© Chuya Koyama © Kodansha © Tokyo 2020 © JAXA

Space Brothers’ Creator Contributes To The First Animation Film Ever Made In Space

The influence and popularity of manga and anime continues to spread beyond Japan to all corners of the globe. And now, it seems, even Planet Earth isn't big enough to contain it.

Source: © Chuya Koyama © Kodansha

Chuya Koyama, creator of the highly popular manga Space Brothers, recently had the honor to participate in a project of astronomical proportions in a special collaboration project to promote the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Source: © Chuya Koyama © Kodansha

The "Tokyo 2020 One Team Project" is a collaboration between The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and leading creators and innovators from Japan to support the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. JAXA (the Japan Aerospace Exploration Committee) and Koyama were tapped to participate in a campaign called "Cheers From Space To Tokyo 2020." In the first phase of this campaign, Koyama was commissioned to create a flip-book (known as parapara manga in Japanese) featuring Space Brothers' elder brother, Mutta Nanba, on the surface of the moon performing a gymnastics maneuvre called the Lunar Backflip and earning a perfect 10. In a symbolic flourish, a medal is launched from earth and Mutta catches it and drapes it around his neck. Younger brother Hibito's pet pug Apo then makes an adorable appearance. The sequence ends with the message: "See you in Tokyo."

Source: © Chuya Koyama © Kodansha © Tokyo 2020 © JAXA

The flip-book was then carefully delivered to JAXA and sent to the International Space Station in December 2017, where Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai agreed to flip the pages of the flip-book in order to answer the question: "Can a flip-book be flipped in space (in zero gravity)?"

Source: © JAXA

Although the video also shows Kanai and the surrounding environment of the ISS, the video containing the flip-book with its frames put into motion is technically an animation film, thus the first time in human history that an animated film has ever been made in space.

We can forgive Kanai for producing choppy results in spite of the time he spent practicing, since he is an astronaut and presumably no expert in handling flip-books in such a manner as to create a smooth animation. Nevertheless, the answer to the question is a resounding yes.

In case you missed out on some of the details of the actual animation, here is a video showing Koyama making the flip-book and revealing the artwork more clearly:

Who knows what is in store in the next phase of the campaign? To stay updated on the latest developments, be sure to check out the official website here. And if you're interested in the other six campaigns already participating in the Tokyo 2020 One Team Project, check out the main page here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.