Another translation of Anime Style event report titled “Mamoru Oshii Film Festival 2019: The second Night”, courtesy of YnkL-san. This time Shin-Bungeiza collaborated with Anime Style’s Yuichiro Oguro again to held this event in which they sat down with Mamoru Oshii and Tetsuya Nishio to discuss Angel’s Egg and Gosenzosama Banbanzai! They shared some production excerpts, funny stories and their struggle during the production, also of course Oshii’s outspoken personality is always charming in its own way.
Oshii (right) and Nishio (left) were posing in a picture they taken together after the event.
Credits: This translation wouldn’t be possibly made without the wonderful event report by ynkl-san, so much all the credit goes to him. Also thanks for few anons from DJT who helped me to understand few paragraphs.
This translation was by no means perfect, I had only it done in few hours so if you notice some translation errors/grammatical mistakes, I apologize! And feel free to left it out at the comment.
Note: There’s a mistake which he puts yagate kimi ni naru’s bd commentary tweet in those moment so I re-arranged them into pastebin text.
Topic: Angel’s Egg
Nishio: Angel’s Egg was only 70-minutes long, relatively short work for a feature length movie, so people who fall asleep when watching it really have low literacy, don’t they? Visually speaking, there are a lot of stimulus in it and the music is very dramatic, it’s totally watchable.
Oshii: I don’t mind people fell asleep at all. Since I wanted to emulate that Tarkovskian atmosphere in animation form. A pleasant and unbounded time. Films that make people fall asleep are good films.
Nishio: Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
Oshii: Feeling sleepy when watching a film is a good thing. It’s a proof that your brain is synchronizing with the film.
The Production excerpts of Angel’s Egg
Oshii: The in-betweening process was like a hell. Especially the girl’s hair. It took us 3 months just to finish that 1 cut of the tank scene. The staff were young and energetic so I thought that they could pull it off somehow. It was that kind of work where the animators can’t make it out without seeing hell themselves.
Nishio: There were some Ghibli’s starting member weren’t there? Like color designer (Michiyo) Yasuda-san and the producer (Toshio) Suzuki-san.
Oshii: I had good relationship with Ghibli back in those days. They even lent me Makiko Futaki-chan for more than 6 months. Yasuda-san and me had a quarrel to the point it was so loud and everyone could hear us from the hallway. In the end we both settled down on the matter though.
Oshii: By the way Anno even ran away from us for three weeks. We had this kind of atmosphere where we were like bunch of trainee monks meditating, Anno had it enough and said “I hate being in a monastery-like place like this!” then ran away.
Oshii: I constructed this movie as to be easy to understood its message if you finished it until the end. It’s not something that you must dwell over or look into it too hard. Angel’s egg has a structure but it has no story.
Topic: Gosenzosama Banbanzai!
Oshii: It was a total flop. We didn’t have that much budget but we still made it so the music was so rich. I was working in the studio as if I were in a two-man band (I worked really hard and stayed up till morning in studio’s hallway).
Oshii: Pierrot’s President (Ichikawa-san) told me to make something like Urusei Yatsura, and I told them “what if we make Lum-chan as a swindler?” and the producer was like, so troubled with my idea. If it’s too normal it would be discontinued in just two episodes right?
Topic: Gosenzosama Banbanzai! shock
Nishio: It was a turning point in my life. I was so influenced by its maniacal work.
Oshii: I’m glad it was well received among animators.
Oshii: There were a lot of different animators in this anime, if you think about it now, they were all would eventually be big names in this industry.
Nishio: Technically speaking episode 4 was the peak (of art).
Oshii: By episode 6 the situation was like a car with flat tires. The in-between weren’t very good but the key animation was great so we somehow managed to pull it off. I had Kise to draw around 8 cuts. Gosenzosama Banbanzai had like, 60-70 cuts per episode. The character acting cuts were very long and it was very difficult to animate them. We used around 20-30 sheets of background too.
Nishio: You had to use a box to carry around them instead of normal bag right.
