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Daicon IV Opening Animation is an anime film short made for the opening of the Japanese sci-fi convention "Nihon SF Takai 1983," which is better known as Daicon IV. The film became the cornerstone of what eventually became Gainax and has also inspired several fan tributes over the 2010s and early 2020s.
Daicon Film's first short was known as "Daicon III Opening Animation," which was featured at Nihon SF Takai 1981 (Daicon III) in Osaka, Japan on August 22nd, 1981. It was a short featuring a young girl fighting off various mechs and kaiju in order to bring a glass of water to a wilted daikon radish. The radish then turns into a spaceship and turns the girl into its captain.
Their next film was first shown at Nihon SF Takai 1983 (Daicon IV) in Osaka, Japan on August 20th, 1983. It was a sequel to Daicon III Opening Animation and shows a brief summary of it using reanimated scenes before moving on to the main film. The film starts off with an intro text as "Prologue" by Electric Light Orchestra plays before switching to another Electric Light Orchestra song, "Twilight," as the young girl from Daicon III is briefly shown again before reappearing as a much older woman sporting a bunny suit. She then faces off against several science-fiction and anime characters, including a lightsaber battle against Darth Vader from Star Wars, being blasted by a xenomorph from Alien and fighting off various mobile suits from Gundam. She then starts to air surf on a sword as various events occur in the background.
The two films were made available on LaserDisc in 1988 as a promotional item included with the purchase of the Daicon IV Opening Animation artbook.
On July 5th, 2010, an AMV tribute of the film was posted to YouTube by machina21. The AMV features characters and scenes from several Gainax works. The video, titled "Children of Daicon" (shown below), has received more than 49,000 views in over 11 years.
On August 19th, 2011, a fan reanimation of the film was posted to Nicovideo by Pompoko (ポンポコ), which was animated entirely in MMD and featured Hatsune Miku as the bunny girl. The video (shown below) received over 260,000 views in over 10 years. The video was also reposted to YouTube by Sohgetu4, where it received over 360,000 views in over 10 years.
On December 24th, 2017, a fan tribute was posted to YouTube by Anon12345. The tribute was a collaborative work from 4chan's /a/ board in which various animators each reanimated a scene from the original short in their own style. The video, titled "/a/ Draws Daicon IV", (shown below) received over 97,000 views in over four years.
References In Gainax Works
The short film has been referenced periodically by Gainax in some of their future works, including the 1991 Gainax OVA Otaku no Video and episode five of FLCL (shown below). Since 2008, Otakon has opened its AMV contest with clips from and inspired by Daicon IV.
Film Restoration Efforts
While nobody has been able to obtain an original print for Daicon IV, an 8mm print was obtained for Daicon III. Femboy Films was working on a restoration project for Daicon III when they received a cease and desist notice from some of the film's original makers, which have announced their own plans to restore the films and established a Twitter account for future updates on the project.