Talk About RahXephon: In Search of Fantasy and Details

Oshii criticizes RahXephon and compares it to Neon Genesis Evangelion
anime, NGE, interview, SF
by: Mamoru Oshii, Yutaka Izubuchi 2012-02-282012-03-25 finished certainty: log importance: 0

Tran­script pre­pared from pages 44–51 of RahX­ephon: The Motion Pic­ture book­let, 2004 ADV release.

Advice from Director Oshii when starting the TV series?

—In this con­ver­sa­tion, we would like to focus on Mr. Oshi­i’s impres­sions of the the­atri­cal RahX­ephon: Plu­ral­i­tas Con­cen­tio, which he watched for this con­ver­sa­tion. Orig­i­nal­ly, when the TV series first start­ed, Mr. Oshi­i’s words of encour­age1 to Direc­tor Izubuchi were very mem­o­rable, so let’s start from there.

Oshii: Man, that’s exactly right. It’s turned into some­thing ter­ri­ble, just like I said, has­n’t it? (laughs)

Izubuchi: What are you call­ing ter­ri­ble? (laughs)

O: When I returned to the stu­dio scene two years ago, I was sur­prised that it’d become pretty rough. So, I thought that mak­ing a [TV] series would be tough in such times, and I made that com­ment out of a sense of grand­moth­erly solic­i­tude. It would be absolutely impos­si­ble to make some­thing of the qual­ity But-chan [nick­name for Direc­tor Izubuchi] would want, so I fig­ured he would prob­a­bly ago­nize over the dis­par­ity between his ideals and what would actu­ally get made.

I: That’s true, but I kind of thought that it would be “sub­tract” even before I start­ed.

O: I guess maybe it’s a mat­ter of whether you can bear that or not.

I: It was more bear­able than I’d thought.

O: Uahaha (laughs)

I: Was that fun­ny? (laughs) I knew the gen­eral sit­u­a­tion any­way. I fig­ured it might fun­da­men­tally become a los­ing bat­tle, but even before I began work­ing, I’d accepted within myself that this would be about how to make it seem like you were win­ning.

Recent­ly, you often see this pat­tern, where they make a really elab­o­rate first episode because that’s the only episode they get time to work on, set­ting a high bar for them­selves and ruin­ing the over­all bal­ance. And I knew I wanted to avoid falling into that trap. I’d decided up to a cer­tain point that I would cal­cu­late the num­ber of cels and num­ber of calo­ries and plan out the total dis­tance we’d have to run, and then just leave it up as much as pos­si­ble to the excel­lent staff and take a hand­s-off approach. But of course, the fact that BONES’ staff is excel­lent played a large part in allow­ing me to do that.

O: In the end, there just aren’t any design­ers. Right now, in ani­me, there’s a real short­age of design­ers who do artis­tic designs, which are absolutely nec­es­sary to work in the details. When a room like this is shown, it’s really just a box and there’s noth­ing to it. You don’t feel any­thing from the room, and it’s just a back­drop. The story part and the world part are com­pletely sep­a­rate.

When you do that, the sen­ti­ments just run idle, and the story that you’re sup­posed to be telling loses its edge and becomes emp­ty. With both movies and ani­mated works, there’s a lot in them that you have to rein­force with visu­als, which is even truer for sci-fi, where you need vast amounts of details and sit­u­a­tions. It’s a lot of work even under nor­mal cir­cum­stances, but now, there aren’t enough peo­ple. With Eva [Neon Gen­e­sis Evan­ge­lion], it was like all the peo­ple involved were design­ers, from the direc­tor to the ani­ma­tors, so they man­aged to hang in there until the end, but aside from unique stu­dios like that, if you look at how well today’s stu­dios can cope with the amount of details that a story requires, it’s hope­less.

I: In terms of design, I’m a designer myself and I can draw designs, but I decided it would be bad for me to do it. About the only per­son who can do it prop­erly is Mr. [Hayao] Miyazaki any­way, so I aimed to take the tack of assign­ing the right peo­ple to the right jobs. The absolute num­ber of design­ers is small, but that does­n’t mean the solu­tion is to gather as many of them together as you can. Cre­ators, myself includ­ed, are fun­da­men­tally selfish crea­tures, so if every­one started doing what­ever they pleased, the designs that embody the show and the world fall apart. So, rather than draw­ing it your­self, you have to adroitly con­trol the process from above. And for the sake of keep­ing the series rolling, I took the method­ol­ogy of using artis­tic design for a lim­ited num­ber of loca­tions and restrict­ing mate­r­ial resources. All so I could reduce the load on back­grounds and designs. But in exchange, I made sure to do a solid job on design-re­lated mat­ters by work­ing with the peo­ple I could trust out of the few there.

A show that substantiates a young boy’s wish

Oshii: The story is set in Tokyo, but because it’s where the char­ac­ters are, the town itself has to be a char­ac­ter, or rather, it needs to come to the fore­ground as uni­fied pre­sen­ta­tion.

For the longest time, back­grounds in ani­ma­tion were noth­ing more than some­thing to fill the space behind the char­ac­ters. Inside the house, there are walls and tatami mats on the floor, and if you go out­side, if there are drain­pipes, it would be an open lot. That was all there was to it. But in my pro­jects, that’s not how it works. The back­ground and the char­ac­ters have to be even. You have to take it as far as mak­ing the char­ac­ter a part of the back­ground, or you’re not really depict­ing a world. But-chan’s worked with me, so he under­stands that, and I think he also knows how much work that is.

Izubuchi: Yes, I do know.

O: And yet, just a while ago, you went and made some­thing like Thir­teen [WXIII Mobile Police Pat­la­bor] (laugh­s).

I: Well, I did that one know­ing­ly. I don’t want to hear that from you, Mr. Oshii (laugh­s). If you’re keep­ing a TV series rolling and you begin requir­ing a level of work that’s diffi­cult to pull off unless you’re work­ing on a movie, it would all col­lapse.

O: The strat­egy for work­ing on a TV series is to limit your loca­tions, build solid designs for the loca­tions you’ll be using repeat­ed­ly, and then to pick a point to splurge in each episode. For exam­ple, in Pat­la­bor, we fun­da­men­tally did the whole thing on a reclaimed area, and it worked because the story was basi­cally about daily life.