Oshii: Yeah, they wouldn’t possibly fit in normal bags. At the time although we were competing with other OVAs we didn’t have much money so we didn’t have such a leeway to do wasteful things. Originally the character designer wasn’t (Satoru) Utsunomiya, the plan was to hire someone from Gainax but they ran away. Even Masayuki ran away from me.
Topic: The Sky Crawlers
Oshii: It was my last work as anime director and I haven’t got around to direct anything since then.
Nishio: You could feel like the flow of this industry (animation) really changed right?
Oshii: Yeah, right now there isn’t any single project that I proposed got accepted and my wife told me “It’s not your era”. But it’s not like I came to hate anime or I don’t want to direct anime again, even now I still have one (or two?) project that I’m really working hard for.
Nishio: Sky Crawlers was my last job in my 30s. And without realizing it, now the number of younger anime directors that I worked with grew. If the director were older than me it would be easy for me to chew them out, but now they’re all younger and if I were to do that it would be called power harassment.
Oshii: Sky Crawlers was closer to a literary film. I wanted to focus on the character acting when they were on the ground and if I have to be honest, it’d be better if the aerial combat scene were cut off. In fact, the CG aerial combat was awesome but the character’s expression was meh.
Topic: Character acting
Oshii: “The point of character acting (in Sky Crawler) is to make it doesn’t feel like a character acting at all.”, Tettsun (Nishio Tetsuya’s nickname) and I discussed it for so many times. “Don’t make them move, but don’t stop them either.” But then how do we create the sense of realism? Should we make it a work just entirely about people? Actually I felt a big sense of accomplishment because we made it work, I liked it the most.
Nishio: The design was well received among animators we worked with because they were simple. My reputation also sky-rocketed thanks to it. I absolutely couldn’t let myself collapse after the production of Sky Crawlers ended, but in itself you can say I worked too hard on myself.
Oshii: As for me, I was goofing at work as much as it deemed appropriate. Usually when I re-drew and fixing the layout I had to drew all like the character and as such, but since Sky Crawlers was mostly on eye level shot, once I drew some minor correction my job is finished. I leave the rest of work to Tettsun.
Nishio: Yeah, you often weren’t around in the studio.
Oshii: It’s because I can’t draw, I would just be a nuisance if I was there. Also, I completely trust Tettsun so Sky Crawlers is almost completely Tettsun’s work.
Oshii: From animation perspective, I’m really satisfied with Sky Crawlers. I want to illustrate the character’s existence through the their acting which flows naturally like the flow of time itself. I requested to make the character feels like they’re real people who actually stand on the same ground as us. This can’t be done other by the animation supervisor (sakkan). I want the audience to pay attention how the characters open and fold newspaper, also the gorgeous bowling scene by Shishou (Takeshi Honda). Also the scene Kise drew, it was so incredibly amorous.
Topic: Production I.G.
Oshii: It surely has been a while since I was at I.G, now there are only names and faces I don’t recognize there. Also the studio is oddly so quiet now.
Nishio: Now there are no one left but young female staff at I.G.
Oshii: When we were working on Sky Crawlers we did bunch of stuff like drinking or making oden and got chewed out real bad, didn’t we? Now I can’t feel such an atmosphere at I.G.
Nishio: I remember I was hiding Sukiyaki pot under my table.
Oshii: Right now there’s almost no merit when making anime in large group like back then when we did it in such a festive atmosphere. We still had it back then during Sky Crawlers, when Shishou had Pizza party at the studio he also wouldn’t come in and just peeked in.
Nishio: Our young staff were like “Inoue? Shishou? Who are they?”
Oshii’s on Tetsuya Nishio
Oshii: A Superman. He can do anything. Very diligent and always keeping up with deadlines. Because he has a strong sense of responsibility he often complained and chewed out the staff, but when he’s glued to the desk he’s really dependable. On the contrary Kise is really a problem child, like if you don’t keep your eyes on him, he’ll run away to play at other people’s apartment or game center, on the contrary this often makes Tettsun feel agitated.