A Silent Voice Sound Staff Roundtable

This is from the A Silent Voice “making of” book published by Kyoto Animation in 2016. I translated this for another site, but it never got ran on it. With the ongoing incident at KyoAni, I wanted to share some of these translations that were finished, but never seen publicly.

Director x Sound Staff Roundtable
Naoko Yamada x Yota Tsuruoka x Kensuke Ushio

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A Silent Voice – Scriptwriter Reiko Yoshida Interview

This is from the A Silent Voice “making of” book published by Kyoto Animation in 2016. I translated this for another site, but it never got ran on it. With the ongoing incident at KyoAni, I wanted to share some of these translations that were finished, but never seen publicly.

Scriptwriter Reiko Yoshida
Animation scriptwriter. Has handled many TV series and films. Other works she’s handled have included the K-On! series (as series composer) and the Girls und Panzer series (series composer).

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On the KyoAni Arson Incident

This is a rarity for me on this blog, both in that I’m posting on it after a long hiatus and that I’m writing something personal on here. Unfortunately, the events of this week have led me to want to write something to share my thoughts and experiences with Kyoto Animation.

I had a long day at work after a tiring week thus far and planned to go to sleep early when I saw a “Fire at Kyoto anime studio” tweet appear on my timeline from NHK. Instantly my heart leapt. “Is it them?” I clicked the link and saw Studio 1, a studio I’ve seen in behind-the-scenes footage several times and been to in-person, smoking. I immediately shared it with my good friend Yuyucow saying “WTF?” because it was and still is unreal. “I’m speechless. Like it’s not that it’s KyoAni, it’s that anyone would do this type of thing.” Those were my immediate reactions. Shock. Awe. Fear. Confusion. Sadness. The fact that this is either the worst or second-worst murder incident in Japan since 1945, nearly 75 years ago, says it all to me. “Why?”, but more importantly “is everyone alright?”

Part of why I kept translating news (and still maintaining that thread on Twitter) was hoping that something positive would be said. Would someone live? Could people be saved? Unfortunately, the more I found out, the more devastating it was. I tried to go to sleep when we knew that 10 people were dead. I tossed and turned in my bed, afraid of what the world would be when I woke up the next day. Things were predictably worse when I woke up after 3 hours of sleep and at least 90 minutes of trying to sleep/rest. At that point, 25 people were confirmed dead and 7 missing. In hours, those numbers would be combined for 33 people who passed away in the fire and 36 injured (now 34 dead and 35 injured). A mere 7 people were completely uninjured. Seven out of 74. My mind still boggles at how few that is.

Throughout this whole event, my mind continues to wander about many things. Why did this happen? Who have we lost? Who is hurt and suffering this very minute? What can I do to help? How can I do anything at all? The answers I’ve arrived at remain unsatisfactory and will continue to be that way. Even this morning, I found myself in a sudden period of immense sadness and grief over everything.

KyoAni wasn’t a company to me; they were like my family. My first translation project was the Haruhi 10/11 novels (which I don’t recommend; get the official version instead). I continued on, translating the interviews from the Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya fanbook and then translating the Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai novels when the first anime season aired. After that, I wanted to share what the staff themselves thought and so I started translating more interviews with staff members. A LOT OF INTERVIEWS! Naoko Yamada, Tatsuya Ishihara, Yasuhiro Takemoto, Shoko Ikeda, Futoshi Nishiya, Kazumi Ikeda, Hiroko Utsumi, the list goes on. As I started to translate and read more from what these creators said, they weren’t strangers anymore. They became a part of me because I had attached voices to them through my work. Seeing the rise of Naoko Yamada from “someone who made K-On!, a show oriented for men and only for pervy men at that” to artistic creator from the Tamako series and reading her thoughts has been one of the highlights of my life. I vividly remember disagreeing with people, stating that Yamada was the best director at KyoAni after seeing her thoughts and now she’s a niche, but immensely beloved director in anime fandom. To know that I’ve had a role in that via my translations (and the effects from them in YouTuber videos, articles on ANN, articles on Crunchyroll, articles on blogger sites, etc has been one of the sources of pride that I hold dear.

As time has gone on, delusions of “I hope everyone will be alright” moved to a hope of “it’s going to be okay” and to the reality of “it’s likely that someone I’ve translated has passed away.” To know that their lively and creative minds are no longer on this Earth is incredibly saddening and depressing. Survivors’ guilt: wishing that it was you instead of them. I’m not as free as I used to be. The me that was so active on this blog would’ve easily said “I’d trade my life for theirs in an instant.” The me that’s writing this now knows the obligations and relationships I have and knows how much it’d hurt those people to see me gone. That’s another source of sadness: that I desperately want to feel like I’d be willing to sacrifice myself to save people because “it’s the right thing to do.” And yet, it’s those people that have helped me immensely throughout this. Have I been sad? Yes. Have I felt overwhelmed? Yes. Have I cried tears? Multiple times. But have I been able to bounce back and feel good again? Yes, thanks to my dear friends and special someone. I know the me of a couple years ago would’ve gone into immense depression over this and maybe shut down. The current me was able to be strong and translate news updates because of these bonds.

