CTFK 2013 KyoAni, Pony Canyon, and Lantis Producers’ Discussion Translated

This is the third in a series of posts translating transcriptions/summaries of the four stage panels at Kyoto Animation/Animation Do’s CTFK 2013 event held November 30, 2013. This post will be about the Producers’ Discussion panel detailing background information about the works featured at the event. The transcriptions/summaries for this panel come from these bloggers. Editing support comes from irrevilent.

This panel was led by one of the literature producers at Kyoto Animation (male) and consisted of Eharu Oohashi (Producer of Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! and assistant producer on past shows), Shinichirou Hatta (Producer of Free! and assistant producer for Munto (TV) and the Lucky Star OVA),  Shinichi Nakamura (Pony Canyon Producer;  involved in all the CTFK works) and Shigeru Saitou (Lantis Producer, involved in CFK at this event).

This panel primarily had the MC ask a question that was previously sent via the website and each producer would reply.

-Animation Do is usually listed in the credits as doing “Production Assistance,” but for Free!, they were listed under “Animation Production.” What was the difference?
Hatta: Animation Do is an affiliated company of Kyoto Animation. They’ve wanted to do an original production for a while.  The very positive response to the Swimming CM, the predicator of Free!, which aired during Tamako Market encouraged them during production.

-Works from Kyoto Animation have their settings in a real location and faithfully have backgrounds drawn to those locations. How are those locations chosen?
Oohashi: When there’s a location the original material was set in, like Otsu (in Shiga prefecture) for Chuunibyou, the director will definitely demand to use that location as the stage.
-Some of the locations used in the series seem to be prime date locations.
Oohashi: Is that so? Director Ishihara and I went by car to scout the area, so I didn’t know about that. (laughs) We’d go here and there with Ishihara holding his camera taking pictures of the scenery wherever the naked eye could see. I started to wonder “This really isn’t planned well, is it?” but as we moved along, I was astonished at the control he used when photographing. (awkward smile)
-I assume you go to a high location in order to get a big view of the entire city for overhead shots.
Oohashi: I can’t say the name of this show, but I remember Director Ishihara sliding down the side of a snowy mountain during scouting in Hokkaido for a certain “falling snow anime.” (audience laughs)
-What about Free!’s location?
Hatta: Free! was based in a port town in Tottori that overlooks the sea of Japan.
-It feels like the characters in our works are in a “nearby area” in anime compared to the real world.
Oohashi:  The “nearby area” has some small differences, so wouldn’t it be more like the locations are “used for a reference?” Things that aren’t there are drawn, but we don’t get any e-mails from people saying “that shouldn’t be drawn.” (awkward smile)

-How is the music decided with input from the director?
Nakamura: When I met with Director Yamada for Tamako Market, she had this amazingly detailed image of what she wanted and tried to explain it using sensible words, but it was incredibly difficult to understand what she wanted. I always have to be aware of what she’s trying to convey whenever I have a meeting with her.
Oohashi: Yamada-san uses “cutesy” phrases, but these phrases also carry multiple meanings.
Nakamura: And if I can’t properly understand what she means, I can’t make anything to present to her.
Saitou: I chat with the director and producers and try to sense where the work is going towards.  We definitely have to insert some spirit into the “face” of the work, the OP.  I’ve also thought about inserting some kind of energy into the songs of late at my company (Lantis). I have to speak differently with different directors and works. Ishihara-san is a very intuitive person, so we both endeavor not to leave any gaps/misunderstandings whenever we talk.  I’ll get very concrete instructions from Free!’s Utsumi and use that suggestion to make something to get a reply of “This is a nice song.” Ishidate from Kyoukai no Kanata is more of an intuitive person if I have to say. He’ll use a few key words that I’ll take to make the song.
-Music is very important to Kyoto Animation now. Live events featuring artists and seiyuu in addition to various works are all wrapped up into one package.
Saitou: Certainly live events have increased recently. I feel that fans want to “come together” for events. Take today’s event for example. Not many people in the streets of this town would say “I love anime!” but they want to come together in a place like this with other people who love anime too. Back on the opening topic, the CD single is often the first item that fans get in their hands. OP song sales are a big influence on Blu-ray sales, so music is very important for the work as a whole. If it doesn’t add power to the work’s world, then everything else falters.
-Though new methods of listening to music have come around, some say the music industry is in a slump.
Saitou: Anime music sales haven’t declined at all; they’ve gone up. We’ve expanded our ways of distributing music too.  Animation CDs aren’t just a simple CD anymore, you have to think of them as “a good” now. That’s why it’s so important getting cover art that makes someone feel “I’m happy to have this, it makes me proud to own it.”
Nakamura: Definitely music is the most common of all languages between us all.  It’s wonderful to experience the power of music. Video packaging has also become important. In the past we would attach a figure to it, but now that’s not the case. You need to have the package itself be something people “want to hold in their hands.” I think that there’s also a lot of people who want bonus features that are heavily related to the content like visual footage and audio commentaries.

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-Finally, what do you think of the animation series yet to come? You can answer as vaguely as you like.
Oohashi: I think they’ll be delivered to fans in different forms through a mix of mediums. Over this past year, KyoAni has worked hard to deliver anime straight to fans from the core of the studio. I think from here on, KyoAni will produce and animate series in order to deliver goods and events straight to the fans.
Hatta: Something you want to see. Something you want to make. Something you want to go to. We want to make anime series that will bring energy and revitalize Japan.
Saitou:  Haruhi was what, 6, 7 years ago now? Recently, when I go to work, the amount of people there that will go “when I was a student I watched Haruhi” has really increased.  Even in the mainstream businesses, there’ll be people who comment “I watched (blank)”, and so the amount of people who used to watch anime and enter the business world has been steadily increasing. For that reason, I wonder if little by little anime itself will start to spread and become more mainstream. I think the people in charge “want to do something with anime.” Among that, I wonder what we should do to continue down that trend.
Nakamura:  I want to continue ensuring that animation is brought to the fans in a complete form.
Oohashi:  This past year KyoAni has produced a wide variety of works in order for a wide variety of people to enjoy them, thus I feel the past year has been a success. I want to continue down this path more in the future as well.

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5 thoughts on “CTFK 2013 KyoAni, Pony Canyon, and Lantis Producers’ Discussion Translated

    • Sadly most NA companies have gone to the cheap end of production and we won’t get these good packaging choices in NA (or UK, which is even worse at being cheap due to the market there).

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