toco toco’s new season starts with Mangaka & Illustrator legend Hisashi Eguchi. Our glimpse into Eguchi’s universe starts at Jimbocho, home of Shuheisha, one of Japan’s top publishing companies. We will follow Eguchi through the streets and places that made the memories of the start of his career, which now extends to almost forty years.
One train ride later, we will head to Kichijoji, Eguchi’s long-time home and current place of work, where we will discover more about his works and find some hints behind his peculiar style. The night will take us to Sasanoha, a small authentic restaurant in the back alleys of Harmonica Yokocho, where Eguchi meets with fellow mangaka, illustrators and editors.
In this episode, we follow Murahama Shoji, who is an animation producer currently working as a manager at the Emon Studio. After working at Gainax on acclaimed anime series and founding the Gonzo studio, Murahama is now working on several anime series in this new international studio, aiming at bringing globalization to the anime industry.
We will follow Murahama during a themed-game of airsoft, where players dressed as characters from various post-apocalyptic universes such as Mad Max or Fallout gather to play. After that, we will visit the Emon studio to learn more about the company's philosophy and its founder, Li Haolin, who will share with us his company mission, one of which is to nullify the borders of the animation industry.
As a science-fiction lover, Murahama will also share with us his perception of imaginary worlds, and the thin line that separates them from the ordinary.
PLACES WE WENT TO
Airsoft field Desert Union, Inzai, Chiba-prefecture
Emon Studio, Kichijoji Area
Yoshiro Kimura is a game creator now turned indie, known for his work on moon, Chulip, Rule of Rose and more recently Dandy Dungeon and Million Onion Hotel. In this episode, Kimura will tell us about his career, a lifelong journey marked by many twists, companies and travels overseas.
We will follow him to some of his favorite places in the city, including Mikado, a retro game center that still showcases many games from Kimura’s childhood.
Akira Yasuda is a renowned illustrator and character design, known under the pen name “Akiman”, standing on a 30-year career working in the game and animation industry and as a freelance illustrator.
He is known as the father of iconic characters such as Chun-Li, Guile or Cammy from the Street Fighter series and his work on other classic Capcom titles such as Final Fight or Darkstalkers. His work in animation includes character design on Turn A Gundam and mecha design on the Code Geass series.
This episode focuses on Akiman’s career and his countless contributions to the industry - he will also give us his viewpoint on the Shinjuku area, and introduce Piman, a 30-year old cold-press vegetable juice shop ahead of its time.
Emi Kusano is the singer of the band Satellite Young, a “synthwave” music unit strongly inspired by the 80s, which she discovered through old music, clips and videos. We will follow her to Marubell-Do, a sanctuary of old photos of idols, singers and other celebrities, that still shoots 80s style photos to this day, before going to Harajuku and its iconic Boutique Takenoko, symbol of Japanese fashion and its “takenoko-zoku” fashion tribe.
We will discover more about Kusano’s vision of a “retro-future”, a past vision of the future she is trying to recreate through her universe, combined to modern technology, and how it drives our lifestyle.
Our last stop will be in the traditional district of Noge, in Yokohama, where we will head to Oeuf, a bar that features everyday performances ranging from juggling, pole dancing to tightrope walking.
AKI INOMATA is contemporary artist whose universe revolves around creating original works with animals and living creatures. Some of her most distinctive work includes building original "shelter" art pieces for hermit crabs or creating pieces of material from clothes to give them to bagworms.
We will follow her to DMM.make AKIBA, a hardware development studio that hosts the latest 3D printers, laser cutters, among other technologies, where INOMATA works on her designs. We will then head over to HUNCH, her studio, before going to Terrada Art Complex, where INOMATA's work is showcased as part of the Asian Art Award finalists.
INOMATA will tell us more about her views on living creatures and the relationships humans hold with their pets and animals, while on a tour a Intermediatheque, a museum with a focus on natural history born from a collaboration between Japan Post and Tokyo University.
Jiro Ishii is a game creator, known for 428: Shibuya Scramble, a unique visual novel adventure game using live action sequences. His work extends beyond games as he is also an author and scenario writer, working on both anime, film and theater projects.
Ishii will take us to Cocomaru, a new theater that recently opened in the Kichijoji area, offering a curated selection of films in addition to an event space where Ishii and his friends gather to organize screenings. Long-time resident of the area, we will follow him to the Inokashira Park, where he often wanders looking for new ideas.
Many of Ishii’s projects, in addition to 428, are set in Shibuya, which he sees as an area that is fit for any type of story. We will learn more about his career and his views on creative storytelling while exploring the city.
