This Whole Live Action Vs. Anime Film Thing
by Ryan Gavigan, webmaster
A strange occurrence happened in San Jose in 1992: a strange piece of video appeared on the closed circuit television at Anime Expo 92. In between the music videos on at the time, there began to play this strange movie, where Ah-nold's T2 character was spraying the Tank Police from Dominion down in the parking lot with that, for lack of a better term, big ol honking gun. I had the foresight to pop a tape into my VCR (attached to the hotel TV by that super-sekrit technique only tibetan monks and anime convention geeks seem to know) and record the rest of the program. I took note of the credits which explained how to get a copy of the video, and so I became familiar with the group lunacy that was Corn Pone Flicks. That video was X-23 II: Electric Boogaloo.
X-23 II was actually the culmination of a trend; the leviathan-esque 154 minute tour de force was a collaboration of Matt Murray (Corn Pone Flicks) and Jeff Tatarek (Jigoku no Video). Not originally intending something that large, it wasnt until they were in the final assembly of the project one Saturday afternoon that they realized the T-120 tape they were mastering on had just run out. They would eventually produce a 120-minute version, as well as a 154-minute "directors cut" edition, which debuted at Project A-kon III.
The whole Live action vs. animation had a strange genesis, for it had come out of a little informal competition between the two (Matt & Jeff). Jeff had completed a short film with Captain Harlocks Arcadia spaceship fighting a duel with the Enterprise-A, with nifty little back and forth jabbering dialogue sequences between Harlock and Kirk. He showed this to Matt, who came back with Captain Harlock Vs. Han Solo. Trying to up the ante, Jeff then went off and completed Super Hyper Mega Bloody Ultra Cosmo Death Extravaganza X-23, which features 65 minutes of a multitude of anime and live action characters in whiz-bang combat (Luke dies, btw). Not to be outdone, Matt then went off and came back with the absolutely superb Captain Harlock vs. the Galactic Empire. After that, the two decided it would be best to collaborate on one big cool project. Each worked on ideas separately, then came together to edit the final project, and X-23 II was born, and a little indirectly, this website came to being because of that.
Actually, the order of the films was: Harlock vs. Han Solo, Arcadia vs. the Enterprise, Harlock vs. The Galactic Empire, X-23, and then the collaboration on X-23 II (in other words, from shortest to longest), which, to this day, I have yet to watch in its entirety.