas, being involved (maybe because of Mr. Suzuki’s involvement with that series). They answered that there were no plans to use any other main Tatsunoko heroes than the four they have now. Maybe they will if there are three or four seasons.

- Mr. Suzuki was mum, but in a coy way, when asked if there would be any guest appearances from other Tatsunoko characters (other than heroes).

- Someone asked if they would ever consider doing a crossover of Infini-T Force with Netflix/ Dreamworks’ new Voltron: Legendary Defender series. They called it “A frightening idea.”

- Mr. Seki didn’t really use Katsuji Mori’s Ken as inspiration for his version. Since the Infini-T Force Gatchaman was slightly older - he wanted to make the character his own.

- Mr. Suzuki said it was a real challenge trying to get all the hero characters together into one work. That was mainly because Polimar (their new official spelling, I guess) and Gatchaman fought with their fists a lot, Casshan fought robot armies and Tekkaman fought mainly in outer space. Since their enemies, styles and fighting arenas were different, it wound up being more difficult than they thought to combine them all into something that would work for everyone.

- Mr. Suzuki also said if the series progresses, they will hope to do a few separate stories that will give focus to each of the main heroes.

- They will not be using any of the classic theme songs/music from any of the heroes’ shows. All the music will be new.

- Motion capture was used with stuntmen to help model the CG fighting action. The sequences looked very much like video game cut-scenes as someone from the audience mentioned.

- They had planned on making the TV series and the comic more similar in terms of content, but the comic got delayed and each version ended up taking their own direction.

- They repeated more than once that it will be up to us, the fans, to make sure the series continues and will have additional seasons. Support it when it comes to America, please!

At the end, Mr. Seki took over and asked the entire crowd to gather around the foot of the center of the stage. He got one of the staff to take some pictures of him on stage leading the crowd below with a few chants - “Bird…” “GO!,” “Infini-T…” “FORCE!” and just for his own amusement (because he voices a main character in the show)… “DORAEMON!”

It was a lot of fun to hear the "Bird go!" chant!

Following the screening we went backstage to talk with everyone for a bit. Tatsunoko seemed happy about the enthusiasm for the episode and were asking for a lot of feedback. Most of what I heard was positive and I think they left satisfied with the way the whole event turned out.

It was an enjoyable day, even if without a chance to explore the convention. I was hoping to sneak an hour or two in between events, but one thing ran right into the next. By the time the premiere was completed, the exhibit hall had closed. I got to see some of it, got some photos and *look* at it, but that was all. I’m glad I went, it was a great experience, encouraging and it makes me want to check it out again next year.

If anyone has any questions about the premiere, please ask!

 
The main convention center hall around 2pm

 
Tekkaman and Casshan promotional file folders

 
Polimar and Gatchaman promotional file folders

 
Original Japanese comic (upper left), promo card side 1 (upper right), promo card side 2 (lower left) and US comic (lower right)

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This post has been edited 2 time(s), it was last edited by The Other Jason on 03-07-2017 at 08:33.
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quote:
Originally posted by ElectricWhite
CW: spoilery?!?!


C'mon, it's fun to make up new words. Smile

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Sounds cool, Jason. Smile I'm pretty disappointed that they completely jettisoned Ken and replaced him with a new version. It would have been nice if they'd aged up the original Ken to make him the "big brother" of the heros instead. :/ I'm still going to check it out, though.

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quote:
Originally posted by ChrisW It would have been nice if they'd aged up the original Ken to make him the "big brother" of the heros instead..


I agree, that would have been nice. Sounds like you had a good time, Jason. Thanks for all the info! Smile

(I love the idea of everyone yelling "Bird-GO!". That's awesome!) biggrin2

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Hi ChrisW,

quote:
Originally posted by ChrisW
Sounds cool, Jason. Smile I'm pretty disappointed that they completely jettisoned Ken and replaced him with a new version. It would have been nice if they'd aged up the original Ken to make him the "big brother" of the heros instead. :/ I'm still going to check it out, though.


They could very well have something like that planned for Ken. Since this was just the first episode, and a good chunk of it centered on battles, it was hard to tell what direction most of the characters will take.

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Hi Redbird,

quote:
Originally posted by Redbird
quote:
Originally posted by ChrisW It would have been nice if they'd aged up the original Ken to make him the "big brother" of the heros instead..


I agree, that would have been nice. Sounds like you had a good time, Jason. Thanks for all the info! Smile

(I love the idea of everyone yelling "Bird-GO!". That's awesome!) biggrin2


It was a lot of fun and great to hear the crowd. Mr. Seki had them in his hands and didn't want to let go!

Here's a "Bird go!" shot from the Infini-T Force Twitter account. Mr. Haruna (producer, left) Mr. Seki (actor, center), Mr. Suzuki (director, right)

 

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This post has been edited 1 time(s), it was last edited by The Other Jason on 07-07-2017 at 03:10.
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quote:
Originally posted by The Other Jason It was a lot of fun and great to hear the crowd. Mr. Seki had them in his hands and didn't want to let go!


Sounds like he was really excited and into the whole thing. Good to see that he was enjoying himself interacting with fans, etc. Smile

quote:
Originally posted by The Other Jason
Here's a "Bird go!" shot from the Infini-T Force Twitter account. Mr. Haruna (producer, left) Mr. Seki (actor, center), Mr. Suzuki (director, right)

 


That's a great group shot! Looks as if there was a nice size crowd though, regardless of what the rep from Tatsunoko said.

Edit: Ok I looked at the Twitter page you posted a link to and was pleased to see pictures from Tekkaman Blade. I remember that series from the early 90's (I think that's when it was shown here in the U.S., but it was called "Teknoman"). I have the Japanese DVD set, I really should get around to watching it someday. (Though it has nothing to do with this particular topic, I did just finish watching the Space Battleship Yamato: 2199 series, and very much enjoyed it.)

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I'm in the Australian 'market' so I'm wondering what the wait time will be before we get to see it.
I feel they could have made him look more like Ken. Even an updated with the talented anime artists out there no excuses to make him look totally different.
.
I know my kids would love it. A young girl who has trouble socializing but is still a main character and an artist is appealing.

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quote:
Originally posted by The Other Jason
Hi ChrisW,

quote:
Originally posted by ChrisW
Sounds cool, Jason. Smile I'm pretty disappointed that they completely jettisoned Ken and replaced him with a new version. It would have been nice if they'd aged up the original Ken to make him the "big brother" of the heros instead. :/ I'm still going to check it out, though.


They could very well have something like that planned for Ken. Since this was just the first episode, and a good chunk of it centered on battles, it was hard to tell what direction most of the characters will take.

The Other Jason
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Crossing fingers!

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