Yoshitoshi ABe is an illustrator, who also works as a mangaka, character designer, scriptwriter, in addition to teaching in university. He is renowned for his work in character design on iconic anime such as serial experiments lain or NieA_7, he is also the author of Haibane Renmei, a manga which was also turned into anime.
We will first follow ABe to the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Achitectural Museum, which features an outdoors display of real-size traditional Japanese buildings, where ABe practices his recent passion for photography. He explains his struggles on the medium compared to the illustration process.
ABe will then take us to the Jindaiji Temple and Botanical Garden, before telling us more about his 25-year long career and the encounters he made along the way.
Chihei Hatakeyama is an ambient musician originally from the Kanagawa prefecture, now based in Tokyo. We will follow him to the roots of his universe, in the Kamakura and Enoshima areas, where he grew up. Originally inspired by bands such as The Velvet Underground or My Bloody Valentine, Hatakeyama progressively eliminated both vocals and rhythm from his music creation process, leading to his ambient style, taking listeners on an acoustic journey. His work holds a deep relation with nature, as both visual scenery and sounds are translated into his music, as his continues to pursue new sounds.
Max Watanabe is a modeler, writer and founder of Max Factory, one of Japan’s leading figure manufacturing companies. Starting his career as a writer at a young age, we will learn about the beginnings of Max Factory, which started as a gathering of friends in a small apartment.
We will then head towards Yellow Submarine in Akihabara, a store specialized in figures and plastic models, that Max has known since the early days of Max Factory.
Besides being passionate for figures and plastic models, Max also actively practices triathlon, training at the Cittec cycling gym to improve his bike times, essential for a better race, one of which we followed Max to in Choshi, on the eastern side of Chiba prefecture.
Koji Yamamura is an independent animator known for his short films such as Mount Head, A Country's Doctor or more recently Muybridge's Strings. After visiting his atelier, we will follow Yamamura in the Jiyugaoka area, where he set his atelier and opened the Au Praxinoscope store, which aspires to diffuse independent animation culture and sells DVDs, books and illustrations.
As a professor at Tokyo Arts University, Koji Yamamura was a founding member of the animation department where he supports post-graduate students in the creation of their worlds.
Known for his work on alpinism manga “Kokou no Hito” or “Innocent”, set in the French Revolution, Shinichi Sakamoto is a mangaka with a unique approach, we spent time with him to discover the themes & motivations behind his work.
In this special episode of toco toco, we headed west to Osaka to follow Hideaki Itsuno, director of the upcoming Devil May Cry 5 and the duo Yasuhiro Anpo & Kazunori Kadoi, directors of the critically acclaimed and recently released Resident Evil 2 remake. Separated between two floors, the three game directors opened their doors to their respective development areas and introduced us to the places that inspire them, ranging from book stores to retro gaming shops in Osaka’s Nipponbashi area, over the course of two days.
AC-bu is an animator unit formed by Toru Adachi and Shunsuke Itakura, celebrating this year their 20th career anniversary. Their work spans over psychedelic music videos, commercials and animations that all share the unit’s concept of providing an unexpected, strange feeling to its audience.
The pair will take us to a Royal Host in the Yoga Area, which served as a location in one of their segments for Bobunemimimi, derived for the manga Pop Team Epic and one of the unit’s most acclaimed works. They will tell us how they incorporate locations into their work as we follow them to the Futako-Tamagawa river banks, which appeared in the animated music video they produced for the band group_inou for their song HEART.
The unit will explain the philosophy behind their unique work, far from the traditional concepts of animation.
Atsushi Kaneko is a mangaka known for his work on Bambi, Soil, Wet Moon or Deathco. With a singular style rallying strong influences that range from punk rock and cinema to lowbrow art, Kaneko created his own universe, with themes including rage, loss of control and an adversity against the world. His passion for cinema also led him to direct “Mushi”, a segment part of the anthology film “Rampo Noir”, where he leveraged his past mangaka experience, which in turn influenced his manga career onwards.
Working completely alone, Kaneko will introduce us to his process and the balance he creates with his free time, as we followed him to a rock concert, one his DJ events or a dinner with friends, while he also tries to keep an open window on the world walking alongside Meguro river.
Keiichi Okabe is a music composer who started his career at Namco. He is renowned for his work on the NieR series and Drakengard 3 game soundtracks.
This is the final episode of the toco toco series. Thank you for supporting toco toco over the years, we hope you'll enjoy what's coming next.