0 Items | £0.00

VIEW BASKET

Umanosuke Iida's final work, Towanoquon

Tuesday 13th November 2012

Jonathan Clements on the late director Umanosuke Iida

TowanoquonUmanosuke Iida (1961-2010), whose final work Towanoquon is now out in the UK, was born as plain Tsutomu Iida on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. It was his fellow animator Hirotsugu Kawasaki, the future director of Spriggan, who started calling him Umanosuke, in honour of his apparent resemblance to a character of the same name in the comic series 1, 2, Sanshiro. Somehow the name stuck, and appeared on most of his animation credits from Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind onwards.

The multitalented Iida was equally at home working with both pictures and words. He penned the straight-to-video remakes of Go Nagai’s Devilman and created the storyline for Mighty Space Miners. In a joke that got a little out of hand, he credited himself on the latter work by literally transposing the kanji of his name into English, as Horceman Lunchfield (Uma-no-suke Ii-da). This gag backfired in the English-speaking world, Mighty Space Minerswhere several reviewers assumed that Lunchfield was an obscure, eccentric American sci-fi author, and nobody dared admit they had never heard of him.

“The anime’s based on the books by Lunchfield,” one pundit off-handedly told me, as if we were both supposed to know who Lunchfield was – you know, that guy who was a guest at Somethingcon with Asimov and Heinlein. This meme persisted for a decade in foreign fandom before the Anime Encyclopedia outed Iida as the inadvertent culprit.

In 1996, he took over the directing duties on Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, after the original director Takeyuki Kanda was killed in a car crash. In the 21st century, Iida’s best known role was arguably as the chief director on the fan-favourite Hellsing (2001), based on the manga by Kouta Hirano. A distaff sequel of sorts to Dracula, it featured a modern-day secret society that protects the British Isles from any paranormal, Umanosuke Iidasupernatural or undead threats, and often does so through the volatile means of its own house vampire. He also directed the post-apocalyptic drowned-world series Tideline Blue (2005), based on an idea by Satoru Ozawa, the creator of Blue Submarine No. 6.

In later years, Iida’s work became less directorial than artistic, as he moved back into storyboards. These shot-by-shot comic-style walk-throughs of a film’s scenes are a powerful factor in any anime’s success, and Iida’s handiwork can be seen in shows as diverse as Cowboy Bebop, Shangri La and Birdy the Mighty: Decode.

His website offered information about his career, and at the time of his death, had threatened for two years to also upload details about his hobbies. However, it remained unfinished, as did his final work, the supernatural conspiracy series Towanoquon. His staff, however, put the final touches to it in his honour, and it was mercifully able to reach the finish line, released in several parts to Japanese cinemas in 2011.

Towanoquon is now out on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.

Buy it now

Umanosuke Iida's final work, Towanoquon

MANGA UK GOSSIP

Towanoquon Complete Series Collection

£17.99
sale_tag
was £24.99
A WILD DANCE OF CHAOS!
In the not-too-distant future, children are being born with special powers, marvelous and remarkable abilities. But what would seem like a wondrous gift turns out to be a dangerous curse. For the world is now run by The Order, and these miraculous deviants are hunted down-and killed. But Quon and his group of Attractors are out to rescue these children before The Order's elite squad of ruthless cyborgs detect them. From their hideout beneath a popular amusement park, the Attractors use high tech gadgetry and their own remarkable abilities to save these children, and teach them to harness and control their powers to overthrow the very powers that seek to destroy them. With spectacular animation, stunning fight sequences, and richly detailed characters, Towanoquon is destined to be an anime classic and must-have for any animation fan's library.

FEATURED RELEASE

RELATED BLOG ARTICLES

One Piece. Pieces of Hate

Been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt....
Of the anime titles turned into T-shirts by Uniqlo, One Piece is the biggest – the reigning king of all the anime and manga franchises, pretty much unchallenged in the 16 years since Eiichiro Oda began the manga, and 14 since Toei Animation started animating it. But perhaps Uniqlo would have turned One Piece into a line of shirts even if the saga hadn’t been a world hit. Just look at those pirate designs – brash, cartoony, uncompromising. There’s no whiff of a committee, no hint of a five-year product plan reliant on changing a heroine’s hair colour (or deepening her cleavage). It just helps that the pictures are as commercial when they move as they are when they’re a cool static graphic in a manga, or on the front of a T-shirt.

One Piece: Strong World

The Straw Hats Pirates come together for an adventure like no other...
Written by One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda himself, Strong World leads the Straw Hats into the deadly path of Golden Lion Shiki.

One Piece - ninja or pirates?

Matt Kamen turns video pirate!
“Ninja or pirates?” While Naruto – representing the ninja corner, of course – has proven hugely popular, UK fans have long been unable to weigh in on the other side. With the long-awaited arrival of One Piece on DVD this May, that finally changes.

