Freedom Committee’s celebration parties are always the best time to catch up on some industry news and gossips, considering all of us are always buried under a ton of work on normal working days. Yesterday we were out celebrating the completion of Freedom’s 5th television commercial that is to go live on Japan TV from the 20th April, I will post some pictures once press is released. Matsui-san, my lighting chief, handed me the reins for this project; I must have lighted about 75 percent of all the cuts in this commercial. Tiring, but satisfying too.

Anyway, here are the snippets:

Trivia 1) During the early pre-production stages for Freedom, Otomo Katsuhiro was deciding who should head the project, and Makoto Shinkai, whose achievements on Distant Star is somewhat of a legend, was also considered. It would have been interesting to see how Freedom would have turned out if he had indeed been director.

Trivia 2) Small talk turned to Genius Party, Studio 4C’s soon to be released animation film. Interestingly, Morita-san, Freedom’s director, used to work in 4C.

Trivia 3) Tatsuyuki Tanaka is one of the directors for Genius Party, author of the amazing artbook “Cannabis Works“. Tatsuyuki worked as an animator on Akira; remember Tetsuo’s mutating hand ? Sajiki-san, Freedom’s character and concept artist, calls him “an absolute genius”. Ditto.

Apr 14th 2007



What’s Spring in Japan without some (pretty) pictures of Sakuras to show.

Apr 3rd 2007

Cover art for Freedom 3.

Mar 27th 2007

Respect for Production I.G’s Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex creative team; 26?! mind- blowing episodes that left me completely hooked and hungry for more. As far as quality of the production is concerned, if I may be allowed to translate in our local island colloquial; “biangz, dun play play.” Hanpa ne-.

Respect also, for Japanese photographer/filmmaker Ninagawa Mika. This lady has a near frightening, unbelievable sense of colour. Bleeding from the eyes may result from prolonged viewing of her imagery. Bleed away right here : http://ninamika.com/

Bollocks. Gotta work harder.

Mar 26th 2007

Its confirmed: Freedom Project will be seeing its US release on the 26th of June 2007, with both DVD and HD DVD versions to be made available. I’m wondering how the entire marketing campaign for the US version will turn out should they remove the Nissin Cup Noodles elements, ( Freedom been a huge tie up animation project with the giant noodle company Nissin, a ubiquitious, household name here in Japan but probably not in the states, making it somewhat irrelevant ) but I hope it turns out catchy in any case.

Mar 21st 2007

With the bulk of work for Freedom 3 completed there is finally some time to catch my breath before the rush sets in again when Freedom’s TV commercial postpro starts, and not till that is finished may I, there are rumours abound, get a week off work. I think I’m just going to sprout wings and fly straight out of the studio when that actually happens.

Anyway. I was fairly thrilled yesterday to recieve Abe-san’s signature on my Jinroh Boxset ( see pic below ) ; its always been one of my favourite animation films since watching it a full 8 years ago at the Singapore Film Festival. Abe-san, who was previously from IG and had also worked on GITS SAC, commented she too was a newbie when she joined Jinroh’s production. ( she’s now the colour designer for Freedom project. )

Outside work I also finished my 2 year film school at Toho Gakuen, here’s a photo at the graduation ceremony with my classmate from Shanghai, ( he tells me the animation studio that made Monkey God and Nezha is just right behind his house, s**t. ) we had quite a time shooting our graduation film together. See this post.

That’s all the updates for now I think. Its spring in Tokyo. I need a break !

Mar 19th 2007

I’ve just gotten word from my chief Matsui-san that we will be working on the fifth installment of Freedom Project’s television commercial which will be aired Japanwide. The past 4 spots have been done by our friends from Production IG ( Ghost In the Shell folks ) because we had to concentrate on the actual animation series. The theme song for the commercial by the way, is Utada Hikaru’s latest single released just last week, The Flavor of Life, cover picture below.

We have been working straight 15 hour days here at Sunrise rushing the deadline for Freedom 3 and barely have enough time to take a piss, but this is exciting news, well, at least to a huge Utada fan.

Mar 6th 2007

Designs for 2 separate full page ad spreads now appearing in various Japan magazines for the release of Freedom II, marvel comics style. Sajiki-san, our most talented illustrator, referenced old copies of Akira graphic novels previously published by Epic comics and emulated a smilar inking style. Sweet.

Feb 17th 2007

The ending credits for Freedom. That’s me right there ! See it ? No ?

My apologies…i’m just this excited little bloke.

Feb 13th 2007

Cover art for Freedom 2 dvd.

Jan 24th 2007

Sitting in for a preview screening of Freedom 2 with the rest of my colleagues yesterday I was engulfed by a pang of surreality watching the scenes I had so painstakingly lighted for the past 2 months materialize in its final, finished form, complete with background art and effects. Calculating the number of shots I was assigned, I must have lighted about 1/4 of the entire episode, the rest covered by my chief Matsui-san and some minor scenes subbed out to other studios.

Later in the evening at Freedom 2′s celebration party I had a chat with the director Morita-san, where I was told more and more challenging scenes will be assigned to me from Freedom 3 onwards. That simply translates as reduced sleeping hours, non existent weekends, a constant sophorific state. Heck, bring it on I say.

Freedom 2 will hit the stores from Febuary 22th and is available for preorder from Amazon here.

Jan 23rd 2007

I swear, after watching Zack Snyder’s dizzyingly intense trailer for his film 300 I almost wanted to leap out of that weary cubicle seat of my, hunt down the nearest gym and sign up for 2 lifetime memberships to start working out some serious abs. Well, almost, until the thoughts of Jiro ramen ( the biggest, baddest ramen you’ll ever eat ) for lunch wafted my mind, certainly something as satisfying as having beautiful abs, though somewhat significantly easier to accomplish. Speaking of which, California Fitness Club should definitely do a tie-in with this film, and I bet they’ll see their membership numbers shoot right through the roof.

In any case, an eagerly awaited film. And when is medieval Japan’s release date for this ? Check it; June 2007, a full 3 months behind the entire universe, so lengthy a time I could have worked out leaner abs than Gerald Butler by the time it hits Japan shores. I just need to get Jiro out of my head.

Jan 17th 2007
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