On Saturday, I made it to the convention floor just in time to catch the end of the Love Live photoshoot/fandom gathering! Missed most of Muse unfortunately, but I did see all of Aqours. There were so many cosplayers and fans and I was glad to see Love Live is still going strong.
My highlight from Saturday was definitely the Code Geass press conference featuring special industry guests. The press conference discussed the narrative and production of the new “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection” film, and it also touched upon what this film meant for the future of the Code Geass franchise. I haven’t seen the new film myself, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Code Geass anime. I have fond memories of watching this anime with my mom and having lots of excited discussions about it. It was also one of the first animes I got really into and got me participating in fandom culture (and it was the first anime that I looked up and listened to character songs for!).
The press conference featured the following guests: the producer and director Goro Taniguchi, the character designer and animation director Takahiro Kimura, the screenplay writer Ichiro Okouchi, and the character C.C.’s seiyuu (voice actor) Yukana Nogami.
The guests discussed how even though it was over a decade since the ending of the original anime, they never stopped thinking about the story and wanted to bring Lelouch’s story full circle. Even people on staff wondered what really happened to Lelouch… And this is something I relate to because my mom and I were also wondering what actually happened.
During the 13 year period between the anime and the film, there were other things like novels, games, and comics within the Code Geass franchise, but the creators still wanted to give the audience a true continuation. They felt as though they were “geass’d” by the fans to continue the story! Even though the characters are familiar to the fans, the creators also wanted to see a new side to Lelouch and a new side to C.C. in the film. Yukana said that she hopes that even though it’s been over 10 years, fans will still feel as though they never left the world of Code Geass and that the film is worth the 10 year wait.
The press Q&A session began after this, and I’ll highlight a few moments that stood out to me during the press conference. One question for Ichiro Okouchi was: “How did writing for the film differ from writing for the series?” He explained in his answer that he didn’t have any money or fame when he was writing Code Geass (the show). Code Geass was like his big break that made him more popular, and when he was working on the movie, that was a work of heart that was made for the fans.
Yukana explained that in her heart, she always has C.C.’s folder. So she knew she would be able to see that beloved character again and meet her again when she opens the drawer with the folder. She also explained that she couldn’t open it freely and that everyone has to create an environment that allows her to be able to open that drawer. She was very happy and pleased to hear that she was given the key to open that drawer when she was invited back to return to her role as C.C. I thought the whole analogy was very endearing and also insightful.
I have a lot of respect for Takahiro Kimura, and one moment impressed me even more: he came to terms with the fact that he is 10 years older now, and he has learned to rely on the strength and skills of those younger than him who work under him. He said that the following was really helpful while working on the new film: some of the new staff were fans who grew up watching Code Geass and then were inspired to enter the anime industry. He said it was impactful to work with these animators.
For the next 10 years and beyond, the creators left us with the message that they want to construct a bigger and bigger playground and invite more people to join them. This press conference was full of amazing insight into this new film, and I look forward to seeing it myself. As someone who hasn’t viewed the film yet, I appreciated the fact that the creators kept spoilers out of the discussion.
On Saturday night, I was a guest at the Anime NYC x OWA 2 Year Anniversary party, and it was a blast! They featured local musicians and DJs, and there were lots of cosplayers and fans present. Everyone there was friendly, and there was a stage for the performers, a photobooth for everyone to use, and tons of video games and consoles for people to play. It was located at a venue called OS in NYC, which was in walking distance from Chinatown. Music throughout the night was a mix of anime theme songs, pop, hip-hop, and more. There was definitely a variety and something for everyone! There were also drinks available, but options were limited: wine, beer, or tequila (and they had a type of red bull as an option as a mixer, but that was it).