Anime Central 'O7
May 11-13
Trigun Fan Panel with special guests:
Yasuhiro Nightow and Noriyuki Zinguji


Milly T's Report!
With Special word-for-word excerpts from video Cat_Vader!!

May 11-12, 2007
          Today was the BIG day! I got up early in the morning to drive to Rosemont, IL to meet up with Meryl (I mean...Meesh). The traffic was bad through Chicago as usual, but the weather was nice so even when the first parking lot turned us away, our spirits weren't dampened. We found a different ramp I'd parked at the first year I had attended Anime Central and went to go get in line for our badges. I let Meesh know I was there on time and headed into the line. Of course...little did I know this tiny little line out in the main hall would lead to the even bigger TWO lines within the main registration hall - and that I would not be able to get there for a good two hours.
          However, lucky for me, the Nightow panel was not to be held until 6pm that evening, so plenty of time to get through the registration, get my Milly coat on, and get back to get in line. At least...I thought. But then 4pm rolled by, then 5pm...and suddenly I broke free of the line only about 5:30pm, with just enough time to run to the bathroom (we spent FOUR hours in line!) and something to drink before finding Meesh dressed appropriately as Maximum Legato - and her new friends Steve (also a Legato) and LeAnn, a Zazie the beast. I felt VERY out of sorts since I didn't even have time to get anything for the autograph session after the panel, nor did I even have my costume on! Here I am, one of the biggest fans of Nightow's series, have my own website and now even have my own domain site for that series...and I couldn't even show up on time or prepared! *SOB*
          Luckily, all was not lost. Meesh had extra paper, and I wasn't even late getting there - because other people, like Stripper Vash and Voltz (two imposters I originally thought were the real McCoy in my insurance agent days...) who showed up after the panel had started! Well, at least Meesh, LeAnn, Steve and I all got to sit up front, first row, to see our idol! Nightow was ushered in, and come to find out the guy with the little ukelele sitting near us in line was the translator! So he went over to talk to Nightow, as well as Zinguji, who worked for Madhouse and designed many of the weapons in both Trigun but also the Gungrave animes. They were both just as I imagined them (of course I'd seen Zinguji on the Hellsing DVD, so I'd seen him before and had researched Nightow before, looking for the rare photograph) and Nightow even looked over and pointed at Meesh's deadly spikes before they went up to begin the fan panel.
          Now, as I just mentioned, unfortunately I did not have paper for notes - only enough for an autograph later, so I was out of luck on taking down everything that was said word for word. And I invite anyone who went to this fan panel to correct me or add to the interviews if at all possible (just email me!). I'd like to get a very accurate account of this whole thing, but with so much time, I know I've forgotten a lot of it. But here goes what I DO remember:

INTRODUCTION (excerpt from Cat_Vader's video):

          "It's been 12 years that I've been working on the Trigun serial, but now after it has been concluded, I can finally say with confidence that I am a manga artist. I have actually received invitations to Anime Central several times in the past, but I was always busy working on the Trigun manga and I didn't have the time. But now that Trigun is finished, I kind of have time to come over and am happy to accept the invitation." ~Nightow through Translator

         1. Right off the bat a gal stood up and in rapid-fire Japanese told Nightow that her favorite character was Legato and that she had always wondered what inspired his character (she had to translate for herself of course...): Nightow responded in thanks, saying that he had merely wanted a pretty character to be opposite Vash. What would a pretty bad guy look like and react in comparison to Vash?

         2. What was the original concept of Trigun?
"Personally, Trigun was firstly going to be a short story, a single-shot, so I thought I couldn't carry the story for so long. The premise was, in a shoot-first world, where the guns taught the baddest (?), what would it be like to have a character who would try to solve things peacefully by trying to apologize first and see how it would go. And that was the very idea the story came from. So, I ended up coming up with a very long story from the original premise. So the story only got heavier and heavier and I got to include my life philosophy and incorporate things that were close to my heart to carry the story. Thank you."
        "It becomes a pretty hearted (heavy-hearted?) story, and during those times it becomes rather difficult to have light-hearted reactions and character development during those parts in the story. And I'm sure, as a story-telling technique, there's still a way to keep it entertaining, but I was very much in angst and quality negative aspects of my own self had to be projected into the story. But pleased be relieved to know, that in the context of the manga, I think I managed to sublimate all of the feelings into a form of entertainment. I believe I managed to draw the story so that you would not be dissappointed for putting your effort into reading the manga."

