A story about overcoming conflicts, anguish, and trauma and aiming for a dream [Interview] Yutaka Suwa (Producer / Music Producer ) A new anime in July that depicts the friendship and youth of students at the Honghua Opera Music School, which nurtures opera stars. “Kageki Shojo !!”. In the first act, the protagonists Sara Watanabe and Ai Narada and other unique girls enrolled in the Honghua Opera Music School as a memorable 100th grader and began their career as a star. What kind of drama will these girls, who have not yet developed ties as classmates and trust in each other, draw? We asked producer Yutaka Suwa (King Record) to tell us about the process of animation, the aim of stuffing, and the casting of preparatory students who are classmates of Sarasa.
Would you mind telling us the background of the planning? When I saw the cover of the first volume of Suwa’s original comics, I felt “it’s glittering and adorable!”, Which made me interested in the work. When you start reading the story from there, the glittering world and a hot story are drawn in which each character overcomes conflicts, anguish, and trauma and aims for a dream. The general process was that I was touched by the bold story and asked the original side, “I want to animate it.”
Originally, did you like opera? Suwa: Actually, I wasn’t familiar with it at all. This work made me interested in “what kind of world is it?” When I went to see it, it was exciting. One of the beginnings of the project was that I thought it would be nice if someone could give me an opportunity through my work.
You mentioned earlier that you were attracted to the cover of Volume 1, but this time the animation started not from Volume 1 but from “Season Zero,” which depicts Tan the day before. Suwa: Actually, this was a bit of hesitation. Initially, one idea was to “draw” Season Zero “on a drama CD before anime, and start drawing from Volume 1 on anime.” I thought it would be nice to start the animation from the story of the first volume in which the relationship between chintz and love was completed, but I also wanted to see the scene where the two meet and the hearts communicate with each other. There. That’s why we started from “Season Zero.” The buddy feeling of chintz and love, which is the core of this work, is born only with the story of “Season Zero,” and there are plenty of other scenes where preparatory students are active. I wanted to draw it carefully, even in anime.
What is the critical point that Mr. Suwa thought “I want to cherish this place” when animating this work? Suwa: “The feelings of each character do not waste any small movements. That’s right. I found beautiful when I read the original was the delicacy of the psychological depiction of each character. Even in the face of hardships, he clenches his teeth and keeps walking toward his dreams. To convey the fantastic appearance of these girls, I wanted to draw the subtleties of each heart carefully. There are many characters in this work, but I thought that properly absorbing each feeling would make the whole story shine. That’s why I wanted to make it the most important thing, and I wanted creators who pointed in the same direction to create pictures, plays, and music. -Was the appointment of director Kazuhiro Yoneda from that perspective? Suwa That’s right. I had worked with Director Yoneda on a separate work before, but from that point on, I felt that he was a person who would take the original work seriously. He has a deep understanding of the original charm, and he is a person who works hard to draw it carefully and precisely.
This time, he read the original very much, and he was also studying the musical world very enthusiastically during the production. Initially, Director Yoneda, like me, didn’t have a deep knowledge of musicals. However, when I went to see the performance of the Takarazuka Revue together, it seemed that I was addicted to it. Nowadays, I’m a Takarazuka enthusiast who thinks it’s a lifelong hobby (laughs). Maybe it’s because I like it, but I’ve been doing a lot of trial and error trying to use it in the details of this work by studying each member and seeing a lot of past performances. I think that the craftsmanship of Director Yoneda fits perfectly with this work. Director Yoneda also has a deep knowledge of Kabuki, which is another element of this work. In that sense, I feel that there would have been no other director of “Kageki Shojo !!” except Mr. Yoneda.
The director’s deep love for the original, respect for the musical, fresh sensibility, and logical thinking appear everywhere in the video, so please pay attention to the details. I think that songs are an indispensable element in “Kageki Shojo !!”, which depicts the world of opera. Did Suwa already have an image of the development of character songs at the planning stage? Suwa: Well, from the beginning, I wanted to face the music of this work, which depicts the world of opera head-on. Among them, Tsuneyoshi Saito, who is also doing a lot of work for the Takarazuka Revue and the stage.
