You may have heard of Makoto Shinkai. In fact, if you’ve taken any note of the anime world over the last decade, then you almost certainly know who he is. The one-man dynamo behind (most of) Voices of a Distant star, and the creative drive for The Place Promised in Our Early days and Five Centimetres Per Second, is not only fond of crazy-long film titles; he’s a dab hand at gorgeous cinematic images, also!
A person you may not have heard of, however, is Noritaka Kawaguchi. Well! This chap happens to be important, too! And â€“ and! â€“ we happen to have an interview. Click through and get reading! You can even invent interesting voices in your head!
Could you sum up what your job as a producer on 5 Centimenters Per Second entailed?
As we are a small company, budget management, production, distribution, BD releases are all done by us. As for â€ś5 centimeters per secondâ€ť, the production suggestion was brought to us by the Director in written form. Based on the book, the Director and line producer worked on laying it out to make a movie. The most impressionistic moment in the making of â€ś5 centimeters per secondâ€ť was when the very well-known song, â€śOne more time, One more chanceâ€ť that I recommended was accepted by the Director to be used in the film. I then succeeded in getting approval for the rights to the music from the license holder. I think without the license approval for this music, this film will not have succeeded like it has.
The film has garnered some incredible praise since its Japanese release in 2007. What about the film are you most proud of?
This film succeeded in evolving the story around emotional movements, instead of animating Robot Action or Fetish (or anime related to beautiful girl characters) themes. Subdued theme like this usually does not make it through to production in other companies.
Anime has gained international recognition â€“ it’s nowhere near as niche as it used to be in the Western world. What would you say is the key to the medium’s appeal to global audiences?
The fact that accumulated methods of drawing and producing effects found by preceding Manga and Anime creators such as Tezuka Osamu, have been passed on through so many generations. Those methods are still being used today.
Are you working on any anime at the moment?
Yes. I am working on 2 films. One of them is a project of Makoto Shinkai, which will be officially publicised soon. Please look forward to it.
You’re conducting some workshops over November in the Gold Coast â€“ can you explain what these will consist of?
We do not have much time so I am thinking of demonstrations and question and answer sessions.
What are your thoughts on this year’s Reel Anime line-up?
This year, â€śThe Borrowersâ€ť by Studio Ghibli was particularly impressive. Also, I am looking forward to the yet to screen film, â€śMardock Scrambleâ€ť by King Records.
What else will you be getting up to while you’re on the Gold Coast? Are you a surfer?
I would like Mr. Awazu and Mr. Tazawa to enjoy the scenery and air of the Gold Coast. As a creator, this is a very important experience. Also, we three are busy when we are in Japan so we would like to have a bit of relaxing time while weâ€™re here.
Hyper is a gaming magazine â€“ are you a gamer yourself?
Of course, I was once a gamer, however now I donâ€™t have the time to do much. In Japan I am busy reading away at the large pile of comics that are published on a weekly basis. (Laughs)
There’s a huge crossover between game and anime fans â€“ why do you think this is?
Japanese creators have all grown up reading Manga comics. Manga writers, Anime Directors, Game Designers etc are all influenced by the original Manga culture started by Tezuka Osamu. I think that is why there is a crossover of fans.