Hayashi Interview (No, we did not translate this)

Started by Auir, February 26, 2013, 01:58:55 AM

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Interview with Hayashi Hiroki

Date: February 2001
(Mr. Hayashi Hiroki and J.L will be referred to in this interview by the initials of their names H and J respectively.)

---------- Now on to the interview ----------

J: Thank you for accepting my interview. I know you are pretty busy working on your new projects...

H: I'm not that busy, sort to speak.

J: Oh, okay. I know you've been accepted many interviews. I hope this can be a different one. But, sorry for I just can't help to start this interview from the 1st 6 episodes of OVA "Tenchi Muyo! Ryohki" that you and Mr. Kajishima created together.

H: (Bitter smiling face) O-kay. Go ahead.

J: When did you start working with Mr. Kajishima?

H: uh...as everybody knows that Mr. Kajishima came to AIC for he likes Kenichi Sonoda's "Gall Force" very much and it's the biggest reason he joined AIC many years ago. We knew each other through "Gall Force".

J: And came up the idea of "Tenchi" while working on "Gall Force"?

H: No. It's not from there. We also work together on episode 4 of "Bubble Gum Crisis-". We came up "Tenchi" idea while we were working on "B.G.C".

J: "B.G.C" is where "Tenchi" world came from?

H: In certain sense it is. "Bubble Gum Crisis" is a pretty gloomy anime. Serious fighting, complicated human relationships, and dark Mega Tokyo. Kajishima and me just thought it will be fun to put some comedy portions in "B.G.C", like, girls WITHOUT Knight-Saber suits go to hot spring tour, and Boomer show up suddenly while they are taking a bath in hot spring bathtub with no cloths on...something like that. We brought the comedy edition "B.G.C" project to sponsors but we were "politely and kindly" rejected. 10 something years ago, it's sort of the "trend" that bunch of female characters or bunches of male characters with one female character, just like "Gall Force", "Bubble Gum Crisis" and many classic robot anime. We were working in that "trend" and asked ourselves: "What about Macky (-Syria's brother in Bubble Gum Crisis)? What is his story?" We thought it would be interesting to use a Macky as a main character and make a reverse version "Bubble Gum Crisis". That thought was the trigger for us to start writing "Tenchi" story. Fortunately, we got budget this time to make 6 episodes and that is how "Tenchi Muyo! Ryohki" OVA series started.

J: That is very lucky for young creator..

H: I think we were lucky for our sponsors just started their new anime business. They needed something to balance their anime "products". We were just one of little lucky extra projects in many big names' works.

J: That is very business like.

H: Anime IS a kind of business.

J: So,in certain sense, "Macky" is the original model of "Tenchi".

H: hmm..sort of.

J: How about "Ryoko"? Is "Nene" the model of "Ryoko"?

H: No. Kajishima and I both like a classic America soap opera called "I dream of Jeannie"(1965-1970, copyrights Screen Gems, Inc.) We like Jeannie a lot and wanted to use her in our works back then. (I still like Jeannie now, sort to speak.) She is the original "Ryoko".

J: And the "sealed cave" is the "sealed bottle" in the 1st eps of "I dream of Jeannie".

H: That is right. Tenchi open the sealed "bottle" and jump out a cute witch="Ryoko".

J: How about other characters? like Aeka, Sasamy, Mihoshi...etc?

H: In the Very-original-"Tenchi", my main characters are Tenchi and Ryoko. The other characters for me are just there to balance the picture. The other characters are pretty original.

J: So, in the original Tenchi World, If Tenchi is the leading actor in a movie, Ryoko is the leading actress?

H: "Yes" for my original idea. I can't present what is going on after that or now for I'm not involved in anything about "Tenchi Muyo! Ryohki" after 1st OVA series.

J: Can you tell us why you are not working on "Tenchi" anymore ?

H: I think it's about the construction of anime industry in anywhere and timing. First, None of us would have thought Tenchi would become so popular after the first 6 episodes came out. In business world, just like Pokemon, businessmen will like to remain its popularity and of course, make more money. You can't deny that as long as you live in capitalism world. Hence, fans or sponsors asked us came out more Tenchi as quick as we could back then. But I had other works on my hands that I couldn't handle that much works in a short time. So they just name other producers to take over our jobs. Second, I was interesting in other stories that I wanted to create and eventually, quitted the director position of Tenchi.

J: You have been quiet toward rumors around "Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki" for a long time. From what I heard, there was something going on with you and the "CO-producer" while producing the 1st Tenchi OVA. Are you familiar with those rumors?

H:Yes. I know all of it.

J: Are those rumors true?

H: I hardly answered this kind of question in these years for what have been done have been done even I know there are many hard core fans out there want to know the truth.

J: Will you mind telling us what exactly happened ?