But this is the main­stay of sci-fi, not to men­tion a bat­tle­field. It’s how you fill that in. If you have an armored car, where is the street cor­ner that the armored car is located at? Is it Tsuku­da­jima or Seta­gaya? If you don’t take a look at that, it just becomes a con­cep­tual bat­tle­field.

Today’s stu­dios don’t have the abil­ity to fill in those areas. I think the ‘intent’ is prob­a­bly differ­ent. So, the moment I saw 5–6 min­utes of the TV series, I thought, ‘This is in bad shape’ (laugh­s). After that, I did­n’t watch it at all, so it’s like I watched it for the first time with the the­atri­cal ver­sion. When the series was run­ning, quite a few of the ani­ma­tors around me in the stu­dio were watch­ing it, so I would ask, ‘How is it?’ since I was still some­what curi­ous. And I got the reply, ‘I can’t under­stand it at all.’ And I thought, it fig­ures.

Now, it’s extremely diffi­cult to prop­erly show the stage and depict things through the main char­ac­ter, so to a cer­tain extent, it becomes about how you show things through mosaics. The issue is what gets depicted in the end, and I fig­ured I could find that out by watch­ing the the­atri­cal ver­sion. So, to state my con­clu­sion…

I: Here it comes, here it comes (laugh­s). I bet­ter brace myself, just in case.

O: I thought, ‘I haven’t seen this in a long time.’ I felt like I remem­bered see­ing movies like this two or three times in the past.

One was Eva, of course. Going even fur­ther than that, it would be another 17–18 years ago. Shou Kawamor­i’s [Sho­ji] the­atri­cal ver­sion of Macross [Super Dimen­sional Fortress Macross: Do You Remem­ber Love?] What they have in com­mon, basi­cal­ly, is ‘fan­tasy’.

Movies have a drama sep­a­rate from the sto­ry. The drama is ‘how a cer­tain per­son changes’. The story is ‘there’s a vil­lain, and there are those wo oppose him, and how that devel­ops’.

When you look at that drama part, all three of them have some­thing in com­mon. In other words, it’s ‘the story of a vivid desire’ of a young boy. Ulti­mate­ly, in a word…

I: That’s what you say, but you’ve never summed it up in a word (laugh­s).

O: In other words, it’s the desire to see a girl­friend the same age as him accept every­thing, or that he wants to be reunited with her when he’s become an ‘older woman’, who will pro­tect him.

I: I don’t actu­ally have any real desires like that, but if that’s how you feel, I get the feel­ing you desire a bit of some­thing along those lines (laugh­s).

O: No, no. The rea­son why is because mod­ern young boys find girls their own age hard to deal with. They can’t keep up with the girls’ needs, and they can’t hold up. So, the desire on the part of the boy is ‘to be reunited with his girl­friend when she’s grown older than him’. I think it can be summed up that way.

By intro­duc­ing a sci-fi Urashima effect, you try to cre­ate a chrono­log­i­cal gap; you warp the world for that desire. In order to real­ize the fan­ta­sy, you cre­ate this grand sto­ry. I think that’s what they have in com­mon.

I: Well… that’s true enough. I’m aware of that.

O: If you sum up Eva, it’s ‘the aim­less wan­der­ing of the soul of an intro­verted boy’. Macross is a movie that can be summed up as ‘want­ing to date an older girl on Earth after a nuclear war’. And for that, they have a war in space and a nuclear attack on Earth. It’s about how force­fully you warp the world to real­ize one ambi­tion. I think this is the most cor­rect form of what sci-fi pri­mar­ily should be.

The issue is how bril­liant the method is that is used for warp­ing the world. In the case of Macross, they brought out giant car­ri­ers and robots. Eva was a lit­tle more evolved and cre­ated orga­ni­za­tions and cities, try­ing to build a sense of the world.

At any rate, those meth­ods are the meat of the movie and the back­bone or the nerves is turned towards the ambi­tion. A fan­tasy holds mean­ing only when it pos­sesses the details to con­vince peo­ple of it. With­out that, it just becomes gib­ber­ish. If you can flesh out the fan­ta­sy, warp the world and force it to come together into one movie, it has a ten­dency to turn into some­thing great, and it can’t help but become some­thing great because the source mate­r­ial is so sim­ple.

Con­sid­er­ing the prob­lem of this ‘method’ and on whether it’s inept or skilled, or whether it was able to mobi­lize those mate­ri­als… RahX­ephon is clearly lack­ing. It’s absolutely short on details. I won’t be con­vinced by some­thing like this. Those details come before such things as artis­tic design and mecha designs. It’s about cre­at­ing depth in the world by look­ing at how wars are fought, the neces­sity of armies, and what kind of char­ac­ters appear and how all of those sup­ple­ment one another to make such a world pos­si­ble. Peo­ple are details too, in that you have to assign them skill­ful­ly.

In the case of RahX­ephon, there’s this mys­te­ri­ous orga­ni­za­tion that even employs car­ri­ers, but you don’t have a clue as to what kind of orga­ni­za­tion it is or where it’s get­ting its mon­ey. I just can’t help but look at those things. There are sev­eral require­ments for jus­ti­fy­ing the exis­tence of a mil­i­tary. But you don’t see that at all. The details are shown, but they don’t func­tion, so you see pieces, but to the very end, you never saw the com­plete pic­ture that those pieces formed.

I: We called it a the­atri­cal ver­sion, but it’s fun­da­men­tally a com­pi­la­tion, so please give me a lit­tle slack here. It’s like we tried to make the Macross “Do You Remem­ber Love” through a com­pi­la­tion (laugh). The work we did was to take the pieces of the TV series and use them like pieces of a puz­zle to rebuild it within the length lim­i­ta­tions of a the­atri­cal film. Besides, Mr. Oshii, you haven’t watched the TV series (laugh­s).

The Love and Hate Hidden in Director Oshii’s “Essay on Yutaka Izubuchi”

Oshii: I’ve writ­ten lots about But-chan as a per­son in columns and essays, and every­one around thinks I’m bad­mouthing him (laugh­s). But that’s not it, I wrote those things because I’ve assessed his mer­its.

In short, my ‘Essay on Yutaka Izubuchi’ is ‘But-chan is the man who turned mecha into char­ac­ters’. Or rather, all mecha and robots in ani­ma­tion were always char­ac­ters. He’s the man who uncon­sciously pur­sued that to the extremes, so I haven to assess him as much as pos­si­ble.

Izubuchi: Was it uncon­scious­ly? (laughs) Well, it is basi­cally as you say.

