After the Daicon III Opening Animation made waves through proto-otaku fandom, other fans followed suit and began working on their own amateur animation shorts. Many of these, like the opening animations for conventions like Azi-Con and Uracon III, cribbed a bit from the Daicon III playbook, while others were produced by fan groups and college clubs with original stories. One such project was Moon Struck Artemis.1
Produced by the Okayama University Manga Club between 1981 and 1982, Moon Struck Artemis was an original sci-fi story with a prominent staff member that would go on to become a major part of the Japanese animation industry — Shinji Aramaki. Aramaki handled the screenplay, mechanical designs, and directorial responsibilities while Yoshiko Hatanaka took care of character designs and STUDIO Nume handled photography.
In an era of seemingly limitless information about a seemingly limitless amount of anime, it’s strange to come across a title–student film or otherwise–largely absent from the internet. Such is the case with Artemis. Aside from a brief mention on Aramaki’s Japanese Wikipedia page (which refers to the short as “a masterpiece of the cartoon club era”), an old tweet, and archived photos of a poster that showed up on Yahoo Auctions five years ago, there’s barely any trace of the short online.
The most information I’ve found on Artemis comes from the third issue of Takara’s Dual Magazine, which reprinted an Okayama University Manga Club article about the short film. Although no author is credited, it reads like it may have been written by Aramaki himself. That article is reprinted below with some of the artwork, screenshots, and storyboards that appeared alongside it.
As far as I can tell, no copy of the actual short exists online; though I’d be happy to be corrected. If you know anything about this short film, please be sure and comment below!
A copy of Moon Struck Artemis was uploaded to YouTube in August, 2021, but has unfortunately been blocked in some countries due to copyright claims. The video can be found here, if you’re able to view it. I was able to save a copy before it was blocked in my region, but I’m not sure if there’s an appropriate way for me to easily share it.
Additionally, Moon Struck Artemis was apparently screened at the ARTMIC Festival in 1987, according to the advertisement shared up in this tweet:
— マーシー兎＠HMMゾイドアートワーク発売中です。 (@mercy_usagi) October 25, 2020
Moon Struck Artemis
Independent Anime Magazine Exhibition – Junk Box
Dual Magazine #3, Winter 1983
Translation by Andrew Prowse
Thinking back, the Moon Struck Artemis (henceforth MSA) project started in January 56, and we fully completed the film in March 572, so it was a good year’s plus worth of work. This was everyone’s first time working on a full-blown anime, so we set to work without any real, concrete know-how when it came to animation. I’d dabbled a little in anime before, though, so I pushed the project forward on my own, pretty much doing whatever I wanted and massively inconveniencing everyone in the club.
While I’m sure they weren’t happy about some things, I figured they would forgive it all as long as we got it to a finished state. With a while having passed after finishing it, when I look back on the film now, despite having an endless list of things I wish I’d done differently—my true feelings are that everyone did so well, and no matter how many times I watch it, I really never get bored. However, this was just one step, both for me and the club; I strongly believe that the true significance of MSA is in how we apply the fact that we created an anime, in all its aspects, in the future. With the work on MSA generally being over, I have only a few words—good-bye, Moon Struck Artemis—man, you were cool…
Quoted from the Okayama University Manga Club Animation “Moon Struck Artemis” special issue, editor’s postscript
The East Block’s Artemis Base is a mineral mining base built based on Dahan Nall’s moon resource development plan. However, for the West Block, which views the East Block as hostile, it is an eyesore, something that might become an overhead threat. Now, the West Block’s Aerospace Command launches an attack on Artemis Base!
Screenplay, Mechanical Design, Director: Shinji Aramaki
Character Design: Yoshiko Hatanaka
Photography: STUDIO Nume
Production: Okayama University Manga Club
(Cel animation—8mm—23 minutes)
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