By Jonah Morgan
We continue our in-depth retrospective look at the Tokyo Anime Fair 2007 with the focus remaining on Madhouse. The top shelf Japanese studio set the stage for what will be coming from its animators throughout the remaining 9 months of the year at its booth with the help of a bilingual (English / Japanese) oversized poster gallery bearing the theme “Topics 2007”. One of the exhibited projects that got a good airing was the music video / OVA sequel CLAMP IN WONDERLAND 2 1995-2006. (seen right – click here for high-res enlargement) I was particularly excited myself to learn more about this work, as details were extremely scarce prior to the new media and text Madhouse revealed at the fair. We’re happy to bring much of this information to a wider English audience for the first time.
The original 4:04 minute short debuted at the CLAMP IN WONDERLAND event in 1994. Animation was supposedly commissioned by Sony and funded in-house by producer Madhouse. A parody of Alice in Wonderland, this celebration of CLAMP’s body of work featured the 1989-1994 creations of the Osaka-based all female manga circle turned pro. CLAMP is composed of Ageha Ohkawa, Tsubaki Nekoi, Mokona, Satsuki Igarashi. On July 25th, 1996 a 3 minute closing sequence featuring the tune Anata ga Shiawase de aru you ni by Hirotani Junko was tacked on and the 7-minute OVA was packaged with 10 LD square sized posters of the various works included and released to Laserdisc in Japan by Bandai Visual. Retail was 3,500 Yen (talk about bang for the buck!). Characters featured include Kamui (X), the Rayearth knights, the three CLAMP detectives, Subaru (Tokyo Babylon), Ashura (Rg Veda), Miyuki-chan and a cameo from Kujo Jotaro (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure). The main piece of animation featured no dialogue and was instead set to the track Anata dake no WONDERLAND, sung by Hirotani Junko. Although CIWL1 was never officially licensed or sold outside of Japan, it’s short running time and music video format (no real need to add fansubs) allowed it to proliferate widely in fan circles from the mid-late 1990’s. CIWL was also a full featured artbook and just a few years ago Tokyopop released their CLAMP Northside compendium to the North American market, collecting that content.
Flash forward to the present. Around 1 year ago word first got out that CLAMP and Madhouse were readying CIWL2. The magazine CLAMP Newtype PASTEL, released in Japan in late 2006 included the first official pictures from the anime (oddly enough that spread lists the planned format as a TV series). According to the studio, confirmed cameos include characters (created between 1995 and 2006) from the following series: XXXHOLiC, Gouhou Drug, Kobato, Magic Knight Rayearth, Card Captor Sakura, Tsubasa – RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE – Angelic Layer, CLOVER, X. Series not confirmed but created during this period that could appear include: Wish, Suki. Dakara Suki, Chobits and Watashi no Suki na Hito. The music video format returns. Confirmed staff include: Opening Animation: Directors CLAMP, Mitsuyuki Masuhara (Tokyo Tribe 2), Storyboards: Mokona, Animation Director: Hiromi Kato (Tenshi Ni Narumon), Color Setting: Naoko Kodama, Art Director: Akemi Konno, Animation Production: Madhouse, General Producer: Pyrotechnist. Ending Animation: Storyboards: Tsubaki Nekoi, Art Production: Yoshinori Kanemori. Opening Theme Song: “action!” Lyrics by Maaya Sakamoto, Music by: h-wonder, Song Performed by Maaya Sakamoto. Ending Theme Song: “Oh! Yeah!!”, Lyrics by Rieko Ito, Music by Katsutoshi Kitagawa, Song performed by Round Table featuring Nino. The Madhouse poster includes some cutframe stills from the animation that have yet to be released to the public. Release is scheduled in Japan for the summer. Length and final format remain unknown. Foreshadowing the events of the anime, a cross-media / cross-promtoional effort is being made in print via the release of an all-color CLAMP IN WONDERLAND EX manga put out in Japan in recent months.
It’s my hope though that the second clip is long enough to warrant the economic viability of a license of it and the original for a possible North American offering. If this goes direct to DVD even in Japan however, I’m wondering if in 2007, can you really put a sub-10 minute anime on a disc and hope to sell it for 3,000 Yen? Because of the anticipated short length and scarcity challenge offered by DVD exclusivity I can see something like this going up on You Tube minutes after it goes on sale and logging millions of views within 24 hours EASILY. A TV broadcast option followed by a DVD release would present a much better opportunity for profit turnaround.
There’s another way that the parties involved in production could stand to reap profits we shouldn’t forget about either. That could possibly stem from “showcase derivatives”. The idea being that when CIWL1 hit in 1994, a good many of the series shown had yet to be animated. Indeed it’s rumored that at the time CLAMP and their partners had all these character franchises and had just broken into animation so they were looking for direction on where to go next. A showcase like this offers a chance for fans and possible consumers to sample anime where one doesn’t yet exist, but where one could exist based on response. This is what makes the series so important in the grander scheme of things in my eyes: It’s a good foreteller of where CLAMP could go with its animation adaptations at least 5 years down the line. I also like the fun factor of various universes of chara interacting with one another, there’s not enough of that in professionally produced anime.
So… CLAMP IN WONDERLAND 2 1995-2006: A small, fun, excursionary feature which could lead to other very big things, look for it in a few months time.