Scene: Night. A Tokyo boardroom. An anime producer, a screenwriter, and a director are deep in thought.

Producer: So tell me your pitch again?

Screenwriter: I want to make a movie about an alien force invading Earth. There's only one chance to stop it...a crack team of pilots.

Producer: So it's Top Gun meets Independence Day. With Japanese people.

Screenwriter: But darker. More somber. More personal, emotional, psychically draining drama. Our hero, Akeshima, he's conflicted. He wants revenge for his father against the aliens, but he's also kinda unstable. He barely speaks to his sister. He's messed up. That'll get the kids to watch.

Producer: You've only got 50 minutes. How can we establish the deep family tension our lead character feels?

Screenwriter: Hmm...I think...gloomy visuals that make it hard to see. And slapping. Lots of slapping.

Producer: Doesn't seem like much for 50 minutes. Not so original, either.

Screenwriter: Yes, sir. But a plan that is a million-to-1 shot against defeating the aliens...that should raise the stakes. And a huge near-destruction of Earth as a prologue. And, there won't be huge mecha battles, but we can advertise it with a really cool mecha that shows up briefly. Oh, and the little sister? She'll create more emotional tension. Did I mention the slapping?

Producer: Yeah, I got that. Why would anybody watch this when there are a million shows on the market just like it?

Director: Well, sir, if I may step in...I'm planning to use the latest in 3-D animation. The visuals will look amazing. Every ship, every alien device, every pop-up'll think you're watching a real movie, not anime at all. And the lifelike!

Producer: But what about the uncanny valley? Most 3-D characters have dead eyes. They give me nightmares. Will your movie give me nightmares?

Director: ...

Producer: So they do look like the living dead?

Director: Oh, no, of course not, sir. We have come so very far in this kind of artwork. There are shots where you will think you're looking at a real human being. You could put a real actor in there and think every now and then that...

Producer: ...that I'm watching a real movie, yes, I understood that. Still...dead eyes? And that skin that looks just a little too shiny?

Director: Well, um, if you look at it the right way, at the right time...

Producer: ...

Director: Yes, sir. Dead eyes. Shiny skin. Sorry, sir. We aren't quite there yet. But it will look so good that you'll wonder why you're bothered by the artwork. You'll think you're the problem, rather than our lack of ability to make a computerized character look genuinely real.

Screenwriter: And sir, I've seen the mock-ups. It looks so good that the audience might just forget that there's really no plot. With visuals that pop this well, what teenager needs a good story? They just want to watch stuff blow up. And we do that pretty well.

Producer: That's true. I might not be a teenager any more...but I do sure like watching stuff blow up.

Screenwriter and Director (together): Of course you do.

Producer: Well, it might be boring and trite and a waste of trillions of CPU might look like a 50-minute cut scene from the latest XBOX game...but if we make it look like we spent a billion dollars on it, add in some angst, and make it seem more important than it really is, surely somebody will buy it. Now tell me more about this slapping...

Planzet -- violence (often directed towards family members), mild language -- C