[Professor Hikawa's "Anime has a history"] 37th: The universe that has become closer and farther away, and has become closer again

Special Feature / Column January 3, 2022 (Monday) 19:00
[Professor Hikawa’s “Anime has a history”] 37th: The universe that has become closer and farther away, and has become closer again
“The Orbital Children” key visual
(C) MITSUO ISO / avex pictures / Orbital Children’s Production Committee
The long-awaited new animation “The Orbital Children” will start on January 28, 2022 at the same time as the online distribution (6 episodes) and theatrical release (before and after). It is a completely original animation based on the original, directed and written by Mitsuo Iso. Since package sales also run in parallel, Hikawa acted as a facilitator in the audio commentary by Director Iso and Kenichi Yoshida, who is in charge of character design and animation director, after seeing the whole story.
Director Mitsuo Iso’s previous work “Denno Coil” (07) has received numerous awards such as the Japan Media Arts Festival Animation Division Excellence Award, the 29th Japan SF Award, and the 39th Seiun Award Media Division. It must be a big topic. “Denno Coil” was a fresh depiction of a world where Internet culture was open to the public and became a “given environment” for children.
“The Orbital Children” also depicts the “casualized universe” centered on the perspective of children in the future, and there is something in common. With the rapid evolution of AI, space development and space travel have become commonplace, and we have set up a world where net idols can visit space stations like theme parks. Based on the cultural gap between those who were born and raised in space and those who came from the earth, he depicts a high-purity adventure as Juvenile through the big incident that occurs there.
With the concept of “If there is a convenience store and Wi-Fi in space, everyone will be able to go and will want to go”, you can enjoy the construction of a comprehensive world view with attention to detail that can only be realized by director Mitsuo Iso. It is a work.
The real world is just a new phase of the space boom. Private space travel has literally begun to take off, allowing non-expert civilians (albeit wealthy) to travel back and forth. I don’t think that the shape of the rocket will be retro-style, but the rocket depiction by special effects half a century ago was shocked by the unexpected accuracy, and it is quite exciting days. When I was a preschooler, I still remember being angry at “why adults are oppressing and setting limits on their own, even though children are smart as such”, and “The Orbital Children” has a brain. I feel a lot of parts that react inside. If I can do it myself, I’m glad to see such a work that makes me think that it would be good to reincarnate into the current elementary school student instead of another world and aim for the universe.
Because we want you to enjoy the work without any prior knowledge, this is the end of the work introduction. For the rest, I would like to take this opportunity to reconsider “the universe in anime” as a zack.
“SF” is one of the factors that realized the rapid maturity of Japanese anime culture in the early days. After the TV animation “Astro Boy” in 1963, “SF Shonen Hero Mono” became prosperous, and mass production progressed by functioning as an image character of confectionery, food and drug makers.
Especially in 1965, the number of works incorporating “space” relations in the title increased rapidly. This is because the high-growth period was realized against the background of the Cold War structure, and the period when the “space race” occurred as a variant of proxy war such as the intervention of the civil war between the two major camps in the east and west is also involved. The dawn of anime was synchronized with the “space development boom” with the “moon rock” exhibition at the top of the Apollo 11 lunar landing by the United States in 1969 and the USA Pavilion Ruins at the Osaka World Exposition in 1970. ..
However, just around 70 years ago, this boom reversed, and a paradigm shift occurred that would destroy scientific beliefs. The “limit of growth” was advocated, and it became an “end-of-life boom” mainly due to pollution and oil shocks, and the future changed to a mood of despair rather than hope. This trend has led to the retreat of manned flights to the moon, which require enormous resources and energy consumption, and the conversion to recyclable space shuttles.
How about in the world of fantasy images? In Japan, “Space Battleship Yamato” appeared in 1974, and a warp flight of 148,000 light-years and a very long distance between nebulae was drawn. In the United States, the SFX movie “Star Wars” with the introduction of computers became a big hit in 1977, and space science fiction movies began to be mass-produced. By synchronizing this release in Japan with the hit of the movie “Yamato”, many “space science fiction anime” will be made for a while.
Both of these two works are positioned as “Romantic” with many fantasy elements. It is a type that frees the audience from the bondage of reality, assuming that the universe is wide open, unknown, undeveloped, and a place where phenomena and creatures beyond human intelligence can exist.
In contrast, there is a “real school”. The representative is the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” released in 1968. Director Stanley Kubrick’s perfectionism works to thoroughly depict the space such as weightlessness and zero gravity, and visualizes things that can be realized by extension of science and technology such as space stations, lunar bases, and Jupiter return ships. However, this original title is “Space Odyssey”, and at the end of the game, it jumps to a mythical development with a high romantic element.
This was applied in 1979 by Yoshiyuki Tomino’s original and directed “Mobile Suit Gundam”. Based on the stage setting of a space colony near the earth, which is often regarded as real, and the thorough depiction of weightless combat, it will fly to the concept “new type” that presupposes undeveloped land and space. As its backbone, there are thick speculative elements such as the limit of global environmental pollution and the inevitability of the flow to seek resources and energy for growth in space, and it is high enough to talk about Japanese animation from a literary and literary perspective. The achievement is great, and it is also closely related to the “universe.”
Director Tomino announced “Space Runaway Ideon” for 80 years in a row. This redefined the “universe” as a “thought experiment place” that re-questions the “existence of humans” from the root, and portrayed the “ultimate catastrophe” in which two kinds of human beings are annihilated through the interstellar war.
In 1979, the same as “Gundam”, “Galaxy Express 999” by Reiji Matsumoto and directed by Rintaro will appear as the decisive hit of “Romantic”. A big hit with a steam locomotive that travels through the galaxy and a fantasy element that is familiar to Kenji Miyazawa’s fairy tales. Then, in 1982, “The Super Dimension Fortress Macross” had a space opera-like interstellar war that lasted for tens of thousands of years, and a place where idols sang and youth romance developed in a city inside the spacecraft. At this point, romance, realism, casualness, and mythology merged to complete the initial “all-in-one”.
Looking back on the main elements up to this point, it can be seen that in any case, the “universe” is seeking a sense of “unknown / undeveloped” and leaving everyday life. However, on the other hand, it is possible that the bubble economy and its collapse have caused a change in the world that gradually becomes incomprehensible.
For example, in the midst of that change, the Gainax animated film “Royal Space Force: The Wings of Oneamis” was made in 1987. This is a work that depicts a manned space flight plan like the movie “Right Stuff” in 1983, which builds a completely different world at the level of civilization from World War II to the Korean War and depicts the American space development plan. ..
At the same time, the computer RPGs “Dragon Quest” and “Final Fantasy” became hits, and it was also the origin of the mainstream transition to different world fantasy, so it may be difficult to accept straight “real science depictions”.
There are still many notable works such as Hideaki Anno’s debut work “Aim for the Top!” (88), and I would like to analyze what happened after the 90’s and if there is an opportunity. What is clear is the fact that as of 2009, “space things” are not so mainstream. There is definitely a reason why it happened, just as it once became prosperous, and analyzing it should reveal the characteristics of Japanese anime. How will the 22-year-old “Orbital Children” work? I want to keep an eye on the curious new developments (honorific titles omitted).
Professor Hikawa’s “Anime has a history”
[Introduction of the author]
Ryusuke Hikawa (Ryusuke Hikawa)