O: In that sense, he’s a man who rep­re­sents Japan’s ani­ma­tion. Though, he’s also the man who agi­tated Japan’s ani­ma­tion. That’s why he’s still work­ing. He’s a man who can be eter­nally on the side of the fans. And it’s the fans who demanded that. To them, robots were char­ac­ters. he’s one of the few, or rather, pretty much the one and only man who’s given form to that sort of thing.

With mecha, pri­mar­ily speak­ing, it becomes a com­pletely differ­ent world the moment they become inde­pen­dent. Labors are a tran­si­tional exis­tence, and they were both char­ac­ters and a sort of gim­mick at the same time. I was think­ing of mak­ing them clear-cut gim­micks. But I ended up being ham­pered by But-chan’s design (laugh­s), and it did­n’t work out that way.

I: But if we’d turned them into the gim­micks that you were think­ing of, Pat­la­bor would­n’t be what it is today. And you would­n’t be what you are today, either (laugh­s).

O: Nope, it would­n’t. I do truly think that, if that 98 model had­n’t been a char­ac­ter that fans favored, this [?] would have been over with the first 6 vol­umes. There would­n’t have been any movies, no TV series, and of course, Pat­la­bor 2 would­n’t have existed either. Though, it’s some­thing that I feel ambiva­lent about.

I: Those things are always relat­ed.

O: I, myself, keep want­ing to get past that and yet, I con­tinue to work, shoul­der­ing that sort of thing. With But-chan, per­son­al­ly, we got into a huge fight dur­ing Pat­la­bor 2, say­ing, ‘I don’t want to work with some­one like you, I don’t even want to have to see your face!’

I: That’s the one we had over the phone, right? You were mad that the designs weren’t get­ting done and said, ‘In other words, you and Masami Yuuki want to do some­thing where Labors fight it out in space, don’t you‽’ And I ended up los­ing it over that. That fight (laugh­s).

O: Quite a few months and years have passed since then, and my anger has calmed. And by writ­ing about But-chan, I’ve gained quite a bit of under­stand­ing about what kind of pres­ence he has, and I’ve been able to get it straight­ened out in my head. He’s clearly pointed in a direc­tion differ­ent from what I’ve struck out to do, but there’s no doubt that he’s a part of the work that I’ve done. So, even in this movie, I can see that he’s done a great job of cre­at­ing a gigan­tic char­ac­ter instead of a robot.

I: But the gen­eral pub­lic often groups you and me together in the mil­i­tary genre. I like mil­i­tary things, too, but it’s a lit­tle differ­ent from the things Mr. Oshii thinks of. For exam­ple, the Hell­diver [an air­borne robot that appears in Pat­la­bor] is very pop­u­lar among mil­i­tary fans, but Mr. Oshii thinks, ‘That’s not right’, right? After all, log­i­cally speak­ing, a vehi­cle that tall walk­ing around is, in and of itself, already wrong as a weapon (laugh­s). I do under­stand Mr. Oshi­i’s log­ic. But with Pat­la­bor, I acted as the oppos­ing influ­ence and did it that way in part to bal­ance things out, because I felt the show would work bet­ter if it had a lit­tle man­ga-like fla­vor to it. Because at that point in time, it would­n’t sell unless you took it in that direc­tion. You know that, Mr. Oshii…

O: I also know that was why I had to fight such an oppos­ing influ­ence, and that show came into exis­tence as a result of it, so my feel­ings of love and hate are just that much deeper (laugh­s). I keep plan­ning to sever my ties with that extremely mys­te­ri­ous and unique domain that Japan­ese ani­ma­tion holds, but I never man­age to extri­cate myself, and my mind always ends up charg­ing in that direc­tion. It’s like the Japan­ese ‘fam­ily’. You can run away from home, but ulti­mate­ly, that does­n’t resolve any of the fam­ily prob­lems.

That’s exactly why I’m prob­a­bly in the posi­tion to speak most accu­rately about the world of such pat­terns, the world of ani­ma­tion, the world of design, the kinds of things that the man, Yutaka Izubuchi, rep­re­sents.

I: That may actu­ally be true.

O: …And with that inten­tion in mind, I’ve bad­mouthed But-chan in my writ­ings all over the place these past cou­ple years (laugh­s).

I: I—I feel like that might be an unwel­come favor… (laughs wry­ly).

The Quad Cannon of Stressing the Visual

Oshii: Even now, I believe that whether it’s with mecha or mil­i­tary things, you should try to have a sin­gle uni­fy­ing logic behind them. With­out that, mechan­i­cal design can never con­tribute to the sense of the world. You can’t con­struct the world as a back­ground after all. It will always inevitably appear as a char­ac­ter. And in this movie, there are car­ri­ers and fight­ers and anti-air tank-like things… There are all sorts of prob­lems with that anti-air tank too…

Izubuchi: In the begin­ning, it had two main can­nons. But I made a request to Michi­aki [Sato] say­ing, ‘I’m sor­ry, I want you to give it four main can­nons…’ I said, ‘Well, I want to do the Wirbel­wind [Nazi Ger­many Panzer IV anti-air tank], so please do it with a “soul­ful quad can­non”.’ And Michi­aki under­stood and said, ‘All right!’ (laugh­s).

O: So, it’s back to that quad can­non thing.

I: But you don’t hate it, right?

O: I don’t hate it. But you know, when you actu­ally think about the prob­lem, a quad can­non is mean­ing­less. It’s much more mean­ing­ful to increase the cal­iber. But in the end, that’s But-chan for you, turn­ing it into a quad can­non at the last minute in spite of that (laugh­s).

I: I do under­stand the log­i­cal side of it too. But dur­ing Avalon, if there was a Silka side-by-side with a Wirbel­wind, I think I would have used the lat­ter with­out hes­i­ta­tion (laugh­s). Well, I’m aware of the prob­lems the same as Mr. Oshii. It’s prob­a­bly just that I don’t hes­i­tate to choose the visual over it. But even though you say that, you said ‘Use horse­back rid­ing trousers for this and the exact same hel­met as the Ger­man mil­i­tary. I want to make it look like the Nazi SS’, when you were request­ing the design for the Ker­beros defen­sive wear. I kind of ques­tioned that (laugh­s). So, I think that it’s likely that there’s an ambiva­lent part inside you that wavers between logic and fetish.

