Last updated on November 24th, 2005
Daicon III and IV Opening Animations
- The name 'Daicon' is a play on the way 'Osaka' is written in Japanese. The kanji for the 'O' in Osaka (meaning 'big') can also be pronounced 'dai'. '-con' refers to convention. 'Daicon' is also a play on 'daikon', a large white radish used in Japanese cuisine.
- In 1982, the group of people who came to work together on the Daicon III Opening Animation founded Daicon Film, an amateur-filmmaking club. In addition to making the Daicon Opening Animations, they created several amateur live-action films including: Aikoku Sentai Dai-Nippon (Patriotic Taskforce Great Japan!), Kaette-kita Ultraman (The Return of Ultraman), Kaiketsu Notenki 1 and 2, and The Revenge of Yamata Orochi--The Eight-headed Snake.
- Toshio Okada was one of the producers of both Daicon III and IV. A member of Daicon Film, he was one of the founders of Gainax and was the company's first president. Okada was quite instrumental in securing the funds (from Bandai) for the making of Wings of Honneamise - The Royal Space Force. Okada has been an author and lecturer since leaving Gainax in 1992. For further information, see my article: Into the Otakingdom: Days and Nights with Toshio Okada
Toshio Okada giving a guest lecture at MIT
- Another Daicon producer was Yasuhiro Takeda, who is well-known in the Japanese science fiction convention scene. Takeda and Okada appear at the end of the Daicon III anime, as seen in the design sketches below. Takeda also played the character of Notenki in Kaiketsu Notenki 1 and 2, produced by Daicon Film. (Notenki appears very briefly in Daicon IV, as well) One of the original founders of Gainax, Takeda is currently the general manager of the company. His autobiography, The Notenki Memoirs, contains all kinds of juicy details about the history of Gainax. See my review here: The Fans Who Would Be Kings
Yasuhiro Takeda and Toshio Okada in the Daicon III anime
Yasuhiro Takeda as Notenki
Yasuhiro Takeda with a Daicon III cosplayer
- Both the Daicon III and IV Opening Animations were filmed in 8mm. Originally, the Daicon IV anime was going to be a 15-minute short filmed in 16mm, but the difficulty of creating that proved insurmountable, which is why the Daicon IV anime is only about 5-minutes long (and filmed in 8mm).
- To cut costs, the Daicon III Opening Animation was made using sheet vinyl instead of acetate cels. The vinyl sheets proved incredibly difficult to work with.
- Both the Daicon III and IV Opening Animations were not completed until the morning of each event.
- Putting on the Daicon III event left the organizers in debt, so they sold video copies of the Daicon III Opening Animation to recoup costs. This predated the release of Dallos (widely considered to be the first OAV) by two years.
- Parts of the Daicon IV Opening Animation are featured in Otaku no Video.
- The magical girl character Misty May (in Otaku no Video) seems to be partially-inspired by the Daicon IV bunny girl.
- FLCL (Furi-Kuri) also features an homage to Daicon, with Haruko dressed as the Daicon IV bunny girl in episode 5.
- The Daicon IV bunny girl herself appears to be modeled after the (in)famous Playboy bunny girls.
- While the Daicon Opening Animations are perhaps more famous, the first opening animation was for TOKON6 (1976). The production staff for that anime included such notable figures as Noboru Ishiguro (director), Haruka Takachiho (screenplay), and Naoyuki Katoo and Kazuki Miyatake (mechanical designs, animation direction and art).
- Ichiro Itano helped to animate the Daicon IV Opening Animation. Itano is famous for his animation of missiles (known as "Itano Circus"), such as seen in Macross; the flying swords in the Daicon IV anime are similar.
- According to Toshio Okada, the water in the Daicon III Opening Animation symbolized "opportunity". As such, the major theme of the Daicon III Opening Animation is making the best use of one's opportunities while fighting against those who would seek to steal such opportunity away.
- Some members of the Daicon III convention committee would go on to open General Products, Japan's first specialty SF shop, in 1982. The name 'General Products' refers to the alien production company described in the science fiction novels (e.g. Ringworld) of Larry Niven (who gave them permission to use the name). The General Products store closed down and merged with Gainax in 1990.
- The opening animation sequence of the live-action drama Densha Otoko (Trainman) features a tribute to the Daicon IV Opening Animation. Densha Otoko is about an otaku who finds love on a train and who asks for dating advice from other otaku online. Animated by GONZO and featuring designs by Okama, the opening to Densha Otoko features the ELO song "Twilight" (just like the Daicon IV Opening Animation). Other elements are similar as well. It should be noted that several of the founders of GONZO used to work at Gainax, including Mahiro Maeda (who helped to animate the Daicon IV Opening Animation). Also, Okama worked on Aim for the Top 2! Diebuster (the sequel to Gunbuster) for Gainax. Okama is credited as having provided the futuristic visual designs for the anime.