Stan Lee is a legend of the American comic industry. He has created numerous hit works including Iron Man and Spider-man. A preview of the original anime The Reflection, for which Stan Lee serves as an executive producer, took place at NHK Broadcasting Center in Shibuya, Tokyo. Japanese cast members Shinichiro Miki and Mariya Ise, and theme song artists 9nine appeared on stage with director Hiroshi Nagahama.
The Reflection gained worldwide publicity for its staff members and received a lot of attention before its broadcast. Acclaimed creators from the US, the UK, and Japan have joined to create the anime series. Stan Lee, who represents the American comic industry and is also the Honorary Chairman of comic publisher Marvel, has teamed up with Hiroshi Nagahama, director of Mushi-shi and The Flower of Evil, to plan and create this original story. It has been 10 years in development. Trevor Horn, an English music producer who produced many hit songs for famous artists, such as Paul McCartney, is in charge of its music.
3 years ago, an unprecedented, mysterious disaster hit the world and claimed numerous lives. A memorial ceremony is held in New York, though overshadowed by a terrorism act. Xon, an unknown masked man, and I-GUY, who is wearing a metal suit, stand against the terrorists.
At the pre-screening event, the first episode, ‘Ceremony’, was screened. The press and authorized staff were surprised at the unique and innovative style: an American comic book atmosphere that felt like turning a comic’s page with illustrations inspired by Japanese traditional paper cutouts.
When asked about his thoughts regarding collaborating with Stan Lee and what points he focused on, Nagahama answered with, ‘I didn’t do something that digital technology can do. In animation, pursuing details too far results in the unrealistic. Therefore, I tried to create the animation as simple as possible while applying the American comic style, perfected with our imagination. Although the first plan failed 10 years ago, Stan asked me if I still wanted to create an anime together, which he said he still was and said that if I was still up for it, then I should visit them. I was honored by his suggestion. I’ve been expressing my love for American comics since I was an unknown in the anime industry, so I have been offered jobs in that regard, however I never thought such a thing could happen to me.’
Shinichiro Miki, who plays the mysterious hero Xon, said, ‘Although the recording has just started, I’m overwhelmed already. I think the movie is created from a Japanese point of sensibility. I feel like the movie was made by samurai. It has an impressive opening and is full of intimate and personal feelings. It isn’t afraid of leaving an unfilled moment in a good sense. I was impressed that the movie, which is principally American comic style, also reflects Japanese aesthetics.’
Mariya Ito, who plays Eleanor, who has teleportation abilities and chases Xon, said with an emotional voice that ‘each scene is based on the American comic style frames; however I feel there are a lot of Japanese aesthetics in them. I thought they look like Japanese traditional cutout pictures. It’s an innovative anime, though I feel somehow nostalgic.’
9nine, the Japanese idol group who perform the ending theme song and appear in the anime as characters of their own, said excitedly, ‘we really appreciate being in the dream team. We all watched the first episode sitting in line and almost forgot breathing and blinking, because the story was so intense. We felt as if we shouldn’t miss listening even to the silence!’
The movie is a realization of Nagahama’s long-held dream as an American comic fan to collaborate with the master of the American comic industry, Stan Lee. It’s a cutting-edge anime with the story and the images that no one has ever experienced before. Nagahama, whom even the production staff and cast members thought too fussy and adamant, and the master of the American comic industry have created the new world of the animation. You should experience their world yourself while listening to the relaxed music and swinging your body!
(C)スタン・リー, 長濵博史/THE REFLECTION製作委員会