Tag Archives: press conference

Yoshiki Press Conference Transcript: Otakon 2014

Pata, Yoshiki, and Heath

Yoshiki, joined by fellow X Japan band members Pata (guitar) and Heath (bass), gave a press conference at Otakon 2014. This is the transcription of that event, edited for clarity. (Yoshiki spoke in English throughout so it is not filtered by translation.) Our photographer Shizuka was on hand to take pictures and to ask a question as well.

X Japan will be performing at New York’s Madison Square Garden (MSG) on October 11, coinciding with New York Comic Con.

Will another world tour be able to follow [the MSG show] within the next year or sometime in the foreseeable future?

Yoshiki: Yes, we are actually going to be announcing some future shows at MSG, but right this moment, we just concentrating on MSG. MSG, MSG, MSG. (laughter)

Are these shows to promote your album, or are these just great opportunities for X Japan?

Yoshiki: Well, we haven’t released an album in a long time, though we released a compilation CD just a few months ago. About 22 years ago, we had a press conference in New York at Rockefeller Center when we signed with Atlantic Records. That was supposed to be a big deal, we were then supposed to release an album, but a lot of things happened. So, 22 years later, we come back to New York and are playing a show. I can’t really tell you why we’re doing this MSG show, but you are going to know soon. There is something going on. Yes.

Yoshiki, you’ve been involved with charity projects, such as the Red Cross for tsunami relief. Can you tell us a little about what you’ve taken away from those experiences and whether you have any projects like that planned for the future?

When I was 10 years old, I lost my father to suicide. So I had a pretty depressed childhood. So I kind of understand the pain children have, so several years ago I decided to create my own charitable foundation. I try to support children who have that kind of pain….Unfortunately right after I established my foundation, there was the big earthquake that happened in Japan. At that moment I concentrated and focused on that, to support victims of the earthquake and tsunami. When you save people, I also feel saved for some reason. It’s like I want to keep doing this for the rest of my life, just at my own pace.

Yoshiki, you’ve been touring Yoshiki Classical…I was wondering how preparing for that differs from preparing for X Japan.

Pata: Maybe the same thing. I just play guitar. (laughter)

Yoshiki: X Japan is pretty much my life. Everything else is like a side project. Even on my classical tour, when I went to many countries and places, I said, “X Japan is my life.” It’s not like we’ve been doing different projects and coming back to this…it’s not like we just got back together and played….[X Japan] just runs in my blood. X Japan is more than a project. It’s our lives.

How did you first find out about Otakon, and what made you come back again? Also, what are your thoughts about Baltimore as a city?

Yoshiki: because you guys are so cool! (Laughter) Yes, I cam here for the first time in, what, 2008? 2007? 2006. Wow, that’s like 8 years ago! So that means Otakon was my first convention experience. At that time, I wasn’t even doing X Japan and I wasn’t even talking to Toshi. Since then a lot of things have happened. We didn’t know we had that many fans in America, or even outside of Japan, so we started finding out that whoa, people throughout the world have started listening to our music. It was so cool surrounded by these people.

This is our third time in America though, in 2010 we played at Lollapalooza. So 2006, 2010, 2014…I’m going to be here in 2018 then. (Laughter) Every four years, like the Olympics.

All your friends call you a “vampire” and that you should play Lestat in a movie. When are you going to do a vampire-themed rock opera?

Huh, good idea. I think I have a split personality about some things. Sometimes I’m called a vampire, sometimes I’m Yoshiki, sometimes I’m a character called Blood Red Dragon, created by Stan Lee…. Wherever I am, struggling during the Yoshiki Classical World Tour over 10 countries, I always stayed up nights. It’s something vampirish…I’m only half joking, half serious. Sometimes I say I’m half Japanese, half vampire, something like that. I just love the image of the vampire, you know. So yeah…it’s a good idea to create a vampire rock opera. That’d be cool.

(Our question.) You’re not just a musical icon but also a fashion leader. How do music and fashion relate for you?

Before my father died, he used to own a kimono shop, a Japanese traditional clothing shop. I grew up in that kind of environment, so I was always surrounded by kimonos. When we started X Japan, we put on a lot of interesting clothes and makeup, and dyed our hair red and purple. So fashion and music are inseparable, at least to us. Fashion is music, music is fashion, so it’s very natural to have both. Everything came very naturally.

Now I have a YoshiKimono clothing line. Actually, I’m going to be debuting the YoshiKimono Tokyo Collection 2015.

You’ve been involved in a lot of different collaborations–credit cards, wines, just to name a few. What other products would like you to release in the future?

I would like to do something more musical as well. Actually there are a few more projects coming that are very musical. My main focus is music. Everything else is like a hobby. I’m planning several more press conferences, so I can’t talk about it yet…

(To Heath) We saw a video once in the past. It was Phantom of the Opera styled, you were in a cage coming down, you had people doing robot dances around you, and there was an incredible bass solo…will you ever do something similar to that again, especially in a venue like MSG?

Heath: I think that rock needs something very shocking, both visually and musically…that is rock, that is X Japan. MSG has shock to it that is not like something before, so I’d like to do a new kind of shock there. In the near future, please look forward to it.

Have any of you have had memorable experiences interacting with your fans?

Yoshiki: We’ve been around for a long time, and we’ve seen a lot of bands come and go. When you are on top of the world, sometimes you don’t realize–some bands think they are the best, but, we exist because of fans. There are no bad fans or good fans, we really care about all of them…because there were fans, X Japan reunited. Without fans, we couldn’t have reunited after all those tragedies happened to our band. We actually thank every single fan. Of course, sometimes we bump into some crazy fans too, but yes…

Some of the songs on Yoshiki Classical were previously released and performed with vocals. (For example, “Amethyst” was originally written for Violet UK.) How are you able to convey the messages of the original vocal version of the songs in the instrumental version?

“Amethyst” was classical from the get go, so I didn’t write lyrics first…I wrote the lyrics later. What happened was, we had an incident at a Tokyo amusement park–an X Japan event. At that particular attraction, my classical music was playing. One of the old members, Hide, said, “What is this song? This is one of my old compositions. We should use this at the Tokyo Dome for X Japan’s opening.” Like, really? I didn’t even think about that. Then, that was the the beginning of using “Amethyst” at the Tokyo Dome X Japan show.

As long as there is a great melody, we can put some nice lyrics on top of it. X Japan songs can be instrumentals, with or without lyrics. I think about melody first.


Yutaka Yamamoto (Yamakan) Press Conference: Tweet Digest


Yutaka Yamamoto, aka Yamakan, got his start as one of the directors of Kyoto Animation’s The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and the director of the first four episodes of Lucky Star. After leaving KyoAni, he established his own studio, Ordet, and went on to make shows like Kannagi, Fractale, and most recently Wake Up Girls!

Yamakan was frank about his opinions of the anime industry, and some additional thoughts about controversial statements he made around the time he made Fractale. Read tweets from his press conference here!

Transcript: George Wada (Producer: Attack on Titan) Press Conference


George Wada, head of Studio Wit (a subsidiary of Production IG) and producer of hit anime series Attack on Titan, spoke to the press at Anime Expo 2013. This is a transcript of his remarks, directly translated from the Japanese by Rome. The first record of this is contained in the live tweet blog gendomike recorded, which was based off the on-site translator’s interpretation.

There’s been a lot of Attack on Titan cosplay at this convention. What’s your reaction to seeing so much of it?

In just this past month, after making Attack On Titan in Japan, I realized that it is so popular even here in America!

Will there be more episodes after the current run of 24 episodes ends?

We haven’t decided if we will do a second season, but I personally want to do it as soon as possible.

Will the anime’s ending be different from the manga?

Basically, we plan to make the anime as faithful to the original manga as possible, but it’ll be up to director Tetsuro Araki and what he’s thinking about.

What attracted to you to Attack on Titan as something to make into an anime?

Because, first of all, I thought Attack on Titan‘s setting, where people are surrounded by walls, is similar to the psychological setting of current teenage Japanese boys and girls.

The economic situation in Japan is getting tough, but even so, it’s about time that kids in Japan learn to go outside, to go beyond the wall, where it’s not always as peaceful or safe…so [it was easy for] Japanese kids [to] invest their emotions in Attack On Titan, and that’s why it became popular among teenagers. So, I wanted more people to know about this by making this animated.

There’s a parallel between the complacency of the people who’ve lived behind the wall [for 100 years] and the peacetime attitude that the Japanese have become accustomed to. Up until now, the Japanese people have been content to remain within their own country [and tend to their own affairs]. But since the global political climate is changing, times have changed and people now have to go outside, and I guess inside many teenagers’ hearts there have been similar longings to go out into the world. And by making that kind of story animated, I want the people in the world to know that this is the No. 1 story that Japanese teenagers have been the most moved and touched by.

Where do giants fit in this allegory?

Well, perhaps, why is this story so popular? Because people may have the same feeling inside their hearts. You have yourself and then hit the wall that represents the limits of reality. And at that time, tragedy without reason suddenly attacks you unexpectedly. Those, allegorically, are like the giants.


Did you select Araki as director? What made you select him as director?

Yes, I was one of the staff that selected Araki as director.

I have two reasons. First, Araki is the director whose work [ed: includes Guilty Crown, High School of the Dead, Kurozuka, and Death Note] has been the most about the wall between ideal and reality. Second is that Araki is a world-class master of action and visual scenes. Guilty Crown proved that to me more than anything else.

The first episode was pretty gruesome, even showing Eren’s mother being eaten by a Titan. Why open with something so brutal?

In the first episode, the most possibly tragic thing happens to Eren, at the hands of a Titan. I believe that showing this was absolutely necessary and crucial. For Eren, what happened was so sudden, absurd, and unreasonable; while fleeing, he says, “This can’t be happening! Why?” And through all that, all this happened anyway, in the first episode.The world is that cruel.

Why did you decide to make Attack on Titan through the spinoff Wit Studio, not Production IG?

While we were making Guilty Crown, we thought if we didn’t change how we produced anime drastically, we would be stuck in the same place and never able to move up to the next stage. That’s why we established Wit Studio, and if we hadn’t started Wit, Attack On Titan would never have had the great quality that it achieved.

What’s the difference between Production IG and Wit in making anime?

Well, in terms of feeling, there are a lot of sub-departments and teams in Production IG’s building. Instead, Wit rented a different building and there’s only one team. The sense of unity is very different than what we had at IG.

Why depict Mikasa having such pronounced six pack abs? Is this a conscious turning away from the moe aesthetic?

In Attack on Titan, we tried to depict the severity of battle environment. And in that, Isayama-sensei [the mangaka] says that if the characters have such great physical ability to move around, her body of course naturally must be like that. And this part is a reflection of Attack of Titan’s more realistic approach.

Also, [even] with Production IG, in the first Ghost in the Shell movie there was the last scene where Maj. Motoko Kusanagi fights a tank. In that moment, she becomes super-muscular. So for me, Mikasa is a continuation of a type of female character that includes Motoko and that Production IG has naturally gravitated toward.

Did you anticipate that Attack on Titan would become such a big hit?

To be honest, in Japan, the most popular anime are the ones with moe characters, a lot of girls in it, and no cruel scenes. I thought these were the shows that would make it big, so initially I thought Attack On Titan would be a minor hit at best.

But on the contrary, because Attack On Titan doesn’t have any of these three elements (moe characters, a lot of girls, and no cruel scenes), it spread among people who normally don’t watch anime. It’s one very important element that made Attack On Titan break through as an anime.

Why did you make Attack On Titan despite being aware of the risks?

Well, in a word, a sense of duty. Araki wanted to animate Attack On Titan, I also felt I needed to animate it when I was reading the manga, and Isayama-sensei told us that he wanted us to animate it. So, I made up my mind that we had to make this anime. So, it wasn’t from some marketing impetus, about how can we make money; ultimately it was the creator’s idea.

Tatsuo Sato Press Conference Transcript

The small press conference with Moretsu Pirates, Rinne no Lagrange, and Martian Successor Nadesico director Tatsuo Sato—as well as the follow-up private interview—is one of the richest dialogues we’ve ever had with an anime creator. We hope you enjoy this inside look behind Sato-san’s thought process in making Moretsu Pirates, Lagrange, and other shows. Some tidbits that perhaps have never been shared, like the origin of Lagrange’s OP, are here.

Translation by Rome. Our questions, which compose the vast majority of them, are in bold.

How do you feel the anime industry has changed over the years?
Well, the biggest change was when I went from being a producer to a director. The job has become mostly about how to communicate with people, so I came to be able speak like I’m doing now.

In Moretsu Space Pirates, there seems to be a deliberate upending of expectations in the way the show is paced and the characters built. What was your process in deciding how to adapt the original novel into an anime? Was there an eye in particular to recapturing certain approaches that are less common today?
The original work was a novel. Each episode advances the story, but [since the anime has to come to an end before the novel’s story ends] it’s weird to have to say “stop” to the main character’s growth, right? The main character becomes a high school student, and from there the [anime and novel stories] run alongside each other like parallel lines. But the story goes on past that; if you read it in a long run, that would have been okay, but if you adapt an anime in parallel with the novel, you don’t have the freedom to deviate. This anime series has 26 episodes, so rather than just simply adapt the novel, it has to build up to a rising climax to end the story. That’s how I restructured the story, making sure that the character will end her growth after 26 episodes of the series.

So the anime series only focused one part of the story.
Well, this I directed is “moretsu” (gung-ho, bodacious), but it’s not moretsu in the beginning. The story is about how Marika becomes a “moretsu” pirate.

Nadesico was one of the first shows to use certain “meta” techniques in anime: Gekiganger-3, the parodies of contemporary anime, etc. Now these techniques have become widespread. What is your opinion of that trend?
Well, speaking of Nadesico, the meta is heavily involved is the first part of the story. But to tell the story all the way through meta techniques is difficult in terms of the structure. Although it is now used a lot, it is really difficult for the meta to be involved with the core of the story.

If you could collaborate with another great director in the anime scene, like you did with Masaaki Yuasa in Cat Soup, who would you like to work with?
Yuasa is a guy who entered the anime industry at the same time as me, so he is like a close duplicate of mine, so I know his greatness. Well it will be rude to say it like this to him, but I was interested in “what if I make anime based on him?” so I did it. This type of person is rare; although I have some people that I’d like to work with, it is rare for me to create works with that in mind.

Can you talk about Rin-ne no Lagrange and the degree of your involvement as the chief director?
Well, the production is still going on. When Morestu Pirates just started, I was asked to also join the Lagrange project. So it was impossible for me to fully participate. The main part I did was in directing the construction of the project. The basic form of the series, scenario writer, and director are under me, but the real filmmaking was done by them.

The original work has two cours with a total of 24 episodes. Of course as the story goes on, it will deviate from the original plan. When they lose track of what the goal and wander into dangerous territory, you advise and support them. Very much like—well, it’s weird to say “from above,” since I’m not involved on set, as it were, but that was how I was involved.

Do you have any specific examples?
[The basic concept is that] a girl rides on a robot and fights the enemy. First, there was already talk that we’ll make a robot anime with a girl as the main character, but it wasn’t concretely clear what form and what kind of a girl, and everyone was thinking about how to do it. They said “let’s do something that’s never been before,” but they can’t come up with any idea. Well, if we want to have a girl that’s never been seen before, let’s do a “disappointing beauty” (zannen-bijin or zannenkei-bijin; think Chihaya from Chihayafuru). She is cute, but can’t be too [cute in the usual way]. So, for example, let’s put a jersey/tracksuit on her. Let’s tie her hair with a rubber-band. She’s not like the typical “good girl” that is liked by everybody, the everyone might want her to be, but she’s more merry, out of the ordinary. So what happens if this kind of girl is the main character? That’s how it started.

