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Interview with Hiroki Hayashi (Animerica Magazine Vol 2 Nr 4 - april 1994)

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kikai ninjin

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Animerica Magazine Vol 2, Nr 4 (april 1994) features an interview with Hiroki Hayashi (林 宏樹),  the director and co-creator of the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA series. He also worked on others titles such as ThunderCats, Bubblegum Crisis, Iczer Reborn, El-Hazard: The Magnificent World and many others. I scanned the interview part and made a transcription as well.





You can download the interview in two formats (no password required):

Scanned version, 600 DPI color, JPEG 60%
PDF of the Scanned version

Due to the fact that the transcription became too big, I'd have to divide it in 3 parts, one for the "introduction text" and two for the interview itself. So if want just to read the interview, go here.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2021, 09:15:12 PM by kikai ninjin »
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Re: Interview with Hiroki Hayashi from Animerica Magazine Vol 4 - 1994
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2021, 03:38:21 PM »
 

kikai ninjin

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Interview transcription "Intro"
Some considerations:
(a) Keep in mind there is may be some spell errors, so if anyone want to help to correct them, I'll appreciate.
(b) In the text, Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA series is referred to as No Need To Tenchi!.
(c) OAV is the same as OVA.


WE NEED TENCHI! (Hiroki Hayashi tells us why)

An Animator for all Seasons

No Need for Tenchi! Director Hiroki Hayashi talks about slapstick comedy, his work on the syndicated TV program ThunderCats, Personal impressions of Pioneer LDCA’s English dub, and his love for the sci-fi pulp magazines of old. Interview by Takashi Osdhiguchi, translated by Takayuki Karahashi, with an introduction by Juile Davis and Avery M. Tom.

In a fandom known for its cultism, No Need For Tenchi! is a cult hit. lt started out small at first - a whispered, rumor here, a "you-gotta-see-this” there - but by the time Pioneer began releasing the six-volume OVA series in a bilingual Japanese/English laser disc format as of last year, Tenchi! fever was in full swing.

Names from the series were suddenly in high demand among fans who competed for the privilege to use them as personal nicknames on the worldwide computer network Internet. And
on the real-time chat channel "IRC", it became fashionable among modem-enabled anime fans to append "oh-ki" to one's name in honor of the half-cat, half-rabbit "Ryo-oh-ki." Anime fandom
may never be the same again.

lntrigued by the level of enthusiasm for an OVA series which seemingly came out of nowhere, ANIMERICA got in touch with No Need For Tenchi! director Hiroki Hayashi. lnterestingly enough, one of the first things he shares with us is a reminiscence of watching Tom and Jerry as a child.

"In Japan, the MGM cartoons were on in the afternoons year-round," Hayashi says. "I used to watch them everyday." As for domestic animation on the airwaves during Hayashi's formative years, it was giant-robot shows such as Mazinger Z [“Tranzor Z” in the U.S.-Ed.] which dominated.

''I watched those shows, but I was never fanatical about them," Hayashi recalls. "What
realls got me interested in animation had to have been Space Cruiser Yamato...it was completly different from anything which had come before it. It was like a show from a different dimension.”

He also admits a fondeness for Mobile  Suit Gundam. “It had good realism, especially for a robot show back then,” Hayashi says. “Even when I was a kid I never looked those cartoony, simplified premises, not in robot shows, not in anything.”

Hayashi isn’t the sort of director you run into everyday. Unlike previous creative types interviewd in these pages-Battle Angel Alita’s Yukito Kishiro and Bio-Booster Armor Guyver creator Yoshiki Takaya come to mind – Hayashi wasn’t driven to find his niche in the anime world because  of a passion for anime, but because he wanted a job in the art field.

“I’d wanted to make a living by drawing pictures,” Hayashi laughs. Shortly after being gratuated from high school, Hayashi enrolled at Japan Design School’s two-year graphic design program but found ultimately unsatisfied.

"I think I was misled by the term design,”Hayashi says. "I thought all l'd have to do was draw. Once I got there, I found out that there were things like typesetting, block copying and
other subjects I was supposed to learn. I wasn't good at those tedious tasks."

Fortunately, a friend offered a way out with a job at the animation production house A.I.C. Hayashi gladly accepted and began working as an "in-betweener,”  one of those people who fill in the trames in-between the "key” animation scenes (Dirty Pair and Urusei Yatsura character designer Tsukasa Dokite and Bubblegum Crisis Vol. 5 mecha designer/animation director Masami Obari both started out in their respective careers with key animation work on Ranma 1/2, for example.)