O: There is. There is, defi­nite­ly. There’s no way you can build it solely on log­ic, so in the end, it always comes down to my own fetish­es.

But for a show like this, I thought the gad­gets were unex­pect­edly weak. It’s a ten­dency I’ve seen in recent mecha. It looks seri­ous, but it’s actu­ally not. The more details are drawn, the more it becomes clear that there’s no logic run­ning through it, and in fact, things have regressed. Because in the old days, if it had wings, it was deter­mined that it would fly, but now, for all the increase in details, I think some of the things would be impos­si­ble to fly. It means they aren’t cre­ated out of neces­si­ty.

I: I think you’re prob­a­bly refer­ring to the fighter called the Shin­sei equipped with the T.D.D. That was done on pur­pose, or rather, it was nec­es­sary to get past the Absolute Bar­ri­er, and I actu­ally did­n’t want the sil­hou­ette to look like a man-made mecha. It was because I wanted the audi­ence, for story pur­pos­es, to be under the illu­sion that it belonged to the Invaders.

The Main House Made a Main-House-Like Movie

Oshii: At the very begin­ning, it starts out in the class­room, and another girl comes in, then qua­vers and runs away, and that goes on and on, right? I was think­ing, ‘When’s the war going to start?’ (laugh­s). Because I had it in my head that it was a war sto­ry. When the fight­ing finally began, an anti-air tank shows up and gets blown to pieces, and that’s it. I thought, ‘Oh, maybe this is a differ­ent kind of movie’, and I reset­tled myself in at that point.

But see, when the older lady shows up after the kid has run into the sub­way sta­tion, I knew right away. ‘Oh, that’s that girl from the class­room.’ Lat­er, when I asked an ani­ma­tor who’d watched the series, he said, ‘No, I did­n’t see that at all. But in the movie, it’s imme­di­ately obvi­ous.’

If you get back to a nor­mal every­day sense of things, if it’s a girl you real­ly, real­ly, real­ly, really loved, you’d nor­mally real­ize who she is, even if she’s changed some. If you don’t real­ize it, then it just goes to show how unim­por­tant it really was, right?

Izubuchi: Well, so, in the TV ver­sion, there’s a real rea­son or expla­na­tion for why he does­n’t real­ize. The movie is struc­tured to make it easy to get into by decon­struct­ing their rela­tion­ship from the start. But in actu­al­i­ty, anime has a ten­dency to pass things off as being nor­mal, when it would seem weird if you only thought about it a lit­tle, does­n’t it?

O: We advance the story by mak­ing it a rule that some­thing is incom­pre­hen­si­ble, even though it would be com­pre­hen­si­ble with a lit­tle ratio­nal thought. That’s the kind of drama we depict. Over half of it is a world built on words. In other words, it’s a ‘fan­tasy story’, and there’s absolutely no need to bran­dish the word ‘real­ism’ in sit­u­a­tions like that… And being mind­ful of that, I reset­tled myself again. Think­ing, ‘That’s prob­a­bly the direc­tion it’s going to go in.’

But then, it did­n’t go any­where from there (laugh­s).

By any­where, I mean that when the girl says ‘I’m so-and-so’, and her iden­tity becomes known, and when the main char­ac­ter con­firms it, say­ing ‘You’re so-and-so, aren’t you?’ is when the story is sup­posed to end. A drama that can exist with­out that is actu­ally no drama at all. Con­flicts that develop due to the main char­ac­ter being imma­ture can’t be called dra­ma. The major­ity of the drama in Japan­ese ani­ma­tion is that sort of ‘unnec­es­sary drama’. Drama that mate­ri­al­izes because just one thing remains unsaid. Or dra­mas that mate­ri­al­izes because the main char­ac­ter is imma­ture.

Like Eva is a drama that would end the instant he [Sh­in­ji] says ‘I’m going to take respon­si­bil­i­ty!’ Every­thing con­verges on that point. And how long you can stretch that out for deter­mines how many episodes the series will last.

I: Oh, I think we might have dragged it out in the series.

O: I dis­like that sort of thing. I dis­like it.

Why I dis­like sto­ries based on trauma is because the drama ends when the main char­ac­ter is told the true nature of the trauma and he under­stands it. Because the drama is planned from the begin­ning to con­verge on that point, it’s not like any of the peo­ple have changed or any­thing. In other words, it’s not dialec­tic.

As a movie, this does­n’t work at all. It’s an enor­mously easy way out that works only in Japan­ese ani­ma­tion, which pro­vides details to feed the audi­ence’s appetite.

I think sub­stan­ti­at­ing fan­tasy is prob­a­bly our fun­da­men­tal job for those of us work­ing in ani­ma­tion or sci-fi or spe­cial effects movies. That’s why it’s undoubt­edly the easy way. End­less­ly, we start from that point and return to that point. This film is a prod­uct of that great trend and unmis­tak­ably takes that easy path.

But with me, my theme is on how you can escape from that easy path. That’s why I can’t help but be con­scious of it. And as for why it par­tic­u­larly caught my atten­tion with RahX­ephon, side from the fact that I per­son­ally know But-chan, is that it had­n’t been done recent­ly.

After Eva end­ed, there were a moun­tain of shows sim­i­lar to it, but all they did was trace the details. But none of them iden­ti­fied the true nature of it and tried to make a grand world out of the incred­i­bly sim­ple motive of ‘want­ing to sub­stan­ti­ate desire as a fan­tasy’. That was done here for the first time in a while, so I got to see some­thing nos­tal­gic some­how (laugh­s). And it even has a punch line at the end.

I: The punch line, or rather, the epi­logue, is differ­ent than in the TV series, though.

O: So, my impres­sion is that ‘For the first time in a while, the main house has made a main-house­-like film’. Even though it’s a lit­tle warped (laugh­s). Even though I feel it’s a lit­tle lack­ing in den­sity and the col­ors are a lit­tle fad­ed. It’s a lit­tle crooked and the short­cut work is con­spic­u­ous in var­i­ous places, but you did a rea­son­able job of it.

I: Is that praise? (laughs)

The Act of Providing Details for the Fantasy

Oshii: In my posi­tion, I want things like that to exist. I’d be in trou­ble oth­er­wise. Because I’m merely a sub­sidiary, or a branch of the main house. With­out the main house, the branch can’t exist. Mr. Miya [Di­rec­tor Hayao Miyaza­ki] is essen­tially like that too, but those kinds of things… can’t be allowed to become main­stream. Because that would be unfor­tu­nate for the both of us.

