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Anime Expo New York - Akitaroh Daichi Panel

By Andrew Tei     August 31, 2002

Note: This is a rough translation as I was transcribing during the entire
panel, plus any mistakes that could happen during translation.



Conventions

AD - Akitaroh Daichi

Q – Question from audience



Akitaroh Daichi: Hello, I'm Akitaroh Daichi. I make anime in Japan. I've been
living in Japan for 46 years. This is my first time in the mainland United
States. I've been to Hawaii before. I'm glad there are people who enjoy the
shows I make. So let's get started.



Q: With Fairy Princess Ren, was there going to be an episode 3, or did it get
cancelled?



AK: Well, episode three was always up in the air. If the first two sold well,
we would have made thirteen. But the sales were abysmal. I did want to make
episode three, but there isn't going to be any more opportunities to do that.
In Japan, people ask me that all the time and it pains me.



Q: Which of your works do you feel most satisfied with?



AK: I'm satisfied and dissatisfied with all my works. But if I was forced to
choose an answer, it you be Jubei-chan.



Q: Now and Then, Here and Now (NTHT) is very different from your other works,
what kind of mindset did it take to make it?



AK: This has been my most frequently asked question since being in New York. I
really like doing comedy, but sometimes you need to recharge yourself. Anime
has a lot of war, but no one really deals with it seriously. So I felt I had
to make it.



Q: Due to NTHT material, was it very hard to get it on the air?



AK: It actually wasn't that difficult since it was on WOWWOW. They never
mettled with the content of the show. This is very rare. There is one mistake
I made with the show. The show was slotted during dinner, instead of 10 pm as
I wanted. When I found this out, I wanted a disclaimer for the show. But the
TV station decided they didn't want it.



Q: What work did you do with Urusei Yatsura?



AK: I was a viewer of Urusei Yatsure, for the final movie for Urusei Yatsura I
was the camera operator.



Q: How do you get into the mindset to create something like Tsukikage Ran?



AK: Do you consider Jubei-chan strange? And Ran? I admit Ran is strange.
Tsukikage Ran was originally a manga in Japan. I read it, and I thought it was
really spiffy. I tried to be very faithful to it, and it kind of became my own
style. And that was what I used for Jubei-chan.



Q: Is there any chance of you and Watanabe, Shinichi ever working together?



AK: I would not want to collaborate. Watanabe, known as Nabeshin in Japan, and
I worked on a show ten years ago. Nabeshin is kind of like my mentor. But when
I worked on Kodomo no omocha, I worked on episodes that Watanabe directed.



Q: How did you come to do Jubei-chan?



AK: Actually, Jubei-chan wasn't based on a four panel manga. Madhouse was
asking for an original story from me, so I gave them an old idea I had. Bandai
Visual and Madhouse made it. For the four panel manga, you must be referring
to the one made by the character designer.



Q: Have you ever eaten Jubei-yaki?



AK: I used my favorite recipe in the context of the show, so I've had it
numerous times.



Q: I heard the story might be continued in manga? Can you provide us any
insight to this?



AK: It’s true that Jubei-chan has started a new life as a serialized manga.
The new title is the Counter Attack of the Siberian Yak. In the manga,
Koinosuke is still alive. There has only been one issue out of it. I've
finished the first 2 episodes, and I was supposed to finish the 3rd before I
came to NY. The all important plot, it takes place 2 months after the TV show.
There is a new transfer student into Jubei-chan's class. Freeshagh(Spelling?)
Yagyu(Cute girl).



Q: What other serious works might you want to do again?



AK: I think that NTHH is the most serious story I'd ever create in my life.
Another series would only be equal. I had stomach cramps and was crying rivers
every day while making NTHH so I don't know if I want to go through that
again.



Q: What are your thoughts and feelings on the Fruits Basket storyline?



AK: When I first asked to direct Fruits Basket I read the manga. I had a hard
time comprehending it because it did not have a story. Fruits Baskets only has
an atmosphere. So I just decided to experiment and go without a story. In the
end we think we succeeded. In the beginning we weren't sure.



