20 years of anime advertising Naofumi Iida’s absolute pleasure of ‘delivering’ changes in the anime business felt firsthand

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Anime advertising plays a vital role in connecting anime with fans. Therefore, we interviewed Mr. Naofumi Iida, who has been working as an advertising producer and in charge of advertising for about 20 years.

Mr. Iida started his animation work at Pioneer LDC (currently NBC Universal Entertainment Japan), Warner Brothers Japan, and U-NEXT. Belongs to Until he was enrolled at Warner Bros., he consistently worked in the field of anime advertising and has worked on advertising for many works.
We asked Mr. Iida about his story and asked him to look back on his career so far. While it is a valuable oral history from the point of view of advertising that traces the transition of the anime business from the 2000s to the present, many informal topics can be discussed now.

According to Mr. Iida, who is modest, “Those in the anime industry may read it,” but it should be interesting for anime fans and those interested in the anime business. Please look at it as reading material for the New Year holiday. (Interview and Composition: Kotaro Gosho/Anime Hack Editorial Department)

I’ve worked in anime-related fields since around 2005, and Iida-san has been indebted to me. But unfortunately, most people who promote anime are replaced after becoming a producer. I can only think of one or two people working as long as Mr. Iida, including those who have already retired.

Iida: I’m working as a producer for the production team at Crunchyroll, but I’m sure only some people have continued to promote anime for as long as I have. There are many patterns in which people transfer to production after doing advertising for a few years. For example, at any company, when I had an interview with my boss several times a year, even when I was asked, “What do you want to do in the future?” On the other hand, from a certain point on, when I was on the side of my superiors and interviewed the people in advertising below, most of them said, “I want to move on to production soon,” so my case may be rare.

” serial experiments lain ” led to the animation industry.

I’ve wanted to talk to Iida-san about anime advertising for a long time. I have moved from paper to the web, but now the main focus of anime advertising is also shifting to the internet and SNS. So I thought various interesting stories would come out if I received them.

Iida: I am curious if I can come up with an exciting story, but I’ve spent a fair amount of years in the industry, so I may have seen the trend of the times you just mentioned. I became involved in the anime industry with the word “serial experiments lain” (*hereafter referred to as “lain”), which aired in 1998. Hence, the following year, around 1999, I was indebted to the anime industry. And I think you are.

Oh, is it “lain”? I want to go back and tell you about the company I first joined.

Iida: After graduating from university, I joined Pioneer LDC, a subsidiary of Pioneer, a good company. Since then, the company’s name has changed many times due to changes in the parent company (editor’s note). It changed so much that my parents scolded me, saying, “Just keep changing jobs and don’t care about it” (laughs). Well, the reason why I joined Pioneer LDC wasn’t anime. I wasn’t the type to like anime that much in the first place. However, as a university student, I wanted the French director Léos Carax, known as Annette (2021). Therefore, one of the sponsoring companies was Pioneer LDC. That’s how I learned about the name Pioneer LDC, and when I was looking for a job, I gathered the application guidelines and accepted.

Editor’s Note: As mentioned later, Pioneer LDC has changed its name to Geneon Entertainment, Geneon Universal Entertainment Japan, and NBC Universal Entertainment Japan (now).

Initially, you liked live-action movies.

Iida: I liked live-action movies, but I was also interested in anime. I went to see it and was very impressed. At that time, videos were still too expensive to buy, so I asked a friend to dub the LP of the drama that contained the full audio of the main story, listened to it repeatedly, and had everyone arguing over the lines. I was doing

After entering university, I became more interested in so-called “animation” rather than “animation,” I liked watching animation works by artists such as Frederick Bach and Norman McLaren. As a result, Canada has put much effort into supporting such animations, borrowing 16mm films from the Canadian Embassy and holding screenings at university cultural festivals.

Did you belong to such a circle?

Iida: That’s why I joined the anime study group, but when I was thinking about “animation” in various ways, the main thing was the anime that everyone usually thinks of, so I didn’t participate in the circle much.

