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Last summer, we took a look at a series of ads from Okinawa’s Bank of the Ryukyus, known locally as Ryugin, that featured magical girl idol singers and giant robots. Those are certainly more visually appealing images than a staid banker or graphs explaining interest fees, but if we’re being totally honest, the sort of CG animation shown in the commercials really isn’t Japan’s forte.

Where the country’s artists really shine is in a more traditional discipline that mimics the style of hand-drawn artwork, regardless of whether or not it’s done with pencil and paper or all on a computer. Thankfully, that’s just what we get in the bank’s newest ad, which comes from one of anime’s top veteran action directors, plus one of its most accomplished voice actors.

Considering the deplorable track record the international education community has in providing pupils with a proper background in such critical subjects as “important members of the anime industry,” some of our younger readers may not be familiar with the name Masami Obari. During the 1980s and early ‘90s, though, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a director who put more panache into his action scenes, and Obari helmed anime projects such as all three Fatal Fury adaptations, episodes five and six of Bubblegum Crisis, and the opening to Magic Knight Rayearth.

▼ He also worked as a character designer, and is responsible for Fatal Fury protagonist Terry Bogard’s metal-plated cap.

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Fans in the late ‘90s weren’t nearly as receptive to Obari’s works, though. After the convoluted Virus Buster Serge, uneven Gowkaizer, and all-around disappointing Toshinden, it looked like Obari’s creative well had just about run dry. He eventually ended up directing anime porn, which is something many animators prefer to move on from after using it as a way to get their foot in the door of the industry.

Obari’s been slowly working his way back towards more mainstream projects, though, and his latest credit is as director for a new ad for the Bank of the Ryukyus starring the giant robot Great Ryugin.

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Obari isn’t the only anime luminary involved with the commercial, though. Layered on top of the rocking guitar anthem is narration from voice actor Sho Hayami, who provided the voices of both Macross’ Maximillian Jenius and Bleach’s Sosuke Aizen.

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Hayami’s commanding voice informs us:

“The burning passion for our hometown, gentleness, hope, and courage as well. All of them are assembled here, in our hearts. And now, on to a new stage, Great Ryugin!”

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The ad’s robot quotient seems to momentarily dip as a sports car zooms down the highway. There’s no need for mecha fans to despair, though, as it quickly transforms into a second robot, who shakes hands with Great Ryugin before the pair are joined by Rura and Rumi, Bank of the Ryukyus’ spokes-magical girls.

▼ Wouldn’t you feel more at ease if your loan officer wore lion-head-shaped shoulder armor instead of a business suit?

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As the ad closes, Hayami reminds viewers that Ryugin is “working towards a prosperous Okinawa.” As for what Obari is working towards, some of his recent artwork suggests a desired shift back away from anime bursting with explicit content, such as his recent renditions of Yo-Kai Watch’s Jibanyan and Big Hero 6’s Baymax.

Hmm…you know something? Considering all the action potential the Big Hero 6 franchise has, we’d totally buy tickets for an Obari-directed sequel to the Disney film.

Source: Hachima Kikou
Top image: YouTube
Insert images: Zerochan, YouTube