H: Its not that complicated as people thought. The CO-producer were not satisfied what the 1st Tenchi OVA came out and declined that the personalities of character (i.e.:animation acting and voice acting and such thing) are completely different from his idea. When there were proposal of produce 2nd Tenchi OVA, I thought if he was not satisfied our CO-production, it's better to let him to do it alone. So, I just hand the producer position to him and wish him luck. There is no any negative meaning of my intention of doing so. I just gave up, simple as that.

J: As a creator, will it be hard for you to give up your original idea and watch somebody else change it into totally different things?

H: uh...please, I am not qualified enough to be a creator. If you know anime industry well you will know that due to market and financial issue, and many other reasons, you can't help to cross out some lines of you original story. FYI, even the 1st "Tenchi" OVA series had changed a lot from our original story. I think it's not the question of how to make an anime that is 100% faithful to my idea but how to make an anime "at least" meet the bottom line of artist's original story. Anime production work is a huge team work that involves in many things. It is essential to a creator to learn how to compromise. Take Tenchi for example, there are too many ideas we wanted to put in the 1st OVA series but we only had 6 episodes budget back then, we had to give up many things. And that "Tenchi Muyo! Ryohki" is the result of what we had. I learned a lot when I CO-produced "Tenchi" OVA and I reflected it to my work next to "Tenchi Muyo!"--"El Hazard" 1st OVA series.

J: Will you remake "Tenchi Muyo! Ryohki" 1st OVA series if you have enough financial support and time? Just like George Lucas remake his first 3 "Star Wars" episodes.

H: I don't think I will. As I said, that 1st OVA series is the "a logical consequence" of we had many years ago with limited resources. Like it or not, that is what I could do years ago and I would like to remain the way it is.

J: I believe you know there is Tenchi 3rd OVA going on in AIC. Will you join the production team?

H: No. I won't.

J: What did you learn from Tenchi and how did you reflected in "El Hazard"?

H: I don't have enough time to compose the story when I CO-produced "Tenchi". So, I promised myself that I will carefully composed "El Hazard" when I produced it.

J: We have been talking about your 1st work as director -the 4th episode of " B.G.C-Tokyo 2040", the 3rd work-"Tenchi Muyo! Ryohki" There is "Sol Bianca" between those 2 anime. What made you want to produce "Sol Bianca"?

H: "Sol Bianca" had a different start point than other works. Its not 100% my idea of produce it. It's a game production proposal at first. A Japanese game company brought that proposal to AIC; We thought it will be interesting to make it an OVA series for we are anime production company. So I help to develop the story base on a very rough outline.

J: Its quite different from create an anime base on your own idea.

H: That happened quite often in Anime production company. AIC is a production company that we are not only produce our original OVA but also have some works from other sponsors. That's pretty normal.

J: Your 4th work is "El Hazard". "El Hazard" is another popular anime you created among anime fans. Where did you come up the idea?

H: There is a classic Sci-fi novel named "The Princess of Mars". I like that novel a lot and pick up some ideas to create "El Hazard".

J: I heard that you are a big fan of Sci-fi novel. Is that true?

H: Right. I also learned many things from the way people publishing popular Sci-fi series.

J: Such as?

H: Take "The Princess of Mars" for example. That book has a long series. I can't remember how many of them, but I like the first 3 books most. I've heard that for that book was very popular, the publishing company asked the writer kept writing the sequel. That is why we have "Warrior of Mars"...to "whatever" of Mars. I think that taught me a lesson toward art and entertainment industry that, its best for a "object" or "project" (no matter it's book, movie, anime or celebrities) ended when at its golden age. People will remember the most glorious moment of the work and will never bothered to the "over the hill" work.

J: Did that lesson influence you to create "El Hazard"?

H: It not only in "El Hazard" but also most of my works. When I was directing the 1st "El Hazard" OVA series, I tried to compose the whole story as carefully as I could for I want to make up the things I couldn't do while producing "Tenchi". I am satisfied about that 1st OVA series and ended the 1st OVA series as I wanted it to be. That's enough to me. There are people asking me produce the 3rd "EL Hazard" OVA series in these years. But in my mind, that project had ended ideally and whatever comes after that will wind up like "Whatever" of Mars. People will always remember "The Princess of Mars" but hardly remember the rest of it. It's the same things.

J: I see. As a El Hazard fans myself, I certainly hope that there is no end for I really like the beautiful world you created. Uh...excuse me, not even create one in a year, please??

H: (grin) As I said, I already ended the the 1st OVA series story . If there is anybody want to continue the series, please, go ahead. But I don't think I want to do it.

J: I see. There are cat characters in many of your works. Is there any personal reason?

H: I like cat very much and I have 2. One is long hair and one is short hair cat. The long hair cat is the model of "Oolah" in "El Hazard".

J: Oh, really? Looking back your 4 works we are talking so far, "Hot Spring", "Many Girls" + "One young boy" are the essential items in your works...and also "Cat". Beside market issue, is there any personal interests of create the world like that?

