12 Days of Anime (2014) – Day 12 – Sakura-Con 2014 and Watching Mushishi Zoku Shou Live

mushishi_zoku_shou-03-tae-snow-scarf-hat-winter-ice-breath-shockEvery time I attend Sakura-Con, I experience something new. During my first visit, the friends, panels and convention itself stood out to me the most. For my second trip, the social interactions were the most memorable of my experiences, though I knew what to expect and was able to manage my time better. This year, however, I did not actively plan out any new activities or experiences, and mainly rested on the idea to just see my friends again, buy some more art books, and take it easy. However, the most memorable experience for me during Sakura-Con 2014 was something I never anticipated…

mushishi_zoku_shou-03-toki-oar-snow-ice-winter-frozen-sorrow-regretWhen reviewing the panels this year, a particular name stood out to me from the list of special guests: Hiroshi Nagahama. Among his many famous works as a director was one anime that I highly anticipated for the Spring anime season: Mushishi Zoku Shou. Yes, the director of an anime currently airing in Japan was scheduled to visit for the weekend… and it just so happened that one of his panels was specific to Mushishi. I was not alone in this anticipation as the majority of my friends were enthralled in the prospect of hearing Hiroshi Nagahama talk about a beloved and cherished anime. So the stage was set for one of my highlights for Sakura-Con 2014, friends, anime, and the director who makes it all… but what I anticipated would be, something akin to the Puella Magi Madoka Magica panel with writer Gen Urobuchi and producer Iwakami Atsuhiro or the Psycho-Pass panel with producer George Wada and directors Naoyoshi Shiotani and Katsuyuki Motohiro, was not. No, instead, Hiroshi Nagahama had something much more grandiose and magnificent planned.

mushishi_zoku_shou-03-ginko-snow-winter-scarf-light-searching-silentRather than a standard Q&A session, Hiroshi brought with him the next episode of Mushishi Zoku Shou. At that time, the third episode of Mushishi Zoku Shou had yet to air, but he was able to bring with him a copy that was broadcasted to the attendees of the panel. Of course, the episode was not subtitled in English, but it was a remarkable and exceptional experience. Unlike most anime, where I watch them alone on my small computer screen, constantly battling distractions and taking screenshots, I was able to watch an anime among friends, on a large silverscreen without needing to worry about anything else in the world. But what stood out to me the most was Hiroshi’s commentary throughout the episode, where he described his work and the production process behind the episode. On specific shots, he would enlighten us to how they created the effect of the snow or the choice of sound effects. Others, he explained his emotions when reviewing the episode in its final stages and how this episode was one of his favorite from the manga. The director’s words and insight stood out to me as one of the most significant experiences in my anime life and created a lasting impression for the appreciation of anime from people in the industry. Even though Hiroshi is a director, far removed and elevated from the community he entertains, you could tell that he is still a fan at heart and that this is what he lives for. To hear that, to hear someone’s drive and passion for their career, through the medium of anime, is something I doubt I will ever forget. It was that moment that stood out to me as the highlight of Sakura-Con 2014.

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  1. #1 by Marina on December 15, 2014 - 7:41 AM

    Watching this episode with everyone was also one of my favorite moments of this year’s Sakura-Con, and I thought Hiroshi went above and beyond in his commentary and answers. Great choice for your 12 days!

    • #2 by avvesione on December 15, 2014 - 8:07 PM

      I’m glad to hear you felt the same way. It was probably my favorite panel in the three years I’ve attended Sakura-Con, and I’m happy so many from our group were able to attend the panel, especially since it was at the end of a long day at the convention center.

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