That’sThat’s how I like movies and animations, so when I joined Pioneer LDC, what kind of work did I do first? At that time, record companies generally made me make sales for the first two to three years. After that, It’sIt’s called record sales. I was assigned to the sales office in Hiroshima, and it felt like I was in a completely different place. So after that, I moved to the sales office in Osaka, where Kawase (Kohei), now a famous veteran anime producer, was there. (editor’s note). Then, Mr. Kawase handed me a video of “Neon Genesis Evangelion” (1995-96), saying, “This is an exciting anime” I watched all of them, and this was also very interesting, and I got hooked.

Editor’sEditor’s Note: Kohei Kawase is an anime producer who worked with Iida at Pioneer LDC (currently NBC Universal Entertainment Japan) and Warner Bros. Japan. Established Cascade Works LLC on October 1, 2010, and became independent.

Mr. Kawase, you also worked in sales.

Iida: While in Hiroshima, I joined LDC as a new employee and worked at the sales office in Osaka.

Regarding the story of “lain” that I talked about at the beginning, I was in charge of sales promotion of animation at the sales office in Osaka when “lain” was broadcasting. So, the next time I was told that this laser disc (*editor’s note) was for sale, I saw “lain” on TV and immediately saw it. The music for the opening song “bôa” was also really cool, and the content and visuals were all blown away. You could call it a subculture, but it’s an entirely different and edgy video that draws a line from the TV anime of the time.

Editor’sEditor’s Note: Laserdisc A maximum of two hours of video could be recorded on both sides of an optical disc with a diameter of 30 centimeters. Pioneers played a leading role in popularization. However, the part ended with the spread of DVDs, which are more compact and have beautiful images.

――If I remember correctly, the ending was Reichi Nakaido (*The name is “Nakaido ”CHABO” Reichi”).

Iida: That’sThat’s right. The content is like a foreshadowing of the current internet age, and I was a tech otaku who went to Akihabara during my school days, so I was shocked by “lain” in many ways. I thought.

However, the other members of the sales office didn’tdidn’t seem to get it right, and in the atmosphere of “What is this?” Ultimately, I decided to ask the head office’s production producer to make a sales presentation. Please come to the Osaka office and explain the work. Then, while the production of the main story was busy, he went from the head office in Tokyo, but at the entrance of the sales, office stood a suspicious man who looked like a Hong Kong mafia with black glasses and a long coat. I thought it was the producer of “lain” (Koyuki) Ueda (laughs). That was my first meeting with Mr. Ueda (editor’s note).

Editor’sEditor’s Note: Koyuki Ueda is an anime producer for Pioneer LDC (now NBC Universal Entertainment Japan). He worked as a producer on “serial experiments lain” and later worked on the HD version of the same work. See the interview below for the inside story at that time (There is a photo of Mr. Ueda. The interviewer, Gosho, was in charge of the composition when he was enrolled in Anime Style).

Posted in “WEB Anime Style”: “Haibane Renmei” and “lain” released in Blu-ray BOX! Ask producer Koyuki Ueda about the behind-the-scenes process of creating a BD


Mr. Ueda gave us various presentations, and we also tried to do our best in sales, so we did our best. There is a term in the record industry called ”promise”, but in practice, we deliver laser discs with a ”promise” of ”how many copies we will purchase” from the retail store. The market in Osaka is about half the size of Tokyo, but we worked hard to provoke everyone in the sales department and promised a number that was almost the same as in Tokyo, which made us stand out in the company.

Then, Mr. (Akihiro) Kawamura, who was in the animation department at the time, now working for Warner Bros. (*Warner Bros. Japan), called me to ask him about the next transfer. So I decided to go to the anime department in Tokyo. At that time, I instead wanted to go to the film department, so I was like, “Oh. That’sThat’s why I entered the animation industry with “lain.”

I also bought a laser disc at that time. But, again, it was a work that stood out.