Lagrange seems to have some similarity to Evangelion: you’ve got a blue uniform girl, an orange/red uniformed girl, but Madoka is very different from Shinji. Was this intentional? After all, Nadesico had parodies of Evangelion. 
It’s not so much a parody of Evangelion…actually Evangelion is very much a summation of the whole history of robot anime, where a boy that has never ridden on a robot [learns to] ride it and look for his purpose. It started from Mazinger Z, whose plot is the “royal road” of robot anime. Evangelion took the same road: what if you put a boy like Shinji in the robot? That’s how Evangelion was made. So, in terms of that, this is similar: what if we put a jersey girl [in a robot]?

Anime is still stigmatized in USA as being for kids. What about Japan? Shouldn’t anime appeal to all ages and all walks of life? 
There were many people from the prior generation before mine making anime for kids, but with messages for adults inserted along the way. And we watched them and grew up, so of course, we adopted those tastes and we don’t really care if it is targeting the kids. We learned much that as a format that anime might be for kids but with messages for grownups—but we have a sense that kids are also getting our message anyway, so I think continuing in this mode is okay.

How did you approach Shigofumi? It was deep and philosophical. 
Shigofumi wasn’t for kids so much, but rather for late teens, like high school students to college students. [It was] an anime that those kind of people will watch. But despite that, we didn’t make an excessive depiction visually. But, indirectly we had to depict the anger that can be understood.  So we intentionally did that.

What was the most difficult making the characters and environment? 
Well, the most difficult part was that the character should not be swayed, but at the same time had to grow up. So, how to depict his growth, it’s kind of contradictory. He can’t be swayed, but not being swayed doesn’t mean he can’t change in some way. So, the hardest part was how to balance that.

Do you find it more difficult adapting anime from a novel or manga than creating original anime?
Even for original works, it depends on taste. Speaking of light novels, there are already illustrations, so the novel and illustrations together already create a preset image of the story. Reconstructing that into anime is very tough. Readers are very narrow. so if you make it into anime, the leeway given to it can be very narrow. And we have to work with that and explore it, and we have to bring out the unique qualities of anime. We have to make visuals very precisely, so it’s very tough. We can’t do location shoots!

The anime industry has changed a great deal since Nadesico. Do you think today’s industry environment makes it difficult to tell the stories you like to tell? (Clarification requested by translator.) Well, since Eva, we’ve seen the rise of the otaku subculture, the moe culture. Moretsu seemed different from that trend. Is it hard to make an anime like Moretsu today?
On the contrary: since the time of Eva until now, the anime cycle is getting faster, so how do you not get sucked into that trend? And what is the best thing to do? And the conclusion I drew was to make it the orthodox way, and that was it. And I thought that instead [people] would see a new thing, to see characters growing tremendously through 24 episodes: to see how the characters make decisions, to show the process of growth. I had a keen sense that would become the tastiest part of the anime, so this time I’m glad I made anime in that manner, and it was great to know that people really digging that kind of stuff are increasing.

What is the most important element to make anime?
Well, anime in this case is TV anime or… all anime? Ok, the most important thing in anime is basically that it is a medium that is bound by a running time, so there’s a [limited] sense of time (temporary art). So, for example, if you structure 26 episodes at 30 minutes each, then you have to think about the flow, and even with the artsy anime has to fall within the structure of what should you depict in that set time.

Was it your idea to bring Rasmus Faber to write the OP of Lagrange (“Try Unite”)?
Well, in this case, we had a competition. There were several contestants, and among them there was a foreigner whose name wasn’t familiar, and I was like, “who is this dude?” And I was told he was Rasmus Faber. And Lagrange’s music production company was Flying DOG from Victor Records. Victor Records have released Rasmus Faber’s CD albums, and that’s how we had connections through that. And Faber personally dearly loves Megumi Nakajima’s voice, and he particularly wanted to compose a song with Megumi’s voice. That’s how he appealed to us with that story, and he entered the competition, and that was really hilarious. So, [I said], let’s give him a shot! That’s how it was decided.

What role has technology played in making anime? Is it easier to make anime now?
Oh yes, certainly, it makes you feel that you can do anything with it. However, along with those benefits, you have to really make sure you know what you want to do with it, otherwise you will be distracted with the flow. So, you always have to ask yourself what you really want to do each time  technology makes progress. And that is very important.

Tomorrow: our private interview with Sato!

Yuki Kajiura/FictionJunction Press Conference Transcript


Here’s our translated transcript of the Yuki Kajiura/FictionJunction press conference at Anime Expo 2012. Some questions were not translated precisely, and we have noted when this happens. It may also account for some of the vagueness of the answers.

Our questions, as always, are in bold.

Would you say your music style has changed since you started composing soundtracks?
Ever since I started composing soundtracks, the music I create has changed a lot.

When did your love affair for music begin?
When I was in elementary school, I was in the chorus club, and I belonged to the chorus club for a long time, and so the first song I composed was a chorus piece.

When you first started your musical projects, where did you look for your inspiration?
By “project” do you mean FictionJunction? Umm, it depends on the songs, I don’t have any pre-decided place to search.

What inspired you to form Kalafina?
For Kalafina, I wanted to make focused (lit. “narrow”) music. For FictionJunction, I have to try everything I come up with; for Kalafina, I only want to try what Kalafina is supposed to sound like.

You tweeted that you’re a big fan of the Beatles. Who are your favorite bands and composers through history?
There are too many to narrow it down, but I like Paul McCartney the most from the Beatles. I love Paul’s songs. ANd I also like Queen, ABBA, Mike Oldfield.

Any other composers who inspire you?
If you say composers, I think Paul McCartney and Mike Oldfield are composers as well, But I don’t have a certain composer that I feel “this one,” since there are a lot of composers. I think I’m influenced by a little bit of everything.

Are there any future projects that you can tell us about?
There’s nothing I can talk about.

Many of the shows you’ve scored have a strong Gothic overtone. (Petit Cosette, Kara no Kyoukai, Fate/Zero, Madoka, the costumes of Kalafina) Are you drawn to that genre of anime in particular and if so, how so?
Is it gothic? I wonder Madoka and Fate/Zero are categorized as gothic, but I am certain that those shows are written in a dark and deep world. Yet, I don’t get offers to compose for anime that are merry and happy.

Question for Wakana and Keiko who are both in Kalafina and FictionJunction. What would you say is the key differences between the two bands?
Keiko: Yes, as Kajiura just said, FictionJunction does whatever Kajiura wants to do for soundtracks and anime, and Kalafina’s group sense is not like FictionJunction’s, so they are very different in terms of musicality.

Kajiura-san, in 2003 you did a concert at AX. What is it like to come back in 2012?
When I did the concert in 2003, it wasn’t a full band. So, this time, I can bring all the members of the Yuki Kajiura live band, as we always do in Japan, so I think it will be very exciting.

Could you tell me more about your Latin style chant music? What inspired you to create that sound, which is such a striking and iconic sound for you? What was your inspiration and where did it come from?
I only wrote one real Latin song (“Salva Nos”). But I use a lot of artificial language. I have huge fun creating songs with an artificial language because artificial language can make the melody stand out.

You were involved a lot with studio BEE Train. How did you get involved with BEE Train, and do you want to write music for “girls with guns” show again?
When I first worked with BEE Train, director Koichi Mashimo was the one asked me to work for the project. This first anime soundtrack I had worked on [with him] was “Eatman” (1997). And since then, because of that, Mashimo has asked me often to work on his projects. Of course, I want to make music for a “girls with guns” show again if I have a chance.

What is the most important element in composing music for anime?
The BGM and the scene have to match. I think basically BGM should be put behind the scenery. It’s not the character, but if it matches the character’s worldview, I always think that will be the music will make the anime’s worldview colorful effectively.

For Kajiura: J-pop is popular around the world, and your anime music is known internationally. How do you feel about that?
As a musician myself, I think Japanese animation is a very interesting field that can experiment with a lot of things. So, I’m very proud as a Japanese person that people around the world are paying attention to anime and watching it. It’s an honor to be part of it if my music can help people around the world to enjoy anime. I receive a lot of emails from various types of people around the globe through my homepage and website. It warms my heart when I realize how many people around the world are watching anime.

How do you get to know all these talented people?
It’s really difficult to find the right singers. And a lot of people introduced these singers to me, then I had finally made it to meet them. Everyone is so different and unique as a singer, but all of them are my ideal singers.

Was there any soundtrack that you found difficult to compose?
I had gotten an offer to compose for Mai-HiME. When I received it at first, I was worried if I could make music for such a cute show. But by the end, when the story turned out to be very scary, I didn’t get confused when I started writing the music.

How is it working with each other as FictionJunction?
Wakana: Everyone has a wonderful voice, and everyday I’ve enjoyed having stimulation from the other singers.
Keiko: There are four people, so we are all different, unique individuals, so it’s very stimulating. Every time, there’s plenty of laughter, and I enjoy doing this music.
Kaori: I usually sing alone by myself, so it’s an honor to work with the wonderful singers and I love being able to sing with a chorus.
Kaida: I usually sing with a chorus, but I haven’t done much with a quartet, so it’s good to sing together with 4 of us solidly. I feel like I can get a young power and strive, so I’m enjoying doing this.

What kind of composer do you want to be remembered as?
First of all, I really love doing anime music, I love doing BGM and soundtracks. Composing music along with motion pictures is a very exciting thing, so if I can, I want to be remembered as a soundtrack composer.

Are you fan of anime, and do you have any favorite songs that you composed for anime?
I have several; I liked the Mushishi manga, and when it was animated, it perfectly matched the manga, so I bought the DVD collection for the first time. And a few years ago, Gurren Lagann was airing in the morning, and it was a good, very energetic anime that invigorated me every day, and I kept saying, “I liked it I liked it,” and so I got the DVD as a gift and I watched it all.

For FictionJunction: what music have you listened to that energizes you?*
Wakana: I like the songs I sing, but I love a lot of other music too. If I must choose, I like Spitz, and they always energize me.
Keiko: I love dance music, so currently, I love Lady Gaga. To feel upbeat, I just listened to her and came here.
Kaori: I don’t listen to music to get energized usually, but as a result of being energetic from listing to music, I will say that Makihara Noriyuki, a male Japanese singer, his songs inspire me to live courageously.
Yoriko Kaida: Lately I like Genki Rockets, and I listen to them often, and I get energy from them.

When you hear other soundtracks, do you ever think “I can do different”?
It’s rare for me to listen to other soundtracks negatively like “I would have done it differently.” But I study soundtracks by listening to various kinds of soundtracks.

How is writing music for Gen Urobuchi (Fate/Zero, Madoka)’s stories different from other works when you do soundtracks?
Urobuchi-san’s stories are very compelling, and they have the power to entrap me. Rather than saying his works are different, his works seem ready-made to write songs smoothly. There is a certain constant rhythm in his scenarios; I can clearly see that here is the climax, and here is the blablabla, and I just need to put music to that part: so it’s makes it easy to find musical inspiration for each scene.

*This question was actually a mistranslation of what I originally asked: “Which pieces of Kajiura’s has moved you so much, it made you cry?”



Power Rangers Super Samurai Press Conference Liveblog



Closing up with their Geek Week tribute video. That’s it for this liveblog!


Also new streaming announcement: D-Frag! Air date TBD


New streaming simulcasts for winter: Noragami, Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha, and Maken-Ki! S2. The first one is Sunday at 8 AM.


Tomorrow’s Space Dandy premiere will have the dub ADR Director and Ian Sinclair, the English voice of Dandy. Looks like it will be the dub.


Space Dandy promo. I think we are hearing the OP here in this trailer….


Funi is doing the Evangelion 3.33 showings…it’s playing next weekend in LA. Might go.


“Ever get to the end of an anime and feel really sad? Don’t have to worry about it…” –MC on One Piece


Next: One Piece S5. Even the MC seems a little bit tired of One Piece…or at least announcing yet another release.


Looking at the remaster, what seems to have happened is that it looks a little bit cleaner (and blown up to 16;9). It doesn’t really change anything though. The Evangelion remaster though really did seem to make a difference…


Apparently DBZ is being re-released on BD as well. A remaster of a remaster?


The MC promises us “I Love Boobies” (Space Dandy) stickers tomorrow at the Funi booth…


Next: Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero. “From the studio behind Queen’s Blade.” of course.


Fairy Tail movie Phoenix Princess is next. Question: is this the series that’s going to pick up the slack from Naruto and Bleach when they are played out?


“Feel the Urge to Merge” LOL #AquarionEVOL #Funimation #otakonvegas


Aquarion EVOL is next. For some reason I never finished this either, even though I thought it was hilarious.


Next: Wolf Children. Been meaning to see this. Missed the theater screening of this… #Funimation #OtakonVegas


Next: One Piece Strong World. Apparently one of the few things they can even release on BD… #Funimation #OtakonVegas


Next: Binbogami ga! (Good Luck Girl) (Note none of these are new licenses.) #Funimation #OtakonVegas


Upcoming new release: Akira re-release on BD. Trailer. #Funimation #OtakonVegas


Preview of the #Funimation show. (Are these being echoed on Twitter?) #Funimation


They’re talking about the Elite Video Subscription. I was a former subscriber, and since the site has improved a lot… #Funimation


Came in a bit late, but it looks like there hasn’t been any major announcements yet. #OtakonVegas #Funimation


And that’s it!


The desire to create new things comes from childhood, when they see something genuinely affecting and creative, unimaginable things.


He admits that a lot of what he’s made probably shouldn’t be seen by kids :) but he does want them to see death, violence, and even to feel pain–not bland stuff. To grow up with creativity.


Q: how do you think anime has influenced Japanese culture?


I interject: it wouldn’t be like a Psycho Pass would it? I made him laugh!


If he had to choose one technology: since we have hackers writing viruses, malware, etc., which are “invisible,” it would be awesome to have tech to stop them before they happen.


Which technologies would you want to have for yourself as depicted in GitS? (He didn’t answer this one before.)


The story in Arise is something he always wanted to do. With this one, Shirow wrote the plot, but the script was written by a novelist, who has sold a lot of work.


Ishikawa has figures: Arise played on 20 screens for 2 weeks, but it earned 100 million dollars. Yes, dollars, not yen. GitS is still popular.


Q: some have believed that GitS is more popular in the West than in Japan. Is this your perception, and with Arise, was there a conscious decision to try to reach an international audience from the start?


The message he wants to convey is: if you don’t give up, your dream will come true.


Then again, Miyazaki’s latest movie this summer, he’s making one more aimed at adults–a romantic drama. (This is the one with Hideaki Anno as the main protagonist…)


Q: do you see anime moving forward as a medium into places like the Cannes Film Festival? (GitS: Innocence was the first anime film there.) A: People like Miyazaki are the main face of Japan’s animation to the world…and he thinks anime is for kids.


He talked to Shirow 5 years ago about what he calls a “pendulum psychology”: technology may advance, but humans go back and forth in their attitude about it. Like how watches still have dials even now.


Ishikawa really reminds me of Kenji Kamiyama (the last GitS director): he really likes to talk about ideas…for a long time…


A: It was Shirow who studied these things like crazy, with all the possiblities of the future. he took the ones that were the most plausible over the next 50 years.