Hayashi's design training hadn't really prepared him for in-between work, but he tells us that he picked it up quickly enough. Asked if he remembers his first work, Hayashi laughs. "lt was in-between animation for some television show...I took anything and everything.”

True to his take-on-everything philosophy, Hayashi's first actual credit on a show was for key animation on the American syndicated program ThunderCats. Following closely on its heels was SilverHawks, and although Hayashi was responsible for key animation on several other similar shows, what he really wanted to do was direct.

The problem was that although Hayashi had years of experience under his belt, he had few on-screen credits. The big break carne during an all-night sake-drinking brainstorm with Gal/ Force 2 veteran Masaki Kajishima, which resulted in the seeds of what would eventually become No Need For Tenchi!.

"'Let's go with the golden formula' is what I said when we pitched the project,”  Hayashi says. "For example, if there was something good about one particular show, we could borrow that. lf there was something we liked about another show, we could borrow that, too. Sources could be anywhere - we could extract what we liked from this ar that show and put it all together in one OAV series. That series is No Need For Tenchi!.”

After Artmic declined to pick up the project, Hayashi and Kajishima took it to Pioneer LDC, where a search was currently on for new stories to be featured in their upcoming original animation video line. Pioneer expressed interest in the series and the rest, as they say, is history.

Space Cruiser Yamato crossed with Tom and Jerry. Doesn’t that just  say it all?


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Re: Interview with Hiroki Hayashi from Animerica Magazine Vol 4 - 1994
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2021, 03:40:59 PM »
 

kikai ninjin

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Interview transcription Part 1


ANIMERICA: You began your career in the industry as an animator. And yet here you are, the director of No Need For Tenchi!. lsn't that a little unusual? ln my experience, most people who aspire to direct seem more inclined to write than draw.

HAYASHI: l'm sure it's more the exception than the rule. At A.I.C., for example, it's unusual for someone to go into direction when they started in production.

A: But it was your intention to direct, right from the beginning?

H: Yes, that’s correct.

A: What was your first directorial credit?

H: The first work on which I was given directorial credit was Gall Force 2.

A: Did you find it difficult to begin directing in the middle of a series? After all, Gall Force 2 is a sequel, and the characters were already well established by that time.

H: I didn't really begin to get a feel for what I was doing until Sol Bianca. lf you notice, l'm credited with storyboards for the first volume. Katsuhito Akiyama is credited with direction. l'm not listed as director until the second volume. lt wasn't until then that I began to feel that I was doing what l'd set out to do, concentrating on character and the like. That's not to say what I was doing was any good, of course [LAUGHS].

A: What are some of the other titles you’ve worked on?

H: I worked on the thord and fourth volumes of Bubblegum Crisis. I also worked on Sol Bianca Volumes 1 and 2. Immediately after that, I began working on Tenchi!. Back in 1990, No Need For Tenchi! Was nothing more than an ongoing idle discussion between Kajishima and I [Masaki Kajishima, co-credited with Hayashi for “original concept”–Ed.]. It wasn’t until 1991 that it started to look as though the project become a reality. Actual pre-production didn’t start until 1992.

A: How far back does your association with Kajishima go?

H: We’ve known each other for a long time. We worked together on Gall Force. Come to think of it, that’s the first series Kajishima ever worked on at A.I.C. He was fan of Sonoda’s work before he even started [LAUGHS].

A: How did you and Kajishima go about getting your story produced?

H: I was the one responsible for writing down all our ideas. It was Kajishima’s job to draw up the image boards and submit them as a proposal to a production company.

A: How about the plot? What inspired it?

H: No Need for Tenchi! Is inspired by Gall Force and Bubblegum Crisis. We made up something that resembled a side story to  Bubblegum Crisis and took it straight up to Artmic. Unfortunately, they weren’t interested. At all [LAUGHS].

A: Bubblegum Crisis is a story of fighting. There’s this big corporation controlling everything and this underground group which fights against the corporation. There’s even a heavy subplot with the private police.

H: That’s Bubblegum Crisis, all right [LAUGHS].


A: But Tenchi! isn’t heavy at all, although there is some allusion to previous works…

H: What I’d had  in mind originally was more like a parody of Bubblegum Crisis and Gall Force. You know, characters going about their daily lives – eating at the dinner table, taking baths–a side-story sort of thing. So many of A.I.C.’s videos were really nothing more than combat stories with characterization tacked on. I wanted to do a show where the characters themselves would be the core of the story. I wanted to do something that had never been seen before.

