Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Notenki Memoirs & Yasuhiro Takeda

"There was the widespread idea that sci-fi was big enough to accommodate anything, which is why we actively promoted anime and tokusatsu* special-effects films that weren't considered "true sci-fi" by the old-timers." -Yasukiro Takeda [The Notenki Memoirs]-

*refers to the kaiju monster movies like Godzilla.

Takeda is the author of his own The Notenki Memoirs: Studio Gainax And The Men Who Created Evangelion. It's a fascinating story by an insider growing up in Japan and loving science fiction. He was born in 1957, ran science fiction conventions for nearly twenty years including the now legendary Daicon 3. Takeda went on to found Studio Gainax, the company behind Neon Genesis Evangelion, FLCL, Gunbuster, His And Her Circumstances and The Wings Of Honneamise. These are all series I would love to bring you right here.

The bottom line: I'm not alone in thinking quality anime should be eligible to qualify under the science fiction umbrella without reservation if its science fiction anime. Takeda saw the big picture.

I certainly can't say anime is for everyone and it may be one aspect of my own personal science fiction journey that might not appeal to everyone. Still, I relish the challenge of truly exploring what may be considered a sub-genre to some. To me it is a clearly fascinating art form executed by some immensely talented people in delivering some of the most exciting, intense and truly original science fiction ideas I've ever experienced.

The Notenki Memoirs is part of my journey in discovering the best anime has to offer not only by one of the founders of Studio Gainax, but through a man who began a fan like me. This isn't a book about Neon Genesis Evangelion, despite that wonderfully deceptive cover highlighting Evangelion Unit-01, but rather a man's personal journey from fandom to inevitably helming one of the most powerful animation studios in all of Japan. The research is critical in preparation for a proper analysis of the decidedly complex world of Evangelion. Analyzing anime in 2011 is shaping up to be, like those Eva units, a massive undertaking and challenge.

Ultimately, I suppose I liken myself a kind of sci-fi inclusionist like Yasuhiro Takeda himself. Based on his memoirs, I really get this guy and I also like and appreciate the way he thinks.

7 comments:

crowmagnumman said...

Admittedly, I've never really gotten the appeal of anime. I've had friends tell me "you just need to see the good anime!" And I'd try it, but had the same reaction. I can definitely respect you for having a big interest in it. I think I'm actually pretty unusual in geekdom for not liking anime. So I say don't worry about a lack of reader interest in the subject. :)

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

I know what you mean and I sincerely appreciate that C! I really do.

I definitely want to follow my passion whatever that is at any given moment. :) You have to go with that.

But, I really don't think you're in the minority there my friend. You really aren't. In fact, I definitely feel I'm more in that small group, at least it feels that way sometimes. But thanks for stopping by with your thoughts.

Regards,
SFF

le0pard13 said...

I haven't done as much of anime as you, SFF. But what I've seen, I've really enjoyed. I can see its sci-fi heritage (in those I've screened) and feel it should be part of the canon. Fine post, my friend. Thanks.

crowmagnumman said...

Hmmm. I find that possibility very interesting. Always thought I was in the minority. It's just seemed like most of my fellow geeks that I've known liked anime, and that may have given me a false impression.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

L13/ Crowmagnumman.

Thank you both. I feel that way. It definitely fits nicely into the sci-fi cannon. Some.

Yes, I really think anime is an acquired taste in some ways C. I don't bump into a lot of folks who enjoy it, but you clearly were hanging in enlightened circles. : )

Take care.

gwern said...

Full text: http://www.gwern.net/docs/2002-notenki-memoirs

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Thank you for this link.

I appreciate it.

SFF