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Mari Okada AX Fan Panel and Press Conference Liveblog

Nobuhiro Kikuchi (PA Works) and Mari Okada.
Nobuhiro Kikuchi (PA Works) and Mari Okada.

Mari Okada, prolific anime screenwriter extraordinaire, lover of (true) tears and melodrama—she came to Anime Expo this year, accompanied by PA Works producer Nobuhiro Kikuchi. Here’s a tweet record of what she said in the fan and press conference panels!

Mari Okada AX Fan Panel and Press Conference Liveblog

Mari Okada, prolific anime screenwriter, appeared in a raucous fan panel as well as a more sober press conference with her PA Works producer, Nobuhiro Kikuchi. This is a raw liveblog of their comments!

  1. She looks at all of us here in LA and thinks, “humans are awesome.” #MariOkada #AnimeExpo
  2. It’s embarassing to write love scenes sometimes…like when Taiga and Ryuji kiss a lot at the end of Toradora. #MariOkada #AnimeExpo
  3. Q from @omonomono: what’s her favorite True Tears girl and which one has the biggest fans?
  4. A: Hiromi was modeled off herself in high school. Noe was what she wanted to be. #TrueTears #MariOkada #AnimeExpo
  5. Q: how much pressure do studios put on you during the writing process? A: depends on the studio. Sometimes has to work overtime. #MariOkada
  6. Apparently PA Works has a tatami room for overnight stays. #MariOkada #AnimeExpo
  7. On AKB0048: it was after Kawamori had her worked on Aquarion EVOL and they worked well together. Was always a fan of AKB48. #MariOkada
  8. Ano Hana was her first really original story. Thinking about the memory makes her want to cry…#MariOkada
  9. Nagai and her were about the same age when they started working on Toradora. She related to Ryuji being raised by a single mom…#MariOkada
  10. Okada is really lively btw. Now I really think Ohana is basically her writing about herself…#MariOkada
  11. With Simoun–the director changed halfway and the script was aired not long after writing, which was unusual. #MariOkada #AnimeExpo
  12. She wants to make more AKB0048, and this time incorporating the ‘graduation’ concept into the next season (if there is one)…#MariOkada
  13. Loved Lupin since childhood. Loved the original 1st season which was “very cool,” and was drawing from that in her version #MariOkada
  14. She sees herself in Jintan in #AnoHana. Normally she doesn’t use real people as character models though. #MariOkada
  15. Q: Which of your works should I see next? A: all of them. But especially the #AnoHana movie! #MariOkada
  16. She dodged the question about the AKB48 scandal…#MariOkada
  17. Apparently these days you have to stick closer to the original when adapting works so you have to love the original already. #MariOkada
  18. Mari Okada press conference in about 10 minutes. We have Hanasaku Iroha questions for all those who missed them! #AnimeExpo
  19. Q for Kikuchi (by @omonomono): did you have to work with the local tourist board for depicting real life locations? #PAWorks #AnimeExpo
  20. A: It depends on the project. There is a team that goes out to visit local groups. (The example here was Koitabi) #PAWorks
  21. Q (from me): was the story of AnoHana at least inspired in part by the song “Secret Base”? #MariOkada
  22. A: she knew the song, but not a conscious influence. Only when the script was done the producer point out: isn’t this the song? #MariOkada
  23. She feared that the story and song were too closely linked together (too “overdramatic”). But the staff loved it. #MariOkada
  24. Q (from Rome): the end of AnoHana reminds him of 70s youth dramas. Was that a conscious influence? #MariOkada
  25. A: her generation sometimes felt that emotional straightforwardness was embarassing. She felt that screaming was a good way to show honesty.
  26. Q (from @omonomono): how did the bonbori festival become a real one? #PAWorks #MariOkada
  27. A: the offer came from a hot spring that was finishing their reconstruction from floods. #PAWorks had to figure the festival’s details.
  28. A: the animation and inn staff came together to figure out the festival’s details. The #HanaIro production committee and animators set up!
  29. How did #HanaIro and #AnoHana become films? There were no initial plans when the TV series started, but fans and producer liked it…
  30. #MariOkada: she was already working on the story for the #HanaIro movie when the TV series was airing. It helped smoothen the process.
  31. Whereas there was a long gap between the #AnoHana TV show and the movie, so reassembling the staff and cast was a challenge. #MariOkada
  32. Kikuchi: there were a lot of lucky incidents, small miracles, that enabled #HanaIro movie to happen.
  33. Q (from me): were the depiction of the struggles of the artists in Sakurasou informed by her own personal experiences? #MariOkada
  34. A: the author of Sakurasou is a childhood friend and they both aspired as youth to become pros. Their experiences informed it #MariOkada
  35. WIth Simoun: there was little time to write many of the scripts. Under that stress, you may not have time to be diplomatic… #MariOkada
  36. The conflict and harshness actually helped refine the project, which made Simoun a stronger work. #MariOkada
  37. What kind of details does #MariOkada pay attention to when script writing? “I never lie with the character’s behavior.”
  38. Characters have a mind of their own. She does not bend the characters to fit the plot. #MariOkada
  39. Q: is the screaming a conscious decision to break with traditional ways of dealing with emotions in Japanese culture? #MariOkada
  40. A: the scream comes at the end of #AnoHana because the characters’ emotions had frozen when Menma died. Time became unstuck then. #MariOkada
  41. It’s not so much a scream as much as a love confession. She wants to scream at the sun sometimes too! #AnoHana #MariOkada
  42. Q: what was it like creating the story for Fractale? A: Yamakan approached her first, with Azuma. The 3 of them came up with it. #MariOkada
  43. It was refreshing and inspiring to work on the script for Fractale because she had 2 other people to work off of. #Fractale #MariOkada
  44. #MariOkada isn’t attracted to flawless characters. Her prefers men who are flawed for instance, but also with her female protagonists.
  45. She doesn’t like harem leads. There has to be a reason: maybe the male lead is having a great time, or maybe weakness too… #MariOkada
  46. Okada apparently pulls all nighters a lot while working. She apparently shops online to procrastinate among other things!

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