A: Was No Need for Tenchi! OAV series originally designed to go six volumes?

H: No, nothing so organized. The intention was to create a story which could go on indefinitely. lt was more like a six-episode block from a thirteen-episode television series. That didn't mesh with what the sponsors had in mind, though, and so it ended up having a conclusion at the sixth volume.

A: From the time the galaxy police show up in the fourth volume and hint at the existence of Kagato, the story just keeps going and going. ln fact, the fifth and sixth episodes are just packed with story elements.

H: They're dense, all right [LAUGHS]. You wouldn't believe the number of arguments we had while we were making them.

A: Unlike TV, the OAV format doesn't give you too much room for error. When you're dealing with a three- or a six-volume OAV series, even a minor slip-up can have serious ramifications. Is this
something vou kept in mind while you were plotting the overall story breakdown for the individual episodes?

H: No, I didn't have that in mind at all. I was more concerned with trimming down_the fat and keeping the pace moving.

A: Let' s talk about the characters from No Need For Tenchi!. They're a fairly familiar comedic trio–a "bad" girl, a "good" girl, and a "straight" girl [Ryoko, Ayeka and Sasami, respectively–Ed.]. And
then there's Mihoshi, the type who breaks all the rules [LAUGHS].

H: That' s right, they' re based on a comedy formula. No doubt we had this sort of thing in mind while working on previous video projects, but this time it was our story, and we were able to direct the focus as we saw fit.

A: When you look at it one way, Tenchi! is like a boarding house story, where the characters live together in the same house, take baths in the same tub, and eat dinner at the same table.

H: I do like the dinner scenes [LAUGHS]. But I won't put them in unnecessarily. Tenchi himself is a high-school student. Under ordinary circumstances, he'd be attending classes. But then l'd have to think up reasons for all the characters to follow him there, and one of the things I was careful not to do in this series was create unnecessary characters. lt wouldn't surprise me if viewers should happen to find Tenchi's situation a little unusual. I had to content myself with the thought that the reasons are ai I there i n the story, even if they're only implied. See, that was one way
I could excuse my self-imposed ceiling on the creation of new characters [LAUGHS].


A: Your voice-actors, especially your female actors, are mostly veterans. You have a couple of veteran male actors as well in Kenichi Ogata and Takeshi Aono, the rather formidable grandfather
[" Sanada” and “Analyzer (I. Q. 9),”  Space Cruiser Yamato; “Genma,” Ranma 1/2–Ed.]. Was this particular cast something you had decided in advance?

H: ln the beginning I wasn't thinking about the male characters at all. The grandfather you mention was just an ordinary man in the first draft of the story. lt wasn't until we started recording that we'd realized he wasn't the same character we'd started out with. We had heated arguments over that, too [LAUGHS].

A: And what about the character of the older brother? How did you see his character development?

H: The older brother was just an older brother. He's as good as dead from the very beginning, so...

A: Ah, the tragic long-lost older sibling [LAUGHS]. Speaking of characters, I have to say that I found Ogata's performance as "Azaka" to be extremely entertaining.

H: It wasn't intentional. But during recording he really got into the mood, and we decided to go with it.

A: Both of the two gatekeeper robots, Azaka and Kamidake, they're kind of like sidekicks.

H: I wasn't thinking that much about them in the beginning, and after the first two episodes they didn't show up again for a while. But they proved to be so popular with the fans it was decided that toward the end of the series they had to make another appearance.

A: All of Tenchi!'s actors certainly do a good job in creating zany characters. Were you there when the decisions were made on the voice-cast?

H: I chose them all myself.

A: Really? How about the character of Ryoko? Did she turn out as you'd hoped?

H: I'd have to say yes, the voice pretty much fit the image I had of her in my head. And there were no conflicts with the sponsor over casting her, so .... Fortunately, pre-production on this video was long enough that we were able to think about who we wanted for which roles and which recording director we wanted to use. Some of our initial choices may not have been realistic, for whatever reason, but in the end I think we ended up with most of the cast we wanted. There were several candidates for Kagato's voice, for example, but one important consideration was purely practical–we needed someone who wou ld be easy to work with. And that's how we ended up with Norio Wakamoto.


