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Michinori Chiba

STUDIO HERCULES

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Shinichiro Ishikawa

GONZO K.K. President

Hideki Tanno

GONZO K.K.

ーーWHY DID YOU GIVE IT A GO?

Shinichiro Ishikawa(Ishikawa)What was the reason you accepted this project, even though I told you it was creating something out of the blue?

Michinori Chiba(Chiba)Actually that is exactly why! I thought I should do it because I didn't know what to expect.

IshikawaI suppose it can be like, you don't want to do it because you don't know what to expect. Why did you decide to give it a try even though you didn't know what to expect?

ChibaAt the minimum, there is no minus factor for me? It's not that risky, is it? No matter how it turns out, at the very least I'll get paid for the work. Since it was a unique project, I thought it would be interesting to try it out, accepting your offer to create. I'm not the kind of person who can produce something on my own.

IshikawaWhat did you start with when you first thought about this drawing? What kind of idea did you have for the start point?

ChibaI'm not sure if it was the world view or the characters... What I can say, is it started with a bit of a vague mist-like idea in my mind... Up until now, I've only been working on specific orders, so I haven't had the training to do anything on my own, so I wasn't sure what to do, but as I was working on it, I thought I'd tie it in with the mandala I mentioned at the beginning, as well as other things I've been thinking about lately. I didn't know if it was the world view or the characters, I don't know how to say it, but for now, I thought I should just keep drawing.

IshikawaThen, what is the reason you created this character?

ChibaThe easiest way to interprete it, is that this is the direction I am heading for. This design is very much anime style. It's like a classic anime style. This is more like my drawing direction for characters, even though it is recently changing a bit. I just gave it a try.

IshikawaIn a way, if you were to summarize the direction of what you've been drawing, it would be like this.

ChibaThat's an easy way to interpret.

ーーFUDO(不動明王) is the name

IshikawaYou've given it a shape as you were inspired! I got it. Why do you use a lot of purple?

ChibaThis is a concept of the statue of Fudo Myo-oh, isn't it? The one in orange and blue. I was intending that coloring style.

IshikawaGreat! You haven't decided on a title yet, but let's call it 'FUDO'. I think Fudo Myo-oh would be too long for foreigners to pronounce.

ChibaIf it's Fudo, they won't understand it unless it's written in Chinese characters, right? We talked about Shiva, didn't we? When they came to Japan, they became like Daikoku-sama and Fudo Myoo. I didn't include the concept of Daikoku-sama, but I thought I'd try to capture the atmosphere of the colors.

IshikawaI think it's more like the name of a character than the name of a work, so the kanji should be Fudo Myo-oh and the name is FUDO. Anyway, we can decide on FUDO-MYO-OH, and choose the name from one of those syllables. Since it is a proper noun, there is no way it will be translated into English. If I were to do it, I think it would be Fudo, Myo-oh, or Fudo Myo-oh.

ChibaThere are so many different Myo-ohs in the legends.

IshikawaThen let's make it FUDO. And kanji should be written as 不動明王 English is FUDO, which means immovable. I think I'll go with that. Let's go for that! Also, how would you like to see this evolve in the future? There's a community of users, so I'd like to get more and more input from them. That's why I got seven keywords from you, i.e. Prayer, Disaster, Co-existence, Inner-world, Tower, Mandala, Demon-buster

ChibaI don't know how it evolves... For now, I can't say anything until I know how people will see in my design.

IshikawaThe keywords I received for this character had a lot of images of harmony being born out of destruction. I think it ended with the word "demon".

Hideki Tanno(Tanno)Among the seven keywords I presented at the beginning, you rejected one of them and said that you would put "coexistence" in its place because of the recent... If you look closely, you can see a virus in the background.

ChibaIt's a virus-like image.

IshikawaBut it doesn't look like a virus.

ChibaI put it into a design for more interpretation by the audience.

IshikawaI put them in English: ""Player,"" ""Disaster,"" ""Co-existence,"" ""Inner-world,"" ""Tower,"" and ""Mandala"". I couldn't come up with '破魔' in English, so I went with 'Demon Buster'."""

ChibaIt's difficult, isn't it, because of the cultural difference between the East and the West.

IshikawaDemon Buster was the most difficult. It's a pity that it turned out to be so long, because there's no way to make it short.

ChibaI'm from the East, so I'm not a dualist.

IshikawaThat's what you can find in this design here, isn't it? It's more like a middle ground. It's not polarity, it's not heaven and hell, it's somewhere inbetween.

ChibaYes, it's a gradation. I wonder how people will perceive that.

IshikawaIt's unclear what is good and what is evil.

TannoAt first glance, it's hard to tell whether this character is good or evil. What do you think about that?

ChibaFudo-san basically has a scary face, right? He has a compassionate heart, but he also has a scary face. I think that there should be two sides to a person. I think there should be two sides to the story. It's the same in this day and age, but I think that superficially beautiful things smell fishy.

IshikawaI'll post on Discord that I'm interviewing him. I wonder what kind of response I'll get.

TannoDo you have any particular ideas about the character's vague setting or worldview, into which the audience might add at a various levels?

ChibaLike this small thing sitting at the side is a companion to FUDO…?