Iida: For me, it was a tremendous impact. That year, I won the Excellence Award in the animation division of the Agency for Cultural Affairs Media Arts Festival. I think the work has become a cult-like favorite even now.

Old anime advertisements were “life on the 10th of every month”

What kind of work did you first do when you were assigned to the anime department in Tokyo?

Iida: I didn’tdidn’t know what to do, so at first, I was mainly in charge of promoting voice actors, such as Mayumi Iizuka, Ai Mizuno, and Mariyasu Yamamoto. After that, I gradually shifted to promoting anime works.

Within Pioneer LDC, there was a group of works that we arbitrarily called the “golden age,” and the first golden age was the “Tenchi Muyo” series. So, there were works such as “HELLSING” TV series (01), “Little Yukitsukai Sugar” (01-02), “Mahoromatic” (02-03), and “Ai Yori Aoshi” (02-03). . Among them, it was around “Mahoromatic” that I thought I was able to work in earnest as an anime advertisement. Mr. (Hiroyuki) Yamaga of “Royal Space Force Honneamise’s Wings of Honneamise” is the director of Gainax’s work.

You’re Mr. Sato, known by his nickname “Tencho-san” (*Currently a producer at GAINAX Kyoto).

Iida: Yes, yes. Now I can talk on equal footing with him, but at that time, he was a prominent senior to me. He profoundly loves anime, so he was very strict regarding his work. I’m just starting, so it’s only natural, but I was so scared to make a phone call when someone said, “You’ve never done advertising before.” is. But when I look back now, I feel grateful.

What kind of things did you learn from Mr. Sato?

Iida: You taught me how to treat the characters of the work and how to show them in publicity. For example, how can a copyrighted illustration look attractive? Or something. At the same time as being scolded, I was taught many things. Think.

The focus of anime advertising was different now than it was back then. For example, it was important how it appeared in anime magazines.

Iida: The 10th of every month is the last day (editor’s note). How to get a page from an anime magazine out of the many works and get an order for a copyrighted illustration. At the time, anime advertising was the most important job to get the cover. After that, “Megami Magazine” came out, and the timing of the end of the month came.

When I started advertising, it was also a turning point in the digitization of animation. I think the key visual for the first season of “Mahoromatic” was a cel from Gainax. I’m going to film it. I cut the film into pieces for the scene photos and handed them over to the media. We are the last generation of propaganda that has experienced that.

Editor’s note: The release date of the three major anime magazines “Animage,” “Animedia,” and “Newtype.” In the past, a lot of information was lifted according to the release date of these three magazines.

I heard from Mr. Naoshi Sudo, the founder of AnimeAnime! Anime! They were not even made in the early days.

Iida: I don’t remember exactly when I started making press releases, but it was around the same time that the 10-day standard collapsed as the news of lifting the ban on announcements became mainstream on the Internet media. I’m sorry for the anime magazines. No young advertising men today are aware of lifting the ban on the 10th release date. Once, when I told my subordinates about the 10-day standard, they were all dumbfounded, and I thought the times had changed. But unfortunately, magazines are no match for the web in terms of breaking news, so each anime magazine should be competing in other areas.

I started making press releases because the number of media has increased as the web has become mainstream. When magazines were the mainstream, it would have been enough to send information only to anime magazines and voice actor magazines. So I had to send it and started making it out of necessity. That’s why AnimeAnime is gaining public attention in a good way.

After that, the parent company of Pioneer LDC changed to Dentsu, and in 2003 the company name changed to Geneon Entertainment.

Iida: Pioneer LDC was a company whose purpose was to support sales of the laserdisc hardware, so when the laserdisc changed to the DVD, there was no point in doing software. As the parent company, Pioneer, I understand that Pioneer LDC was transferred because there was no reason to continue.

On the other hand, it was also a time when the overseas anime business was growing significantly, so Dentsu also had high hopes for the overseas anime business. But, unfortunately, after that, the overseas anime bubble at this time splendidly burst in a Black Monday style with the decline of the package business…

Involved in creating opportunities for animation

Mr. Iida, you said in your interview with your boss that you wanted to continue working in advertising, but were you not interested in working as a producer?

