AnimeNEXT 2013 – Yamamoto Sayo and Shimizu Hiroshi Q&A – Saturday

We deduced that the ‘no photo’ rule from the Opening Ceremonies was probably due to Yamamoto-sensei. She requested no photos during the panel. We of course complied though many of us were groaning since Shimizu-san drew throughout the panel while the Q&A was being held. During the intros though, they show on the screens the Japanese wiki entry for Yamamoto-san and even ANN’s info for Shimizu-san.

    Yamamoto: I’m Yamamoto Sayo. My debut work was Michiko to Hatchin. I produced Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. One of the earlier shows that I worked on was with director Watanabe Shinichiro on the series Samurai Champloo. I also worked on Eureka 7, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, also the storyboards on Highschool of the Dead. I also did the storyboarding on the opening to Psycho Pass. Currently, my most recent work is storyboard ending for Shingeki no Kyojin. For movie works, I worked on Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. The earlier work which I mentioned, Michiko to Hatchin, the animator, Shimizu Hiroshi is with us as well.

    Shimizu: Nice to meet you. I am Shimizu Hiroshi. I’m a Japanese animator. One of my few representative works with Studio Ghibli, directed by Miyazaki Hayao is Porco Rosso and Mononoke Hime. After I left Studio Ghibli, I became a freelance animator. I worked on the 2nd season of Ghost in the Shell, Jin-Roh and Sky Crawlers. I than worked for Studio Madhouse and worked on many anime series as key animator and animation director. For the series Michiko to Hatchin, I was the character designer and animator. After that, I worked with Yamamoto-san on Lupin III as key animator and director.

Yamamoto-san wanted to show the PV for Michiko to Hatchin on youtube (surprising pulling up a user’s upload rather than a company’s site,) but there was a youtube error partway. Instead, Yamamoto-san show the PV for the new Lupin III series. Viewers discretion was advised due to the violent content.

    Yamamoto: Did anyone see this beforehand? *hands raised* How did you guys see this?
    Audience: It’s streaming legally on Funimation.
    Yamamoto: I see, Funimation. Next year, Funimation will be bringing this to bluray and dvd. Please enjoy the high quality version.
    Audience: Streaming, the episodes will be starting tonight.
    Yamamoto: Thank you for the information! Since the key animator is here, we want to show you the live drawing of the animation. *audience applauds*

The choices were Fujiko Mine, Lupin and Jigen. At the audience’s request, Shimizu-san drew Fujiko Mine pointing a gun at the the screen. Shimizu-san redrew some parts several times…especially her ample chest. XD The Q&A took place while he drew.

    Q: Lupin III is such a classic and action packed series. Since you’re directing it now, what are some elements from the old series that you’re holding on to and bringing out in the new series?
    Yamamoto: It’s already been 27 years since the series ended and the first episode came out 40 years ago. One of the main things that I wanted to include was to maintain the style that the original manga had. Since Lupin III had alot of fans since it was going on for so many years, there was alot of pressure for me. I have the responsibilities to make it good for the people of that generation. I wanted to make it closer to the original manga.

    Q: How was it like storyboarding for Highschool of the Dead?
    Yamamoto: For the director, he wanted to make it very erotic or comic relief. That was the direction of the storyboarding. There was a storyboard where the entire point was that they had to bathe in that episode. *audience laughs* During the bathing scene, each of the female characters had their bodytype. What the director wanted was to see how I could get these bodytypes to look attractive. In that episode, we also wanted to show the love scenes between the main character and the female character, Rei. And how I could make those two intimate in the series.

    Q: What is your personal experience with Lupin III before working on the series?
    Yamamoto: I really enjoyed the first Lupin III [series] and Miyazaki’s Castle of Cagliostro.

    Q: Was there any change in the story as the series Lupin III progressed in comparison to the initial planning?
    Yamamoto: Initially, the setting was how Lupin and Fujiko Mine met. The story was already decided. How the new series takes place with the old series, and is affected by the old series changed during the process of creating the new series.

    Q: And how as it working on Redline with Koike Takeshi?
    Yamamoto: I worked with him alot. My contribution was mainly on the meeting scene with JP and Sanoshee. I did the costume design for Sanoshee and the design for the restaurant of their scene.

    Q: Concerning Little Nemo, how did it impact your career? It was my first introduction to anime.
    Shimizu: I worked on Little Nemo 25 years ago when I was very young. That animation was actually supposed to be for Americans, it was completely different from how animation was in Japan. It was my first animation experience. Thanks to that experience, I was able to work on different things now. How did you feel watching Little Nemo?
    Fan: I loved it. It is one of my favorite. It’s so creepy and dark, especially when I was a kid growing up. *audience laughs*
    Shimizu: Thank you.

    Q: On Highschool of the Dead, concerning Hirano Kota’s character, it didn’t go too much into his past or history. Can we expect an OVA in the future?
    Yamamoto: Sorry, I don’t know.

    Q: Are there any qualities of the characters in the new Lupin III series that you enjoyed working with?
    Yamamoto: The moment before Fujiko became a full grown adult, there were alot of new parts to it so I had alot of fun working on that.

    Q: Are you working on season 2 of Highschool of the Dead?

    Yamamoto: It’s so popular here! I didn’t even know that there was a second season. I guess I’m not working on it.

    Q: You didn’t just work on Redline with director Koike. You also assisted him on Trava. I find that the whole universe created for them was so interesting. Do you think you and Koike will work on another film like that?
    Yamamoto: I would like to work more with him if given the opportunity. Since Koike-san can go on his own, he might not need my input.

    Q: How did you decide where to put your Lupin III installment into the entire series?
    Yamamoto: I decided on my own that I wanted to create a story that took place before the first Lupin III.

    Q: There are not that many female directors in the anime industry. As a female staff member, how do you keep yourself confident and able to stand up in oppose to your male counterparts?
    Yamamoto: I don’t have that much confidence. *audience laughs* While I work, I don’t do this on my own. I support them and work on my own things. Since there are male staff in the anime industry, for this Lupin III title, I decided to choose a female [as a main character.] Lupin III is mostly for a male audience. Since I chose a female main character, I’m able to look at it [tell a story] from a woman’s point of view.

    Q: Does being a background artist and storyboard have any affect on your style?
    Yamamoto: When I think about the storyboard, I have a scenario in my mind. So my previous experiences with background designs help alot.

    Q: Are there any work that your particularly enjoy working on?
    Yamamoto: That’s a difficult question. I enjoyed most of my work. Right now, my most enjoyable work is a title that I can’t announce. Lately, the works I mostly enjoy are ones that I directed myself.

*Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s ‘Pon Pon Pon’ music flows from next door* *audience laughs* Unlike other drawings done during the panels, Shimizu actually drew a layout animation, gengas that animators use to expand on and create dougas. As he demonstarted by flipping the pages, the sketches can be seen as rough animation in motion. It is truly amazing to see some an effect at work before our eyes.

    Shimizu: I ask animators to fill in the in between animation so that it is more fluid. This is a very rough animation. Afterwards, they put in colors and give it to the director to finalize it. *after flipping the pages* It’s pretty messy, kinda embarrassing, but that’s how it looks like. *audience applauds*

Shimizu-san also had a set of sketches featuring Jigen in the same animated pose with the gun. Sugoi!