This is a translation of the “Directors’ Dialogue” stage event held at CTFK 2013 in Kyoto, Japan. The attendees on this panel were Director Tatsuya Ishihara, (AIR, Kanon, Clannad, Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!), Director Yasuhiro Takemoto (Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid, Lucky Star (episodes 5-24), Hyouka, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya), and Director Naoko Yamada (K-On! K-On! The Movie!, Tamako Market). The MC for this panel was Maiko Nishioka (Literature production and scriptwriter for Kyoto Animation). The transcript for this panel was provided by this blogger. Editing support comes from irrevilent.
At the very beginning this exchange was had:
Takemoto: “I haven’t directed one of the CTFK works, so why am I standing with Ishihara-san and Yamada-san? (laughs)”
Ishihara: “The T in CTFK stands for Takemoto, doesn’t it?”
Yamada: “T is for Tamako!”
And then the talk started.
–What are your impressions of each other? Let’s start with your thoughts on Ishihara-san.
Yamada: Since I sit near him at the KyoAni studios, I see that he loves cameras, always looks like he’s enjoying himself, and wears shirts that look like children’s pajamas. (laughs) Recently he’s been so busy he looks cool.
Ishihara: The final stretch of Chuunibyou S2 episode 1 has been quite the struggle. (This episode was screened prior to airing later that day)
Takemoto: I think he’s quite cold. (laughs) When we went to a bookstore together, I had a stomachache and had to go to the bathroom. While I was in there, someone rudely knocked on the door “Bang!” I don’t mean just once, it was like “Bang! Bang! Bang!” as if the person was furious someone was in there. When I went outside he looked nonchalant and said “Ah, it was you who was in there Takemoto…” (laughs)
–What are your thoughts on Director Takemoto?
Ishihara: His sense of balance is amazing. He’s able to not only balance his sense as a director, he also keeps production on schedule easily.
Takemoto: Personally I think it’s quite difficult. People who create works are a bit strange; they’re able to fulfill what they originally wanted to do unlike normal people; or rather they’re able to recognize things that ordinary people don’t. Thus, I’m a bit envious of Ishihara-san and Yamada-san. (laughs)
Yamada: When I was a key animator, I wasn’t affected very much by scary things. Thus as we were working on the final episode of TSR, he handed me about a mountain of rough key frames and layouts and said “these aren’t good enough,” and made me re-do them all. If Takemoto-san hadn’t judged my work so harshly, I wouldn’t have worked as frantically as I did to improve. (laugh) Also the visuals for “Super Driver” (The 2009 Haruhi Suzumiya opening) was so cool. Oh, the first opening for Nichijou was also cool; it’s one of the highlights in recent years.
Takemoto: Whenever my kids see that opening they scream and start dancing. (laughs)
–What are your thoughts on Director Yamada?
Ishihara: She’s just as she appears. (laughs)
Takemoto: She attracts a lot of people around her.
Ishihara: There’s always a lot of people around her desk.
Yamada: Are there really that many people? (laughs)
Takemoto: The other day you got a lot of presents on your birthday. I was so jealous…. (laughs) When I say it’s my birthday, people just say “no it’s not” and we go back to work. In Yamada’s case, they say “It is?!” and their eyes light up. I’m really jealous.
Yamada: I might think about not saying anything so they wouldn’t do that at my next job…..
–How do you decide what to name your characters?
Ishihara: (Points at MC) That’s your job isn’t it?! (laughs) Nishioka-san is the editor in charge of the original work. For my case, I’ll think about it over and over until I think too much on it.
(He talks a few disqualified names for characters that would’ve appeared in Chuunibyou)
–What do you two (Takemoto/Yamada) think about Chuunibyou?
Takemoto: I’m probably not infected with it. Earlier Ishihara-san mentioned balance. Wouldn’t it be better to be normal than to have that illness? I feel a bit superior over these two due to being normal and struggling to achieve what I wanted. (laughs)
Yamada: We’re all happily normal. (laughs)
–What were some difficulties upon inserting original aspects into anime that weren’t present in the original work?
Ishihara: (regarding Chuunibyou) I inserted original aspects because I felt there wasn’t enough characters since we didn’t even have a full volume of material to work with at that time. Thus, making the anime was convenient for me; there weren’t really any troublesome portions. For Kumin-sempai, I wanted an ordinary person, but she ended up somewhat weird. (laughs) Dekomori was (Jukki) Hanada-san’s idea. Her saying “death” was one of the first things we decided, so it was easy for her too.
Yamada: Dekomori looks like a strawberry especially with her bangs. When I drew the storyboards, I was so busy I ended up drawing her face too round. (laughs)
–Are there any characters you have a strong emotional attachment to in a work you didn’t direct?
