Otakon 2016 – Yamamoto Kazutomi panel

The panel opened with the first episode of Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu love!! love!! Watching the first episode subbed on a large screen with other fans is a great experience, we get to laugh together at the same jokes.

I took pics in the front…and was totally attracted to the plushie Wombat on the stage. Wahhh…fuwa fuwa….

The host commented on the video, noting that she likes the new powers and the new outfits. “More ribbon, more color, that’s cute!” She encouraged fans to stay until the end to participate in a jankenpon game with Kazutomi-san for a signed poster. To the cheers and chanting of “Kazutomi, Kazutomi!” Yamamoto Kazutomi-san came on stage with a Wombat plush in his arms. Next, was producer Kawahara Yoko. “Yoko! Yoko!”

The host polled the audience if anyone saw season 2 on Funimation and Crunchyroll. *raises hands* She encouraged us to keep watching. “So it gives us a chance to make a season 3.” *fans applause*

She shared some info about Kazutomi-san, noting that he debut in 2009 in Seitokai no Ichizon as Nakameguro (OMG, the uke that I loved in that series!) In 2012, he received a major role in Mobile Suit Gundam AGE as the lead. He won Best Rookie Award in 2012. *audience cheers* And then he got the lead as Hakone Yumoto in Binan. The host asks fans to continue supporting him. “Share with your friends with love!”

    Kazutomi: We are forever the heirs to the throne of love! Battle Lovers! Feel the power of love! I’m Yamamoto Kazutomi! Onegaishimasu!

    Kawahara: *in good English* Hi, I’m Yoko Kawahara. The producer of Binan Kokou. I’m glad to see you guys today.

The host continued with Kawahara-san’s works including Pumpkin Scissors and Yuri Yuri, another Pony Canyon title. The host encouraged fans to keep watching Binan. “If you don’t keep watching and Yoko finds out, she will be very angry. ‘You don’t watch it?!?’ You don’t want to see that” *audience laughs*

The attention turned to questions for the staff.

    Q: What is happening now in Season 2?

    Kawahara: Since it’s hard to explain in English, I’ll explain it in Japanese. *switches to Japanese* Season 2 is right after season 1. This is the story that takes place in Binan city where the boys of Binan Highschool are going through extraordinary events. We have the story of the boys who are supposed to be ditching their club activities as the Earth Defense club. However, they are Battle Lovers. In season 1, it turns out that the weekly battles are all ploys of a reality tv show by Space TV. The producer is defeated and peace at the academy is restored. At the end of season 1, we were supposed to come to a happy end because the evil producer is defeated. They can just take a peaceful bath and that’s where season 2 takes off but things are different.

The host asks fans to keep watching so that there can be more cute boys anime and “Sexier love making.” *fans cheer*

    Q: What was the first thing you do to prepare for the role?
    Kazutomi: In season 2, Hakone Yumoto tends to have a lot of smiling faces on screen. When I perform, I try to always have a smile on my face when I’m doing my lines.

    Q: What were the challenges to making season 2?
    Kawahara: At the end of season 1, the director and I were very interested in going ahead with season 2. It took awhile to get it greenlit. We already had alot of settings with the story and design, we thought it would be easy, but that wasn’t the case at all.

    Q: What is it like going to a recording studio every week?
    Kazutomi: Every week, there is a monster of the week. That is cast with veteran seiyuu and their performances are very laughter inducing. We had to suppress our laughter in order to keep up with our performances. Especially Yumoto, he is the one who confronts the monsters the most. I really have to keep my straight face up. That’s the fun we get to have in the studio.
    Kawahara: The voice of Wombat is a 72 year old veteran seiyuu, Mugihito. he is the voice of Picard and Professor Xavier. He is very great at ad-libbing and puts alot of things that are not in the script.