A: And as the series' sole villain, he doesn't have any gag lines.
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Re: Interview with Hiroki Hayashi from Animerica Magazine Vol 4 - 1994
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2021, 03:42:06 PM »
 

kikai ninjin

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Interview transcription Part 2


H: Well, there were plans to make him more humorous, but there was a concern that no one would understand the humor. Actually, I put a lot of humor into the character, but I don't think anyone got it.
 

A: Going back a little in the series, that first episode really was like a two-person show, wasn't it. lt was I ike a dialogue.

H: ln retrospect, I think maybe it was a mistake [LAUGHS].

A: And before the OAV series was even animated, there was a drama CD released. I'm assuming that means the plot was already written up by that point...?

H: Yes, that's right. And it's true for all the CDs to come. Personally, I enjoy the drama CDs. For me, the world of Tenchi! isn't fixated solely on the animation. I've always wanted the characters to create an interesting world of their own. The thing about drama CDs is, sometimes when you're working on a film, physical limitations pop up and things don't go as you planned. With drama CDs I can capture the atmosphere of a particular moment, and the listener is able to get a feel for the series as a whole within a very short amount of time.


A: Some parts of Tenchi! are very comedic. Are you a big fan of comedy?

H: I love comedy movies and slapstick movies. Those really silly American movies, those super-ridiculous ones. I like those.

A: Bugs Bunny, that sort of thing?

H: Oh, yes. In live-action I like Top Secret and Hot Shots and The Naked Gun.

A: Comedy's difficult, isn't it. You can't always anticipate how the humor will turn out, and you've said before that the audience didn't always laugh where you'd  intended they would.

H: That's right. Writing a script for something silly has its own dangers. You know very well how silly it is, and yet you still have to spend months producing it. You need a certain kind of enthusiasm to motivate you through something like that. You start out intending to make a certain part silly, but half a year into production, it's no longer so hilarious. I guess the issue is how to keep up the spontaneity.


A: For example, an idea can be funny when you first think it up, but when it's actually produced it loses something. Then again, the audience will be seeing it for the first time, and who knows how they'll respond? As director, you've got to make sure that the dramatic tension is maintained. That's tough work.

H: No kidding. You start to wonder how something like one of those silly films I mentioned previously can manage to be so funny. Tenchi! was the first time I could really explore the comedic potential of animation, and l'm sure there are many places  where my lack of experience shows.

A: Is there a No Need For Tenchi! manga version?

H: Actually, there is. I think it's being  published in Comic Dragon [Kadokawa's monthly manga magazine-Ed.].

A: At Comic Market, I hear they're selling parody fanzines of Tenchi! rather successfully. lsn't it sort of ironic how the fanzines can be parodying a work which is itself supposed to be a parody ... ?

H: lt does feel strange. As I said before, in creating Tenchi! we felt we had borrowed so much from other works. We thought we were doing the parody
[LAUGHS].

A: Once you send an artistic work out into the world, people start to make it their own. They cherish it in its own right.

H:  Yes. l'm glad to see that our story is taking on a life of its own, so to speak.

A: Did you feel that way during pro­duction? For example, did the characters start to take on lives of their own during the dubbing process?

H: Sure, but the phenomenon wasn't limited to me. The lyricist understood the characters, and wrote songs appropriate for them without instruction from me.

A: Let's talk about the English version of Tenchi!. Have you seen it? How do you like it?

H: I've only seen the first volume, but the voices are really similar. I don't want this to come off the wrong way, but I used to think that there weren't any foreign voice-actors who could act. I was never impressed by what little I've seen of the European-dubbed Japanese animation. So, relatively speaking, I was pleased to discover that we had people with similar voices who could really act in the English version.

A: How about the next series? I understand you're not directly involved in the new Tenchi! OAV series.

H: That’s right.

A: Your involvement is limited to "original concept" ... ?

H: Content-wise, I'm not involved at all. I'm still working on the drama CDs and the songs, but not in the animation.

A: So what's the next project? What will you work on next?

H: It's an original story called "Elhazar." The story is straight out of those old science-fiction pulp magazines. I've always loved those stories. The Martian series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Edmond Hamilton…

A: Is "Elhazar" an adventure story?

H: Well, I'd like to make it similar to Tenchi!, in that the characters will always be the focus. In the case of Tenchi!, the aliens came to Earth. In my new story, the people of Earth will travel to alien worlds. it’ll be like E.E. Doc Smith's "Skylark" series.

A:  The science-fiction adventure stories of a more innocent age.