Q: Do you think the technologies in GitS will become real one day, and which ones would you like to adopt for yourself?


They did anticipate some criticism, but that people would come around in time.


As an animator, he has the ability to change drawings, unlike many directors. And he changed a lot in Arise.


A: the feel of a show can really be influenced by the choice of director; this is the third director of the GitS franchise. This one is an animator.


Q: was the fan backlash to Arise a surprise, or something you anticipated?


He asks us a question: people in Japan didn’t seem as excited about Yamato 2199 as people in America? Why is that? (Folks from east and west coast respond that everyone who’s seen it has been blown away.)


There are still contractual hurdles in releasing Yamato 2199 in America.


Q&A now beginning. First question is about Yamato…


LOL—he compares current fans from the ones he remembered from 15 years ago. People are so much younger and not as “big” anymore…


Now he’s talking about Kick-Heart, which earned 0k from Kickstarter. It proves that people around the world love anime.


Now he’s explaining the basic plot of Arise: it’s Motoko in a position of suffering. Audience has more empathy for someone in that position.


A good example of how CG and 2d animation might have been combined well is The Iron Giant. Character-oriented story too.


Ishikawa: Hollywood isn’t making movies with people–you have cars, robots, etc as main characters. Proud of Japan’s legacy of 2d animation, with the detail in facial expressions.


Some of the inspiration was from the big Hollywood reboots of superhero franchises: Bryan Singer’s Batman movies, the new Spider Man, etc.


Arise takes place 2 years before the main GitS story, what Motoko was doing before Section 9.


Right now Ishikawa is still talking. We haven’t gotten to questions yet.


The desire was to make something completely new: new staff, new music, new voice actors, new director. The internet had a backlash…


There will be 4 episodes of GitS Arise, 50 minutes each.


Ishikawa met with Masamune Shirow (GitS creator) and they looked at shows like CSI, 24, and the fact that they were one hour eps…they wanted to do something of that length.


Yamato had been considered a “dead” project, and there was some doubts about its success. But “we proved them wrong.”


Ishikawa: Production IG’s four big projects are: #AttackOnTitan, Kuroko no Basket, the new Yamato 2199 series, and Ghost in Shell Arise.


And that’s it.


Q: What are some of the differences in the voice acting business now vs your mother’s time? A: in her mother’s day, voice acting was a single occupation–and there were fewer works, so more people watched the same things. Now there is so much anime so she has to try her best to keep up. She hopes her work will be loved for a long time.


Are any roles more difficult to play than others? Sumire was one of the most difficult characters. Hard to express her romantic emotions.


On her role in Yuyushiki. It was an “iyashikei” role with very realistic dialogue.


Will there be more Chihayafuru anime? She doesn’t know.


Apparently the guy who did Taichi in Chihayafuru was a real entertainer, “always on, never off.”


On HanaKana: impressed with the number of types of shoes (and what they represented) in her role in that movie. :)


Q: What was it like working on Kotonoha no Niwa with Makoto Shinkai and Kana Hanazawa? A: was already a fan of Shinkai’s work. It was a dream come true to play a role in his work. Shinkai had seen a lot of her work already, and he told her that her role was best!


Q: What was it like to play Ellie in the Japanese version of “The Last of Us”? A: she didn’t take age or race into account when playing the role.


Q: was it hard to learn all the history behind karuta cards? A: Her knowledge of karuta grew in tandem with her character’s.


Q: Would you like to be an actress in a live action film? A: Very interested in playing her role in Chihayafuru in live action…and Naruto.


Why did Han follow her mother into voice acting? She was immersed in it from an early age. Strange to hear her mom’s voice on TV and at home.


The roundtable, and the event is over. Thanks for bearing with me! #SANA


McKeever: we have come a long way since the anti-Japan days of the early 1980s, and anime has played a role in that. #SANA


Positive: the response from the community to the tsunami/earthquake was overwhelming and generous. #SANA


Negative: a lot of American fans assume everyone in Japan likes anime. Which is certainly not the case. #SANA


Sullivan: she recalls Funis trouble with Dance in the Vampire Bund as an example of some shows that will always have trouble in US #SANA


Freedman: fandom is sometimes very locational. What’s popular in Akiba is actually quite specific. #SANA


I asked the panelists if there are things that appeal to American fandom vs Japanese otaku or even blog fandom…#SANA


McKeever: cons are places where all other differences between people about race, politics, sexual orientation etc fade away #SANA


Sullivan: another factor to the gender fluidity is that Christianity was never a heavy influence in Japanese culture. #SANA


Question about gender/sexuality in anime: yaoi sometimes arises in the absence of strong female characters in a story #SANA


I will ask a question soon about different types of anime and levels of popularity: especially moe anime vs other types. #SANA


McKeever: there is still a way to go with cultural acceptance of animation. Extended to comedy like Family Guy but not much more. #SANA


Condry: cultural differences are not always an obstacle. Did you think a foreign rap song could make it here? No. #SANA #gangnamstyle


Condry:…but not really for artistic reasons. It was because it would take 6 months to re-edit! #SANA


Condry: recalls a story about how one American exec tried to get Studio Ghibli to excise the bathtub scene in Totoro. he refused…#SANA


Roundtable: the dumbing down of American comics in the 50s led to dumbed down American cartoons too. Set expectations #SANA


Condry: the president of the MIT anime club calls piracy *Proselytization Commons*. LOL #SANA


Condry: anime filled a space that was missing in American media for a long time, animation for teens and adults. #SANA


Roundtable: the rise of science fiction, and interest in space in the Cold War, helped paved the way for SF anime. #SANA




Now the roundtable q&a starts on the central question: why is anime so popular in North America? #SANA


Yamaguchi: people who like anime will often begin to appreciate other aspects of Japanese culture too. Reinforces trust #SANA


Yamaguchi: hopes that the Japanese will have their eyes opened to who they are how they communicate to people in other nations #SANA





Roundtable starting, introduced by Tadahiko Yamaguchi from the Consulate. #SANA


The roundtable discussion will begin in about 5 minutes, and will be introduced by a member of the Japanese consulate. #SANA


Beck will be starting a new blog called Animation Scoop in a couple of weeks. There will be a prominent anime section/reviews. #SANA


Beck: Dreamworks only put out GitS2 and Millennium Actress so that there would be 5 Oscar nominations for animated film that year #SANA


Beck: the outlaw, the different aspect of anime is what appeals to Americans. There was something more real about it. #SANA


Beck: life mission is to show that animation is not just for kids. Put them in non-traditional places like art theaters. #SANA


Beck met Katsuhiro Otomo in 1989. #SANA



Beck met Katsuhiro Otomo in 1989. Later released more work by him (Neo-Tokyo compilation). #SANA



Apparently Sam Raimi wanted to be involved in the production of Akira in those days. Only known then for Evil Dead #SANA


The first execs who saw Akira in 1988 was turned off the moment they saw blood. The notion of cartoons = kids was hard to break. #SANA


The Japanese producers of Akira wanted an Oscar-winning director to direct the dub. They got one–a documentary director. #SANA


Beck: after the theatrical releases of Laputa and others, got Akira. He came up with the tagline, Neo-Tokyo is about to Explode #SANA


Beck along with Carl Macek start Streamline Pictures. First paid job: dubbing Totoro, then Kiki. It was for Japanese airlines. #SANA


Beck: the audience for anime by the 80s was through comic conventions and tape trading. Rare syndicated shows on TV. Truly underground #SANA


Beck: Warriors of the Wind (a cut up Nausicaa) was typical of Hollywood attitudes in the mid 1980s. #SANA #SMH


Beck met Osamu Tezuka in 1980 in NYC, and they ate sushi together and Tezuka gave him a tape. It was rejected by United Artists then. #SANA


Beck: in the 1970s you did not have video. He got mint condition 16mm print reels for the conventions instead. #SANA


Beck started watching anime in the 1960s. 8th Man made him go *holy shit.* Went to one of the first comic cons in the 1960s too. #SANA


Beck: Magic Boy was the first Japanese animated film distributed by an American company (MGM) in 1961. Astro Boy was 2 years later. #SANA



Next up: Jerry Beck, of Cartoon Brew. #SANA


McKeever: the Internet has reduced the power of distributors and content owners are now the kings. #SANA


McKeever: there needs to be more mainstream and less niche shows. And the quality of anime has to improve too. #SANA


McKeever: anime producers and distributors will need to rely more on merchandising to make up for lost DVD sales. #SANA


McKeever: a big problem too is that streaming doesn’t make money vs DVDs, and DVDs are in steep decline. #SANA


McKeever: the continued devaluing of the yen vs the dollar has made licensing anime a lot more expensive in the US. #SANA


McKeever: what anime needs is venture capital, enough money to take creative risks. Look at the 80s classics made during the boom. #SANA


McKeever: when animation in general expands, so does anime. #SANA


McKeever is now sharing stories about encounters with closet Robotech fans in Washington DC government and lobbying circles. #SANA




McKeever: you CAN make money in anime. Already gone very far in the past several decades. The market for animation for adults is big #SANA


McKeever is not concerned about the live action Robotech and Cowboy Bebop projects. He sees this as progress, in Hollywood. #SANA




McKeever: Animation in the 80s on the networks was relegated to Saturday morning only for kids. Robotech/Macross broke that mold. #SANA


McKeever: Robotech was the third highest rated program in LA in Nov 1985, and #1 in NYC in Feb 1986. At the time anime on TV was rare. #SANA


McKeever traces the birth of the US anime industry to the late 70s-early 80s, when a strong dollar made anime cheap to pick up #SANA


First up: Kevin McKeever, the marketing exec in charge of the Robotech franchise at Harmony Gold. #SANA


Lunchtime now. This concludes the morning session, and my computer needs recharging! See you for the afternoon. #SANA


Condry: Crypton licensing model and other fandom work show that people can have power despite corps, govts, copyright models #SANA


Condry: for non-profit use, there may be a nominal fee but not necc. For-profit does involve a license fee. #SANA


Condry: Crypton Future Media has set up 3 levels of licensing for using Miku. One is free non-commercial use. #SANA


Condry: AMVs, Vocaloid fandom shows fans will not wait for permission to start creating things #SANA


Condry: manga is particularly democratic as media because it is so inexpensive. Series rise and fall w/o marketing #SANA


Condry: another great case study is Gundam. Its toys did not sell so it was canceled early, but fans revive it singlehandedly #SANA


Condry: anime characters as platforms. Characters and world often come before story. Red Gardens plot made up as went along #SANA


Condry visited Gonzo during the making of Red Garden…this is the work environment. #SANA



Condry: success and value are not measured in fandom community the same way as in business. It is how much you give back #SANA


Condry: no one gets rich making anime. Shows a picture of a typical animator desk. #SANA



Condry was introduced to anime when his students recommended Samurai Champloo to him. Via BitTorrent. #SANA


This is Condry showing the folders used to produced Mamoru Hosodas Wolf Children. #SANA



Some stats: 60% of TV cartoon broadcasts are Japanese. B/yr for TV/DVD/theaters. Bu B worth of merchandise. #SANA


Media has shifted from mostly content to now a whole platform with lots of participation through communities, AMVs, fanfic, etc #SANA


Condry: few expected anime to be a big deal, culturally. The global rise of anime was a surprise to cultural elites. #SANA




Next up: Dr. Ian Condry, professor of Japanese Cultural Studies at MIT.


Sullivan: …whereas in Japan some of that kind of work can be seen as disrespectful. (ED: But then again, doujinshi?) #SANA


Sullivan: US anime fans like to feel a part of the show they like, which fuels the memes, parodies, AMVs, fanfics… #SANA


I saw this in Japan when I was in Akiba too. The industry in JP is still built on purchase of physical stuff.


Sullivan: DVDs/BDs are not going away from anime because of collector mentality, special editions. #SANA


Sullivan: a good example of anime as safe place for sexual exploration—Utena. A beautiful, influential show. #SANA


Bevins (ADR director): Americans and Japanese have different expectations for character voices hence different voice acting styles. #SANA


Sullivan: to all those who criticize anime as being violent and bad influence—look at the cons. Look at the community. #SANA


Fandom as family: when Sullivan started working at Funi she found her tribe. Tribe is a good word in my experience. #SANA


Personally, I would argue the process started earlier with the Simpsons, Family Guy, and others…


Sullivan: the rise of MLP and Adventure Time has also paved the way for more acceptance of mature themes in anime. #SANA


Sullivan: anime can be a safer place for younger people to explore sexuality and gender. #SANA


Sullivan: shift from solitary otaku to owning your freak: fandom coalescing into clubs, communities. #SANA


Bevins: because anime has something for everyone, anime should become more mainstream over time. Ease of access too. #SANA


Sullivan acknowledges Crunchyroll as having innovated first, and their move to legitimacy was a huge shift in industry #SANA


‘I love our fans. I love our fandom.’ -Sarah Sullivan #SANA




Now the Funimation reps, Christopher Bevins and Sarah Sullivan, are up. #SANA


A lot of people at University of Oregon take Japanese in order to scanlate and fansub. Some even use that as assignments. #SANA


Sullivan will be a presenter later, btw. #SANA


Sarah Sullivan (Funimation): the biggest difference between older and millennial fans is how willing they are to WAIT for anime. #SANA


Freedman likes to hold up a VHS tape and ask her 90s and later born students: what is this? Gets laughs. #SANA


The instant access of the Internet has changed both access to anime and participation in fandom drastically #SANA


So what makes anime so popular? Freedman: the participatory fandom, the coolness of niche, different storytelling. #SANA


This is somewhat deliberate: it emphasizes vulnerability rather than, say, harder aspects of Japanese culture. #SANA


So much of the soft power of anime and manga is in promoting the more kawaii side as opposed to other types. #SANA


Worth remembering: Japanese popular culture has been in America as long as Godzilla and Astro Boy. #SANA


How strange is it that Hello Kitty and Doraemon were chosen as “ambassadors”! Ambassadors are usually people. #SANA




First up: Dr. Alisa Freedman, Professor of Japanese Literature and Film, University of Oregon. #SANA


Looks like we are starting! #SANA


Still waiting. Sound has been going in and out. Looks like posting pics may be an issue with the liveblog plugin, will find workarounds. #SANA


Waiting for the event to begin. A surprisingly large crowd, given the weather outside… #SANA


The story seems to be that #tokyopop is starting over almost from scratch. Makes sense given how much business changed.


