Kono's Ace Combat 25th Anniversary Slideshow
On March 26th, 2020, Famtisu aired the Ace Combat 25th Anniversary livestream featuring Kazutoki Kono the (brand director of the Ace Combat Series) and Manabu Shimomoto (Producer for Ace Combat 7). Kazutoki Kono is now infamous for the slides he brings with him to these kinds of livestreams, which include inside jokes and memes. Since Kono makes these himself and no one at Project Aces reviews these prior to being shown, it provides quite the entertainment for all involved. This time was no different. Let’s take a deeper look at what he created this time. Here’s just a generic Bandai Namco logo, but Kono begins by saying the all-too familiar phrase heard in Japanese television: “This program has been brought to you by the following sponsor(s),” and introduces Bandai Namco Entertainment. Here he congratulates the team on their coming 25th anniversary by showing the Project Aces logo. This image was actually tweeted by him when he wished everyone a happy new year. This Mizuhiki style of decoration is often used for celebrations. Pretty wholesome so far. And the fun begins. Kono starts talking about their “brand,” but shows this slide real quick before moving on to the Ace Combat slide. This is probably just a personal joke by Kono, but this is a mosquito repellant called “Earth Nomat.” In Japanese it sounds more like “Ahce no-matto,” and is basically a terrible pun for “Ace Combat.” The Ace Combat series, which has a history spanning 25 years. In 1995, the household game software “Ace Combat (or Air Combat)” was released, which would become the first in the series. With the arrival of the newest work “Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown” in 2019, a total of 13 games were/are being circulated worldwide. Nothing too crazy here. Although I do find it funny that Assault Horizon is included. The “Weight” of 25 years
Here, Kono expressed that he wanted the fans and people to understand the “weight” of 25 years, and what that means. Getting pretty philosophical now. Kono calls the aircraft in the first slide here the XF-2, since that’s one of the liveries of the F-2 prototypes. He says, “what 25 years means is that this boy....turns into this, it grows up into this” and shows the production F-2. Shimomoto interrupts, saying “most of your point isn’t getting across...” since a lot of people don’t know the development history/timeline of this plane. However, Kono pushes on and we see Wiseman saying, “not bad” before moving rapidly to the next slide. Here, Kono explains that this is a spreadsheet that sums the total amount of seconds since the launch of the first Ace Combat and up to the date of the 25th anniversary, and how he made Shimomoto put this together the previous night. Classic Kono, bullying poor Shimomoto again. 25 years = 791,510,400 seconds The total is shown here which amounts to a massive 791.5 million seconds. Kono then takes this number and puts it into the mission timer of Ace Combat 7’s Pipeline Destruction, and we see that this is equivalent to 13191838 hours. Interesting to see how much time can be set for these missions. When asked how he did this, Kono said he “borrowed” the company’s assets and laughed. He also hypothesizes that the “very easy mode” for upcoming Ace Combat games would look something like this. Maybe newcomers won’t be too pressured by the almost lack of a time limit? Who knows. Your hypothesis is trash
Just Alex bashing Kono’s hypothesis. Very appropriate and hilarious. “Jpeg Dog” makes a quick appearance here for no reason, but who doesn’t like a good boy? The doggo shows up later in the slide show as well. The “Weight” of 25 years
We come back to this slide as Kono tries to get serious again and get back on topic on the weight of 25 years and how he wants to properly convey that to us. He mentions that he created a diagram to show how long 25 years is as well. The magnificence of Ace Combat’s continuation during these 25 years, in other words, a “quarter of a century” By rephrasing 25 years to “a quarter of a century,” the incredible scale and history of the franchise can be felt. It’s kind of crazy to think about, and gives us a neat perspective here. And the jokes return in this timeline. At the top we see Kono’s supposed lifespan, reaching 100 years in age, followed by a darker arrow labeled “sublimation” extending way into the future (AC3 fans rejoice!). The big dark red arrow says “25 years” and shows the time between the first Ace Combat and 7. What’s utterly hilarious is the inclusion of the arrow extending into the future with “Ace Combat 14: Galaxy Sky” slated for release in 2045 and “Ace Combat 21: The Cheating Ace that Saves an Alternate World Has to be a Novice!” coming in 2071. Honestly sounds like a light novel I would read. But c’mon people, that’s 7 numbered Ace Combat games every 25 years! There could even be more like X or something for the Switch! Anyway, incredible memeing from Kono.