Iida: There are various jobs in production, but one is to search for the original animation and create a project proposal. While I’m working on advertising, I’m doing that part independently. That’s because advertising isn’t just a purveyor; you go in and out of various companies such as publishers. I’m a person who likes to wander around in multiple places, so when I’m chatting at different companies like that, I’m sometimes asked, “How about an anime adaptation of this work?”

In terms of publicity, I think it goes in and out of a broader range of places than the production P, so that kind of talk came in, and about the work I was interested in, I asked, “Is this decision to be animated?” So then, if something looks good, it is passed on to an in-house producer. So, in addition to the work of advertising, I was doing such a movement on the side.

So that’s it.

Iida: For example, when it comes to the story of how a particular game was adapted into an anime, as I said when I was talking about “lain,” I was a tech geek and liked PCs, so I decided to create a PC specialist in Hatsudai at the time. I used to go to the magazine publisher on my way home from work at night. I didn’t have much to do, but many PC-related editors liked AnimeAnime, so they were pretty happy when I went (laughs).

One day, one of the editors came up with an exciting game and asked me if I could make an animation. It was a big shock for me. I want to animate this. I immediately contacted the editor who had told me about it and said, “It’s exciting.” Presently, the two of us started writing a proposal on our own and, at the same time, consulted with an in-house production producer.

Does the editor who wrote the proposal together cooperate with you regardless of your work?

Iida: That editor is appropriately credited at the end of the AnimeAnime as a planning cooperation. I was on good terms with that person, so I wrote a proposal while saying things like this and handed it to the production producer, saying, “Yes, it’s done.” With that, I went to the original author to propose an animation.

I’ve read many books about how various people visited the editorial department of Nightless Castle, and something was born out of the chat. Iida-san, there are cases where an anime project was born.

Iida: Back in the day, there was almost no security to enter the building or enter the room like it is now, so I would walk into the editorial department of an anime magazine, sit next to my seat, and talk night after night like, “I wonder if I’ll be able to draw something new next month.” I was. Everyone in the editorial department is out for interviews during the day, so it was customary to go around 9 p.m. when they were back.

Can I name this? The first time I learned about “Hakuoki ~Shinsengumi Kitan~” was through a chat in the middle of the night. There was a professional editor (editing production) who I was on good terms with, and I used to go there late at night on the way home, and when I got sleepy around 2 or 3 in the middle of the night, I would go home. , It was “Hakuouki” that I was told, “This is very interesting.” Right at that time, the editor-in-chief was making a storybook for Hakuoki. The person said, “I’ve made many books like this, but this is the first time it’s this interesting. It would be interesting if it were made into an anime.”

So, to put it bluntly, the beauty and power of the characters Kazuki Yone drew were terrific, but since I’m a man, regarding the content = of the game, my wife got hooked, not me. However, I’m so addicted to it that I will get divorced if I don’t make it into an anime (laughs).

So your wife asked you to work towards an anime adaptation. It’s different from your wife working in the anime or entertainment industry…

Iida: At that time, it was utterly irrelevant, but I was told to do it in a half-threatening manner. I consulted with producer Mitsutoshi Ogura, a director of Good Smile Film, and went to Idea Factory, the original creator, to make an animation. All the fans know about the development after that.

Mr. Ogura is the same with both manga and novels. Still, he is a genius producer in putting the optimal solution of the work into the medium of animation. It was reassuring to have such a powerful producer by my side.

It’s a popular series that continues even now.

Iida: I was in U-NEXT before the current Crunchyroll, and in 2021, the new Hakuouki OVA decided to participate in U-NEXT exclusive pre-delivery. Mr. Ogura had already moved from NBC to Good Smile Film, but we could team up again even though the company had changed entirely. There was something profoundly moving. I was joking like, “I got called by the Shinsengumi.” (laughs)

While working on advertising, I often did that for other titles, so I read the script (screenplay meeting) in the flow and then after that. I was also allowed to participate in the production site. It’s just part of the creative work.