          The Gungho Guns for instance, started off as sillouettes. He started to figure out how they looked from the sillouettes and then started drawing expressions and then from there, decided how they should act and be like until they became characters he could accept as 'real.'

         3. A couple questions were just plain funny, stemming mostly from the anime itself - what's the deal with the donuts? Did Nightow really like them? His answer, "Donuts suki desu!" Which means "I love donuts!" And he went on to say he wondered if we had Krispie Kremes here - of course it was a resounding YES - and everyone started laughing as he told about the one store that had just opened in Tokyo. "People start lining up in the morning," Nightow's translator related, "I'm not sure where they come from, but the line is so long I have yet to try one. Would you reccommend them?" Everyone nodded and even later someone actually bought some for him between the panel and the signing (I'm not sure how that went, I was gone by the time the signing ended).

         4. Another question which was a riot was, "What's with that black cat?" To which Nightow blinked and said, "Neko?" And the translator continued saying, "What cat? You must need your eyes checked, there isn't a cat in Trigun." *GRINS*

         5. There were questions about Gungrave as well, basically, would there ever be a manga or a continued story? Truth is, Nightow only created the character designs. He created Grave from his backside (since that is the side you would see while playing the game) and never thought about how hard it would be to animate him (or how crazy he would look in real life) so when it came the anime, he really didn't have all that much say - someone else basically created the story line for them to work under.

         6. Zinguji got a few questions too: like what was with the guns never running out of bullets? Nightow first responded saying they were magical bullets, but then Zinguji added that he had a problem creating guns such as these because originally they were supposed to have a 'baka gun' or stupid gun in every Trigun episode but he had a hard time creating guns that could not be used in real life. They finally told him he had to loosen up because it was all for fun! But apparently they had a long discussion over Vash's gun because of its design. The original gun has no way of opening for bullets to be slid in! So Nightow found a real picture of the upside down barrel and since it looked cool, he went with it (apparently before it even appeared in Ghost in the Shell... although I'm not sure I've ever seen one like it there) and Zinguji was finally happy - although it was hard for him to create the odd guns that came in later episodes and if you notice, the idea of 'baka guns' slowly disappears through the series.
         The concept designer even admitted to creating the original angel arms - they thought that if the guns could create matter (or destruction as the case was) that they should have a slightly feminine form since females create.

         7. Actually Nightow attributed a lot to the anime. He said that many times he was very indebted to the anime creators, because even though they kept asking him questions - once they split off, he was still able to use the anime as a 'lighthouse' - "Whenever I was stuck or came to a hard part, I used the anime as a lighthouse to guide my way - I could deverge or return as I wished, but it was always there." So there were quite a few places where the manga was taken from the anime in order to help the story along.

         8.I did of course ask a question myself, which was, "Now that the manga is over, what are you going to do next?" And Nightow replied that he's been thinking it over, and will probably do so for a while longer, but that he wanted to do a 'kodomo no manga' which means "children's manga". I was surprised at that, but happy too - means I won't have to resubscribe to Young King Hours anymore! *chuckles*

         9. Meesh asked hers - "Was Legato psychic in the anime or did he just use threads like he did in the manga?" Nightow didn't answer the question quite to her liking (he didn't talk about the anime) but he did say that when dealing with the manga, he wanted to keep it believable, everyone had powers that were explainable, including Legato who used the thin threads to manipulate the people he wanted to control.

         10. LeAnn's question was something to the point of, was Knives against everyone or would he have spared the sandworm race if they hadn't interfered? Something to those lines - basically Knives wouldn't have bothered with the sandworms as long as they didn't get in his way - but he basically hated the humanbeings completely.

         11. Another asked about Legato coming out of his coffin for the final battle - had Nightow planned it that way? Nightow answered that yes, he never thought that Legato would remain in the coffin forever, and that eventually he would make a come-back in order to battle Vash in the end (just like in the anime.)

         12. What other questions came up? There were quite a few people who asked more about Vash, more things about donuts... Surprisingly there were very few people who actually asked anything about the manga at all. Most people in the line admitted to not having read the manga!

