Interview #07Why Anime Shops Opened at Parco

Parco Co., Ltd.
Chihiro Tezuka

A Record of 2,000 Items Displayed

“It was during summer 2013 when it was already announced that Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo would release that fall. That time, the manager of our Nagoya store told me there was a vacancy in the hall for the fall season and asked me if I had any project in mind. I casually mentioned this to Muto, and he came up with the plan for Evangelion 100.0, a project gathering Evangelion-related projects and products that were sold from the series’ broadcast in 1995 until now, looking at the history of Eva from the aspect of the products and projects the series gave birth to. But since the first large-scale exhibition titled Evangelion Exhibition was already set up from summer 2013 in Matsuya Ginza, we at Parco wanted to take a different approach. When I asked further, it turned out 100.0 was a project Muto had been hatching for years, and if that was the case, I thought why not hold it in Nagoya? This was another experimental project, and 3.0 was announced to release on Nov. 17 soon after, so we adjusted the opening of the exhibition to the same date.”

Gather 100 kinds of products and display them. The idea itself for Evangelion 100.0, an exhibition held for the duration of a month from November 2012 in Nagoya, was simple. However, the subject was Evangelion, a series that spawned tens of thousands of character goods.

“Just listing up the items took at least two months. We also inquired with successive generations of managers for copyright items, but there were many products we couldn’t get our hands on, and the same plastic model can have 10 different versions and we weren’t sure how to divide them—we had our hands full. Gainax and the company responsible for Rebuild of Evangelion copyright goods, Ground Works, helped us by arranging for the goods. In one warehouse, there were a few hundred cardboard boxes slumbering, and the other had an unbelievable amount (laughs). In order to search for the items we needed, we transported everything from the warehouses to a logistics center our company used, then opened boxes with a few of Radio Eva’s crew until we found what we were looking for. There were some fun moments, such as a crew member from Mitaka discovering a poster of Ayanami in Mitaka (laughs), but we couldn’t keep on using the logistics center for days, so in the end, it was basically 24 hours of non-stop physical labor.”

From its start until the search was over, the preparation took roughly three months. It was only two days before the opening of the exhibition that they finally managed to bring the display items to the gallery in Nagoya Parco.

“Of course, we already decided on the display order, but there were so many and they were so small (laughs). Plus a lot of the items were special toys which took time to put up. There was also a special staff called decorators for arranging the gallery, but there were figures that required a special technique for posing, particularly the Revoltech series by Kaiyodo. You have to entrust this task to someone who knows his way around, otherwise you won’t be able to display it cool enough. Fortunately, there was a staff member of the Evangelion Store who was from Nagoya and just happened to be on a home visit, so he was able to help out with arrangement in a hurry.”

They moved in the items two days before the opening of the exhibition, but it was not until two minutes (!) before the opening that they finished arranging them. Tezuka’s absent-minded remark, “We’ve got no choice but to do it,” which he uttered to the staff worn out by two days of working overnight, remains a famous saying among the members to this day.

“I think Evangelion was the only series we used as a sole content for products at an exhibition. In the end, 100.0 was the most visited exhibition in Nagoya that year, and in the following year, it also toured Osaka and Shibuya. When it moved to Fukuoka Parco, we were able to publish an illustrated book, and this was my first success at a large-scale exhibition that I did from the planning stage. Even in the amount of items exhibited, this is No. 1 among all the exhibitions that followed. It was a strange project, but I was truly moved when I saw the multitude of typical Parco customers show up. Moreover, exhibitions usually start at Shibuya and go on a tour from there, so I’m very grateful to the staff of our Nagoya store for consenting to this irregular exhibition.”

Evangelion 100.0 caused an uproar in Nagoya Parco Gallery. In January of the following year, it moved on to Parco Museum in Shibuya, and in the end, it toured not only Parco stores but also the Shotaro Ishinomori Memorial Museum in Miyagi Prefecture. You can check all displayed items and their explanations in the book titled Evangelion 100.0 published by Parco Publishing .