Q: any plans to rerelease manhwa? A: they lost the licenses from the main licensor. #tokyopop #animela


Viz is different because they are an arm of the Japanese publisher. Avoid translation costs. #tokyopop #animela


The hard part of being an indie publisher is capital–and the ability to weather the storm. #tokyopop #animela


Q: light novels? A: translation costs are enormous, more than manga! Chances are small. #animela #tokyopop


Q: anything else like America’s Greatest Otaku? A: timing was bad on its original release. Maybe if it gets sponsored. #tokyopop #animela


It’s funny because there are so few Hetalia fans in the audience. Everyone’s getting the trivia wrong! #animela #tokyopop


It’s trivia time now about Hetalia for prizes. There will be q&a next. #tokyopop #animela


Stu admits that OEL didn’t really sell. But feels many of the stories were great. #animela #tokyopop


Film and tv projects: perhaps adapt OEL manga since those are what they have rights to. #animela #tokyopop


Other projects: on demand merchandise via Cafepress. Designs swapped out regularly. #tokyopop #animela


Fans tell #tokyopop what might be licensible; then tell Japanese what looks promising. Use Kickstarter to gauge monetary interest. #animela


Potential with Kickstarter: avoids the problem of taking a risk before knowing what sales are. #tokyopop #animela


“Everybody is going through soul searching” in the industry because fewer stores, fewer sales. -Stu #animela #tokyopop


Daneilla (@tokyopopmanga): Will cancelled series be brought back? New series? Staff is small, licenses have to be (re)negotiated. #tokyopop #animela


Q: plans for working with Amazon Kindle? A: A few titles like Bizenghast are available. Only supported on the Fire and Fire HD now. #animela #tokyopop


Hetalia manga volumes 4 and 5 are under negotiation with Gentosha. They “are not known to be fast moving.” #tokyopop #animela


Hetalia vol 3 is released now with POD. The last book of Bizenghast too. #tokyopop #animela


Manga plans: print on demand via Rightstuf. Japanese licensors reluctant though. Closest to the publisher of Hetalia, Gentosha #animela #tokyopop


So in 2012, “the beginning of rebuilding #Tokyopop.” The website is now hosted by Nerdist Industries. #animela


Stu decided to go to northern Japan to volunteer with the tsunami recovery and made the documentary “Pray for Japan.” #animela #tokyopop


While Stu was in Japan to tell the Japanese publishers that he couldn’t publish anymore–the earthquake hit. #animela #tokyopop


Fact: technically, #tokyopop never went bankrupt. It became a virtual company. #animela


The end of Borders was the final blow for #tokyopop in its old configuration. Stu was left to clean up. #animela


Borders owed million in unpaid bills to #tokyopop. #animela


Plan was: get Japanese to license digital editions to TP. Then the bomb dropped: Borders died. #animela #tokyopop


Scanslation makes manga more accessible, true. You just can’t run a business on it. #animela #tokyopop


“We were shedding a lot of tears on that day,” Stu says. Plus scanslations played a role, no doubt. #animela


Why did #tokyopop shut down US operations? They once had 90 staff in LA…to about 35 after economic crisis. #animela


Mission has not changed fundamentally: bringing Asian pop culture to western audiences. #animela #tokyopop


Reminiscing about the start of TP as Mixx, first licensor of Sailor Moon manga. ALso I had no idea that TP brought Japanese pro wrestlers to E3.


Stu Levy introduces himself, calls himself an “old guy” :) #animela #tokyopop


Carlos Santos: all those feels about Kitchen Princess. The Madoka Magica of cooking manga! #sdcc


Underrated: Breathe Deeply (Doton Yamaaki). Love triangle about two guys and a sick girl. #sdcc #manga


Underrated: To All Corners of the World (Fumiyo Kouno). About childhood friends getting married at the end of WWII. #sdcc #manga


Chihayafuru (Yuki Suetsugu)…still unlicensed. Hey if the anime could make it, why not? #sdcc #manga


Boku wa Beatles (Tetsuo Fujii and Kaiji Kawaguchi), about two boys who travel back in time knowing Beatles songs before they’re out. #sdcc #manga


Sunny, by Taiyo Matsumoto. Still not licensed. #sdcc #manga


Osamu Tezuka’s Barbara. DMP has a Kickstarter campaign to publish this. Features bestiality, satanic rituals…carries explicit warning. #sdcc #manga


The Strange Tale of Panorama Island (Suehiro Maruo). Gorgeous artwork, anticipated for the last two years. #sdcc #manga


Thermae Romae comes out in November by Yen Press, btw. #sdcc #manga


Thermae Romae (Mari Yamazaki). YES the anime made me laugh so hard…#sdcc #manga


Most anticipated: Kitaro (Shigeru Mizuki), by Drawn and Quarterly in January 2013. #sdcc #manga


Most Anticipated Manga: Heart of Thomas (Moto Hagio). It was one of the seminal BL titles. #sdcc #manga


Alverson was especially irritated by the dog. That’s funny I thought he was the best part of the story. #sdcc #manga #kobato


Worst: Kobata (CLAMP): reading it is like being punched in the nose (Brigid Alverson). I did think the anime was boring…#sdcc #manga


Worst: My Girlfriend’s a Geek (Rize Shinba and Pentabu). About a guy who dates a yaoi/BL fangirl. @debaoki thinks the guy is pussywhipped! #sdcc #manga


The anime of Kore wa Zombie Desu-ka? was my dumb fun pick at the time. I guess this sort of thing doesn’t work in #manga? #sdcc


WORST list begins! Kore wa Zombie Desu-ka manga…Carlos Santo liked the anime, actually, but not the manga. #sdcc #manga


Saturn Apartments (Hisae Iwaoka). Idea is that there is a ring colony around a ruined earth. Story is about a window washer. #sdcc #manga


Dorohedoro (Q Hayashida). A violent fantasy. #sdcc #manga


20th Century Boys (Naoki Urasawa). I really need to read this. My next Viz app purchase #sdcc #manga


Best continuing manga for adults: A Bride’s Story (Kaoru Mori). Set in Central Asia in the middle ages. #sdcc #manga


Arisa (Natsumi Ando, creator of Kitchen Princess): a surprisingly dark and twisted story. #sdcc #manga


Next: Chi’s Sweet Home (Konami Kanata) which has been discussed for the past 3 years. I remember. #sdcc #manga


Next: Wandering Son (Takako Shimura). See our review here: http://animediet.net/reviews/manga-reviews/the-wandering-son #sdcc #manga


Carlos Santo: this is a manga that gives me all kinds of feels #crossgame #manga #sdcc


Next: Cross Game (Mitsuru Adachi). Still haven’t watched most of the anime though I loved episodes 1-2. #sdcc #manga


Apparently the manga and anime story diverges around volume 5. Recommended for fans of Fullmetal Alchemist. #sdcc #manga


Continuing manga for kids/teens: Blue Exorcist. Personally I was never into the anime. Is the #manga better? #sdcc


Tesoro and La Quinta Camera (Natsume Ono). Ono has struck me as being the closest #manga has to a literary writer. #sdcc


Drops of God, the wine manga. No surprise this is @debaoki’s pick, I’ve heard her rave about it a lot. Wish I could drink again… #sdcc #manga


Message to Adolf (originally just titled Adolf) by Tezuka. I read this years ago and was moved by it. #sdcc #manga


At this let me say once again: CELTY IS LOVE #durarara #sdcc #manga


Durarara!! manga (Ryohgo Narita, AKiyo Satoriigi, Suzuhito Yasuda). Wasn’t this an anime original? #sdcc #manga


Shaenon Gaerty: Anno’s artwork was shaky at first but so much better as she went along. #sdcc #manga


Best new manga for adults: Sakuran (Moyoco Anno of Hataraki Man; Hideaki Anno’s wife). A dark geisha story. #sdcc #manga


Mizuki is also the author of Ge Ge Ge Kitaro and Onwards to Our Noble Deaths, btw. #sdcc #manga


NoNonBa (Shigeru Mizuki). Mizuki only has one arm due to war injuries. And is still alive. #sdcc #manga


Next: Jiu-Jiu (Touya Tobina), though adults will probably hate it :) #sdcc #manga


Next: A Devil and Her Love Song (Miyoshi Tomori). #sdcc #manga


Next on the list: Tezuka’s Princess Knight, which is considered the first proper shoujo manga. #sdcc #manga


Sailor Moon is a title that older fans have come back to for strength and reassurance. #sdcc #manga


Uh oh, the Keynote presentation moved too far ahead, we saw some spoilers…:) #sdcc #manga


Well, it’s not really new of course. But it’s a new edition/translation. #sdcc #manga #sailormoon


Best new manga for kids/teens: Sailor Moon, of course! #sdcc #manga #sailormoon


End of conference. #sdcc #powerrangers


Favorite actors: Joseph Gordon Levitt, Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day Lewis, Charlie Chaplin, Ed Norton #sdcc #powerrangers


One cast member stood on top of a porta potty with a bucket of water and dumped it on another when she walked in. #sdcc #powerrangers


If Rangers was an adult show, then they could release the bloopers uncut…#sdcc #powerrangers


Bloopers: everyone fell at least 3 times. Sneezing. Missing just one word in a close-up scene. #sdcc #powerrangers


Most of the stunt trainers were Japanese. Favorite things learned: how to ride a horse. Press person suggests a pickup line: hey baby I can be your knight! #sdcc #powerrangers


Favorite scene: the “munchies” scene with food all over the place. #sdcc #powerrangers


You are going to be a superhero for millions of kids around the world. #sdcc #powerrangers


Future advice for next cast: do not look back, make the characters your own. It’s like a family, treat like one #sdcc #powerrangers


Your favorite collectible? Squinkies (rubber, squeezable), megabots, Morphers, Samuraizer hand sanitizer #sdcc #powerrangers


The first two months were spent mostly trying to figure each other out. Delays due to script changes. #sdcc #powerrangers


Watched lots of the old Mighty Morphin series to help develop his character. Every character is shaped by the rest of the team. #sdcc #powerrangers


The entertainment industry is very hard to break into. No room for self-doubt. It is like training for a sport. #sdcc #powerrangers


Having to say goodbye to each other after 2 years of filming. PowerMorphicon is the last appearance. #sdcc #powerrangers


In fact with method acting the cast had to become real friends to show the friendship on the screen. #sdcc #powerrangers


It sounds like the cast had to live together in close quarters during filming and became very close friends. #sdcc #powerrangers


Apparently, Super Samurai is the first series to be shown in New Zealand since the original series. #sdcc #powerrangers


The show incidentally was filmed in New Zealand. Must be the new hot destination post LotR #sdcc #powerrangers


The cast has not met their Japanese counterparts. They were shown a few episodes. Everyone started from Ground Zero and made it their own. #sdcc #powerrangers


Power of Red Ranger helped one five year old in the Make-a-Wish foundation helped him get through his illness #sdcc #powerranger #aww


Show’s about showing kids that with teamwork you can do anything. #sdcc #powerrangers #aww


What does it mean to them to be part of the larger franchise’s legacy? All the cast grew up with it, often connecting with older actors from earlier in the series #sdcc #powerrangers


The character of Mike is getting more serious, though. #sdcc #powerrangers


A lot of the cast feels that over time their characters have gotten less serious. #sdcc #powerrangers


Panel over. Rushing to Power Rangers junket. later! #sdcc


Have recent events like the tsunami, bad economy in Japan affected reader interests? Maybe rom coms are popular because people need comfort #sdcc #manga


New crew members in One Piece? Not even in the Editor-in-Chief knows. Editor and mangaka decide together. #sdcc #manga #onepiece


The side furigana and kanji on the sides are sometimes very hard to translate/adapt. #sdcc #manga


Why so many romantic comedies as of late in SJ? Its what the readers want. #sdcc #manga


Manga is not art, but entertainment, must keep readers in mind -Kengo Monji. Controversial statement? #sdcc #manga


Hopefully, soon, there will be a global, simultaneous release of everything. But print should not die. #sdcc #manga


I don’t entirely agree, you can flip the iPad landscape and 2 page spreads work. #sdcc #manga


SJ Editor: Manga’s roots go back into the medieval era with illustrated scrolls, then into print. Maybe w/iPad 2 page spreads may be obsolete #sdcc #manga


The physical resemblance between the real Yoshida and the editor in the manga are uncanny. #sdcc #bakuman


Yoshida (editor of the manga): the portrayal of himself is only 70% accurate. 30% is more horrible than he really is! #sdcc #manga #bakuman


SJ Editor-in-Chief: basically plays himself in #Bakuman. #sdcc #manga


After Bakuman, many junior and high schoolers started to propose manga to SJ. More encouragement than discouragement. #sdcc #manga


At first the editor was afraid that Bakuman would be a gossipy, dishy behind-the-scenes about the industry. #sdcc #manga #bakuman


How did you decide to do a manga about your own department in Bakuman? Ohba thought of the idea while doing Death Note. #manga #sdcc


Obata: one of the nicest people in the manga industry. Always thinking of how to execute complex scenes. #sdcc #manga #deathnote #bakuman


Ohba-sensei (Death Note, Bakuman): in story meetings, he would always propose something out of the ordinary. #sdcc #manga


In Yu-Gi-Oh they have non-physical battles; it was a way to tell a battle manga w/o literal battles. #sdcc #manga


Members exclusives for SJ Alpha include creator interviews and videos, one-shots, meet up invites, Yu-Gi-Oh cards #sdcc #manga


3 reasons for Blue Exorcist popularity: Kato’s art, the main character’s identity, and side characters #sdcc #manga


SJ Editor: pay attention to the battle scenes in the upcoming Takama-ga-hara #sdcc #manga


They’re basically going to catch up with 2 chapters per issue of Blue Exorcist until August, when it’s 2 weeks behind Japan. #sdcc #manga #shonenjump


Also announcing: Blue Exorcist to be available on SJ Alpha, starting July 30th #sdcc #manga


Big announcement of new series: Takama-ga-hara, starting from July 23rd. #sdcc #manga


Basic rundown of SJ Alpha. Entries run two weeks after it runs in Japan. #sdcc #manga


Introducing everyone…first up is the editor-in-chief of Japan Weekly Shonen Jump. #sdcc #manga


Rome and I got some really nice seats…very close to the front. Should get some good pics. #sdcc #manga #shonenjump


The preview was very fluid and smooth. Lots of mass battle scenes. Tanaka leaving. #sdcc #berserk


Q&A done. Sneak preview of movie 2 now. Since part 1 was short (70 min), part 2 is longer (96 mins), part 3 is 126 mins #sdcc #berserk


All three parts of the film trilogy were done simultaneously. #sdcc #berserk


Zodd was the most difficult character to do. They drew his joint movements first and then re-render in 3d #sdcc #berserk


Western swords, unlike Japanese, are two-edged, and big swords are more like clubs or axes. #sdcc #berserk


They got an actual medieval fighting instructor and motion captured him to assist in battle animation. #sdcc #berserk


They, alas, had to cut out the scene where Guts and Griffith are splashing water at each other. I remember. #sdcc #berserk


Tanaka: I promise you the animation gets better in part 2 and part 3. #sdcc #berserk


Drawing characters, esp face and expression, was hard in 3D. Drew the faces first then attached to body. #berserk #sdcc


Fight choreography for Berserk was very new to Studio 4C. 2D and 3D mix. #sdcc #berserk


Loved portraying the friendship between Griffith and Guts. But of course. #sdcc #berserk


Decided to adapt vol 4-13 (Golden Age Arc), and ended up with 6 hours worth of storyboards. So it’s a film trilogy. #sdcc #berserk


Currently the third movie is in production in Japan. #sdcc #berserk


Manga author Kentaro Miura said: show it to me again! He then said: let’s do this. #berserk #sdcc


Tanaka: needed to figure out how to cut a human in half with a big long sworc in a 70 second pilot. #sdcc #berserk


I submitted a question about how #Berserk’s genre is less mainstream now, and if the film might rekindle interest #sdcc


Neon Alley is to be released on PS3. #neonalley #sdcc #viz


The first movie (The Egg of the King—yes that’s the title) will be released theatrically in the US. #sdcc #berserk


#Berserk 36 to be published by DarkHorse on Sept 19 2012. #sdcc


“It’s a love story between two men” #berserk #sdcc


An introduction to #Berserk. Manga sold 30m copies?! #sdcc


Studio 4C highlight reel: they definitely do a lot of Western adaptations and more experimental stuff. #sdcc #berserk


LOL< we are probably going to be on a Japanese DVD extra. I consent. :) #sdcc #berserk


