The perfectionism of Sunrise, the anime production company -part two-

Continuing from part one, this is a fascinating conversation we had with Ogata Naohiro, the producer behind Studio 1, about Sunrise’s stance towards anime production.

They are entering the global marketplace and expanding overseas,

and they see a need for new ways of approaching their works

――The mecha robot action scenes in Thunderbolt show the level of quality we have come to expect from Sunrise.

Mecha action is one of Sunrise’s strong points, and we are proud to still be one of the few studios which draws mecha action scenes by hand. It is one of our most valuable techniques.

 

The part of the studio where production takes place.

The desks of each animator are placed here one after the other

――Will you continue to draw by hand even in the future?

The times are changing, and we can’t cling onto the past forever. Even in Thunderbolt, which is mostly drawn by hand, the robot’s cockpits are 3D, and 3D has really become an effective technique for us. But we still think that hand-drawn art has a special feel to it, so as long as there are artists capable of doing it we would like to continue. And yet, our staff is gaining more and more know-how about 3D, so we will surely achieve some great stuff with 3D, also.

 

Drawing in silence. Digitization is shining bright on the horizon, but drawing by hand still gives fantastic results

――What are your objectives?

Well, I guess this applies to the series as a whole, but our staff’s objective is to make something similar to Mobile Suit Gundam theater versions I ~III (*5), which are already more than 20 years old. We are trying hard to create something which will have a similar feel to the absolutely wonderful work done by director Yoshiyuki Tomino and character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. In terms of its story, its production and its art direction, Mobile Suit Gundam III: Encounters in Space has a level of quality which won’t ever be surpassed…

*5: All three of the first Gundam TV series as they were released to theaters, newly edited and with additional footage. These are Mobile Suit Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam II: Soldiers of Sorrow and Mobile Suit Gundam III: Encounters in Space.

――Sunrise has been actively trying to reach out to an overseas audience. What has the reaction been so far?

It seems like the genre of giant robots is not so generally known in the West. It has taken root as a great part of Japanese culture, but maybe it’s a unique development of our own country. Comparatively, it is very widely known in Asia, and in Hong Kong even Gundam plastic modelling is practiced.

――What do you think the reasons behind this could be?

According to director Yoshiyuki Tomino, the reasons have something to do with religion. In Buddhism there are very large statues and idols which are worshipped, so Buddhist cultures are more attracted to giant robots. On the other hand, Christianity places a lot of importance in the flesh, so it logically follows that those cultures are more drawn to actual human heroes such as Spiderman.

――That is fascinating. So, what about shows which don’t feature robots?

Inuyasha (*6) had a very Japanese worldview to it, whereas shows like TIGER & BUNNY or Cowboy Bebop (*7) had an international, cool feel to them. That’s the key.

*6: A fantasy show set during the Sengoku period with many elements of romance.
*7: A science fiction show whose dialogues, music and visuals are uniquely cool.

 

 

Drawing in silence. Digitization is shining bright on the horizon, but drawing by hand still gives fantastic results

――What are your objectives?

Well, I guess this applies to the series as a whole, but our staff’s objective is to make something similar to Mobile Suit Gundam theater versions I ~III (*5), which are already more than 20 years old. We are trying hard to create something which will have a similar feel to the absolutely wonderful work done by director Yoshiyuki Tomino and character designer Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. In terms of its story, its production and its art direction, Mobile Suit Gundam III: Encounters in Space has a level of quality which won’t ever be surpassed…

*5: All three of the first Gundam TV series as they were released to theaters, newly edited and with additional footage. These are Mobile Suit Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam II: Soldiers of Sorrow and Mobile Suit Gundam III: Encounters in Space.

――Sunrise has been actively trying to reach out to an overseas audience. What has the reaction been so far?

It seems like the genre of giant robots is not so generally known in the West. It has taken root as a great part of Japanese culture, but maybe it’s a unique development of our own country. Comparatively, it is very widely known in Asia, and in Hong Kong even Gundam plastic modelling is practiced.

――What do you think the reasons behind this could be?

According to director Yoshiyuki Tomino, the reasons have something to do with religion. In Buddhism there are very large statues and idols which are worshipped, so Buddhist cultures are more attracted to giant robots. On the other hand, Christianity places a lot of importance in the flesh, so it logically follows that those cultures are more drawn to actual human heroes such as Spiderman.

――That is fascinating. So, what about shows which don’t feature robots?

Inuyasha (*6) had a very Japanese worldview to it, whereas shows like TIGER & BUNNY or Cowboy Bebop (*7) had an international, cool feel to them. That’s the key.

*6: A fantasy show set during the Sengoku period with many elements of romance.
*7: A science fiction show whose dialogues, music and visuals are uniquely cool.

Mr. Ogata Naohiro, with whom we talked He has worked on series such as Mobile Suit Gundam UC, Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt and Inuyasha, and is now one of Sunrise’s most representative producers

 

So, what did you think? Sunrise are not just resting on their laurels, and their spirit of innovation really came through in this interview. These legendary producers are constantly working to create new shows. We’re really looking forward to their next new production!

 

“Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” The second season

Delivery start paid from March 24
http://gundam-tb.net/

>>FRI’s eye: The perfectionism of Sunrise, the anime production company -part one-

Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.

 

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