Because this kind of thing is most defi­nitely in demand in the world. In every era, young kids com­ing up on puberty are at the mercy of their own desires and live their days solely on the impulse of want­ing to flesh out their desires with details, even with­out really under­stand it them­selves. That’s why they seek out sto­ries from the out­side from things like games and anime and comics. Fun­da­men­tally speak­ing, our most hon­est work is to pro­vide that. I don’t think it’s a bad job, because there are defi­nitely some kids out there who can’t sur­vive with­out.

But it’s an incred­i­bly tough job. Because you have to do it prop­er­ly. Because you have to main­tain for a year some­thing that those boys can be thrilled and excited about. That’s why every­one throws mys­ter­ies in there in an attempt to drag it out. They can’t main­tain it with details, so they pur­pose­fully build it like a mosaic to make it harder to under­stand.

Izubuchi: The cor­rect way is to main­tain it through details, but with a TV series, it was some­thing I had no choice but to give up on within myself. So, I get the details down where I need to, but if you try to show every­thing prop­er­ly, the harder you try the larger the chance that it will end up some­thing laugh­able.

O: Right, Right. There are a lot of them if you turn on the TV late at night (laugh­s).

I: Do you think that’s going well?

O: Nope, not at all.

I: That’s why my answer to Mr. Oshi­i’s ini­tial warn­ing was to resign myself to know­ing that if I don’t get enough fire­power and the only thing I could pro­duce were to be unre­li­able visu­als, it would turn into a game of sub­trac­tion. For­tu­nate­ly, we weren’t so short on fire­power that Mr. Oshii was dis­ap­pointed by it. So, if even one mis­sile fired could be gin to show the rela­tion­ships in this world, then put it in. But fir­ing them like crazy would just be a waste, and I must not let the show fall apart because of some­thing done just for my self­-sat­is­fac­tion. That was my stance on it.

O: But there’s always some cru­cial point. When I was work­ing on a series, there were times when doing some­thing like that resulted in dam­age, where 5–6 episodes could­n’t be recov­ered, but the atti­tude was let’s use 8,000 even 10,000 cels for that one episode and that we had no choice but to give it our all for that one episode.

I: But there are a lot of shows these days that throw in lots of fire­power at the begin­ning and the rest of them end up being weak. So, I tried to include a story once every five episodes or so that would be mem­o­rable, even with­out a lot of ani­ma­tion cels. That is to say, include things with a mys­te­ri­ous atmos­phere, or some­thing that seems just slightly off kil­ter, or also some­what bit­ter sto­ries that seem against the rules. Things like that which are highly mem­o­rable. That’s how I fig­ured on main­tain­ing and bal­anc­ing the ten­sion for the view­ers for the entire 26 episodes.

O: But you know, you need a cathar­sis some­where. I fig­ured that this robot was prob­a­bly it. So, at the end, I thought, ‘Hey, it’s finally in motion’. But it does­n’t really make sense (laugh­s).

What I found most incom­pre­hen­si­ble was the phrase ‘tun­ing the world’. I had high expec­ta­tions, think­ing, ‘I see, that’s a nice phrase. I won­der how it’s going to be visu­al­ized? Will there be a cat­a­clysm? Will all the humans’ mem­o­ries jump?’ But you just have robots grap­pling with each other and cry­ing out. I don’t think that can really be called a cathar­sis.

I: That’s where we tried to depict sex with giant robots.

O: There’s that scene where they’re hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion in a fam­ily restau­ran­t-style place. You have the cam­era cut­ting back and forth. I thought the ‘tun­ing of the world’ was going to hap­pen there. What you would need there is well-con­structed dia­logue and an appro­pri­ate lay­out that would espe­cially evoke thoughts of pre­mo­ni­tion. But that’s not how it is. The lay­out is too weak.

With the dia­logue, the nuance of the axis of time and mem­o­ries change sub­tly. Every time the cam­era cuts back, the lay­out alters sub­tly. The tun­ing of the world is the image of the world being renewed and repaired, right?

I just hap­pen to be a direc­tor, so I can under­stand, because I’m always look­ing out for what the direc­tor is aim­ing to do. But the audi­ence… would­n’t see that (laugh­s).

And why a still Shaku­jii Park [stone god well park]? I used to live near Shaku­jii Park for the longest time, so I’m think­ing aren’t there a lot more loca­tions that are bet­ter than that?

I: That’s also a part that’s been recy­cled from the TV series—but I picked that place partly because of its name when we were mak­ing the series, because RahX­ephon is a stone god. The sub­way sta­tion was also planned to be Man­seibashi [ten thou­sand world bridge] for the mean­ing that now ‘you can choose from ten thou­sand worlds’.

O: That kind of intent just does­n’t come alive in the lay­out. The first show to skill­fully use the impact and power of words and visu­al­ized it was Eva. That was a method­ol­ogy for mov­ing the drama along.

In that sense, this is defi­nitely a differ­ent era from that of Yam­ato and Gun­dam. All sorts of film-like cul­ture is being mobi­lized and being attempt­ed. But things aren’t being sub­stan­ti­ated in the stu­dio so that But-chan’s intent comes across accu­rate­ly.

When I make a film, I don’t look at the key ani­ma­tion or the ani­ma­tion, but I always look at the lay­out. I con­vey my intent to the stu­dio through the lay­out. At the min­i­mum, 70% of my intent will make it accu­rately to the screen that way. It’s fine for the other 30% to be done by the stu­dio, incor­po­rat­ing the stu­dio’s sen­si­bil­i­ties. Speak­ing in terms of a direc­tor, I think it could have worked out a lit­tle bet­ter if you’d done it that way.

That’s one way of set­ting up strat­e­gy. Every­one has a ten­dency of mak­ing things diffi­cult by work­ing on depict­ing the drama prop­er­ly. You can skip over stuff more. You can rely on the power of ani­ma­tion and instead of all the dia­logue, you can also use the power of words. I think com­bin­ing those things and mak­ing things eas­ier could have attained a more pre­cise expres­sion.

That’s why it’s a waste, or rather, clum­sy. Basi­cal­ly, get bet­ter at it.

The Charm of the Format Called a Reedited Movie

Oshii: I felt the style of reed­it­ing a TV series into a movie had­n’t been done in a while, and I thought it was nos­tal­gic. I also once made a reed­ited movie ver­sion of Gosen­zosama Ban-ban­zai, but I like that kind of work where you chop apart a series and paste it back together with a bit of new mate­r­ial into a differ­ent work.

