Anime

Wit Studio (Attack on Titan) MCM Expo London panel review

It’s been a while since i have seen such a brilliant and well developed Anime such as Attack on Titan. My friends had been talking about it for a while so i decided to watch it one day and see for myself what all the fuss was about. I was captivated right from the pilot episode, my jaw dropped at certain scenes as i couldn’t believe what i had just seen. This was an Anime that didn’t use ‘fan service’ but focused on character development and the stories. I was on the edge of my seat right up until the season finale. It’s an Anime that keeps you guessing as you never know what will happen.

The highlight for me from MCM Expo was the Wit Studio panel and i wasn’t the only one looking forward to it. The seats in Theatre A at the Excel filled up quickly and even the floor in front of the stage was filled with fans. This was by far the most popular and most anticipated panel that weekend. The hall was filled with fans dressed in Attack on Titan cosplay, in fact it was the most popular cosplay outfit of choice for the three days. Even before the Wit Studio trio ( Producer-George Wada, Animation Director-Katsuhiko Kitada & Director of Hal-Ryotaro Makihara) took to the stage, the fans where cheering in excitement. Special thanks has to be given to Anime Limited ( the Glasgow-based anime licensing company and parent company of All the Anime) for making this possible.

As soon as George, Katsuhiko & Ryotaro where introduced the hall was filled with cheers and applause as they would finally get to see & hear from the amazing talent behind Attack on Titan & Hal. Each of them made brief introductions to the crowd. George Wada surprised everyone by making a short introduction in English, it was a nice touch that he learnt some English for his UK fans.

“My name is George Wada and i come from Japan. Ah…do you know Attack on Titan? Thank you and i’m glad to meet you.”

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“My name is Ryotaro Makihara, i was an Animator & episode Director on Attack on Titan  and most recently i have worked as a Director in my own right.”

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“My name is Katsuhiko Kitada, i  was one of the Animation Directors on Attack on Titan and i’ve been working on a film (Hal) with Ryotaro Makihara.”

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Andrew Partridge from Anime Unlimited: How did you find the sights in London, what did you do yesterday?

We spent the day in Oxford, it was amazing & such a historical city. I’m loving it, i think the UK is fantastic. It’s my first time outside Japan and i definitely want to do more travelling by myself. I’m loving London and would love to set up a Wit Studio here in London or make a film based in London.

Next the audience was treated to a trailer for Wit Studio’s film feature Hal

As with anything live there can be technical difficulties so the trailer stopped before it could finish. The show however must go on so the problem was quickly sorted and they played the trailer again, this time without any hitches.

Andrew: Can you give us a brief synopsis of the film Hal?

Ryotaro Makihara-“This is set in Kyoto in the near future. The story is about a girl who loses her boyfriend and in order to help her get over his death she is given a Robot. Most of you haven’t seen it yet but i think the theme is very similar to Attack on Titan. It all started when i finished Guilty Crown and Wit Studio wanted to make a film. We actually want to make more films in the future.”

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Hal was difficult because unlike an Anime TV series where you have episodes to develop the characters and story, a short film meant each shot has to have a meaning.

When we set up Wit Studio we started working on Hal and Attack on Titan at the same time. It was a difficult time trying not to get into despair  since with Attack on Titan we had 25 episodes whereas on Hal we only had 60 mins to work with. Getting the theme right for both was important. I think it was tough for my cast but it was great fun.

In Hal it’s about normal people  living a normal life, it’s a world that doesn’t have heroes or heroines. Even though its day to day life, it’s still tough. The Sci-Fi element of Hal is kept to a minimum, there is more emphasis on day to day life. It’s set in Kyoto and Kyoto has been around for a thousand years. We set it in Kyoto because we thought in the future Kyoto probably won’t change that much.

When Andrew mentioned about the Attack on Titan opening sequence a member of the audience briefly whistled the opening theme tune.

Andrew: How many people have seen the parodies of the Attack on Titan opening sequence? How do you feel about how Attack on Titan has resonated throughout the world?

“It’s amazing, i could never imagine that would end up like this. We look at YouTube quite alot in Japan and we found all these parodies on YouTube and so us staff have watched all of them” It’s nice to know that Wit Studio appreciate the effort the fans put into making these videos.

Before they opened up the questions to the audience, Andrew asked them if they would like to say anything else to their fans.

“Wit Studio would like to make another film, at least 90 mins long. We would also like to make another series like Attack on Titan.”

The first question to be asked by a fan was simply When’s the next season coming out? Which as expected was met by cheering and applause as every member of the audience wanted to know the answer.

“Attack on Titan was really hard to make. We are all  shattered here, we don’t get to go home but we all know just how much everyone loves it. I can’t make any promises but we would like to make it in the not too distant future. Maybe if you all make enough noise about it then we might be able to make it.”

Lastly for Wit Studio, Attack on Titan & Hal fans  i filmed this  thank you clip from the panel.

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