Technical difficulties with the Powerpoint. Not starting yet. #sdcc #berserk


We are about to get started now. #sdcc #berserk


LOL, the first two winners of the iPad weren’t in the panel. :) #sdcc #jmanga #manga


Cheers for more Go Nagai titles, like Devilman and Mazinger. Bombard with emails if you want it! #sdcc #manga #jmanga


Any plans to finish unfinished Tokyopop titles? It’s in the publisher’s hands…Hakusensha is one not part of the JManga alliance. #sdcc #manga


Any word on getting Broccoli titles like Moyashimon? Email info@jmanga.com for more info. #sdcc #manga


Cheers to suggestion for an 18+ section. Response: not really part of JManga’s main mission. Email them if you want it! #sdcc #manga


Suggestion for better recommendation engine: “noted.” It’s being worked on. Also support for non-credit card users. #sdcc #manga #jmanga


Plans to add more historical/literary type manga. Golgo-13’s publisher apparently does a lot. #sdcc #manga #jmanga


Devilman mentioned again! Ge ge ge Kitaro too. These classic titles are hard to publish in US. #jmanga #manga #sdcc


Response: well, Viz is doing a good job with that already. But Viz is only US/Canada. #sdcc #jmanga #manga


So what’s JManga doing wrong? @debaoki: more popular (read: pirated) titles! Shounen and shoujo. #sdcc #jmanga #manga


Most surprising title for them: the manga about train bento boxes (Ekiben something…) #sdcc #jmanga #manga


Yuri has been ignored by most publishers, so Jmanga wanted to take advantage of the gap in market #sdcc #jmanga #manga


Admitted that initially the site was rushed to open and launch titles have been fixed since. #sdcc #jmanga #manga


According to @debaoki: “The translation quality has improved dramatically” since the start. #sdcc #jmanga #manga


JManga’s strengths: more open than most Japanese companies. Digital enables niche titles. #sdcc #jmanga #manga


Also will be releasing titles from Ichi Jinsha, yuri and BL titles I believe. Announcements ovre. #sdcc #jmanga #manga


No title announcements yet, but it will include some still being serialized in Japan. #sdcc #jmanga #manga


Will be releasing some Kodansha titles rescued from Del Rey and Tokyopop. Mistakes will be corrected. #sdcc #jmanga #manga


Judges include @debaoki, William Flanagan, Jake Tarbox, etc. Familiar faces :) #sdcc #jmanga #manga


Winner gets trip to Japan. Runners up can get iPads etc. Open to all worldwide. #sdcc #jmanga #manga


Two seinen and one shoujo title will be used as basis for contest. No typesetting required. #sdcc #jmanga #manga


JManga will work with Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs for a Manga Translation Battle contest. #sdcc #jmanga #manga


iOS and Android apps coming in October 2012! #sdcc #jmanga #manga


I just love there is a manga about an anesthesiologist, Anesthesiologist Hana. #sdcc #manga #jmanga


Yuru Yuri manga is coming out soon on JManga! #sdcc #manga #jmanga #yuruyuri


“Any fans of BL manga?” The cheers were not as loud as I expected. :) #sdcc #manga #jmanga


New titles: Peacemaker, Pippira Note, Sun-ken Rock. #sdcc #jmanga #manga


Heh, you call a special phone number to get prizes at designated times. #sdcc #jmanga #manga


Panel over. Whew. Thanks to all the RTs and follows and replies! #sdcc


Kodansha will NOT re-release Del Ray’s light novels holding, like Kara no Kyoukai. They are focused only on #manga. #sdcc


Kodansha spent the last 1.5 yrs stablishing the company. Things are only now getting stable to rescue Del Ray licenses #manga #sdcc


How did Borders’ bankruptcy affect them? not much. They were ready for them to implode as early as 2008. #sdcc #manga


It was Takeuchi who asked them to remove the Sailor Moon bonus comics, at the last minute. #sdcc #sailormoon #manga


‘There are some people on Twitter that are kind of mean’ —Kodansha rep on angry fans #sdcc #manga


Can’t answer question about balance between smooth language and accurate translation.  Fan thinks new version is more accurate overall tho #sdcc #sailormoon #manga


Any more new series on the Kodansha app? Later this month, Cage of Eden, Mardock Scramble, Ninja Girls coming. #sdcc #manga


They’ve only received 6 complaints total about the smudging though. Not a widespread problem according to editor. #sdcc #sailormoon #manga


Smudged volumes have been handled/replaced as far they know. Recommend returning to store. #sdcc #manga


Omnibus collections are only released after a bunch of volumes have come out. No earlier than 2014 for #sailormoon #sdcc #manga


License rescue of Devilman: no answer. #sdcc #manga #kodansha


Is the new translation of Love Hina different enough to warrant a reread? A: yes. :) #sdcc


Editor: I stand behind the choices we made. Fan: do you live your life nervously? #sailormoon #sdcc


Translator notes are basically included based on whether there’s room. Adding one page can add 16 pages to the folio. #sdcc #sailormoon


Editorial decisions on Sailor Moon translation questioned. “Spark ring/pressure ring” admitted as mistake. #sdcc #sailormoon


Negima apparently has a spin-off called Negiho, where an adult Negi teaches kindergarten girls. #sdcc #manga #whykenakamatsu


They’ll be releasing the last few volumes of Negima too. (Vol 38 in Apr 2013.) GiTS SAC too. #sdcc @manga


Awaiting some clarification about Kotono Mitsuishi. Apparently she blogged that she had the role? #sdcc #sailormoon


Battle Angel Alita: Last Order will be coming out this fall. Also Natsume Ono’s new work Danza. #sdcc #manga


Another release: Missions of Love (11/2012) by Ema Toyoma. #sdcc


Collector’s Edition manga will have color pages in the US releases. #sdcc #sailormoon


On new Sailor Moon artbook re-releases: no comment. #sdcc #sailormoon


Official clarification: actually, Mitsuishi said she would LIKE to be Usagi again. No cast yet. #breakingnews #sailormoon #sdcc


At Japan Expo a new Sailor Moon anime was announced. (Tidbit: Kotono Mitsuishi will be Usagi again.) #sdcc #sailormoon


Start with Sailor Moon, of course. Loud cheers. The bestselling manga in America. #sdcc


Raffle time. Sounds like panel’s over. #sdcc


Accel World: no word on dubs either. #sdcc


Will there be more Monster anime? There doesn’t appear to be any plans… #sdcc


Question: when is Lagrange S1 to be released on disc? Answer: no hard release date. Dub to be on Neon Alley. #sdcc


The scavanger hunt concept seems to be finally taking off at #sdcc this year. Seen several companies, Viz included, now do it.


Free ice cream at the One Piece food truck on Saturday at 3 PM!! (Free food at cons = vital) #sdcc


Like, “ok, time to name names. Who was Eiji based off of?” #bakuman #sdcc


Heh, some Shonen Jump Japan editors are coming to a panel on Saturday. Including the Bakuman one. I might have questions for him…  #sdcc


Huh, I don’t see a mention of the new Kenshin manga in the Shonen Jump Alpha announcement anymore. Is it done or was it a one off? #sdcc


Heh, Viz finally finished the Android app for Viz Manga. Today. #sdcc


Interesting, the loudest cheers from an otherwise quiet crowd is for Blue Exorcist… #sdcc


#SDCC exclusive! Street Fighter x Sanrio crossover. LOLWUT?


Sadamoto’s long-running, long-delayed Evangelion manga vol 13 is coming out. Is this the final one? Will he ever finish? #sdcc


‘Vampire Knight fans, get Jiu Jiu’ #manga #sdcc


Ooooh, the Nausicaa graphic novels are coming back into print for . Might actually get this. #sdcc #miyazaki


Ooh, I see, they are creating original graphic novels with Mameshiba characters. Weren’t they just a commercial mascot or something? #sdcc


Mameshiba video…man I remember the ads for it in certain fansubs. lol #sdcc


Lots of Berserk movie events tomorrow, with Studio 4C head Eiko Tanaka. Will try our best to cover it, with premiere of first film at 8:30 PM. #sdcc #berserk


I mean six dollars and 99 cents. The liveblog engine has a problem with dollar signs. Argh. #sdcc #neonalley


OK, this Neon Alley: they haven’t announced which console(s) it’ll be available on. Dub only, uncut, HD. .99/month. Dub version of CR? #sdcc #viz #anime


DVD release schedules for Naruto Shippuden, Pokemon, Inuyasha Final Act. #sdcc


Showing video teasers of their current anime on Hulu.


And we’re done. Time for pictures #sdcc #yayahan #cosplay


Sexy costumes are a great fitness motivator. “Nothing will get me on the treadmill faster!” #sdcc #yayahan #cosplay


A revealing costume often takes a lot of “engineering.” “There’s tape involved!” #yayahan #cosplay #sdcc


Double standard in female crossplay (generally ok) and male crossplay (not ok). At this point a Man Leia stands up. It’s convincing. #sdcc #yayahan #cosplay


To uninformed parents: your kids could be doing something way worse with their lives than making creative costumes. #sdcc #cosplay #yayahan


Handling trolls: “delete, ban, and move on.” AMEN SISTER #sdcc #yayahan #cosplay


Yaya’s mom on her cosplay: “showing too much cleavage!” #sdcc #yayahan #cosplay


She spends most of her money on cosplay…which is not surprising. #sdcc #yayahan #cosplay


Find a non-costumed friend to turn down photos, like a manager/agent. Or say: “The Justice League needs me!” #sdcc #cosplay #yayahan


Protip: don’t take photos when a cosplayer is on the phone, or eating. Especially mid-chew. #sdcc #cosplay #yayahan


If the costume is TOO convincing people seem to start forgetting you’re a human being #sdcc #cosplay #yayahan


“People on the Internet don’t read” —on critical comments on the Internet #sdcc #cosplay #yayahan


“We’re viewed as freaks already, let’s all be nice to each other.” #sdcc #cosplay #yayahan


Photoshoots have become increasingly important to the cosplay scene.


The Japanese journalist who popularized the term “cosplay” actually coined it after he went to a Star Trek con. #sdcc #cosplay #yayahan


Cosplayer vs Costumer: didn’t realize there was actually a separate term for Western property costuming fans. #sdcc #cosplay #yayahan


Fun tidbit: in Italy, most female cosplayers who are serious tend to be aspiring professional idols. #sdcc #cosplay #yayahan


On street preachers at nerd cons: “I think they secretly want to join in!” #sdcc #cosplay #yayahan


Cosplay helped Yaya become less shy and more confident. Taking audience stories. #sdcc


And we’ve started! Yaya is dressed as Wonder Woman. No flash photography,


The panel is now over. Thanks everyone, to my new followers and faves on Twitter! #SDCC


The police have very broad power to determine obscenity. The working criteria is showing genitals. No longer applies to text. #SDCC


There is no political dissent aspect of this censorship. It really is an issue about obscenity, and that definition can change. #SDCC


Japan comes from a civil, not common, law tradition. We can share similar ideas but have very different details. #SDCC


Japanese courts tend to be reluctant about overturning laws as unconstitutional, so that route is an uphill battle. #SDCC


That amendment in a way reveals the real intent of the law. The current law is a face-saving political compromise. #SDCC


The rejected amendment from June 2010 tried to create the “non-existent youth” class and also fund moral watchdog groups. #SDCC


“Sexual or pseudo-sexual acts that would be illegal in real life”—does that include two high school kids having sex? #SDCC


The big change with the Youth Ordinance law is that it names manga and anime specifically as potentially harmful material. #SDCC


The Youth Ordinance are local laws, and actually most prefectures have similar laws. #SDCC


Anime/manga don’t currently fall under the child porn law, but many want to change it. #SDCC


Three criteria: 1.) Violating the sexual sense of shame; 2.) Strongly titillating; 3.) “Decency” and “social convention” #SDCC


The famous pubic hair law is a directly result of Article 175.#SDCC


The obscenity law was essentially forced upon Japan by Western treaties during the Meiji period. #SDCC


Relevant laws: Article 175, Child Porn Law, the Youth Ordinance. Article 175 is the obscenity law. #SDCC


Censorship in Japan is legally defined ONLY as forbidding publication beforehand—not afterwards! #SDCC


Article 21 of the Japanese Constitution guarantees free speech and no censorship. But it’s interpreted narrowly. #SDCC


Takashi Yamaguchi, a lawyer from Tokyo: “Legal Backgrounds concerning ‘Censorship and Manga’ in Japan.” #SDCC


Japanese censorship is now an international issue, with the involvement of NGOs and other groups involved on the issue #SDCC


Part of it is b/c of a conflation between “virtual” and “real” child porn; the latter has real victims. #SDCC


Foreign pressure does play a role in these censorship efforts. There is a perception that Japan is a child porn haven for instance—but it’s not actually true. Less than 10% of such things are hosted in Japan. #SDCC


Nowhere else in the world than in Japan do women have so much agency in fiction and comics. #SDCC


Now with lots of overseas attention to Japanese pop culture, governments are looking at it. They didn’t much before. #SDCC


“Adult” material in US comics was always breaking ground—going against the Comics Code, etc. Not in Japan. #SDCC


We tend to think of preventive censorship; Japanese censors try to remove ideas that are already out there. #SDCC


The cultural context is vastly different and a different set of concerns, drive those kinds of decisions. #SDCC


Japanese artists and publishers are not necessarily going to fight censorship laws as much as Americans might assume. #SDCC


Next up: Dan Kanemitsu, on the disjunctions of perceptions of censorship in Japan vs America. #SDCC


Women aren’t necessarily uniformly in favor of the censorship laws. There’s a lot of erotica aimed at them too. #SDCC


And now a discussion about “ladies’ comics” and BL. Fujimoto insists—it’s made by women, for women, vs some American expectations. #SDCC


It might be possible that manga helps children distance themselves from the worse impulses via its depiction in manga. #SDCC


And yet, crime in Japan is much lower. Rape rates, for adults and minors, have gone down a lot since its peak in the 1960s, just as the self-censorship of manga ended. #SDCC


“There is no doubt that sex and violence plays a larger role in manga compared to other nations.” —Fujimoto #SDCC


Fujimoto: half of all manga produced, and more than half the revenue, is for manga intended for adults. (Not porn.) #SD


Fujimoto: In fact, it’s better to compare manga to films and novels in America, not comics. It’s much more mainstream. #SDCC


Yukari Fujimoto: the Japanese manga market is much larger and more diverse than the US comic book market—by 15 times. #SDCC


The original title of the panel was specifically about the Tokyo Youth Ordinance bill, which forbids the sale of 18+ manga to minors. #SDCC


Looks like it is over. See ya! #SDCC #yenpress


Now it’s the “swag portion of the evening.” Sounds like this panel may close early. #SDCC #yenpress


They are also working on being able to read YenPlus on the iPad in the app. #SDCC #yenpress


A few notes on “With The Light,” which is about raising an autistic child. #SDCC #yenpress


Q: Android version for the app? A: It’s the next step. iPad was first b/c of the size; then iPhone, since it’s similar to iPad. Android is next on the agenda. #SDCC #yenpress


Huh, a manga version of Gossip Girl? The new app will have a free preview chapter called “Psycho Killer.” #SDCC #yenpress


The app will have a CoverFlow-style cover browser. #SDCC #yenpress


Not Yenpress Plus, sorry. It’s their actual volumes. #SDCC #yenpress


iPhone/iPad app to be released for YenPress Plus in 24 hours! Yotsuba! and HotD will be out today. #SDCC #yenpress


Olimpos (Olympus) by Aki. Yes, based on Greek mythology. Yes, BL. #SDCC #yenpress


Also, Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka? March 2012. #SDCC #yenpress


New releases: Durarara!! next January. IIRC though it was an anime original. #SDCC #yenpress


Apparently Anne Rice consented to do an Interview With the Vampire story graphically… #SDCC #yenpress


High School of the Dead omnibus coming out soon. #SDCC #yenpress


Early QA: looking any new light novel licenses? A: Not today.