    Q: We have alot of magical girls show? Why boys? *audience applauds*
    Kawahara: My previous title is Ixion Saga. Do you know about it? [ed: I cheer loudly. XD] When we were on the production of Ixion Saga, we were brainstorming ideas for our next show. We agreed that we wanted to do an [anime] original and the ideas that [director] Takamatsu was very boring. *audience laughs* And I was proposing that I wanted to a magical boys show. Basically, Takamatsu-san wanted to a ikemen show of good looking boys working in the anime industry. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as ikemen in the anime industry. *audience awwwww* I grew up with alot of magical girls show and the transformation scenes were the highlight of the show. I insisted that our show would need a transformation scene. The earth has been saved by magical girls many times over. It needs to be saved by magical boys this time. *audience cheers*
    Host: Only good looking boys, right? *audience applauds*

    Q: Please let us know what are the highlights of Love Love! season 2 that we can look forward to?
    Kazutomi: Everything. *audience laughs* To be serious, the straight answer is that there is alot of love in Binan Koukou. There is the love of friendship, the love of siblings and alot of battles. Each episode will have a battle and transformation scene. Even if you haven’t seen season 1, you can watch season 2 and enjoy it very much.

The host plugs the opening theme which is sung by the main cast. “He is a singer too!”

    Q: Did you notice that there are no women in the series? *audience agrees* Why?
    Kawahara: One of the shows that I produced before Binan Koukou was Yuri Yuri which features no men at all. In the original manga that Yuri Yuri is based on, the teacher was male but in the anime, that was recast as female. I did a all female cast already so the next theme is to make an all male cast show. To the extent that in season 1, the cast turned into children by the monster of the week. Normally children are voiced by female seiyuu. For this one, we had the male seiyuu perform as children. Sometimes they relapse and they become children, but we use only boys and men for the show.

The floor opened for questions from the audience. The host turned to the Binan cosplayers. “Boys, can you help me?” It drew laughter from the crowd since some of the cosplayers were female.

    Q: What is your favorite part of working on the series?
    Kawahara: When you’re working on an animated show, every single has hardship. It is very rewarding when you finish working on it and see it for the first time. Basically for Binan Koukou, as Kazutomi said, since the villains were veteran seiyuu. Normally, when there is a guest seiyuu, the director usually has to explain what the character is like. But for our show, we just show the visual of the villain and tell the seiyuu to perform as what you see. They just put on a performance. It’s such a pleasure working like that.
    Kazutomi: For me, it’s *occasions like today where I get to enjoy the screening with you. *audience applauds*

    Q: What is your favorite monster that you created? My favorite is the chest hair monster. *audience laughs*
    Kawahara: My favorite monster is the chikuwabu monster in episode one, season one. Chikuwa is different from chikuwabu since chikuwa is made from fish paste and chikuwabu is made from flour. I’m from Western Japan and we have no such kind of food. During our production meeting, we had alot of arguments about the kind of chikuwa or chikuwabu is preferable.

    Q: There is an otome game based on the show. Is there any plans to release that in English?
    Kawahara: I don’t know about that but I’m sure fan request will really motivate them to release it.

    Q: Do you get a chance to hang out with other seiyuu with high pitched voices?
    Kazutomi: I’ve had dinner with Yonaga Tsubasa from Love Stage. We would be together during the show and after recording, we’ll go drinking together.

    Q: *in Japanese* I have bananas that I want to give to you.
    Kazutomi: The story is that in Japan, the fans of Binan Koukou called themselves female gorillas.
    Kawahara: Thank you very much! I will eat this later.

    Q: *in Japanese* Can you do Wombat’s voice?
    Kazutomi: *does a line in Wombat’s voice* Macho!

The host explained the jankenpon game to the audience. Only the winners are allowed to keep standing and continue to play. Kazutomi-san’s voice is so cute as he shouts out in Yumoto’s voice. Kawahara-san was next. (Her voice is deeper in comparison with Kazutomi’s.)

The host plugged the booth at the Dealer’s Booth and reminded fans to continue watching. She also announced the autograph session at the booth with purchased items, the OP and ED cds as well as the BD/DVD sets. “Support us so that we can see season 3!” *audience applauds*

    Kazutomi: I’m really happy that I got to join in the screening of episode 1 with you. I realized that comedy is universal. You guys laughed exactly where we also laughed. Thank you and I’m grateful that you came and we could be here together.

    Kawahara: It was great that I got to hear your voices for fans outside of Japan. That’s such a rare opportunity outside of Japan. By the way, Kazutomi and I are wearing the t-shirts that Gora wears for Kuratama baths. in the show.

Fans began to gather at the front in order to take pics of the seiyuu and I spotted Angel Yumoto with the Battle Lovers staff. Definitely alot of female gorillas in the audience. By the way, the enemies of season 2 has a following at school who called themselves the Bebbu Apes which is where ‘gorillas’ come into play. ^_^ An interesting little tidbit from Japanese fans.