Yamada: Free!’s Gou-chan is the cutest ever. I absolutely love her. Her long skirt, her perfectly fitting uniform, her somewhat thin ponytail…. She just looks cute. She’s not just girlish too; she’s got some boyish traits in her as well. Like her hair color is the same as her onii-chan’s.
Takemoto: Yamada-san’s love of high school girls is too much. (laughs)
Yamada: I love them. I would always compete to do Gou-chan’s cuts with Free!’s Usumi-san. (Hiroko Utsumi was the director for Free!) I think I may love Gou-chan more than she does. (laughs)
Takemoto: Utsumi-san talked with me one time saying “Takemoto-san…. I’m worried that Yamada-san and (Taichi) Ogawa-kum love Gou-chan too much!’ (laughs) You let your love of Gou-chan show way too much. (laughs) (Director Utsumi-san wanted you to) Enjoy drawing the guys instead!
Yamada: But it was natural for me to draw Gou-chan when her scenes came up in the episode I directed, so I didn’t feel guilty about that. (laughs) It’s not like I switched from a different cut. (laughs)
Ishihara: Utsumi-san directed episode 5 of Chuunibyou and an episode of Hyouka. I don’t think that anyone else would have drawn Houtarou’s (Oreki from Hyouka) rear with as much vigor as she did. (laughs) Women have a fainter drawing stroke, so when I saw that the storyboards for episode 5 of Chuunibyou were so thin during the school swimsuit scene, I had her re-do it.
Takemoto: Yamada-san loves high school girls. Utaumi-san loves high school boys. (laughs)
Yamada: However she continues to draw muscles as much as she wants until she’s pleased with how they look.
–Takemoto-san, who’s your favorite character?
Takemoto: I think everyone knows, but I’ll say it again to clarify; I really love Houtarou Oreki! (laughs) I like male characters more than female characters. (laughs)
Ishihara: So you’d like someone like Sousuke?
Takemoto: Right, I really like him. I also love Kyon. Though I like more characters than just guys. (laughs)
Yamada: Do you not care for Mochizou? (laughs)
Takemoto: I do, he’s cute. I really like how he never gets across what he wants to say, but if pushed I’m more of a Dera-chan fan…. (laughs) I really like the girls in K-On!, but they’re some type of (unintelligible) aliens to me. (laughs)
Yamada: I just thought of how K-On! would look if it were older guys instead of girls. You wanted to draw something like Drifters. (laughs)
Takemoto: I went to one of the Sega lottery prize games now and played, but I couldn’t get Houtarou’s prize. (laughs)
–Who is your favorite character, Ishihara-san?
Ishihara: Misuzu from AIR, the first show I directed. There’s various things about her I won’t ever forget. I also like another character from one of my own works: Clannad’s Fuko. Key’s characters have a lot of weirdness, but there’s a lot of great characters in their works. Most recently I like Rei from Free!. That guy is a really good chap. (laughs)
Takemoto: I got a text from one of my former friends saying “I watch Free! every week. Rei is such a great guy!” However I’ve not gotten anything since the final episode. (laughs)
Ishihara: The person who did Fuko’s transformation scene was the director of Kyoukai no Kanata, (Taichi) Ishidate-kun.
Yamada: At that time I was assistant director so I was worried about Fuko’s skirt flipping up during that scene from his storyboards and wondered how it would be alright to prevent her rear from showing. So when I went to ask him about it, he said “we’ll throw a bunch of stars at the screen to prevent it from being seen. Then, vexingly, Ishidate-san threw so many stars that he created a hole. (laughs) That scoundrel created a hole. (laughs)
–We received a lot of questions relating to the towns modeled in our shows. The four shows on display today were located in the Kansai region, specifically in the Kinki region. What do you think the charm of each of those towns and the region is?
Ishihara: We’re not particular that shows have to be modeled here. Kanon was modeled in Sapporo. Clannad took place around the Yokota region and in Aoimori.
Takemoto: Speaking of locations, you two went to London. That’s a bit far off from where the e-mails mentioned. (laughs)
Yamada: Ishihara-san went with me to scout it for K-On! The Movie!. (Asks the crowd if anyone’s been to London. A few people raise their hands.) There’s a lot of rich people here! (laughs) I really really love music, so I was a bit overwhelmed by going to a holy land where my favorite bands and musicians were from.
Ishihara: Why did we go to London again…..?
Yamada: Wasn’t it because Mio chose that city? (laughs)
Ishihara: (laughs) I guess it was because it’s the birthplace of British Rock and the Beatles.
Yamada: Right. The cool badge you see on Ishihara-san’s flat cap is a gift I got when I went to a film festival in Scotland. I bought a cross that I think Rikka would like. I have so many good memories there.