There will be new licensing announcements today. But first some previously announced titles.


Introducing the panel members: Abby Blackman, Tania Biswas, and Kurt Hassler.


Panel should be starting any minute now.


Motoi Suzuk (Shueisha): there will be social networking integration in the website, and customizable homepages. Sounds similar to Crunchyroll.


Toshitaka Tanaka: Japan has many more bookstores than the US, even though it has only 1/3 the population. The market is different.


Panel’s over. That’s it!


Paull Starr: a translator has much more power with a novel than a manga. Bill Flanagan: in anime subtitle translation you have 2 lines of 32 characters each, and you gotta put a phrase or sentence in it.


Dialect is a love/hate thing. Mari says that she’s from Osaka, and even she thinks of Osaka-ben as being like a Southern drawl.


Stephen Paul: he got the chance to redo Azumanga Daioh for Yen Press. When it came to the Osaka character, the anime version had a Southern drawl, the manga has a Brooklyn accent…and that’s a problem. Paul invented something in between and wrote a long translator note…but then the editor wrote him back saying, “So this is in Southern style, right?” That’s how they ended up doing it, not Paul’s version.


Mari: in Naruto, there have been some differences in various terms. There are differences between the way the anime does it and the manga. It’s a huge spreadsheet…


Jonathan Tarball: I’ve never had a fight with a translator. As a rewriter I want to do as little translation as possible, in a way.


Bill Flanagan: whenever there is an offer, I say yes.


Jonathan: “you named a character what?


Paul Starr: sometimes it depends on how high up or influential you are as far as title selection requests.


Q: are there any titles that you wanted but didn’t get? A: Mari didn’t get Ranma 1/2, or Rin Ne.


Tarbox: sometimes thinks that it’s hard to read a manga in the original Japanese and do it justice in translation. Mari Morimoto is talking about “Cat’s Eye.”


Couldn’t catch most of the titles they’re talking about b/c of site slowness. Sorry.


Q: are there untranslated works out there that you, personally, would like to see translated? A: “There is an ocean of manga material, only a bucketful of which has made it into the American market” (Tarbox)


Jonathan Tarbox: Translating is sometimes like trying to explain Star Trek to your grandmother.


Stephen Paul: learning Japanese in college is very different from learning it to be able to read a manga comfortably. Learning to translate is in itself a different skill.


Paull Starr: if you have a lot of criticisms about translation, become a translator, which is an incredibly lucrative field! :)


Bill Flanagan: there is a range of what people, even purists, think are acceptable or unacceptable. Jonathan Tarbox: If you have four fanboys in a room you have five opinions.


Mari Morimoto: most people in this room are probably manga purists who want more literal translations. But that doesn’t always work with the flow. Viz’s mission is to also include non-fanatics and those who are new. No one pretends it’s a literal translation; difference between translation and adaptation.


Stephen Paul: Apparently Tokyopop hired an American comic writer to do the rewriting for Battle Royale and tried to “punch it up.”


Paul Starr: Changes are never made out of malice, but usually out of best intentions to present the creator in a good light. But fans sometimes have different expectations than translators.


Bill Flanagan: Negima went through a lot of translator turnover. There was a rewriter who wasn’t sensitive to fan needs and took creative license, combined with an editor who didn’t know how to stop it.


Q: For more colloquial translations, how do they make decisions to translate? A: Decisions are made by the translators. Problem is that editors aren’t necessarily bilingual now, so they have to trust translator decisions.


These people have definitely done some pretty cool manga and light novels: Haruhi, Spice and Wolf, the new Sailor Moon…


The panelists are doing their introductions now.


Panel’s over.


Fan: “Since so many X-Japan influences so many visual kei bands, which new bands do you admire?” Yoshiki: “What?” He then talks about Lee and McFarlane. (He didn’t seem to understand the question.)


“I like it when the guy who’s the boss is so involved in the project,” McFarlane says about Yoshiki’s involvement. The banter between McFarlane, Lee, and Yoshiki is really good.


Lee: “I never heard you talk so much!” Yoshiki: “It’s contagious.”


Fan: “Stan Lee, as a man to a man, I can say, I love you.” Stan Lee: “I accept that!”


Will Yoshiki incorporate the band members in to the comic book? “Yes, I think so….Our band has so much drama.”


Yoshiki thanks American fans for helping Japan in its time of need.


Yoshiki wanted the piece of music included in the comic to resemble Close Encounters of the Third Kind. A little gothic, etc. As to whether there will be more music for the comic books: “why not?”


What does Yoshiki hopes to express in the comic that he couldn’t do with music? “I don’t know,” he admits.


Yoshiki: “when I said ‘superhero,’ I wanted to be Spider Man…”


Yoshiki: “Can you make me a superhero?” he asked Stan Lee. “Only if you give me a cameo,” Lee replied.


Apparently Yoshiki gave Stan Lee a cameo in a music video, playing the role of the Devil. “And if you rearrange the letters of Satan, you can spell Stan!” Todd McFarlane says.


Stan Lee: “I hate these two men!” (Todd and Yoshiki) “I have people who are more talented than me!”


Panel’s being introduced now: Yoshiki, Stan Lee, Todd McFalane, etc.


Yay, we will be getting a free limited edition, music-playing copy of “Blood Red Dragon.” It’s a comic book, for those who don’t know…


Panel’s starting. They’re introducing everyone now.


They’re playing an ABC News clip about Yoshiki and X-Japan. A puff piece, basically.


The opening video is starting.


Waiting for the panel to begin. I hope my tethering battery lasts on this, mine is low…


Group photo competition now, rock paper scissors.



Eliminated first round. She had scissors, I had paper.



Giving away signed CDs. Looks like we will do rock paper scissors.



They just announced the signing is right afterwards at the NIS booth. Bad move, announcing it so publicly like that and if there’s no tickets or lottery. There’s going to be a stampede…



Q: What will you be working on the future? A: She wants to study more English and do more roles in it.



Q: What’s your favorite creatures from the Persona/Shin Megami Tensai series? A: “Monsters? Creatures?” There was a character with an eagle.



Celty was one of the most difficult to roles to play because the character doesn’t have a head. She has to reduce the tone of her voice so that it can be a low tone, which took lots of practice.



Q: Do a line from Celty in Durarara. In English, but in character? (Some groans from the audience.) A: “Sorry, I can only speak English when I want to order some hamburgers.”



She had a pretty harsh voice for Hit Girl there.



She asks us: how many of us have seen “Kickass”? She did the dub of Hit Girl there in Japanese! Now she demonstrates…



Q: You’ve done both mature roles (Celty, Maria), and cutesy ones (Puchiko—she goes “pew!” at the mention). Which one do you prefer? A: She really does enjoy both types. When she’s playing the more mature types of roles, it’s like talking with her coworkers. But when she’s playing kids, she can totally let go.



“Girls or Hideyoshis only!” for the next questioner.



Q: As Cammy in Street Fighter IV vs the upcoming SF vs Tekken, was there any difference between acting them? Also say “Spin Drive Smasher.” A: (Apparently not certain whether she will do it.)



Q: You worked with Kamiya-san, who’s a bit of a hentai. What’s it like working with him? A: I don’t really know if he’s really a hentai! Maybe he could be, but he is one of the most honest people in the industry. For groups like Zetsubou-sensei and Bakemonogatari, his faithfulness and honesty is striking. He is one of the few people who is as preparing as long as he does. Rare in the industry.



Konishi-san is really tall, and worked together on Letter Bee (Tegami Bachi). They were lovers in an earlier role. He’s a really nice and kind guy. She once went to the recording studio, and Konishi-san always prepared the script and leaves it on her chair ready.



And now Danny Choo gives it a shot…not as well. :) “I’ve got a secret desire to become a voice actress,” he admits, before correcting himself.

そして、ダニー・チューも試してみるのだが。。。微妙だった。「俺も実は密かに声優になりたかったんだせ。」と告白した。でも、本来ならvoice actorというところをvoice actressと言ってしまい、即座にvoice actorに言い直した。


Apparently, Miyuki’s the screeching baby in that show!



Ingrid from my anime club @animesouffle asks: “What was it like to work with Konishi-san in Beelzebub?”



Audience Q: What’s the difference btwn voicing for games vs anime, and biggest challenges? A: Recording for anime and games is completely different. Usually when one is recording for anime, you are all in the same room and see and feel each others’ expressions. But for games, it’s recording solo; you have to imagine the feelings of the other actors. Imagining punching or kicking sounds are challenging.

会場にいるファンからの質問 Q:ゲームとアニメの演技はどう違うのでしょうか?また何が一番のチャレンジですか?A:アニメとゲームの収録はとても違います。アニメの場合はみんなと同じ部屋で収録するので、一緒に演じている声優さんたちの表情をみながら、またやり取りの呼吸を感じ取りながら演じることができます。しかし、ゲームの場合は、たった一人で収録するので、他の声優さんたちとのやり取りを想像しながら演技しないといけません。また、キックやパンチの時の発声なども大変でしたね。


“I can choose one!” Miyuki exclaims as people raise their hands for questions.



Q: Any other seiyuu she’s enjoyed working with? A: Maaya Sakamoto (Nino in Arakawa). Sakamoto has been singing since 15 and had always listened to her music. She treats Sakamoto like a sempai, and can speak to her easily. During the recording of Arakawa she made sure she was always seen behind Sakamoto.

Q:他の声優で一緒に仕事していて楽しかった人はいますか?A:『荒川アンダー ザ ブリッジ』でニノを演じた坂本真綾さんですね。真綾さんは15歳のときから歌い続けて、私もずっと真綾さんの歌を聴いてきています。真綾さんは私の先輩みたいな存在で、なんでも話せる間柄で、いつも相談に載ってくれます。荒川の収録中に私は真綾さんの隣にいつもくっついてました。


Q: Which character do you identify with most? A: In Kimi ni Todoke. She plays Yano. She can really relate to that character, it gives her a “Cupid” feel.



Q: How do you prepare yourself for a voiceover role? A: She did a role in Gosick lately, and played the part of a mother who was giving birth. She went on Youtube to watch videos of mothers giving birth…



Q: Do you practice being Maria every day in front of the mirror? A: She’s not really sadistic, but when she’s around the other characters, she feels that she might talk to them in that way…



She now does a line from Arakawa: “Get down on the floor and say ‘I want to become a worm.'”



Q: Any lines or roles that have been profound? A: She’s done many roles, and it’s hard to find a single one. The one for Arakawa Under the Bridge was very special. It’s one of her most sadistic roles. She feels like she’s wearing pin (?) heels doing it.

Q:どのキャラ、もしくは台詞が心に一番深く残ってますか?A:今まで数々の役を演じてきましたから、探すのはちょっと難しいですね。でも、荒川アンダー ザ ブリッジのマリアはスペシャルでしたね。今までで最もSな役の一つでした。ピン・ヒールを履きながらやってる感じですね。(後ろにいた日本から来たオタクたちが「ぜひともお願いします!俺たちドMです!」と絶叫)


Q: What does it take to become an amazing voice actress? A: Rather than actual skills, when she’s standing in front of a mic, she has to imagine standing by the sea. She suggests that people go to the sea and feel what it’s like. It might help in gaining the feelings to get the role. Spending time with friends helps too.



Q: What was your big break? A: Usually in Japan, people who want to become a seiyuu have to go a school to learn to become one. However, when Miyuki was 13, she went to a normal school and auditioned for Di Gi Charat for a little sister role (Puchiko).



Q: Why did you decide to be a voice actress? A: In primary school, she used to read a lot of books. Reading them, she realized she could become another person, which is one reason why she became a voice actress.



Q: Where will she be traveling after the con? A: She likes going out to dinner.



She also visited a supermarket and bought chocolate and cream for one of her friends—hasn’t found time to get something for herself.



She spent 2 weeks in PA for a long vacation, and goes to NY to see some musicals. She also visited the Getty Center, had some trouble pronouncing it…(then again Danny Choo did too)



Q: where did you learn English? A: She did some home stay in Pennsylvania and at university too.



“Hey guys, konnichiwa! I woke up now. I couldn’t wait for this day, because it’s my dream to visit a convention abroad. I’m so glad to see your faces, guys! I’m going to enjoy this time with you, so enjoy with us, please. Thank you!”



Q: When did you arrive in LA? A: She left Japan on Wednesday, and went back in time and arrived on Wednesday. Awesome time traveling! She can speak a little English…..



Miyuki is dressed in a kimono. “Very nice indeed,” Choo says. “How long did you take to put it on.” Folks who are good at it can do it right away, but it took her 30 minutes.



What the heck? Danny Choo is the MC for the panel…



Sitting next to @Kylaran right now too. Rome and @Shinmaru are elsewhere. I gave him some of my trail mix.



Maybe I should use my literary creative writing skills to describe Sawashiro. :)



First, the bad news: no photo or video of Sawashiro, even for press. This liveblog will be as exact a transcript as possible to make up for the lack.



Hikaru: “I am very happy and didn’t expect this at all!”


Aha, it’s Hikaru’s bday tomorrow! We all sing happy birthday.


Hikaru: I was so surprised to see this many fans come to see us! Thank you for everything!


Keiko: this is the first time we can actually mingle with fans. This is overwhelming compared to Anime Boston. We are so happy and honored.


And it’s the end of the panel…the last word. Wakana: So many people came to see us! Thank you, come to our concert tomorrow!


My word, these are softball questions: “what’s the name of the producer who discovered them”? A guy with an orange lightstick got it….


Quiz: what anime uses their latest song, “Magia”? EVERY HAND in the room goes up. OMG, Madoka is going to be HUGE.


Now there is a quiz show, with prizes.


Correction: Hikaru loves string instruments, but personally she does play a little piano and drums.


Q: What are their favorite instruments? A: (Keiko): Guitar. Rock and roll! (Wakana): Flute. (Hikaru): “I touched a piano.”


Q: Inspiration for Black Butler 2 song? A (Hikaru, Keiko): for the costumes, Kajiura talked to the designers. They also looked at the storyboard of the anime.


Q: What are your hopes for the band going forward? A (Wakana): Performing more, around the world.


Hikaru: the Black Butler song. First time wearing long dress and long sleeves. Very inspirational, different.


Keiko: Magia. The costumes are strong, womanly, “hard,” and in-your-face.


Q: What was their favorite PV and the best costumes? A (Wakana): the first one, “Oblivious.” The costumes were all white; it’s her color.


Q: Do they have a favorite Kara no Kyoukai song? A: (Hikaru wrests microphone away from Keiko): They’re all inspirational, but she finds “Aria” more inspirational. She was so nervous that she started shaking when she sang it.


Q: Which song represents the way you look at the world? A (Keiko): We all treasure Kajiura-san’s songs. It’s hard to say which one is a favorite because each is so different. But the latest single, Magia, is very different…with Hikaru as the main vocalist, who didn’t do that before.


Q: Do you contribute the music in any way? A: Yuki Kajiura does it all. We stay true to her vision, that’s how we contribute.


Now it’s audience Q&A.


Q: What styles or brands do you like to dress in? A: No particular one, it depends on the song and its theme.


