Sunday, June 23, 2019

California Conventions Blog Interview with Toshihiro Kawamoto at FanimeCon 2019 - Full Transcript

Toshihiro Kawamoto at Opening Ceremonies [Photo Credit: Sin L/FanimeCon Staff]

The following is a transcript of an interview conducted between the California Conventions Blog and Guest of Honor Toshihiro Kawamoto on Day Two (Saturday) of FanimeCon 2019.

(everyone is sitting around a table, from left to right: Guest of Honor Kawamoto-san, Ryan, Matthew, Nate, and the staff translator)

MIRANDA: First off, thank you very much Kawamoto-san for having an interview with us. My first question is you previously worked on Eureka Seven as a key animator and now find yourself working on the same franchise now in movie form in the Hi-Evolution trilogy. Is there any differences between working on the TV series and the movies?

KAWAMOTO: In the original TV series I wasn’t with the main staff but working as an animator; for the movies the director and producers wanted to know how to translate the TV series into a movie series and I provided my opinion and discussed with them on how to bridge that gap.

Eureka Seven has themes like fantasy and parallel worlds and it opens up opportunities in terms of how to put that on the screen. We also have to think beyond the TV series and how we interpret the story for other kinds of media which I find challenging.

MIRANDA: Are you able to tell us any details about the second movie?

KAWAMOTO: I have only done work with this current movie as I didn’t do much for the first movie. In terms of the first movie it was a challenge to adapt the visuals on the big screen and there might of been some negative feedback or criticism, but in terms of the second movie it’s an all-new environment, different kinds of world-building, so I think the second one is new and exciting. Personally, as an animator they utilize 3DCG in the second movie which hasn’t been used in any form of Eureka Seven, so character movement in 3D is different and new but coming from a traditional background of 2D hand-drawn animation I wish that the movie would of been done in 2D instead of 3D.

NATIVIDAD: Bones has been making a lot of great anime, from Fullmetal Alchemist to Soul Eater and My Hero Academia. What you say was the defining moment or milestone of Bones as a company?

KAWAMOTO: We’ve already hit our 20th anniversary for Studio Bones and worked on over 60 titles, so it’s really hard for me to pinpoint and choose only one series. But something fresh on my mind is My Hero Academia; it’s a JUMP manga adaption, which [the studio] is more into making original anime, but sits really well with the goals of [the studio] and what they want to do with creativity, especially with the different fight scenes.

SILVA: What is your current involvement with the live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop? Did you have any say over green lighting the project?

KAWAMOTO: I have not touched the live-action adaptation of Cowboy Bebop and have absolutely no participation but I am excited to see how it turns out and how it does. The only person from the original anime staff that is kind of participating in the live-action adaptation is director Watanabe ShinichirĊ, who is solely supervising how the movie is being made. But let me turn the tables and ask if you have any hesitations, concerns, or complaints about how the live-action might go.

[everyone laughs]

NATIVIDAD: That is a good question.

MIRANDA: If I had to say one major concern is that so far with Netflix their track record of adapting anime into live-action series [such as Death Note] hasn’t been good so we’re hoping that Cowboy Bebop breaks the mold and finally have a good adaptation but if not their track record will continue of bad remakes.

[Kawamoto puts his hands behind his head, seems to be stressing over our response]

KAWAMOTO: Please submit your opinions to Netflix.

MIRANDA: I think we will.

NATIVIDAD: We will, yes.

KAWAMOTO: I hope this doesn’t sour our relationship with Netflix since I am working on this new project called Eden which will be debuting soon on that streaming service so I hope that the relationship will stick.

NATIVIDAD: We can’t wait to see it.

MIRANDA: Definitely.

MIRANDA: You were both a key animator as well as character design & animation director for the Gundam franchise in the 90s. How did that experience help you transition from space mecha to space western with Cowboy Bebop in 1998?

KAWAMOTO: Cowboy Bebop has multiple genres spanning many episodes, so even though it is about space I wanted to portray the idea in my character designs of crossing the bridge between all these different genres.

MIRANDA: Sounds good.

(at this point time has been called on the interview)

NATIVITAD, SILVA, & MIRANDA: Thank you very much. Arigatou gozaimasu.

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