One piece: Crew Manifest #1

Matt Kamen finds out who’s who in the One Piece anime
Monkey D. Luffy: The founder and captain of the Straw Hats, Luffy is a carefree soul who wants to become king of the pirates. After eating the Gum-Gum Devil Fruit, he gained an elastic body, making him near-invulnerable and able to stretch but paradoxically making him unable to swim.

One Piece: Crew Manifest #2

Back at sea for volume two of One Piece
Before you set sail on the second round of voyages for One Piece, brush up on who you’ll be encountering in this latest volume of nautical nonsense

One Piece music: TOMATO CUBE

Tom Smith on One Piece’s TOMATO CUBE
One-hit wonders. Every country has them. And, as PSY can most likely attest, very few musicians really want to be labelled as one. Sure, it’s all fun, games and fancy dinners when that royalty cheque floats through the letter box. The one with all the zeroes from that single from yesteryear that went massive. But what about the rest of your work? It must be somewhat unsatisfying as an artist to be known for one track, while everything else remains relatively overlooked, and expectations are high for that difficult follow up single. If you’re TOMATO CUBE, you do nothing. Ever again.

RECENT FEATURED POSTS

Some of you may have heard that the US release of the hotly anticipated Evangelion 3.33: You Can (Not) Redo has been delayed. Unfortunately we can now confirm that this has had a knock-on effect for the UK DVD and Blu-ray release and as a result we have been forced to amend the release date. We are very sorry for this but it is beyond our control.

Attack on Titan: How Will It End?

The second part, and what comes after...
This is the burning question for Attack on Titan fans, and it’s certainly not answered in the second volume of the anime series. Rather, Volume 2 shows a world which is still in the process of expanding, bringing on a great many vivid new characters – and arguably the most vivid of all isn’t even a human, but a sexy woman Titan who stomps all over the series.

Who's Who in Dragon Ball 1

Ever wonder just how Goku and friends became the greatest heroes on Earth?
Wonder no more, as the original Dragon Ball reveals the origins of Akira Toriyama’s beloved creations! The faces may look familiar, but everything else is different in this classic series!

Arthur Rankin Jr (1924-2014)

An obituary of anime's secret angel
Arthur Rankin Jr, who died last Thursday, was not often thought of in connection with Japanese animation, though he played a major part in its history. In America, he’s best known as the co-founder of Rankin/Bass Productions. A stateside brand, the Rankin/Bass name is linked with handmade family cartoons as fondly as Oliver Postgate or Aardman are in Britain. But while the studio’s cartoons – especially the stop-motion Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) – are evergreens, few people know their animation was Japanese.

Psycho-Pass music: Ling Tosite Sigure

Tom Smith finds another band with an unspellable name
Meet Ling tosite sigure. Their name may be confusing to pronounce (for anyone interested, it’s more like ‘rin tosh-teh shi-goo-reh’), but that didn’t holdback Japan’s music-loving community from rushing to their local CD-shops and grabbing a copy of the band’s latest album i’mperfect, out now also in the UK thanks to JPU Records.

Dragon Radar GT 2

The second collection draws the entire Dragon Ball opus to a fierce close
Dragon Ball GT sees Goku and his allies fighting against some of the toughest foes the universe has ever seen. Take a look at some of the faces you’ll meet as the second collection draws the entire Dragon Ball opus to a fierce close!

Princess Mononoke

Andrew Osmond celebrates Miyazaki’s green movie on Blu-ray
In Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, the hero is a warrior youth in a mythical, medieval “Japan” not yet a nation; rather it’s a fantasy bordering on Middle-Earth and the Wild West.

High School DxD vs RIN

Andrew Osmond says if you liked that, you might like this…
“Sometimes you are thrown complete curveballs. So you will think that you are watching a series about a bunch of schoolchildren fighting aliens... and then one of them will stick their finger up another one's bum..."

Attack on Titan: the Controversy

Hunting sneaky agendas in Studio WIT’s anime blockbuster
Is a hideous flesh-eating fantasy monster, like the Titans in Attack on Titan, ever just a hideous flesh-eating fantasy monster? An army of media studies teachers and political pundits say no.

Podcast: The Evangelion Two-Step

Box sets and brutal violence, in our 23rd podcast
Jeremy Graves is joined by Jerome Mazandarani and Andrew Hewson for our 23rd podcast., featuring cover woes, delayed shows, and several uses of the word Slash. Your questions answered, dodged or otherwise belittled, while Jerome confesses to his Facebook addiction, and Jeremy is reprimanded for flagging his own segues.
Contact Us   |   Refund Policy   |   Delivery Times   |   Privacy statement   |   Terms & Conditions
Please note your card statement will show billing by MVM. Umanosuke Iida's final work, Towanoquon from the UK's best Anime Blog.