Q: anywhere specific they’d like to go in LA? Santa Monica Beach and Disney.


Wakana: excited to have a first West Coast concert! “Please come join us, I’m so excited.”


Kalafina is in! Apparently this is the second time at an anime convention.


Cheers for “Magia.” Looks like Madoka has a lot of traction already. #ax11


Looks like they can’t decide whether to turn off the lights or not during the video…


Video clip of Kalafina now showing.


No video, but photography yes. No surprise there. We will send someone to do Miyuki soon too.


Press is PACKED compared to Furukawa’s panel. Not surprised. They’re playing Kara no Kyoukai songs on the PA.


We’re inside now. Second row, directly in front of the microphones. Looks like we’ll have a very good shot.


OK, it seems press does have to clear the room. We will be back shortly


INFO: Furukawa’s autograph session is at Booth #1111 from 3-4 pm.


Whoa. He draws well…a really good sketch of Piccolo.


Answer: Ataru is so opposite of me, I can’t kiss a girl and grope another’s butt at the same time—but he just motioned it. Apparently he’s a devout Christian? “A decent human being wouldn’t do that…” :)


Our own Jeremy asks him the last question: “how did you get such a lecherous role like Ataru from Urusei Yatsura?”


I think I just saw the Kalafina entourage walk in the back door.


Furukawa is wrapping up now, the Kalafina panel liveblog will be here. Stay tuned! (Everything is running late; we’re going to send another staff member to Miyuki Sawashiro if it overlaps.)


Looks like just 5-10 minutes left. Kalafina is next!


Just did a Lupin III voice. And a sad voice.


Just did a Kaishiden voice from Gundam. Man, he’s so funny.


This guy does the best voices…so hilarious. We have some video of it.


This was a test of the new liveblog plugin, btw. It’ll be fully ready to go with the Kalafina panel.


His entire walk-in closet has become a figure storehouse. He has over 700.


Furukawa is about to talk about his hobby: figure collecting. He’s got a rather amazing amount.

Madhouse/Team Chihayafuru Press Conference

Takuya Tsunoki (producer), Kunihiko Hamada (animation director), and Asaka Morio (director).

This is the full transcript/translation of Madhouse’s Chihayafuru production team at their press conference during Anime Expo 2012. The team consists of Asaka Morio (director), Kunihiko Hamada (animation director), and Takuya Tsunoki (producer). Morio did most of the speaking, and is known for directing other shoujo works such as Card Captor Sakura and Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl and others.

Translation help provided by KylaranAeldin of The Nihon Review. Our questions are bolded and underlined. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Was there anything about Chihayafuru that made you want to take on this project?
: The idea was just to make the original manga into an anime.  Since the manga was about karuta, we simply had to do it. In so far as we had to do an anime about karuta, even if it was difficult, it was necessary.

Has the anime spread knowledge of karuta and made the game more popular?
(translator paraphrase): well, basically there aren’t a lot of people who play karuta in Japan, but because of the anime, there were more people playing karuta than before.

Do you play karuta yourselves? How good are you?
: I don’t play at all. I’m terrible.
: Same.
Sorry, but I also don’t really play karuta… At first, when we started making the anime, we were all talking about making our own team and joining a competition, but that never ended up happening. We instead put all of our passion into making the anime. All three of us are basically newbies.

Chihayafuru is billed as a shoujo anime, but it has appeals to boys as well. Why do you think that is?
: Well, the original manga is serialized in a publication for girls, but what is being told is a story about high schoolers deeply passionate about their afterschool activities. I think that part reaches out to both guys and girls.

What is special about the character of Chihaya and what draws you to her?*
: I see… This may be different from what the original author is thinking, but in terms of Chihayafuru, the main character Chihaya is incredibly straightforward, which is an incredibly important axis for the entire series. I think that might be why it’s her.

Do American action movies have an influence on your scenes?
: Well… Er, I do like movies, so I might be influenced by them unconsciously. We don’t make an anime with the intent to draw from some other work, but I do think that there are influences from what we normally watch. What I mostly watch— in Japan, there’s a lot of American films shown, so there’s probably some influence there.

Last year Madhouse lost director Osamu Dezaki. How has the studio taken his passing and what influence, if any, did you take from his work?
: Dezaki-san is someone that everyone in the industry respects, so there’s a lot of people who’ve been influenced by him in addition to us.

Did you ever expect Chihayafuru to get such a warm international reception?
: Nope, we didn’t expect it at all. See, we didn’t even know the best way to get Japanese to like it, so difficult a theme it was. To come to America and talk to people about it something was far from what we were thinking.

The anime was incredibly well done in terms of moving the plot and developing characters while explaining karuta. How did you balance all these elements?
: Oh, so people see it as being executed smoothly. That’s pretty… *laugh* “Honestly, did people here see it as smoothly done?” I wonder.

What is the most important element to make a good anime series?
: It might depend on the type of work involved, but for producers and directors, we think the most important thing is… probably, how well people can be drawn into the anime’s world. I think our job is to create a believable imaginary world. For example, with Chihaya, we want people to feel like they can see the characters and look all over the place, along with telling that to our staff. So, getting people sucked into the world is very important.

You created different works with a female characters as leads, but it seems that men seem to get into your shows more than others. Why do you think that is?
: Well, as me mentioned earlier there’s that part about the character’s passions, but… Even though I’m a guy, I like girl’s manga. How do I put this? I don’t really think it matters that the main character is a girl.

(Card Captor) Sakura was the first winner of SaiMoe competition, and the show was one of the very first series to popularize moe culture. What’s your reaction to being one of the formative influences on the current moe trend?
: Um, I don’t really know that much about moe culture, but Cardcaptor Sakura was a show for little girls and their mothers. So, um… I wasn’t aiming to make a “moe” product or anything, so I don’t really understand moe.

How would each of you define your own artistic styles?
: I’ve never thought of trying to put a piece of myself into a piece of work before. Depending on the show, the style is going to change, so each one is unique. We emphasize that when we work, so… Personally, I haven’t tried to put a part of my personality in my work. I think it’s something that’s within the work already. However, from other people’s point of view, there might be a semblance of something, but I don’t try to do it myself.

What are your feelings about the late Satoshi Kon’s unfinished film? (Dreaming Machine)
: We knew about his condition from even before he passed away. I think his passing was really unfortunate because he had a lot of talent. Um, it’s really a shame [a waste]. He should’ve been someone to continue living and making interesting anime….We do know that was in the middle of a project before his death, but unfortunately, nothing’s been done to it due to his passing.

How did you come up with the musical motifs in the show, and how much was the composer’s input vs yours?
: Well, the one who made the music was our composer, but what I ordered to be done was… Since the show is about the youthful times of high schoolers, I ordered lively music to be made.

While Chihaya is the main character, Kana Oe is very popular among fans, the one they want to be their girlfriend. Which one of the girls do each of you prefer?
: You’re asking me about my favorite girl character? [Translator: Yes.] The only two choices are Kana-chan or Chihaya. Not a lot of options are there? From those two choices, maybe Chihaya. Kana-chan sounds like she would be annoying. She has big boobs though.
: I– If I had to choose, Kana-chan I think. If it was Chihaya, it’d be a bit hard to get on the same page with her. So, I definitely if I had to pick it’d be Kana-chan.
: I like Kana-chan too. My wife is short, but… well, her breast size is a secret. But I do think some of her traits resemble those of Kana-chan’s, she’s my pick.

When did you decide to use certain directorial techniques in each scene, particularly motion scenes?
: It differs from scene to scene, but for that first scene, there first poem that’s read in the Hyakunin Isshu (100 Poets)—Naniwazu ni. There’s a poem that starts with that, and the poem talks about a flower. That flower is the Sakura, so we decided to animate Sakura.

Did you deliberately try to correlate the flowers in the poems to the visuals on screen?
: At first, we did try to match the flowers in the poems with the scenes. Other than that, the characters. Like flowers blossoming behind Kana-chan or something. We didn’t do it for male characters though. That part was based on the atmosphere as a girl’s manga plus the character themselves.

Did you get any help or cooperation from the official karuta league or organization in Japan?
: Um, there’s a group called the All Japan Karuta Organization. Even in Japan karuta isn’t that big, but there are groups that want to make it popular and we did get some help from them. We learned things like the order to place the cards, so they helped us in those areas.

Are you thinking of any co-branded marketing, like, say, branded card decks?
: We haven’t thought of something like that at all. What’s used in competitions already has a set design, so they can’t create their own.

Madhouse is known for darker works like Yoshiaki Kawajiri’s Wicked City, Ninja Scroll, etc. You tend to do lighter works. Which one is closer to Madhouse’s identity?
: None in particular. Some of the stuff I’ve worked on before is dark, like one where the characters may be bright and happy but the story itself isn’t. It’s not like I’m always picking light-hearted shoujo manga to adapt.

*This was not the original question asked, which was: “What draws you to making stories about strong female protagonists?” It was lost in translation.

Ryo Horikawa Press Conference

This is a full translation/transcript of the press conference for Ryo Horikawa (the voice of Vegeta and other roles). Anime Diet’s questions—prepared as well as spontaneous ones—are highlighted in bold.

Translation by Rome. This transcript has been edited for clarity. Also, not all questions are answered directly due to translation difficulties onsite.

Dragonball Z’s Vegeta is an over the top character. Is it harder for you to prepare for a character like this as opposed to, say,  Legend of Galactic Heroes’ Reinhard?
Legend of Galactic Heroes is modeled after the Chinese Romance of the Three Kingdoms, except it’s a space version. I interpreted it like that, and at the audition, when I saw the script, I thought intuitively: this must be like the Three Kingdoms. With this basic understanding, I created the character: he didn’t use daily conversational language, but was a little bit formal. I thought that was the kind of character I developed.

As an experienced adult actor, what is the biggest lesson you have drawn from your days as a child actor?
Fundamentally, I think it is the same. A voice actor should be able to act well. We act in front of the mic, but you have to understand the fundamentals of acting. Otherwise, you can’t put your soul in the character, so basically, I do the same training as regular actors. For my new students who are going to break into the acting world, I would say the same thing to them.

What has been your favorite voice role or type up to now?
I always get that question, but if I say all, that would be it…but it’s difficult to choose one, because I think I have to love the character in order to play the role. Even if they are evil, baby faced…I have loved these characters fondly, so, it is hard to narrow it down and choose one. I’m sorry.

You’ve seen a lot of changes over the years in the industry. How has the voice acting industry changed over 80’s, 90’s, 00’s, and to now?
I don’t feel there has been much change since I’m basically an actor. But I feel that people around me are seeing the changes rather than myself. For me, I’ve been always acting in the past and now, so I concentrate on my job, I think even the young new generation is thinking the same thing to do acting.

“His power level is going over 8000 (9000)!”? Did you know that would become such an iconic line?
I’ve seen that a lot in various places. That topic always comes up, but I don’t have any clue why 8000 was changed to 9000. So I myself want to know that, but I’ve heard that it has been talked about greatly here.

Has there been a role that you wanted to get, and weren’t able to? If so what was it?
Well, I always want to play all kinds of heroes…my desire to play them is unlimited, you might say. However it’s not about what I want to play, but what the fans want me to play, that the fans want this guy to do something unexpected or different for this role. If there’s any role like that, I really want to know about it.

What has been your favorite medium to work with: stage, games, anime, voice dramas?
Oh yes, of course I love doing voice acting, and I’m also doing some stage acting. I’m going to a film shoot, and on Sunday, I do stage work, so I have a desire to do different kinds of things.  And of course I want to do music too, and acting as well. So, I think if I can do a full spectrum performance, that would be awesome.

Were you a fan of Gundam before you played Kou Uraki in Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory?
I’m sorry, but I have to be honest: I didn’t know a whole lot about Gundam when I started playing in Gundam 0083, which is the story of the growth of Kou Uraki, who was meek at first but grows up to be a reliable adult man. But when I tried out at first, well I was also young back then, so I acted like crazy; it’s like I couldn’t really see myself. But a few years later, we had a film remake version of it, so we re-recorded the voice. So at that time I re-noticed what the flow and the story were like, but as an actor, to get a chance to do things twice is something I’m grateful for because it’s so rare to have it done. Someone said “go ahead,” and while of course it was the production team that said that, it probably was also providential. I still am very thankful to be able to redo my performance to this day. And same goes for DragonBall Z Kai, which we also remade. In those terms I think I was really lucky.

Have you ever worried that if Dragon Ball Z would be different in English if it’s translated?
Well, for me, I feel that it is okay to be different. Because there are many different unique interpretations, so it isn’t that this is the only right answer. Like with different individuals and different countries, interpretation of a role will be different too. So, I think I can see that flexibly and understand how they feel when they see our work, and also see the other point of view, the other way of making. I think that should be welcomed, and I think that leads to a better production.

Can you talk about the roles that were unexpectedly challenging or difficult?
Oh, yes. Any roles are very tough to act. Like Vegeta from Dragonball Z, there are many fight scenes, so I needed an immense amount of power and energy. And I use up a lot of energy for every take. For what I did in Legend Of Galactic Heroes, I had to act cool, detached, and not get emotional, not get angry: it was a role that is about wearing a mask. And every time it was difficult. And with Tadao in Ghost Sweeper Mikami, that role was very comical, one that went berserk a great deal, so I acted with full force. And especially after the recording of Dragonball was over, I was so hungry and thirsty.

Which character that you played was the closest to you, personally?
Which one?….I think the roles I played each have a part of me somewhere. See, I think myself as a gentleman that can’t even kill a bug, but when I’m doing that cruel Vegeta who murders people again and again, I’m playing a role, but part of me is enjoying it as the character. So when I think to myself that maybe there is a cruel part in me, I feel a little depressed. I don’t wanna kill people.

What do you think makes a good character in anime?
That is a difficult question again. What I think is, of course, you need a great deal of concentration. And, in the life I lived until now there must be a lot of hints [about what makes a character tick] so how do you grab these hints?…Or to put it another way, how do you “sublimate” them in a better direction? Is that the point? How do you feel when you see that character? And how do you develop that? But in my case, it’s not like I act, but rather if that character itself doesn’t synchronize with me, I feel uncomfortable. So, it’s not that I act that character, but rather if that character doesn’t match me, it can’t be done. Therefore, as I said earlier, there must be a cruel part and comical part in me.

Who inspires you as a voice actor?
Well, if I chose anime from the classics, there is Tetsujin 28 from my time, well, it’s the same kind with Tetsuwan Atom (Astroboy), it made me very wakuwaku (exciting). And for the actor, Nozawa Masako (Goku, DB), who I worked with. And the Lupin that Yamada Yasuo did. I watched these, and I felt dokidoki (thump thump, exciting), I thought it was good when I watched it myself. Of course, there are more wonderful people, but to give you the example.

Yuji Mitsuya Press Conference at Otakon

You may or may not know this veteran seiyuu (voice actor), but Yuji Mitsuya was a guest at Otakon. Many of his roles are of older titles, that you possible could have seen or not. (Ranma 1/2, Saint Seiya, Touch, Stitch! etc.) He also has roles that are outside the realm of anime, such as being the Japanese dub for American films. At this point of his career now, he is the sound director, who’s roles is to cast, and see what type or roles fit for an anime. His well known projects as a sound director include, 5 Centimeters Per Second, Rurouni Kenshin, and Yu-Gi-Oh. These were points mentioned during his press conference.

These are notes from what I wrote down.

Mitsuya’s Take on the field of voice acting.