Izubuchi: I can under­stand that. In this film, the atmos­phere in it is pretty fun­da­men­tally differ­ent from the TV ver­sion because we changed all the dia­logue and stuff. Also, since we still had data from the TV series left over, we changed the char­ac­ters around in the lay­out and things to turn them into some­thing differ­ent.

O: I see, you did some com­pli­cated work. Now, there’s data left over, so you can just replace the lay­ers. Oh, I’d like to do work like that (ev­ery­one bursts out laugh­ing). For exam­ple, if I were to be asked to recon­struct and edit RahX­ephon

I: Well, that’s over already (laugh­s). But any­way, it was that kind of recon­struc­tion work, so we also took apart the sequence of things and restruc­tured it. There’s some psy­cho­log­i­cal attacks going on in the Eleventh Move­ment, but this episode is very inde­pen­dent in nature, and I thought maybe that story could­n’t be used, but when we changed the per­spec­tive, it actu­ally came in handy to con­nect some other pieces.

O: My men­tor, Mr. Tori [Di­rec­tor Hisayuki Tori­u­mi] was once asked to make a reed­ited movie for Ashi Pro’s Space War­rior Bal­dios. I was a lit­tle mys­ti­fied as to why Mr. Tori would take such a job. But Mr. Tori said, ‘I wanted to work on a the­atri­cal project since it’d been a while. I feel a real zest in the work as a direc­tor in cut­ting and past­ing together a sin­gle movie out of a series that some­one else made.’

And the very first thing you have to do is set the bar on qual­i­ty. You have to select the images you can use and cut and toss aside the parts you can’t use. No mat­ter how impor­tant the scene is, you throw it all away if the art is weak. Instead, you insert nar­ra­tion to change the com­po­si­tion or change per­spec­tives. There are var­i­ous method­olo­gies, like bring­ing a differ­ent char­ac­ter to the fore­ground. If you don’t think about what’s pos­si­ble at that point, it’ll never become a movie. It’s some­thing you can do because it’s some­one else’s work… I remem­ber dis­cussing some­thing like that at work.

I thought that made sense. Because with series that you’ve worked on your­self, you tend to be rather sen­ti­men­tal about the select­ing and dis­card­ing process.

I: Well, I agree. That’s why for this pro­ject, I left it up to some­one else to a cer­tain extent.

O: I haven’t seen the series at all, but even I got the impres­sion that the movie was made in a pretty straight­for­ward man­ner. I was able to under­stand it pretty well, even jump­ing into it then. Or rather, it was almost too easy to under­stand.

I: That’s some­thing we aimed to do. Our approach to the TV series and the film were com­pletely differ­ent. With the TV series, we inter­spersed var­i­ous icons to drag it out and main­tain inter­est to a cer­tain extent. With the movie. since it is over once you get in the the­ater and the 2 hours are up, we did­n’t need that sort of thing.

My assis­tant direc­tor on the TV series, [Tomoki] Kyo­da, acted as direc­tor for the the­atri­cal film. We wanted it to leave a differ­ent impres­sion than the TV series had. If we changed the main char­ac­ter and changed the point of view, we thought that might be pos­si­ble. And we decided not to think too much about the sequen­tial order of things when work­ing on this. We dis­cussed those kinds of things at the very begin­ning.

Kyoda came to like the show while work­ing on it, so I think he had some pent up stuff about var­i­ous things he wanted to do, which I’d told him not to do because that was­n’t how it was sup­posed to be. That kind of per­son should have the best idea of what he wants to do, so he was prob­a­bly per­fect for the job.

If I had to do it, I prob­a­bly would’ve got­ten stuck just at the select­ing and dis­card­ing process, but I thought it might be winnable if he did it. I left the work entirely in his hands, and I think that worked out well.

I thought it would be good if the raw art mate­r­ial from the TV series could be used in a differ­ent way to make a differ­ent impres­sion. After all, that’s what raw mate­r­ial is for. The audi­ence who watched the TV series might feel a bit of incon­gru­ence because of the com­pletely differ­ent dia­logue, but I thought that was okay.

O: I can really under­stand that. So, the series was basi­cally a piece of the mosaic per episode, right?

I: Yes, because we con­structed it so that the effort of putting it all together was left up to the audi­ence.

O: I think that’s defi­nitely how it’s going to be from now on. If the audi­ence is find­ing it hard to wait even with one episode per week, then what should you do? You have no choice but to say, ‘This is a piece. At the end, it will come together in a giant pic­ture’. But the audi­ence won’t nec­es­sar­ily think that and stay with you for half a year or a year.

And the instant no bril­liant pic­ture mate­ri­al­izes, the audi­ence will be mad. The stu­dio has to steadily keep mak­ing the show, pre­pared for that. Pre­pared for the fact that in ‘one, two, and three, there!’ when the last cel is done, the stu­dio group will have dis­banded and fled (laugh­s).

In that sense, there’s already a strain on telling this kind of story in a series. In the old days, you could have a bad robot show up every episode and say, okay, that’s it for this week. And in a year or two, the char­ac­ters would have changed grad­u­al­ly. Mak­ing sto­ries like that is impos­si­ble now. Some shows even end in not even 26 episodes, but 13 episodes. In that case, if you don’t think strate­gi­cally about how you’re going to con­struct the world and the sto­ry, it’s impos­si­ble.

I think it’s unlikely that I’ll ever do another series. I, of course, don’t have the energy for it, nor do I have the con­fi­dence. And I feel strongly about not want­ing to see images that can’t be laid out. Come on, I’ve been doing this for 25 years, give me a break already (laugh­s). In other words, I’m think­ing, let me pick some­thing that would work out as a piece and make that.

You don’t get to work hard at choos­ing and pol­ish­ing a piece, ham­mer­ing it into shape and cre­at­ing it by fit­ting it in some­how and work­ing through all the diffi­cul­ties (laugh­s).

I: (laughs) You’ve spent 25 years at it and you say this, but this was my first time (laugh­s). You tell me that’s how it is from the start, but I could­n’t hope for it even if I wanted to.

O: Your career in the indus­try isn’t all that differ­ent (laugh­s). You’ve been doing it since you were in high school. But it’s true that every­body sud­denly becomes an ama­teur their first time.