It is a form that I asked for music. I used to work with Mr. Saito on another work, but at that time, I was only a gekitomo musician, so I also wanted to work with him on a song. In addition to the epitome music, Mr. Saito wrote, composed, and arranged the ending songs and songs in the play sung by the characters. I’m grateful for making a ridiculous amount of music. (C) Kumiko Saiki / Hakusensha / “Kageki Shojo !!” Production Committee
The dubbing site is the opera school itself⁉
The dubbing site is like an opera school !? Next, please tell us about casting. Suwa: Since this work is set in the world of opera, where you win the role in the audition, all the preparatory students and college students decide on the audition. Kaoru Hoshino, a grandmother, and mother who played the role of a daughter of the former Honghua Opera Company, was chaired by Mr. Daichiha. He felt the elegance of a thoroughbred that lasted for three generations and the passion for entering the school with extraordinary thoughts.
Regarding Sawa Sugimoto, I would like to ask Sumire Uesaka, who firmly expressed the gap between the disciplined side that organizes the preparatory students and the humorous side. Ayako Yamada, who is weak and unfussy, is a character who can change everything with “a certain talent,” so I asked Rico Sasaki to emphasize that part and aim for the role of a beloved daughter. What is that “talent”? Please look forward to the main story! At the audition, the positions of the Sawada Chinatsu & Chiaki sisters will be Matsuda Rise & Satsuma sisters.
The voice actor can express twins by acting even if they are not actual twins, so I was not particular about twins. Still, even when I heard various people serving, the Matsuda sisters had “unique twins” “How to breathe” is very impressive. The deciding factor was that I felt a way of engaging that I couldn’t get anywhere else.
In addition to the preparatory students, Hiroki Nanami, who plays top star Satomi Hoshi, was also decided by audition. In addition to Mr. Nanami, several Takarazuka Revue OGs appear this time, so please pay attention to the credits. –Kumiko Saiki of the original you have any orders for casting? Suwa: I didn’t have any big orders. Would you mind telling me that I will leave it to the judgment as an animation? The only thing you said was, “If it comes true, I’d be happy if I could ask Norio Wakamoto to play the role of Captain Anai” (laughs). With the hope of being director Yoneda, Mr. Wakamoto asks for a decisive decision.
How is the atmosphere of dubbing? Since I was in the middle of the Suwa Corona disaster, I distribute recordings to a small number of people. Although the characters entwined in the same scene are recorded together as much as possible, there are many characters, so it is still difficult for everyone to interact. It’s a burden on the acoustic team, but I think it’s a perfect product, thanks to everyone’s efforts. Personally, what impressed me at the scene was that the cast waiting for their turn at the waiting booth was excited to hear the performance of the person dubbing before. With normal dubbing, if you react to other people’s concerts with “Wow! Nice!”, It will be NG (laughs), so I thought it was a scene because it was a distributed recording.
I was glad that I could feel the love for the work when I saw other people’s plays and used them as a reference and enjoyed them. –What scene did Yukio Nagasaki pay particular attention to? I think the scene in which the Suwa characters act was very carefully and carefully directed. It’s a critical scene in this work, so I think it was worth the guidance of the sound director Nagasaki.
This time, from the stage of casting and stuffing, I thought it would be great if a school-like atmosphere was created among the cast and staff. In that sense, the sound director of Nagasaki was really like a teacher, and I was glad that the cast members had a feeling of being seniors and juniors among the undergraduate and preparatory students. Also, what left a lasting impression on me personally was the teachers’ things.
A scene to imitate. Mr. Senbongi (Ayaka) (who played the role of Sarasa) took several takes, but it was like Mr. Senbongi’s impersonation show, which was very interesting (laughs). Thank you for the valuable story that gives you an idea of the backside of the production. Finally, do you have a message for your readers? The Suwa TV anime “Kageki Shojo !!” is a film filled with the love of director Yoneda and other creators and cast members. As a fan, I am happy to deliver this work to everyone. We hope you can watch all 13 episodes until the end. (C) Kumiko Saiki / Hakusensha / “Kageki Shojo !!” Production Committee