  • The emergence of idol singers like Nana Mizuki definitely brought awareness of popularity to the voice acting field.
  • The field of voice acting is now much more narrow and compartmentalized, as compared to years earlier, when voice actors were also television actors, now there are people specifically trained to be voice actors.
  • Voice actors used to be nurtured and chosen by the production team of a title, now new voice actors are trained in a school, and there is the norm of “Use and forget.”
  • There is a five year mark for voice acting, once beyond that, then there is an individualized character opportunity.
  • Best to be able to gain as much experience as possible, so Mitsuya advises to act on stage to get a variety of skills.

Mitsuya on dubbing roles.

  • Must understand the original voice actor intent before moving into the role. “Necessity to dub with an intent.”
  • For Japanese original produced work, the seiyuu has the freedom to create something new. But with dubbing roles, there is a role already created, so the work is maintain the original work, but also create a Japanese feel to the project. Or at least that was the case when Mitusya worked on Back to the Future’s Marty Mc Fly’s character, now a change in Japanese dubbing is to just mimic the original actor.

Mitsuya on perspective on roles that he didn’t get.

  • There was one project, Rokushin Gattai God Mars, he auditioned for the younger brother, but got the older brother’s role instead. His role became so popular, the production team resurrected his character, and gave additional projects to Mitsuya.
  • Another role he didn’t get was the dubbing of Jar Jar in the Star Wars movies, so when the anime the Clone Wars came, he got the part of Jar Jar.
  • The motto of these stories are if you want it hard enough, it will come for you.

Mitsuya on transition from seiyuu to later roles as well as sound engineer/director.

  • He was reluctant for his initial role as a sound director, but with experience, and production teams wanting his experience. He fits into the role now.
  • Spoke about empathizing with younger voice actors. Because of his own experience in voice acting, he knows what the younger actors are feeling.
  • Clear difference between being a seiyuu and a sound director, in being a seiyuu – he would only have to worry about his own role’s lines, but as director – he worries about everyone’s lines.
  • Easier being an actor than a sound director, but if Mitsuya would want to work on both roles.

So this is my press coverage on on Otakon 2010, be sure check out Anime Diet’s Flickr for photos from Otakon. Also be on the look out for Jon’s video coverage of this convention.

Horie Yui/Kitamura Eri Press Conference Transcript

We at Anime Diet were fortunate enough to be part of a wide-ranging press conference with seiyuus Horie Yui and Kitamura Eri! Our staff got to ask many questions along with others about Toradora! as well as their roles in shows like Kanon, Angel Beats,Blood+, and, yes, even Kodomo no Jikan. This transcript + photos is one of our biggest reports and we’re proud to present it to you!

This transcript was edited for conciseness, clarity, and grammatical correctness. Corrections welcome from those who were there–sometimes the audio I used to transcribe this wasn’t so clear. (The audio can’t be released publicly, by the way–sorry.) Thanks. You’ll also notice that some questions were a little lost in translation with the answers, but we decided to present most of them anyway.

Our questions are preceded by our names in bold.

During the autograph session, there was a big crowd, and you stayed 15 minutes past your scheduled time. That was very generous of you. What prompted you to do that?

KITAMURA: Well as far as that went, we just wanted to sign as many autographs as possible. We heard there was a long line–a lot bigger than expected. We just wanted to have as many happy fans as possible. As far as the number 15 that was the staff’s decision.

HORIE: I really wish I could have talked to each fan, but unfortunately time didn’t permit that. I hope I could do it next time.

Ray: For Kitamura: your first role was as Saya Otonashi in Blood+. Tell us about your first recording experiences and how you overcome the challenges.

KITAMURA: Well first of all, it was actually my third role–though it was my first major published role. I definitely learned a lot. There’s all this different terminology, so I had the experience of learning all that, how it works, the system. I had a lot of great sempais who taught me how to do things, like (Katsuyuki) Konishi.

One of the difficulties I did have was trying to face this character, because Blood is kind of a surreal vampire fiction, kind of sci-fi, so I was trying to bring out that emotion–I never had any experience fighting anything.

You’ve heard that anime is big in America, but experiencing it firsthand must have been a big shock. Are there any major goals you have–do more concerts, play a certain role, etc.?

KITAMURA: The amount of energy here overseas is amazing. I was blown away. It gives you the feeling that no matter what you do, no matter how tough it is, you can still win. Obviously, I want to have as many roles as possible, but coming here today made me understand that there are so many fans who can understand things like singing character songs from Toradora. Makes me want to do more of them.

HORIE: First of all, I’m still kind of surprised and overjoyed that anime is so well-recieved here in America. The reaction from fans is amazing, overwhelming even. I was kind of worried that when anime came to America that the voices would get changed somehow, but surprisingly this wasn’t the case. So it reaffirmed my decision that I want to be in many projects as possible so that fans here in America can hear my voice.

Do your experiences today make you want to have a concert here in America or come back at all?

KITAMURA: As you understand, there’s a lot of politics that go with the higher-ups, so there aren’t any solid plans as of yet. But if the chance arises, I’d definitely love to do that. One of the interesting things for me is that when people react to certain things, it’s not the same timing I’m used to in Japan–like when people cheer for you, and so if it’ll still be well-received here, I’d love to do it.

Toradora depicts average high school life in Japan. Most of Kitamura and Horie’s roles portray teenagers in high school as well. Many attendees at AX are in high school too, and they wonder if high school is like what they see in anime: funny things, first love, etc. How was your high school life?

KITAMURA: For me, there were times when all the girls would get together and be lively, but for the most part, I was operating alone, doodling mangas in my notebook sometimes. But as far as the way anime depicts high school life, I think, a lot of our experiences affect the way we act, and we draw from our experiences when we act our roles. In that sense, it’s not too mis-depicted, I guess.

HORIE: I’m sure one scene you’re familiar with is when you see a boy and a girl walk home from school together. For me personally, that didn’t really happen that much. Sometimes I try to relive that through anime and through my characters, experience it through them. That’d be really nice.

Mike: I really enjoyed your roles in Toradora. Those two roles stand out because there’s some emotional depth and nuance in the characters. I was wondering, was there something in the roles you played that really connected to you personally that enabled you to portray them convincingly?

KITAMURA: I wouldn’t say that every time we act a certain role, we’ve experienced that particular kind of emotion. A lot of times, in fact, we have to act scenes for things we haven’t experienced firsthand. I’m always observing people to try to learn how they experience different emotions. Even though I do a lot of work in 2d, I watch a lot of live action movies. And I’m always learning and reflect what I learn from them, as well as things from my personal experience.

HORIE: The first thing I usually try to do is try to put myself in a character’s situation. I ask myself: if I were in that situation, how would I act? What would I do? WIth anime, it’s helpful, because the animation is set in place, and we record the voices afterwards, so I try to absorb as much information as I can from the anime, and then juxtapose it with my own experiences as well as how I think a scene should be acted. Then I usually come up with something in the middle.

Ray: As a followup, how do you mentally prepare yourself to fit into the characters?

KITAMURA AND HORIE: Well, a lot of minor changes occur right on the spot, so we receive direction from the director. Usually when we look at the script we try not to imagine how a scene is supposed to play out until we see it, because we don’t want to predetermine ourselves and then change it later on. It takes a lot of practice, experience, and trying to be able to flexible when a director tells you to do something.

Thank you for the panel this morning. While making Toradora, were there any particularly hard scenes, and if there were, did you have to talk to the original author of the story, Takemiya Yuyuko, for direction?

KITAMURA: It’s actually really rare that we talk in person with the original author. There’s a lot of steps in between: there’s the director, sound director, lots of positions. So it’s a long bridge between the original author and us. But for the auditions, the author was generally present. There were times we had meetings beforehand, and of course it depends on her schedule, but she did try to attend and put her two cents in at some point. Generally, the results of the meeting goes down to the sound directors, and then is passed down to us and that determines how we act.

(To Horie) One thing that new anime fans have a problem with is the tendency to use meaningless sounds as words, like “uguu.” In your acting, how do you take a sound that doesn’t mean anything and turn it into an emotion?

HORIE: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Now that you mention it, I remember raising an eyebrow about it too. First of all, I try to familiarize myself with the settings and background of the character. Once I have a context of a scene and visualize it in my mind, saying a meaningless word like “uguu” and saying an actual line isn’t really as different as you might think. Once I have my imagination in place, even if I say “uguu” the emotions can be conveyed. “Let’s try.” (in English)

(To Horie) Since you got to work as Ayu in Kanon twice, four years apart, with Toei and later KyoAni, how did the experience relate to each other? As the series grew in popularity, did it become more stressful, or was it easier since you previously worked with the character, or did certain things get resolve any regrets you might have had when you worked with the series originally?

HORIE: Like you said, there was a long period in between, but surprisingly, when you pull a character out of the closet that you haven’t acted in a while, it’s like riding a bicycle, so when you start getting in the groove, it just comes back to you and you can fit the role. in the case of Kanon, there was some evolution in the direction itself, so I acted it slightly different this time around.

(To Kitamura) In Angel Beats, what do you think of fan reaction to your role in that show? (She’s Yui, the main female protagonist.)

KITAMURA: First of all, this was a big brand, and there was a lot of big names in this series. I was thinking to myself that this was a big opportunity and I wanted to avail myself of this opportunity.

Ray: what do you think of the concept behind Angel Beats: that when you fulfill your dream, you’re able to move on to the next life?

KITAMURA: From a fan’s perspective, I thought it was an interesting mechanism in that universe. It’s a different way of conveying a feeling of accomplishment, of achieving a goal. It’s a unique and different way of telling the story.

Did you ever have a chance to work with Jun Maeda of Key while working on the show?

KITAMURA: Unfortunately, I didn’t really have discussions with him. But Maeda-san is an amazing scenario writer, and he is able to convey different ideas very well through the story rather than just words. The way he presents an idea–I got to read the scenario so it helps a lot–when he presents an idea, it’s best told through the story. I haven’t had a chance to say hi to him or talk to him in person, though. In addition to the scripts for the anime, he also does the drama CD scripts too. The way he tells those is almost donjon in a way, but it’s from the official source, but he’s able to pull on the fans’ heartstrings in that regard.

(To Horie) Describe your experiences in a seiyuu pop group Aice5 and whether there are any plans for a reunion.

HORIE: Reviving Aice now would be really difficult. But just watching units like AKB48 working together is really fun. I really hope that we can do something like that in the future.

It’s listed that Eri Kitamura does illustration as a hobby. Has she ever considered going pro?

KITAMURA: I think just going pro right away is really hard. I think it’s really great to convey a story that’s in your own mind and have people experience what you’re thinking. If there’s a way to go pro, then, I’ll be willing to draw something.

Kitamura has a reputation of being an “ota-nii” among fans in Japan. What do you think about the otaku in Japan?

KITAMURA: Of course, I see some things from a fan’s perspective, like when I first saw Horie-san. It’s really beneficial to know how otakus think, because when I act, maybe there’s a little intricacy or nuance that I can act in a certain way that may be more well-received and understood by them.

Mike: The anime industry has seen lots of changes in the past 10 years or so. Can you comment on the changes in the industry, especially with the rise of the moe subculture, has affected you, and where do you think it will affect you in the future?

KITAMURA: It’s definitely become a lot more enjoyable, with the transition to CG from cel shading: it really changes and gives animation more depth. back then, people had to work really hard, but now, with new tools that are available, you can express new emotions, so that’s one aspect that’s affected us.

HORIE: like you said, there have been a lot of changes over the years, but I think tha’ts the result of people searching for something new, because you don’t’ want to tell a story that’s already been told. An interesting product will always be interesting, because it’s a result of trying to pursue human emotion int he search for something new, so of course there are going to be waves of popularity in a particular era, but it’s always in the service of trying something new.

If they do karaoke, do they ever sing their own songs?

HORIE: Sometimes I go to a karaoke box by myself, and I won’t necessarily sing it, but I will play “Yahho” in the background while I think about the scenes.

KITAMURA: I go to karaoke by myself or in groups, but when I go, I like singing songs from people I’ve worked with in the past–like Hocchan’s over here. But if I’m there for long periods of time and I run out of songs to sing, I start singing character songs and add my own twist to things.

A lot of people only associate voice actresses with the anime industry. But it also involves Hollywood dubs. Have any of you worked in dubs for Hollywood movies?

KITAMURA: I haven’t worked on any Hollywood or foreign films specifically. But I have done things like commercial narrations for shows I’ve worked on. If the opportunity arises, I’d like to try it.

HORIE: Of course, compared to the anime work I’ve done, it’s considerably less. The main example I can think of right now is the ghost in “The Ring.” (The American version, I think.) The little girl si acting as a ghost, when I try to rehearse, I would be playing the video in the BG–it would be very scary sometimes. I actually do a lot of horror movies for some reason.

There was enough material for you to do a show at the Nokia Theater. What stopped that from happening?

KITAMURA: We actually don’t do any of the planning, it’s really the higher-ups.

HORIE: It’s kind of mixed feelings. I’m partly relieved I don’t have to go up on stage, but I also feel a little bit of regret that I wasn’t able to.

Rome (in Japanese): Do you think the rise of the “herbivorous man” (soshokukei) has contributed to the rise of otakudom? (Long conversation in Japanese ensues)

KITAMURA: there are little nuances here and there…for some reason, all the male roles in anime have the girls come on to them, so I don’t know if that’s really an accurate reflection of a certain type of shy guy, and you have to think about that a little bit. I don’t know if it directly correlates to the rise of all that.

Mike: This is for Kitamura. Ami, in Toradora, struggles with the balance between her public persona vs her private persona. Do you, or people you know, have a similar struggle in balancing the two? How do you manage it?

KITAMURA: When I act or perform, I have to flip the switch–I have to alter my emotions. Looking back, sometimes I think people perceive these emotions differently…they’re like different mes in the characters I play. I wonder sometimes if that’s a reflection of my own private self. Everyone, when they express themselves, they have their real emotions behind what they say. What they say may not neck be a lie but may be a way of dealing with the situation…it’s like playing catch, back and forth with a person.

In Bakemonogatari, there’s a complicated tongue twister that’s said by Tsubasa. What was the story behind that line and did that give any trouble?

HORIE: The first time that line actually popped up was in a drama CD. Seeing it in hiragana makes it look like a meaningless jumble, but I had to look at the original kanji when I read the line…Araragi’s line was the complete version. Then I twisted it a bit. It was still difficult.

(To Kitamura): what did you feel about your role in Kodomo no Jikan?

KITAMURA: It gives me a smile, a pure feeling, of a girl in love who wants to be liked by her teacher.

Rome: I heard about the “17 forever movement” started by Inoue Kikuko. Is Kitamura part of it, and is it Horie Yui’s mission to spread it all over the world?

HORIE: When I asked Kikuko-san if I could join, she said yes. I don’t have that mission in particular though!

KITAMURA: I play the role of saying “oi! oi! that’s not right!” whenever someone says they are 17 years old. Prior to meeting Horie-san I knew about this movement. And now I’m in charge of the “oi! oi!”

PMX 2009: Nabeshin + Aoi Kidokoro Press Conference (Part 2 of 2)

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

See part 1, an exclusive time with Nabeshin, here.

Sorry for the delays on this video! There were some technical issues. Here’s the second half of the interview, which is actually a press conference with both Nabeshin and a manga artist-turned-idol named Aoi Kidokoro. The banter between the two of them is infectious and occasionally suggestive. :)

For time’s sake, in this press conference I’ve only included questions that were asked by our representatives. There will be a downloadable version sometime tonight, I hope.