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10/25(SAT) PIKMIN Event Report


©2014 TIFF

[Report on Pikmin Short Movies event with Miyamoto and Kawakami, Oct. 25]
Theatergoers at TOHO Cinemas across Japan will not have failed to notice the adorably perky, colorful characters who began appearing on movie screens across Japan in 2013, arranging the letters in the cinema logo before being chased away by a giant polka-dot monster sporting 3D glasses.
They are Pikmin, named after their dialogue (which consists primarily of “pik min!” uttered in varying degrees of agitation), a race of part-animal, part-plant, all-kawaii creatures that populate an earth-like planet that has been discovered by Captain Olimar, a tiny extraterrestrial whose spaceship crash lands after being hit by a comet. He uses a whistle to round up the excitable critters, each of which has a special skill involving their antenna (topped with a leaf that sometimes morphs into a flower), to gather tools to rebuild his ship.
Pikmin have been the stars of their own 3D strategy game, published by Nintendo since 2001, with the player controlling Captain Olimar.
And now, they are the stars of three short movies (with many more to come) created by Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of the video game. Since the late 1970s, Miyamoto has been behind some of the most critically acclaimed and influential games and systems, including Super Mario (the best-selling video game franchise of all time), Donkey Kong, and the Wii console. His design for the Super Famicom/Nintendo controller, with its L/R buttons, is the global industry standard.
Miyamoto appeared following a packed premiere screening of the Pikmin Shorts at TIFF with Nobuo Kawakami, founder of gaming platform Dwango and Niconico Douga, Japan’s first profitable online video-sharing service. Sporting a Pikmin t-shirt under his blazer, Miyamoto told the audience, “You were awfully quiet today, I was expecting more laughter. Maybe we needed more children in the theater.”
Children turned out to be a frequent theme during a wide-ranging conversation in which the two otaku stalwarts considered the future of Pikmin and the animation industry at large. Asked why the tiny creatures were moving from game consoles to movie theaters, Miyamoto explained, “Two years ago for the E3 [Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles] I created a short movie with Pikmin following me from my dressing room to the stage at the Nokia Theater. I really enjoyed that, so I started making Pikmin stickers that allows people to add the characters to their own photos and films.”
When it was releasing its new 3DS controller, Nintendo discussed offering short films as well, and Miyamoto began working with the TK3 animation company to create ten three-minute shorts. “But I’m a producer for interactive games,” he laughed, “and movie creation is very different. Everything was created from scratch. I created [ideas for] 20 – 30 short movies in total, and sketched them out on Google Memo. It took a long time to draw. In the time I spent working on one short movie, I might have been able to release two new games.
“I called on my childhood memories to create something that could be enjoyed by parents and children. I knew these would be shown all over the world, so I decided to introduce some Japanese culture, like with the ramune (Japanese cider) bottle.” The ramune appears in the second of the movie shorts, when a Pikmin is attracted by the shiny glass marble that serves as the stopper in a discarded bottle, falls inside and requires several tens of his companions to help pull him out.
Kawakami took the opportunity to show the audience a 3D animation trailer for an upcoming TV series called “Ronja Roverdotter,” directed by Hayao Miyazaki’s son, Goro, starting next month on NHK. Kawakami produced the show, and promoted its family friendliness. “I made a lot of suggestions,” he said, when asked about his role, “but Goro didn’t necessarily take them. Also, a number of people from NHK were involved, so I was primarily a relayer of communication.”
Miyamoto sympathized: “I release five games a year, but I’m not involved in all of them. I feel more like a suggester of ideas than anything.”
Kawakami asked whether Nintendo plans to move into feature-length 3D animation, since the company has already recruited a lot of creators in the industry. Miyamoto replied, “Longer movies would be time-consuming and you have to come up with a lot of surprises to keep it interesting. Maybe I could ask people to send a lot of Google Memo ideas and drawings, and we could make it into a global project.”

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KEIRIN.JPThe 27th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
26th Tokyo International Film Festival(2013)