I: If I’d done it that way from the start, I think I prob­a­bly would have been in the sit­u­a­tion of ‘Don’t say I did­n’t tell you so.’

O: Right. It prob­a­bly would have col­lapsed with­out ever com­plet­ing the final grand pic­ture, and that’s exactly what I meant when I said that. But in this case, you were given an oppor­tu­nity to show a piece in the the­aters, and you were able to bring it to a con­clu­sion, so it’s a for­tu­nate piece of work.

I: Though, I never really had any inten­tion of turn­ing it into a movie.

O: Well, every­one at the stu­dio was falling over back­wards when they heard that ‘RahX­ephon is appar­ently being made into a movie’ (laugh­s).

Whether One is Aware of Being a Copy or Not

Oshii: The other thing I thought of was about copy­ing. Quite apt­ly, Anno declared him­self a copy, say­ing, ‘I’m a copy of a copy’. But this is a ‘copy of a copy of a copy’. In the future, there will undoubt­edly be ‘a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy’, and undoubt­ed­ly, this chain of copies will con­tin­ue. Ani­ma­tion has also already entered this world, and there no longer as such things as orig­i­nals.

Izubuchi: But the easy path that you men­tioned ear­lier is a part of a world that has existed since a long time ago.

O: That’s true, but in the case of Anno, he was aware of being ‘a copy of a copy’. In other words, that’s Anno’s stance. The very exis­tence of self­-con­scious­ness, you could say it’s the posi­tion you’re stand­ing in when cre­at­ing some­thing. Other direc­tors aren’t even con­scious that what they’re mak­ing are copies.

Of course, I don’t mind at all if they are copies. We’ve been mak­ing movies for over 100 years, so new sto­ries, new sit­u­a­tions, and new scene allo­ca­tions don’t exist. Every­thing ref­er­ences other things, and I’m fully aware of that. The issue is if you’re doing it inten­tion­ally and how con­scious you are that what you’re mak­ing is a copy.

These days, he fact that there is no con­tro­versy con­cern­ing copy­ing in ani­ma­tion and that there’s no aware­ness of it is a big prob­lem. In my mind, the great­est achieve­ment of Eva is that it was self­-aware of being a copy. That was a huge change, and it was a big turn­ing point. That’s why I pay atten­tion to Anno. Not about what he’s going to make next but as a sit­u­a­tion.

And that’s where RahX­ephon popped up. From my per­spec­tive, I thought, ‘Oh, this is defi­nitely But-chan. He sure is work­ing as naively as ever.’ (laughs) I keep say­ing this, but I’m not say­ing that in a neg­a­tive way. Of course, speak­ing from my posi­tion, it’s undoubt­edly an all out denial, but in terms of human nature, that was truly But-chan. And he’s the ‘king of naivety’, as it were (laugh­s).

In that sense, I went home feel­ing warm some­how (laugh­s). I need But-chan to keep walk­ing down that path from now on as well. You mas­ter that ‘king of naivety’ to the very end.

I: You’re telling me to con­sciously mas­ter that? (laughs) But for this job, I don’t really know if it’s a copy or not, but I did feel like I wanted to try and see if that route could­n’t be fol­lowed once more. I sup­pose that might mean that it’s a copy of the route that’s per­pet­u­ated to this day.

O: No mat­ter what rea­sons you line up now, ulti­mate­ly, you’re a man who yields to his fetish­es. There’s a part of me that’s like that, too, which is why I’ve been able to keep up with you, and I really under­stand that well. Why you just have to see that quad can­non (laugh­s).

An Existence That Possesses the Full Weight of Fantasy

Oshii: But it’s prob­a­bly going to end with But-chan. There’s no doubt that after this, copies that aren’t aware of being copies are going to become preva­lent. In the end, there isn’t much in exis­tence that pos­sesses the full weight of fan­ta­sy.

Izubuchi: I do defi­nitely feel that. But with every­thing becom­ing avail­able as infor­ma­tion and so much con­tent, it might be extremely diffi­cult for such an exis­tence to emerge.

O: No, I think it’s the oppo­site. The total amount of infor­ma­tion may have increased, but the actual amount of infor­ma­tion has decreased, as in, it’s all the same.

I: Basi­cal­ly, it’s too easy to obtain. In the old days, when you’d have to make an effort to see some­thing to get some­thing, what you won for your­self would feed on itself, and you’d feel ‘this is what I’m about after all’.

O: That’s true, in the old days, we made the max­i­mum effort in order to see Ultra Q just one more time, right? Now, you can get it eas­ily at a rental store. That’s why, con­verse­ly, no one tries to come in on the side of clas­sics. Every­one chases after the movie of that era, like The Matrix, and like a gust of wind, it’ll be over.

That’s why no one becomes cul­tured in the way of films, noth­ing new gets added, and the total amount of fan­tasy never increas­es. Even with ani­ma­tion, there are more of them, but the vari­ety out there is defi­nitely decreas­ing. The breadth of expres­sion itself is dimin­ish­ing. So, the arrange­ment of infor­ma­tion has increased, but the infor­ma­tion itself has­n’t increased at all. In fact, it’s decreas­ing.

I: That’s really not some­thing that’s lim­ited to ani­ma­tion.

When I was work­ing with you, I felt that I under­stood you, so I was partly con­sciously try­ing to be on the oppos­ing axis. Mr. Shiba’s wise say­ing was, ‘Mr. Oshii pro­duces a bet­ter work when he’s pres­sured from those around him.’ That was back before work­ing on the first Labor, though.

O: There defi­nitely was a time when our fetishes about tanks and fight­ers sym­pa­thized with one anoth­er. But in actu­al­i­ty, it was inevitable that things would change. For exam­ple, you prob­a­bly still like the Messer­schmitt, but I’ve long since grown sick of it. There are things like that.

I: I’m actu­ally more of a Fock­e-Wulf per­son myself (laugh­s).

The Path That Director Oshii and Director Izubuchi Follow?

—I actu­ally wanted to ask this at the begin­ning, but do you two not get along?

Izubuchi: What’s that sup­posed to mean? (laughs) Maybe I’m naive, but I try not to be con­scious of that sort of thing, and I don’t feel any­thing of that sort. When I heard about the ‘fight over the phone’ story just now con­cern­ing Pat­la­bor 2, I thought, ‘Oh, I see, he’s been hold­ing that against me until just recently’, and that was about it.