So you were doing some creative work while you were doing advertising work.

Iida: I’m sure some companies don’t want to get involved in that because it’s the realm of production, but thankfully, I was allowed to work in a very free environment.

The era when maid animation was a genre Real maid parade PR

From here, I would like to hear about the advertising measures that left an impression on Mr. Iida, who was taught in advance. The first is “This is my master” (05), “50 maids walking around Akihabara PR plan”.

Iida: Around this time, the Internet began to have a strong influence on advertising, and although it might create a buzz, it was the first time to enter an era where promotions outside of anime magazines were being held as events to spread the word online. I was there. That’s one of the ways I started doing that.

“Akiba Meido Sensen” was broadcast in 2010, but maids felt like something new with a different meaning at that time.

Iida: As I think Gosho-san remembers, maid anime was already a genre. I can’t go as far as the current isekai anime, but anyway, there was a lot of maid anime. “Mahoromatic, “Hand Maid Mei, “Hanaukyo Maid Corps, “and “Chairman is a Maid!” I might be the advertising man in charge of the most maid anime in Japan (laughs). Now the term “absolute domain” needs some explanation.

Zettai Ryouiki… it’s nostalgic. It was undoubtedly a hot word.

Iida: Gainax and Shaft produced one such maid anime, “This is my master. “It was a simple project to gather maids in cosplay and parade, but it was pretty challenging to make costumes for the number of people. I can say it now, but just before we started this project, there was a news report about a maid, so we reduced the number of maids from 50 to 36.

The number of people was slightly reduced, but it was still quite spectacular, and it was a promotion that made Gainax’s Sato-san, who was often scolded when he was starting, very happy (laughs). So it was a memorable one (editor’s note).

Editorial Note: Conducted on June 11, 2005. The pattern of the event is reported on the “Akiba Blog.” http://blog.livedoor.jp/geek/archives/24932011.html

Free Blu-ray distribution ~ Suspicion that the bit rate may be exceeded

The next topic is the free distribution of Blu-ray discs that took place on December 23, 2008. ” To Aru Majutsu no Index ” “Kemeko Deluxe!” “ef – a tale of melodies. “Casshern Sins” “ef – a tale of memories. “It was a measure to distribute in Akihabara, Tokyo, and Nihonbashi, Osaka (editor’s note).

Editor’s note: “GIGAZINE” posted on December 17, 2008, Rondrobe, free distribution of Blu-ray discs of ”Kemeko Deluxe!”

Iida: This is the one that was distributed free of charge (showing the actual product).

Oh, these promotional items are precious now, aren’t they?

Iida: This is precisely the era, or rather, it was when the media switched from DVD to Blu-ray. The time when I first talked about “serial experiments lain” was the transition from laser discs to DVDs, and around this time, it was time to change that DVD to Blu-ray.

I consciously wanted to do something that would be Japan’s first, and neither live-action movies nor AnimeAnime had yet distributed Blu-rays for free. Therefore, I did this project to promote something for the first time in Japan. However, since the Blu-ray format itself had just come out, there were many things I needed help understanding, so I studied myself and consulted closely with the post-production company……. It took a lot of money to produce.

So you distributed it for free when it was first expensive.

Iida: At the time, anime fans had a PS3 that could play, but many people had never bought Blu-ray software, and many were wondering what it was like. I asked many questions about whether it was okay to distribute it for free, and there was no problem. I did it with that in mind, but I was able to do something interesting.

I heard rumors that the bit rate of the video recorded in this free Blu-ray disc exceeded the regulation.

Iida: That was the early days. Of course, we did a lot of technical verification, and in the end, we thought it would work, so we completed the disc and distributed it. There are rumors on the Internet that the video is too beautiful. At that time, many people were watching on PS3, and the bit rate of the video being played was displayed in that environment. That number is over the limit.

