This is one of the richest and most detailed interviews from this summer! We interviewed the president of Madhouse Studio, Masao Maruyama, together with writer/director Sunao Katabuchi, who is perhaps best known as the director of Black Lagoon and Mai Mai Miracle. We get into real depth about who they liked to work with, what their process is for deciding on a project, and especially what it’s like working on foreign co-productions vs working on a Japanese production. (Madhouse has collaborated several times with Marvel in recent years with anime versions of Iron Man and Wolverine, among others.)
This interview also represents something of a first for us, as it was conducted without any translator or mediator—it was done 100% in Japanese, which allowed us the time to get detailed replies. Transcript follows the break.
You know there is a point where there is too much action? Well, this show comes dangerously close to it. But anyhow, here’s how I feel about it so far.
A. it’s American.
Nothing wrong with that. I feel that you could put this on Saturday morning cartoons if you want. The drawing is Japanese-style American. Yukio, the ninja woman played by the awesome Romi Park, looks just like an American comic character. Then again, thanks to one of our readers, I learned that the story arc in this show probably comes from an old story from Wolverine (circa 1979). It’s a good plot, don’t get me wrong.
B. it’s action packed.
Hello, Omega Red! For people like me who didn’t know much about Wolverine and Omega Red, the back story/memory segments weaved into episode four was a welcome addition. For other people who know about Omega Red, it was probably unnecessary. In any event, the show never really stops. Wolverine is constantly fighting. There isn’t a moment for real conversation or character exploration. I don’t know, I feel it probably works for people who already know about Wolverine but for me, it’s starting to overload my senses. The shitty thing about being a veteran anime watcher and a critic is that you lose that sense of freshness. If I were 18 again and watching this, I’d give it all 10’s. But now I wish there’s some character exploration and plot progression. The show screams: “I’m cool.” And it is. It’s just not saying anything else.
C. I want to see Mariko does more/I wish Romi gets better lines.
I really wish she is given more personality. Or does more. Or whatever. So far, she’s not had any opportunity to do anything. That’s kind of disappointing. But what gets to me is that Romi, who is an awesome voice actress, hasn’t had many good lines, if any. I get it, it’s all about Wolverine, that’s where Marvel’s funding is. But I honestly wish there’s a little more. For that matter, Wolverine has been fighting nearly every minute for the four episodes that he hardly has anything to say. I get that, too. That’s Wolverine for ya. But even Wolverine has something to say from time to time. In an anime, I expect him to say more. He’s rough and tough but he’s smart and resourceful. Or I think he’s supposed to be.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s great action and great animation. And if you’re not a critic, then forget about what I said and just enjoy the fights. But I’m a hard motherfucker to please and that’s why I’m looking for a little more.
P.S. I don’t know…is Omega Red ALWAYS CONSTIPATED???
We were at the panel that premiereed the Iron Man Anime, the colloration effort between Marvel and Madhouse. Having not seen the Iron Man movie nor having not read the comic, I have limited interest in the franchise. That said, I’ll begin with the plot and the review. Those who want to be surprised, don’t read the plot part. Also see Anime News Network’s review, written by Todd Ciolek.