The DAICON III and IV Opening Animations are two short, anime, 8 mm films that were produced for the 1981 DAICON III and 1983 DAICON IV Nihon SF Taikai conventions. They were produced by a group of amateur animators known as DAICON Film, who would later go on to form the animation studio Gainax. They are known for their unusually high production values for amateur works and for included numerous references to otaku culture.
DAICON III Opening Animation
The Jet VTOL ship from Ultraman's Science Patrol descends out of the sky toward earth, as an elementary-school girl, carrying her randoseru, observes from behind a tree. They offer the girl a cup of water and ask her to deliver it to DAICON. The girl salutes and races away, but she quickly experiences trouble as Punk Dragon blocks her path. He challenges a powered suit from Starship Troopers and begins battling. The girl tosses the powered suit aside and Gomora rises from the earth. Using a booster concealed in her backpack, the girl flies up into the sky, with the powered suit flying after her. They continue their battle in midair. A blow from the powered suit sends the girl falling, imperiling her precious cup of water. At the last moment, she has a vision of the Science Patrol and regains consciousness. She snatches the cup before it crashes to the ground, saving the water. Resuming her battle with powered suit, she catches one of its missiles and hurls it back at him causing a huge explosion. The destroyed power suit solder launches a rocket, summoning Godzilla with the Ideon symbol. With King Ghidorah and Gamera chasing her, the girl flies through the air with her jet-propelled backpack. A Star Destroyer, a TIE fighter some Martian fighting machines from the 1953 War of the Worlds movie cross the background. Reaching into her backpack the girl whips out a bamboo ruler, which magically becomes a lightsaber. After slicing an Alien Baltan in half, the girl launches a number of micromissles from her backpack. Hit by one of the missiles, a Maser Tank from the Godzilla movies catches fire. The Atragon breaks in two as the Yamato, the Enterprise, an X-Wing, and Daimajin explode in complete chaos. The girl pours her cup of water on a shriveled daikon buried in the ground. As the daikon revives, it turns into the spaceship DAICON. Bathed in light, and now wearing a commander's uniform, the girl boards the ship, where the film's producers, Toshio Okada and Yasuhiro Takeda, sit at the controls. As the landing gear retracts, DAICON departs for the far reaches of the universe.
DAICON IV Opening Animation
The DAICON IV Opening Animation begins with an abridged, 90-second retelling of the DAICON III Opening Animation set to music by Kitarō. After this, the lyrics to "Prologue" by Electric Light Orchestra appear against a starry background. The music then segues to "Twilight", the next song on the ELO album Time and the fast-paced animation begins.
The girl with the backpack from the DAICON III Opening Animation has now grown up into a bunny girl. She fights off a multitude of sci-fi monsters[a] then jumps into a throng of Metron Seijin and tosses them aside.[b] She's then in a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader, with storm troopers sitting Japanese-style in the background and the Death Star enshrined in one corner. From atop a cliff, an Alien knocks the bunny girl down with a shock wave blast and the Dynaman robot crushes the girl. The bunny girl lifts the Dynaman robot off her with superhuman strength, smashes it against the cliff, and celebrates. The Stormbringer suddenly appears in the sky and the bunny girl hops on it like a surfer. A few random sequences are shown, such as Yoda as Yū Ida given a Japanese comedy rountine with various characters in the audience.[c] The bunny girl is still surfing on the Stormbringer when she runs into a formation of Ultrahawk 1's. Then the Yamato, the Arcadia attached to the transformed Macross appear, along with an exploding Valkyrie VF from Macross. An awesome midair battle unfolds in an otaku coffee shop. The bunny girl then travels into an extra-dimensional world filled with American comic superheros.[d] A host of machines and characters (Lord of the Rings, Conan, Narnia, others) fly past her into space, including a Klingon battlecruiser, moon ship from H.G.Wells "First Men in the Moon", Millennium Falcon, Thunderbirds.[e] Once back on land, the bunny girl jumps off the Stormbringer and it splits into seven parts, which fly though the sky spewing flames in seven colors. A random sequence of famous spaceships crashing into each other is shown. Then suddenly, an atomic-bomb-size explosion hits an unpopulated city. After the blast, there's a flurry of sakura petals. Successive upheavals of the earth give birth to new worlds. As a beam launched by the DAICON traverses the sky, lush greenery sprouts and grows. The camera then pans over a massive crowd of fictional characters,[f] the sun rises, the camera zooms out to the solar system, and the film ends.
Due to copyright problems involving the unauthorized use of the Playboy bunny costume—who denied permission for an American release—and music by ELO, an official release of the animations has proven impossible. However, a laserdisc featuring DAICON III & IV Opening Animation was unofficially released in Japan as bonus material to a ¥16,000 art book of the animations. This laserdisc is considered rare and highly valuable among collectors, easily fetching prices over a thousand dollars on online auctions.
Notes and references
- a^ : Astron, Jamira, Zarab Seijin, King Joe, Seabonzu, Twin Tail, Gesura, Dada, and Saturn.
- b^ : She races past Gyango, Red King, Baltan Seijin, Takkong, Pole Seijin, Z-Ton, Mephilus Seijin, and Seagoras, tossing them all aside.
- c^ : C-3PO and Chewbacca from Star Wars, Nazoh from Moonlight Mask, and a Pira Seijin with a nametag reading "Tarō the Blaster" (Bakuhatsu Tarō) on his chest are all in the audience.
- d^ : Shown are Captain America, Robin, Batman, Spider-Man, and Wonder Woman.
- e^ : Such as Thunderbird, a TIE fighter, and the Millennium Falcon. Kamen Rider, Jumborg Ace, the Shooting Star, nurses, an Ohmu from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Nausicaä herself, Lynne Minmay, Mazinger Z, Kool Seijin, Cutie Honey, and others.
- f^ : Some of the many characters shown in the crowd scene are Anna, Apollo Geist, Ātman, Bandel Seijin, Barom One, Bart, Bat, Big X, Boss Borot, Captain Dyce, Char Aznable, Cobra, Cornelius, Cyborg 009, Densen Man, Doruge (a Toei kaijū), Fighters, Doraemon, Gavan, Gill-man, Hack, Hakaider, Hell Ambassador, the Invisible Man, Inspector Zenigata, Kamen Rider V3, Kanegon, Kemur, King Joe, Lum Invader, Lupin III, Maria from Metropolis, Metalinom, Metaluna Mutant, Ming the Merciless, Moonlight Mask, Q-tarō, Robby the Robot, Robokon, the Robot Gunslinger from Westworld, Robot Santōhei, Soran the Space Boy, Space Ace, Speed Racer, Spock, Superman, Super Sentai, Susumu Kodai, Tetsujin 28, Triton, and a Xilien. More can be seen by looking through annotated screenshots of the section.
- Murakami, Takashi, (Ed.), ed. (2003). Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture. New York: Japan Society. ISBN 0-913304-57-3.
- The DAICON III opening animation (Youtube)
- The DAICON IV opening animation, which include a brief synopsis of III (Youtube)
- A DAICON III "extra" short (Youtube)
- Live action video staring Yasuhiro Takeda, one of the creators behind DAICON openers (Youtube)
- Gainax's DAICON III and IV videos official site (Japanese)
- Daicon III and IV Opening Animations - a fan site about Daicon and the early history of Gainax
- Annotated screenshots
- In depth JPhile editorial by FujiRingo
- A page about Gainax detailing the DAIKON shorts
- Article focusing on the shortsko:다이콘필름