Editor’s note: “ef – a tale of memories.” is based on a bishoujo game produced by minori. Shaft and director Shin Onuma made it into a TV animation in 2007. Makoto Shinkai directed the opening video of the original game.

Indeed, I said to the post-production person that I would do it to the limit. Anyway, to appeal that Blu-ray is beautiful, I recorded the video until the last minute, but when I saw such criticisms on the Internet, I thought, “Oh, I think I went too far. When I told a post-production person that this might not be a good idea, the company said, “I’m getting a phone call from Sony.” and. I thought this would be very angry, and when I came to the company with my heart pounding, I was from Sony, but it was a dissemination group called Blu-ray Disc Association, which formulates standards for Blu-ray discs.

In the end, it wasn’t about the bit rate, it was about actively working to popularize Blu-ray, and they praised it as an exciting attempt. I can’t forget what I thought. I was in the same group as the Sony people I met then, so I’m talking about wanting to do something together again if there’s a chance.

How was the actual bit rate?

Iida: When I rechecked the reaction on the Internet, it shouldn’t have exceeded it. It was because it looked so beautiful. After all, it was compatible with the work. Maybe (laughs).

“To Aru Majutsu no Index II” “My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute “Joint Newspaper Advertisement.

Iida: This is also very memorable, and I brought you the actual item today. This is a joint advertisement published in the morning edition of the Nikkei newspaper on September 26, 2010.

It was rare to see anime advertisements in newspapers these days, and I remember it well because it was a joint advertisement that transcended the boundaries of manufacturers.

Iida: Since they both aired at the same time and are both works by Dengeki Bunko, I thought there would be some promotion for “My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute” (10) and “To Aru Majutsu no Index II” (10). At the time, Aniplex’s publicity producer Mr. (Yuma) Takahashi, asked me to do it. So, Mr. Takahashi, Mr. (Katsuya) Ota from NBC, and Mr. (Nobuhiro Nakayama), the producer of Geneon at that time, who is now Aniplex, got together at a cafe in the building where Geneon was located at the time. So, we talked about doing something fun with Dengeki Bunko and trying to dominate autumn with this work (laughs).

The word “hegemony” is also nostalgic. For example, a novel called “Haken Anime” was made into a live-action movie, but it was initially from Mr. Takahashi’s words.

Iida: When we all got together to come up with ideas, I don’t remember who said what, but we both started talking about whether it would be interesting to put out a joint advertisement in the Nikkei newspaper. . Not the Asahi Shimbun or the Yomiuri Shimbun, but the Nikkei Shimbun, which was probably the furthest from AnimeAnime at the time. It’s a method of intentionally throwing a ball far away to cause a buzz there. I decided to do it on the spot, and since Mr. Takahashi is a very light footwork person, I proceeded from there at once … I like this catchphrase.

“Stand up, Japanese economy.”

Iida: This copy was written by Mr. Yuma, but considering the situation 22 years after the corona disaster (*at the time of the interview), it’s a lovely copy that shines even more and is even more impressive. Yuma is amazing.

This joint advertisement will appeal to people who read newspapers.

Iida: It’s that kind of time already. It is said that it aims to spread on Twitter etc. It is not necessarily the case that those who read the Nikkei newspaper are the target, but the method is to have some people spread and think they are doing something interesting for the target.

It was around this time, but you were doing things like this joint advertisement that crosses over the boundaries of manufacturers, such as the “Advertisement Man Blog across anime makers.

Iida: I also remember reading an interview with Mr. Takahashi at the time (Editor’s Note), but “Animage” has gathered people in advertising for manufacturers and held drinking parties several times. It faded away after two or three times, but at that time, Takahashi-san said, “We all want to do something together.” So let’s do a cross-sectional blog on advertising. Man, let’s do an event.

Editor’s note: “ASCII.jp x Business” published on June 29, 2011, Interview with Aniplex Advertising Producer Yuma Takahashi (Part 2)

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