Q: So for the Jubei-chan manga then, does that mean the end of the TV series
never happened? Or does Koinosuke come back.



AK: When the first animated episodeof Jubei-chan went on, the character
designer was already working on the manga. So the manga is a sequel to the
anime. If I made a new animated version, I would keep Koinsouke dead.



Q: Why/How did you choose the opening quote of NTHT?



AK: The quote from the opening is something that came up when showed NTHT to
my sempai, Ryonsuke Takahashi. Out of respect for him, I used the quote he
gave to me. So it is not my own words, but a comment from my sempai



Q: When I see Shiro in Jubei-chan, I am reminded of Hayama in Kodomo no Omocha.
Did you use the same voice actor? Any other connections?



AK: You're pretty smart. Same voice actor. When he was doing Kodomo no Omocha,
he was in his second year of junior high school. Now he's 20, and no longer
voice acting.



Q: Which character in Fruits Basket do you like? Hate?



AK: That's a difficult question. I feel an equal amountt of love for all the
characters. I know Japanese fans fight over Yuki and Kyo. My daughter is a Kyo
fan. My daughter also loves Aya. In Fruits Basket, there is an episode when
Aya goes to a store; it was a request from my daughter.



Q: About Tsukikage Ran, have you written any other material for that wasn't
animated?



AK: There were no scripts beforehand. I wrote this by coming up with the
episode titles first. Then we wrote the scripts for the episode. I have a long
list of titles that don't have stories. I have one where "we fight over udon
or soba".



Q: Since Kodomo no Omocha, which was over 100 episodes, you've only done short
work. Would you like to do something long again?



AK: This show was aired on a station where all the shows were judged on
ratings. The first year was good, but by the second year I started to grow
tired of it and wanted to stop. Since it was rating well every quarter I had
to continue. So now I only want to do shows with a predetermined length. I
even found Fruits Baskets with twenty six episodes to be quite long. However
to make an exception, I started a kids show in Japan, where each show is seven
minutes and airs five times a week and it airs. Ojaru Marou(spelling). I've
made over 400 episodes of it so far, and I'm still working on it.



Q: Will we be able to meet more Kuroumi-chan?



AK: There is a real life model for Kuroumi-chan.



Q: Will we see more Kuroumi-chan?



AK: Yes, there will be Kuroumi-chan 2.



Q: What's your most memorable or funny moment during the making of anime?



AK: I'm not sure I can come up with a specific moment, but I have a funny
experience every day. For example, in (I missed the title), after we did the
storyboard we gave it back to the manga artist. He wrote an X on it since he
didn’t like it. We thought he was wrong. So we aired it with the X on it.



Q: Where did the idea of Babbit come from? And Sana's rap?



AK: Since the manga is over, Babbit will never come up. Babbit and Sana's raps
were imposed on the show per the sponsor. Sponsor request tend to be
tyrannical in nature, though for Kodomo no Omocha it was different. We both
liked the idea.



Q: (I missed the question)



AK: Akitaroh Daichi is not my real name, but I didn't change it when I got
famous. I changed it to get famous. The kanji for it balance out much more
than my real name. In Animage magazine, my name stood out due to that and has
gotten me jobs.



Q: Did the sponsor make you put in Zenjioh into Kodomo no Omocha? What was it
like working with him?



AK: (The answer to this question makes no sense to me, and I can’t find enough
information to confirm that a Zenjiroh-like character even exists in the manga)
Zenjiroh in the manga has a different name, Sama, which is a parody of a real
life comedian. Orginally we were supposed to cast Sama, but he was too
expensive. We got Zenjiroh instead, who was reported to be a good impersonator
for Sama. So I think Zenjiroh wasn't perfectly happy with the job. Zenjiroh
started to fear the show because things in the show were happening in real
life. When we fired him on the show, we put him in a show to be watched by
middle aged women, and he got that in real life.

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