Born in 1958. An anime and special effects researcher, a specially appointed professor at Meiji University Graduate School. It has been 41 years since he made his debut the year before the first issue of the monthly anime magazine. After graduating from Tokyo Institute of Technology, he worked as an engineer for communication equipment at an electrical equipment manufacturer before becoming a full-time writer. He has served as a jury member in the animation departments of the Japan Media Arts Festival and Mainichi Film Awards.
Work information
Work information Event information
Orbital boys and girls
Broadcast time 2022 winter animation
Production company
Production + h.
Staff information
[Original] Mitsuo Iso [Director] Mitsuo Iso [Screenplay] Mitsuo Iso [Character Design] Kenichi Yoshida [Main Animator] Toshiyuki Inoue [Art Director] Yusuke Ikeda [Color Design] Miho Tanaka [Music] Rei Ishizuka [Sound Director] Shimizu Hiroshi Extraterrestrial Boys and Girls
In 2045, outer space where the Internet and AI became widespread. Boys and girls who come to a commercial station in Japan encounter a large-scale space accident that occurs and are left alone at the station by children. I can’t expect adult help anymore! Their lifeline is a narrow band that barely survived, SNS, low-intelligence AI of free apps, drones that can be operated with smartphones, etc. Can junior high school students survive the pinch by making full use of these !?
[Theme song] Harusaruhi “Oarana”
Toya Sagami: Natsumi Fujiwara Nanase, Б, Kokoro: Azumi Waki, Taiyo Tsukuba: Kensho Ono, Miina Misasa: Chinatsu Akasaki, Dr. Taneshima: Yumiko Kobayashi, Houston: Mariya Ise
Related Links
[Official site] https://chikyugai.com/
Event information / ticket information
There is no related event information or ticket information.
(C) MITSUO ISO / avex pictures / Orbital Children’s Production Committee



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