Evangelion designer’s illustration of virtual idol/vocaloid Hatsune Miku released as a cool new figurine

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

Virtual idol or not, there’s no denying that Hatsune Miku is a bona fide star in the Japanese music scene. But while human vocalists might have professional photographers eager to take their pictures for a glossy photo spread, the equivalent for Vocaloids like Miku is being drawn or redesigned by famous artists of the anime and video game world.

Last year we saw Miku as reimagined in CG by Final Fantasy’s Tetsuya Nomura, and now the world’s most popular computer-generated songstress is being given a new physical form as a figure based on a redesign by the character designer of seminal anime hit Evangelion.

While Yoshiyuki Sadamoto is best known for creating the look of Shinji, Rei, Asuka, and the rest of the Eva cast, he’s got a number of other impressive designs on his resume. Sadamoto’s history with animation studio Gainax stretches back to long before the company produced Evangelion, as he was also the character designer for Gainax’s professional debut work, The Wings of Honneamise, as well as Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, the studio’s first television series.

Gainax isn’t the sole beneficiary of Sadamoto’s talents, either. In recent years, he’s provided designs for several of director Mamoru Hosoda’s animated films, including Summer Wars and Wolf Children. Sadamoto also collaborated with sound producer Mitchie M by providing the cover illustration to 2013 Greatest Idol, an album created by Mitchie M using Hatsune Miku’s Vocaloid program.

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Given how many fans Miku and Sadamoto have separately, Japanese anime merchandiser Good Smile Company figures there should be plenty of people intrigued by their team-up, and so recently unveiled this 1:8 scale figure of the Sadamoto-designed Miku.

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Standing roughly 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) tall, Good Smile Company has done an excellent job bringing Sadamoto’s characteristically slender limbs and angular jaw line into three-dimensional space.

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The Hatsune Miku Greatest Idol Ver. figure, as the piece is officially called, goes on sale in May, but Good Smile Company is taking preorders through its website here between now and September 30.

For those who purchase early, 12,000 yen (US$100) gets you not only the figure, but also a 420 by 297 millimeter (16.5 by 11.7 inch) tapestry of the original Sadamoto Miku illustration.

Studio Gainax confirms plans for anime production studio and museum in Fukushima

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RocketNews 24:

GAINAX, the animation powerhouse which has spawned massive hits such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Nadia:The Secret of Blue Water, Kare KanoFLCL, and Gurren Lagann among others, has confirmed plans to open a studio and in-house museum in the town of Miharu, Fukushima. Specifically, the company will move into a refurbished school building that was closed two years ago.

Keep reading after the jump to find out what motivated this latest development!

Founded in 1984, Gainax‘s current corporate headquarters are located in Tokyo’s Koganei City (the same place as Studio Ghibli’s headquarters). The company is well-known both domestically and internationally for its line of often avant-garde hits, and its name is often taken as synonymous with Evangelion, the legendary 1995 TV anime series directed by studio co-founder Hideaki Anno.

Gainax’s current corporate headquarters in Koganei, Tokyo

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The latest news reports from Gainax state that the company plans to open a new regional animation and video game production studio in the town of Miharu, Fukushima (a bit east of the major city of Koriyama), which will supposedly be up and running by this April. In addition to the production studio, the location will also house a small museum dedicated to famous characters born from Gainax, as well as hosting lectures relating to anime production that will be open to the general public.

 ▼The location of Miharu (in red) in the Tamura District of Fukushima. Miharu is known for its over 1,000-year-old “waterfall cherry tree.”1

The site of the new production studio will be the former building of Miharu’s Sakura Junior High School, which was one of three local schools incorporated into a larger city junior high school in 2013.

According to Gainax, this new undertaking is being done in an effort to counteract the financial damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear incident of March 2011. The administration hopes that the presence of a new studio will also bring tourists back to the region and dispel some of the negative publicity surrounding Fukushima ever since the 2011 disasters. Perhaps their mission can best be summed up in the following quote: “Now, we want to express stories to the next generation that can only be made in this time, in this place [Fukushima].”

While there’s no word yet on any new projects that will be produced at the Fukushima location, we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop if we hear anything!