Sunday, July 26, 2015

DAICON IV: A Love Letter to Sci-Fi and Fantasy

In honor of convention season, I would like to share the 1983 short film DAICON IV Opening Animation.

I can't recall exactly when or how I was introduced to DAICON IV. It must have been on tape, perhaps shared by a fellow nerd. It was certainly before the YouTube era. Though my memories of discovering DAICON IV are as hazy as the low transfer quality of this video, what is not hazy is how much I enjoy it every time I watch it!

DAICON III and DAICON IV were created to open the annual science fiction and fantasy convention held in Osaka, Japan. DAICON means "Osaka Convention," using an alternate pronunciation (dai) for the first character used to write the word "Osaka." (If you know your fruits and vegetables you might have noticed another cute play on words: it's a daikon that transforms into the spaceship DAICON in both films.) The DAICON animations are familiar to anime fans not only because they're so impressive for a small group of young, amateur animators to have made, but also because they led to the formation of the famous animation studio Gainax.

My favorite part of the video is near the end when the camera swoops over hundreds of sci-fi and fantasy characters. Almost any character you can think of that existed by the time this film was created is rubbing shoulders in that crowd. It happens so fast – literally just two or three seconds – it's difficult to make them all out. I'm still discovering characters that I hadn't noticed before. It's a fun challenge to spot as many as you can!

Most recently I found Deckard.

To me this film encapsulates what it means to be a fan, of whatever it is you are a fan. The feelings of excitement, nostalgia and appreciation are obvious. This enthusiasm is what inspired me to become an artist and make a career out of creating things. It may not seem important compared to all of the other difficulties the world is faced with, but I think creating something that brings people joy has worth.

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