But the fun continues. Below the big arrows is Shimomoto’s lifespan, where Kono explains that in 2~3 years, Shimomoto will get digitized and will be used for sublimation experiments. However, apparently those experiments fail and he does not get to live as long as everyone else, while the technology for sublimation improves and Kono reaps the benefits. Does Kono have something against Shimomoto? Either way, this is really funny.
The last one is of an “Ace Combat Girl” named Koma-chan born in 1995, and is the same age as the franchise. I couldn’t hear exactly what Kono said, but the whole point of this timeline is to show how long 25 years is in an amusing way. Don’t you see Kono just showing off the Line stickers at this point and memeing with them gloriously. Don’t you see? The power of 25 years! The “Weight” of 25 years / The magnificence of Ace Combat’s continuation during these 25 years, in other words, a “quarter of a century” And after another round of joking and admitting that we probably don’t understand what he’s getting at, Kono says he has another diagram prepared. Oh god, what could it be? This one’s quite a doozy. Basically it outlines major events such as when Project Aces was established (Between 04 & 5), when core members like Kono, Kanno (Art Director), Itomi (Narrative Director), Shimomoto, Katabuchi etc. joined the team, what projects they were involved in and so on. There are however, some interesting anecdotes hidden here. For AC2 (in red), we see a “Kono & Kanno Loop Hell” where Kono wanted one thing, but Kanno went ahead and changed stuff on his own resulting in a constant cycle of fighting and lead to a development nightmare. This seems to be a constant theme for any Ace Combat game.
For AC5’s development (in green) we see something similar with “Katabuchi & Kono Loop Hell” where the constant back-and-forth between the two were well known when creating 5’s story and missions.
The one in orange is intriguing to me because Masahide Kito, who headed the plot of the AC7 DLC missions is listed in a “100 [air]craft incident.” Kito himself said he would explain on twitter later, so I’m going to keep an eye on that. This portion takes the cake for me. Listed here are Ace Combat Advance (for the GameBoy Advanced), Ace Combat Xi: Skies of Incursion (iOS), and Ace Combat Northern Wings (mobile) which Project Aces didn’t have a hand in at all. Kono marked them “what is this incident 1~3,” comments “what?” for Advance and Northern Wings, and his comment on Xi seems to indicate only one person was involved in making it. I know some people who like these games maybe even unironically, so that’s a nice addition. Well done
Some kind words from Wiseman as Kono self-congratulates himself for creating that masterpiece of a timeline. So here’s a question
Nice to see some more characters in the Line sticker lineup. How was Ace Combat able to continue during these 25 years, or “quarter of a century”
Kono seems to return to the topic asking the members in the stream, “what do you think is the reason this series has lasted this long.” Shimomoto answers, “well of course of all the people who have supported us along the way,” and Kono nods, but... Control Tower
Ah yes, Kono’s satirical self-flattery strikes again. The supreme leader who controls everything! Oh wait, oops! Quick, get JPEG Dog out! Ah yes, just a good boi here, nothing to see How was Ace Combat able to continue during these 25 years, or “quarter of a century”
Back on track, things get serious and wholesome as of course, the real reason Ace Combat has made it this far is the unwavering support of all the fans. Here we see some familiar faces like Acepedia and Ace Combat Fan! It was because of all of the fans’ continued support Thank you for all that you have done! We’re really grateful!
And some more nice gestures from Kono. You can tell he made this one because of the flankers. Kono really loves his Sukhois. Come on damn it!
Oh hello. Kono called this a “reward” because he liked it and felt others would too. I mean, he’s not wrong... And now, this spring, Riku, thank you very much! We appreciate what you did!
Another nice gesture by Kono. Riku Suzuki had been supporting the team with promoting the games from before the release of Ace Combat 7, but “graduated” in March and will be leaving the team. Therefore, Kono prepared some slides of gratitude. Riku was also in the studio at the time so it really was wholesome. Adios, you damn fool Mission complete, RTB And finally he showed off some more Line stickers appropriate for the setting. Man I’m really thinking about buying these but I don’t have anyone on Line that would understand them. :( Thus, another one of Kono’s presentations comes to an end. That did make for a good slide show. During the stream, Kono mentioned that he has more things that he would like to announce when the time is right and that he would like to come back to do more live streams with Famitsu, so hopefully we’ll see another entertaining set of slides in the future.