When I think about it, that’s truly the lesson that the KyoAni works taught me: when you’re with people who care about you and want to help you through your pain, you’re able to make it through tough times. Rikka had Yuuta to help her begin to overcome her grief at not being able to say goodbye to her father. Tamako had the market to help her live and thrive without her mother. Haruka swims not for himself, but for the team. Mirai found people that cared about her and didn’t shun her because of her abilities. Kumiko’s band overcame their issues and became one together. Team E in Phantom World came together to save the day in the finale. Shoko reunited the group of Shoya’s friends for him to heal his and her hearts. Violet learned the meaning of love through her co-workers and the people she wrote letters/lyrics for.

And so these times haven’t all been horrible. I’ve learned more about the history of this wonderful company through this incident. I’ve seen how great people can be in times of grief, giving of themselves to try and help in any shape or form. I’ve had a bit of my humanity restored after being jaded so much. I grieve over the people we’ve lost. From pillars in the industry down to people who just graduated from university and were just starting their careers. Every single one of the 34 people who have passed away and every single one of the 35 remaining injured people worked to make us feel better about ourselves and to become closer together. While I’m going to cry and feel sad knowing those people will never be the same or won’t be around again, I want to honor them by trying to become a more kind and gentle person. To become as open as the KyoAni family was. To share the love that I have with people.

This is just me. I’m not you and I can’t be you. If you need to be sad, be sad. If you need to have an outlet for your feelings, find a healthy one. Grief takes many forms for each of us and we’re all unique in how we’re going to handle this. But at the end of it all, when we see the next KyoAni work, I want us to let our emotions out, say thank you to everyone who created that title, and think of the good times we’ve had and the good times yet to come. In the end, they wanted us to be happy

Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions! Heart Throb Japanese Blu-ray Box review

In 2010, the producers at Kyoto Animation decided to make one of the honorable mentions in 2009’s Kyoto Animation Awards into an animated TV series to broadcast in 2012. In contrast to the vast majority of the works produced by the studio, this would be a series in which they financed the majority of production. To reduce the risk, the producers chose a romantic comedy to be adapted by a director who had helmed many romantic comedies previously. This was the first season of Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions. The series was a massive success for Kyoto Animation and sold many pieces of merchandise and brought their KA Esuma Bunko label to many more bookstores than previously. As a result, it was natural that it would get a sequel. Said sequel was previewed at the first KyoAni & Do fan event in November 2013 before broadcasting in Winter 2014. In 2016, Kyoto Animation and Pony Canyon released a Blu-ray Box of both series. This is a review of the sequel’s box. Continue reading

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! -Rikka Takanashi ver- Japanese Blu-ray review

In 2012, Kyoto Animation’s producers chose to go on a very risky course; instead of adapting something given to them from producers at Kadokawa Shoten or TBS, they would choose what they wanted to adapt and become the biggest financier of production. The first series they chose to use this strategy on was Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions, a romantic comedy helmed by Tatsuya Ishihara. The series was very popular and did very well financially for the studio, which prompted a second season to be greenlit alongside a recap film to remind viewers about the franchise. The movie would run in theatres starting in September 2013 while the second season would air in January 2014. Before the first Blu-ray/DVD volume of the second season would be released, the movie would be released on Blu-Ray/DVD. This is a review of that film’s Japanese home video release.
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Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions JP Blu-ray singles review

In 2009, Kyoto Animation continued their desire to produce original series by holding an awards competition designed for new authors to submit titles that could be adapted into an anime series/film.  They announced 5 honorable mentions in the novel category in 2010 and published one of those winners in May 2011 with plans to produce an anime adaptation in 2012 following Yasahiro Takemoto’s Hyouka. With it being a romantic comedy, the producers turned to Key visual novel veteran Tatsuya Ishihara to helm this very important adaptation. They gave him 12 broadcast episodes, an OVA, and a bunch of web shorts to tell his tale and compiled all of those onto 7 Blu-Ray/DVD volumes. This is a review of those 7 Love, Chuunibyou,& Other Delusions Blu-ray Limited Edition volumes.

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Beyond the Boundary Japanese Blu-ray Box review

In 2011, the producers at Kyoto Animation decided to make one of the honorable mentions in 2010’s Kyoto Animation Awards into an animated TV series. In contrast to the vast majority of the works produced by the studio, this would be a more action-oriented series. In order to capture the proper details of action animation, animator Taichi Ishidate was asked to helm a series as director for the first time. While he enjoyed the original novel, he, along with series composer Jukki Hanada, knew that it wouldn’t be enough for a full length 12 episode series. Tatsuya Ishihara had gone through that situation and decided to go heavily original with his adaptation; Ishidate instead incorporated the first novel’s main storyline into an original tale about two star-crossed teens trying to find their way in a strange world around them. In 2016, Kyoto Animation and Pony Canyon released a Blu-ray Box of the series. This is a review of that box, as bought at the Kyoto Animation physical store in Uji, Japan.SAM_3441 Continue reading