TannoIt looks like FUNxxx…

ChibaIt's not Pokexxx, though.

TannoIt's floating, right?

ChibaYes, it's a freestanding object.

IshikawaBTW, I'm going to write the name FUDO on discord! All right?

ーーMANDALA in the background

ChibaMy background art must've been a hard job for the finisher …

TannoThat's right, Ms. H was everwhelmed by the job... You drew about six different types of background pattern pictures, and asked her to paint them in two different color patterns.

ChibaIf I were a digital artist, I would have done it myself. Sorry about that. I think this background pattern is my desire to stay healthy. Maybe it's a protection charm. Maybe, like Amabie's charm.

IshikawaI see.

ChibaYou could write this down and put it up to protect your health.

IshikawaYeah, that could be interesting. That could be used as a concept in the anime. It's like a charm for dispelling evil spirits, isn't it? Well, that's exactly what Fudo Myo-oh is, isn't it? Also the mandala on the back fits in well, design-wise. I didn't expect it would work so well. They are mandalas, but also look a little like European emblems.

ChibaThey are also like family crests.

IshikawaYes, they look like soccer team emblems, also like Peugeot or Renault. The colors, too, are quite nice. Didn't Mr. Chiba specify the individual colors for these?

TannoYes, Mr. Chiba did.

ChibaI specified it.

IshikawaAnd the one in the back?

TannoYes, that's right.

ChibaChiba-san specified everything! Amazing!!

TannoChiba-san made about six different line drawings and painted them with two different color patterns. So there were twelve patterns, then Chiba-san also specified exactly where to put all of them in the background.

ChibaI told them rougly where… There is no particular meaning in the pattern of placement.

IshikawaIf that's the case, this might be a good pattern to use for symbols.

TannoIf you zoom in, you can see that it's a vision of a virus. Is that okay?

ChibaI wanted there to be something like... A disaster. I bought a book as a reference and drew them.

TannoIt was very detailed, wasn't it?

ChibaYes, but even so, I didn't draw the exact numbers of spikes… I didn't want to copy the patterns exactly as they were.

TannoIf I had painted it, it would have looked too bland, but our special effects staff did a good job of giving it an old-fashioned look.

ChibaI definitely wanted an old-fashioned look.

IshikawaI think it's probably a good idea to use it as a pattern behind the symbol. Even if it's just the color pattern.

TannoThe special effects guy told me that this is the same method he used for the Basilisk DVD box. It was lucky that I was able to ask the same staff who worked on Mr. Chiba's artworks for Basilisk to do the coloring and special effects this time.

ChibaHe might have thought I was drawing something like this again (laughs).

ーーThe story starts from here!

IshikawaWhen I was listening to what you said earlier, I was thinking that Makoto Kobayashi thought a lot about the story when drawing, but rather than thinking about the story, you just drew it from your intuition?

ChibaI think it's just the characters and the background.

IshikawaYou start from an image, right? Is there anything that you want kept, without a doubt, with this character, when I create the story? Or, do you feel that it's enough if the seven keywords you gave me fit well and the character of Fudo Myo-oh is maintained?

ChibaPlease do not make it all about the rough stuff.

IshikawaDo you want to make FUDO a gentle character in daily life?

ChibaI guess he is just a simple person. Or more like a cheerful person or a healthy person.

IshikawaDo you have an image of a voice actor? Do you have an image of the kind of person you want? Since it's an anime character, it's better to have an image of the voice actor.

ChibaI'm not expert in that…

IshikawaYou can tell me famous voice actors in the history. For example, Joji Nakata. I don't think that's quite right. Like Isao Sasaki. He's not a voice actor, but...

ChibaHow about Mr. Kaneto Shiozawa… even though so long ago

IshikawaThat's right! He looks like a Kaneto Shiozawa type of character. I'm of that generation, so I know exactly what you mean. Now I understand. That's the direction you're going. Has Mr. Kaneto Shiozawa passed away already?

ChibaYes, he's gone…

IshikawaThen it's impossible to get him to do it. But I'll think of a story with Kaneto Shiozawa in mind. I'll study Kaneto Shiozawa's roles again. Unfortunately, I can't get Kaneto Shiozawa to do the voice. By the time this becomes an anime, we might be able to use Kaneto Shiozawa's vocaloid to act on the show. I saw NHK made Misora Hibari singing like she was alive again.

ChibaThe technology was not quite advanced enough, when I watched that, though…

IshikawaIt was not yet there, but I felt like it got one step closer. After three more years, I think there is a possibility that an AI created voice can act on the show.

TannoThere are many stations and department stores that use AI voices for their broadcasts.

IshikawaAs a final question, how much do you expect from the auction?

ChibaI'm not sure at all. I'm afraid of it, though. That's because my expectations are low. I've never been sure about it.

IshikawaI guess we'll just have to see where it takes us.

ChibaThat's right. It's nice if there are people who like it. That's what I'm thinking.

IshikawaI understand. We put a lot marketing effort into it, so please look forward to it. But, please don't be upset if it doesn't work…

ChibaNo, no, no, not at all.

IshikawaIt's just that we can't set this up ourselves.

ChibaWe can't play on it ourselves (laughs).

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