Ishihara: During location scouting we went to Stonehenge and other places we didn’t end up using. We also went to Windsor Castle.
Yamada: We went to a lot of live music clubs. Those were fantastic experiences.
Ishihara: We had conceptualized where the girls would go and what tourist locations they wouldn’t visit.
Yamada: Right. By going there, we were able to feel how impressive this stone paving was, how cute the windows were shaped, how cute this candy’s colored and such. We restrained ourselves a little from going to all the locations we wanted to go, but as the story progressed, we were able to think about the trip from the girls’ perspective.
Ishihara: After we had scouted as hard as we could in London, Google Street View came out and we were shocked. We were a bit reluctant to draw from what we had previously seen and use Street View for locations we didn’t photograph! (laughs)
Takemoto: To be quite frank, we are incredibly thankful for Street View. (laughs) Thank you Google! (laughs) Though while it’ll easily photograph areas where a lot of traffic goes, there’s some places it won’t go into and you’re thinking “I want to see that, you rascal!”
Ishihara: We basically use it to give a reference for locations we may use.
Yamada: I don’t know what to do on the site, so I’m not great at using it. I’m not talented at using computers. (laughs)
Ishihara: Recently when we went to do scouting for Chuunibyou, we came back to look at how it appeared on Street View and were shocked. “Whoa, I photographed that!” (laughs)
Takemoto: When I went to Hong Kong and took pictures, there were a lot of shopkeepers who were looking at me like I was doing something wrong. I guess it was impolite to take pictures there. The other staff became aware of it and had left me behind. Perhaps they wanted me floating in Victoria Bay for some reason. (laughs) Aside from that, Shouji Gatou-san had a serious expression when we were on the subway to the airport. I asked him what was wrong and he replied “my stomach hurts.” (laughs) One stop would’ve delayed us from reaching our airplane, so he held on until the very last moment. The big man ended up having a big explosion, didn’t he? (laughs)
–Today we have a special guest joining us. Please welcome the chief animation director for Tamako Market, Yukiko Horiguchi!
(Horiguchi stood between Yamada and Takemoto. She was about 2-3 cm shorter than Yamada, who was wearing thick soled shoes.)
–There’s an announcement coming soon regarding the new Tamako Market production, but we received a lot of questions about it from the fans. Director Yamada, can you tell us what story it’ll be about and how the phrase “Everybody Loves Somebody” affects it? Also, is this the love Tamako feels towards everyone or is it towards a certain person?
Yamada: There’s a lot of things I can’t say, but the “love” part of “Everyone Loves Somebody” is definitely strengthened. Up until now we’ve depicted everyone around Tamako, so this time I wanted to depict Tamako herself. For that, Horiguchi-san and myself have powered up Tamako.
Horiguchi: There’s various plans in progress for her.
Yamada: That’s not saying a lot about our powered-up Tamako. (laughs)
Takemoto: Will you increase the amount of braids in her hair? (laughs)
Yamada: We’re increasing her split ends to 5. Actually we talked about decreasing them. (laughs)
Horiguchi: There’s some minor changes that people may not notice….
Yamada: There’s no reason to change them if people don’t notice them! (laughs) You’ll unconsciously sense them.
Horiguchi: I’m sad we had to change the designs, but the movie will definitely….
(The crowd starts to realize something leaked out. Horiguchi comments “That’s why I didn’t want to come up here.” Instantly Takemoto starts to think “did I just hear her say that?,” Ishihara is frozen stiff, and Yamada is trembling as she comments “It’d be nice if everyone forgets that! (laughs)” Takemoto says “I ask all of you here to take a covenant not to leak this. Right, we need Fukuyama-kun to cast his Geass here!”)
Horiguchi: Thank you all very much for the support. (sweats)
–Our time is nearly up, so this is the final question. What about working as a director makes you proud?
Ishihara: Making something good in this line of work affects children that’ll love it when they see it for the first time and remember it later. I think the works that affected me will still be around after I pass on.
Takemoto: I’m happy and grateful for the opportunity to show my work to many people. Those responses encourage me to keep going and make me think I did a good job.
Horiguchi: Works that’ll be around after I move on. Working with this staff to complete something makes me feel happy.
Yamada: Um… when making something… um…. (after thinking about it for a moment when Horiguchi was about to say something, she forgot what she was going to say) Ah, I got it. I’m not great at putting my thoughts into words, but when making anime I want to tell a story that’ll match the medium. I’m grateful for this way to tell something. When someone tells me how they were moved by something I made, it makes me so happy and happy that I was able to participate in making it. I want to make many more works and study how to spread them through many more ways of representing the story so that it could touch everyone’s hearts.
-Our time is up. Thank you all for coming to the first talk event of the CTFK 2013 event, Directors’ Dialogue!