H: I like "Onsen (Hot Spring)" very much. You can see "Onsen" in Tenchi, El Hazard...etc. About "One young boy surround by girls", it's not only personal interest :-) but also other reasons. First, it IS market issue. Most of anime fans are young male adults I don't think there is any young male adult in the world that is not interest in sexy girls, uh...of course there are people who are interest in sexy guys... but, anyway, the majority are interesting in "sexy girls." Second, "many girls" IS another market issue too. Take El Hazard for example, audience got young female high school student "Nanami", young elegant Queen "Rune", wild Goddess "Shayla-Shayla", little cute devil "Alliele"...Etc. There must be one character you will like in an anime. By gathering the information or feedback from fans, media company can produce other similar works or add more cuts of the popular female character to attract audience. Third, it's the "visual effect" in a picture that male character set off the "sexiness" of female characters. No matter what feminists said out there or female fans may not agree with what I said, but it's just the fact in anime world. And of course, I like woman and not going to deny that.

J: I got your point. How about "The Legend of Black Heaven"? It seems like it's targeting different audience for the main character is a middle age business man. What made you want to produce that?

H: I was with my friend in a 24-hours "Udon(=Japanese wheat noodle)" restaurant years ago. FYI, there are many middle age Japanese businessmen gather in that kind of restaurant in Japan. While I was having "Udon", the TV was showing "Lupin the 3rd" movie. I think it's the 1st movie of "Lupin the 3rd" which was not that popular when it was out. "Lupin" fans are quite different from "Bishoujo" type of anime fans. Its quite popular in general Japanese audience. Anyway, those middle age Japanese male in that restaurant were so into that movie that they were not leaving that restaurant even they already finished their food. The enthusiasm toward "Lupin the 3rd" of those middle age Japanese men impressed me. And that made me want to produce an anime that has the same magic power like "Lupin" to those middle age Japanese men. That is one of the reasons. (But I didn't have the story when I was watching those people in the Udon Restaurant.) On the other hand, I like music. Thorough my works I have been talking to many people who want to be "somebody else" then what they are now. For example, there was a pub around the corner of AIC, the owner of that pub is very good at playing guitar but he has to gave up his dream of being a pro guitarist for he had to take over his family business. I know there are many people in the world just like that pub owner. There are many people who is very good at something besides their current profession. I think it will be "interesting" to use those "unfullfilled-dreamer" as a topic. The other reason is, there was a manga called "Shooting star manager" about 15 years ago. I am very impressed by that manga. The main character of that manga was a vocalist in a band when he was young. He is sort the model of "Ouji". The biggest challenge of that pathetic middle age "shooting star manager" hero is how to take a seat everyday on the way home in the crowed commuting train. If you have been to Japan, you will know how crowed the train is in rush hours. Its very interesting but sad manga. Please do read it if you can find it. It just touches my heart every time I read it.

J: Why not make it a middle age men who is very good at Golf?

H: I like music and I had many friends who wanted to be a professional musician when they were young but unable to for varies reasons when they grow up. "Music" is the topic that I familiar with. But, remember Ouji's manager is very good at Golf? I was planed to use him to defend Aliens when the Laira's spaceship unable to launch laser boom automatically and have to ask Ouji's manager to use his brilliant golf shooting skill to shoot the enemy ship.

J: I see. Your next work--"Magical Witchland" are different from "Black Heaven". Can you tell us something about that new work?

H: It's an experimental project at first. I met Mitsutaka Iguchi (CG director of "Magical Witchland") few years ago online and impressed by his CG works and new tech "Cell shading". We start working on some experimental CG works and think its better to make it a story. So I develop the story after we start working together.

J: I am curious about the magical Fish costume of Padudu - "Uokichii". Is there a model for that?

H: There is a model for that fish costume. Many years ago, I was in a waiting room of somewhere I couldn't even remember where that was. There are some comic books there and I picked up one randomly. It's about an alien who is so faithfully devoting to his master that he is willing to scarify his own body to keep his master away from hunger. The fish costume idea came from that. I can't recall the name of that comic book but I firmly remember that devoted alien in my mind.

J: and you make that Alien a fish?

H:I like fish shape object.

J: What is your favorite anime among your works?

H: I love them all. But currently its "Magical Witchland", It catches all my attention now.

J: I have one more question left. Can you give some advice to the people who want to work in Japan as animator?

H: Learn Japanese! Really! I am serious. As I said anime production is a huge team works. You have to be able to communicate with Japanese no matter how good you can draw. Not many people in anime production companies can speak English. One simple example, how are you going to tell your Japanese coworkers the effect you want or vice versa? It's the most important thing for people who want to work in anime production company. I think there are many people who can draw well but the question is not many people can speak English in this industry. It too much to ask people to speak English to you. Learn Japanese! That is essential feature.

J: I have no further question now and thank you for your time. I am looking forward to see your new work.

H: Thank you too.
(End of Interview with Mr. Hayashi Hiroki)

Note:If you have further question want to ask him, please send it here with topic:"Question to Mr.Hayashi Hiroki"

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