         13. The Question almost everyone wanted to know was about "Trigun X" this mysterious movie that we keep hearing about. The question was actually phrased like, will the movie be more like the Hellsing OVAs or will it be based after the manga?
"Right now, they are working on the script, they are one step before pre-production. This is the kind of question you should throw at Mr. Moruyama who will be here tomorrow, he might talk a little too much to the point of making ME nervous. Thank you." (No one I talked to mentioned going to his panel to try and pry out further information.)

         Unfortunately, I don't recall much more from the interviews - I know there was more, it was hard just taking in the information I was personally interested in, especially with nothing to write on! So if anyone else remembers more (or I do) I'll add it to this report. ^_^
         After the panel we were all given tickets and rushed from the hall to a small autograph room, where Stripper Vash, Meesh, LeAnn, Voltz and I all stood around waiting for our chance at autographs! Steve was well ahead of us (the other Legato) and got his skull signed, then Meesh, who Nightow "ooohed" over and then me behind her, I had him draw me a chibi Milly with his autograph (but they weren't allowing sketches at this convention so I was bummed), however, behind me SV and Voltz brought so much attention that Nightow rustled around in his bag and took their photos, then waved Meesh back over for hers (I felt sooooo sad I wasn't in costume!) and then he apologized in English to the rest of the line, over and over, as he stood up with them to have his picture taken with the excellent cosplayers.

         On Saturday I was convinced to go back to the second open autograph signing to see if I couldn't get my books autographed (one for me and one for a friend) so we headed on over to the dealer's room (which I hadn't been able to get into until that afternoon as it was...) and over to the autograph area. My brother was like 5th in line and I was a bit behind him - and behind me was someone I'd had an email from a few days before...surprise! We wound up talking the entire time we were in line. My brother was dressed as Brandon Heat (Gungrave) so he waited to the side until we were able to get up to see Nightow ourselves.
         The BEST thing about this day was that I had finally been able to wear my cosplay and show up as Milly Thompson!! So when I stepped up to Nightow he paused for a second and took a second look at me and went, "Oooh!" And started digging in his bag in order to take my picture!! I was SO excited!! ^_^ Then I had my photo taken with him and Nightow waved over my brother, "Brandon!" He called, waving to get his picture as well. Then my brother got his photo with Nightow as well.
         After finishing up the photos, Nightow sat down and I put the last Young King Ours issue of Trigun Maximum down in front of him and he also said, "Oooh!" Surprised, looking around at the translator behind him as well as Zinguji - both blinking in awe and Nightow, before I had even been able to open it to the right page looked up and said, "How much this cost to get here?" And I replied, "Ten dollars" because, well, even though it cost a BUNCH more than that for the subscription... that's about how much an issue it cost me. ^_~ And Nightow just shook his head in awe, "Ten dollar..." Then I opened up the page and he signed it for me and said, "Thank you." And I replied in the like and went my way, happy to have been the only one at the convention with the YKO in hand to be signed by its creator!!!

         There were, of course, more Nightow stories to be had this weekend. I'm not the only one who had experiences. Take Stripper Vash and Voltz for example (and our friend Reizudemon who told me the story) - apparently after the first signing on Friday, the three were hanging out in the bar when Nightow walked in. Apparently Nightow was very friendly and they all had drinks together - and then...well, to put it bluntly they asked if Nightow could design a Vash coat for them. It took awhile for it to get translated properly and apparently the translator herself was a bit wary of even asking him the question and of course it was briefly shot down (from what I hear). But Stripper Vash also showed Nightow his gun tattoos - and eventually they left the man alone to hang out with their normal crowd.
         I only found out about the story later when running into Reizu as he pointed to the bar and said that Nightow was still in there. Meesh and I would see him from time to time walking around the convention and going into the bar...but for the most part we never talked to him.
         However, also on Friday night, my boyfriend and I were riding up the elevator to get to our room when a couple of guys came in... Nightow and Zinguji - who were apparently housed on the floor above us! We were just sorta staring at each other thinking "Oh my gosh we're in an elevator with HIM!!!" But neither of us could say a word. However, two young otaku got on at the next floor and started complementing his shirt! Nightow just smiled and thanked them but of course I really doubted the little girls even knew who they were talking to!!

         So that's my story about Nightow at Anime Central...I'm hoping to get some pictures up on this page soon (so keep an eye out!) and thanks for reading!!!

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