H: Exactly. Those stories have a kind of anything-goes atmosphere that doesn't demand constant rationalization by the reader. lt's the kind of place where a character can use an atomic gun without batting an eye, never mind radioactive side-effects [LAUGHS].

A: Do you intend to have flying machines without a word of technical explanation, then?

H:  Just block the seventh ray. Fill the tank and you're off ... !

A: Hey, wait a minute! [LAUGHS]

H: See, there's this experiment which accidentally creates a special solution. When you put metal into it, it floats ... ! This is the kind of simple-minded story I'm talking about. A parody of the pulp magazine stories of old. That's the flavor I'm going for.

A: So you're not going to sweat the technical details ... ? All the mecha has to do is move, that sort of thing?

H: Actually, I love mecha. Real mecha, that is. I love to just sit and stare at motorcycle engines. The only problem is, it makes mecha that exists only on paper even less substantial to me.

A: Do you ride motorcycles? As a hobby, perhaps?

H: I used to tour out to Yamaguchi, but motorcycles are nothing more than a means of transportation for me now. I don't really understand these recent engines. I used to like taking them apart, but the modern ones are just too complex ... even mechanics have trouble with them nowadays: One thing I do enjoy is games. There's a game section at A.I.C., and I work on projects three from time to time.

A: Game projects? Anything coming out soon that you can tell us about?

H: I think the first one to come out under our own name will be a Tenchi! Game. A simple game, really-an adventure game. Like the ones on the NEC PC-98. Sometimes when I play other games, I think about how I’d  do them differently. If I ever get the chance, I’d like to see what I can come up with. Maybe something a little more complicated.

A: It’s not shoot-’em-up games for you, though.

H: That’s right. It’s adventure games for me. I have a lot of ambitions in regard to games. There is such a thing as an optimum medium for a story. For example, some stories may not be appropriate for making into films, but they enough to make a game. Our company is in the position where it can do things like that now. Not that I’d write the program myself [LAUGHS].


A: Finally, do you have a message for your English-speaking fans?

H: I’m not very good at this sort of thing...let’s just say that I wanted to make something comedic for you, the fans, something you could enjoy even if you don’t necessarily understand the language. I hope that I’ve suceeded.
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WaitoKon

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Nice find, kikai. The Tenchi animated series really went places, solidifying a hilarious set of tropes and pulling the BGC team back into the spotlight. When Hayashi mentioned centering a story around the characters instead of a dystopic grind / grunge fighting, I was immediately reminded of the formula Re:Zero's author was asked to use when getting underway with the anime treatment of his web novel.

Hope more people get a chance to read this.
 

 

kikai ninjin

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Oh, thanks mate. Yeah, I found interesting when Hayashi said he liked slapstick movies like Top Secret, Hot Shots and The Naked Gun. And you can see some of those ridiculous moments in the anime...and after those, some more serious ones to balance things out.

When Hayashi mentioned centering a story around the characters instead of a dystopic grind / grunge fighting, I was immediately reminded of the formula Re:Zero's author was asked to use when getting underway with the anime treatment of his web novel.

Thats one of the reasons I like that anime so much, the characters...for me, one of the best aspects of any story. Thats why most of us can remember them so well imo.

Hope more people get a chance to read this.

Its a shame I couldn't find a way to make this transcript less tedious to read, cuz it got really big in this format.
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antvasima

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This is interesting. Perhaps Nonsuch Ned will be able to incorporate the relevant information into the wiki?
Please help out with improving the Tenchi Muyo wiki:

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This is a pretty cool read.
They live. We sleep.
 

 

Eff Efferson

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Animerica Magazine Vol 2, Nr 4 (april 1994) features an interview with Hiroki Hayashi (林 宏樹),  the director and co-creator of the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA series. He also worked on others titles such as ThunderCats, Bubblegum Crisis, Iczer Reborn, El-Hazard: The Magnificent World and many others. I scanned the interview part and made a transcription as well.





You can download the interview in two formats (no password required):

Scanned version, 600 DPI color, JPEG 60%
PDF of the Scanned version

Due to the fact that the transcription became too big, I'd have to divide it in 3 parts, one for the "introduction text" and two for the interview itself. So if want just to read the interview, go here.

I had this issue :D i should have kept it
« Last Edit: July 14, 2021, 02:22:47 PM by Eff Efferson »
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kikai ninjin

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I had this issue :D i should have kept it


I've scanned the entire magazine. Gonna put it in here soon.
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