Oshii: I’ve decided that I’ll never work with him again, and that has­n’t changed even now. It would go against my prin­ci­ples and besides, it’d be point­less. But that’s not to say I dis­like Yutaka Izubuchi as a per­son. If any­thing, I feel love and hate for him as a per­son who’s been naively doing the things that I’ve been hung up about. Because while on one hand, I’m both­ered by it, think­ing, ‘What’s with this guy?’ I also know the good side of it. The kind of sen­ti­ment where you go ‘Thanks! Fight­ers! They’re so cool!’ is sim­ple stuff that sticks with you until the end. Even at the stage where log­i­cally speak­ing, it becomes clear that ‘the Spit­fire was a third-rate plane’, you still say, ‘but this wing shape is so cool, you know?’ I think it’s like that, and it remains with you to the end. I’m aware of him being that kind of thing.

I’m also self­-con­fi­dent that I’m unmis­tak­ably the per­son who is in the best posi­tion to speak about the work that the per­son called Yutaka Izubuchi has turned out. But you know, I don’t have any desire to go karaoke with him and sing anime songs or any­thing (laugh­s).

I: (laughs) You’ve never even done that sort of thing.

O: I’m sure there’s a lot where we’ll meet and talk about var­i­ous things. In the past, there were a lot of things con­cern­ing Pat­la­bor, but that’s started to fall off recent­ly. Until fairly recent­ly, there was a lot I was pri­vately ashamed of. Because I’m undoubt­edly the per­son who reaped the great­est ben­e­fit from Pat­la­bor, regard­less of the fact that it had turned out to be some­thing differ­ent from what I had intend­ed. Thanks to it, I was able to make two movies to my lik­ing after that, and I’ve been able to do what I want.

I: I can tell if I look at Mini-Pat­la­bor (laugh­s). Today’s con­ver­sa­tions have been all about ambiva­lence, which is rather rare for you.

O: It hap­pens. So, every time I look at But-chan, those kinds of things come rush­ing back to me. Like when we just met ear­lier for the first time in a long while, you were naively wav­ing your hand, but I thought, ‘Man, he has­n’t changed at all’, really (laugh­s). So, please stay naive to the very end.

I: I think that’s prob­a­bly how it’ll be. Because I’ll prob­a­bly break down if I start think­ing… I may not work on any­thing with you ever again, but if, for exam­ple, you ask, ‘I want to do this sort of thing, but do you know any­one good?’ I’ll intro­duce peo­ple to you. Even when I was mak­ing RahX­ephon, one rea­son I did it was because there was no one who would make the sort of thing I wanted to watch, so I fig­ured I had no choice but to make it myself. But in truth, I’m the kind of per­son who goes, ‘Some­one, make some­thing I want to watch!’

I’m per­son­ally a fan of Mr. Oshii, and I love Oshii works. If you were to ask me what I liked, I’m the kind of guy who’d say Angels’ Egg, after all (laugh­s). Every­one com­pares Ghost in the Shell to Pat­la­bor, but I say, no, that’s wrong, it’s Angel’s Egg with com­bat, right?

O: Oh, so that’s it…

I: You prob­a­bly don’t know this, but… Well, I’d been hid­ing it because I fig­ured you would­n’t have liked it if you found out that I’d been tak­ing action back then, but I’ve been sup­port­ing Pat­la­bor related stuff from behind the scenes. When Kadokawa Shoten put out the lay­out col­lec­tion [Method], I knew you would­n’t like it if the cover only had Ingram 3, so I asked for a fish to be swim­ming in a cer­tain spot. I drew the rough sketch and advised the edi­tor that if you have Katoki do the rough on this and hand it to him, it’ll prob­a­bly pass. With the Pat­la­bor 2 nov­el, I said to bring up Kamui Fuji­wara’s or Jun Suemi’s name for the visu­als. Because Mr. Oshii will say okay to that. I set things up like that, while also pay­ing heed to your pref­er­ences. It’s stuff like that, right?

O: (laughs wry­ly) Yeah, that’s right, yeah, that’s right. You have that kind of aspi­ra­tions to be a pro­duc­er. But you’re a man who never takes respon­si­bil­ity in the end.

I: It’s not that I don’t, but that I can’t. Because when money gets in the mix, I’m com­pletely no good at it. That’s why I could never be a pro­ducer in the real sense. But I do act like one some­times, and per­son­ally speak­ing, if it’ll make your films bet­ter, I’ll intro­duce peo­ple to you, so please don’t hes­i­tate to make use of that.

O: I’m start­ing to get tired of ani­ma­tion, you know?

I: What are you talk­ing about? (laughs)

—There is no end to this con­ver­sa­tion, but let’s wrap it up here. Thank you very much.

(May 23, 2003 at Rop­pongi Hills. Inter­view Struc­ture: Ryusuke Hikawa In Coop­er­a­tion With: Monthly New­type Edi­to­r­ial Divi­sion, Rop­pongi Hills, Tomo­hiro Mat­sunomo­to)



    Mamoru Oshi­i—born 1951. Movie direc­tor. Joined Tat­sunoko Pro­duc­tion in 1977 and became an ani­ma­tion direc­tor. Trans­ferred to Stu­dio Pier­rot and gained atten­tion through the TV ani­ma­tion Uru­sei Yat­sura (1981) and its the­atri­cal film Uru­sei Yat­sura 2 Beau­ti­ful Dreamer, which he worked on as chief direc­tor. After that, he went free­lance and directed the video anime Angel’s Egg (1985), and then, together with Yutaka Izubuchi, Masami Yuuki, and Kazunori Ito, as a mem­ber of the orig­i­nal cre­ators’ group Head Gear, he directed the video anime Mobile Suit Pat­la­bor (1988). This became a huge hit and two movies were pro­duced, directed by him. His movie Ghost in the Shell (1996) even influ­enced The Matrix and is now known the world over. His lat­est work is a movie called Avalon (2001) that was shot live on loca­tion in Poland and then dig­i­tally treated to turn it into a vir­tual world. Cur­rent­ly, he is in the mid­dle of work­ing on Inno­cence (Ghost in the Shell sequel_), due out in 20??.

    His acquain­tance­ship with Yutaka Izubuchi is from the live action film The Red Spec­ta­cles (1987). Izubuchi worked on the design of the armored defen­sive wear ‘pro­tect gear’ in both that and its sequel, Stray Dog: Ker­beros Panzer Corps.

    In the model mag­a­zine Model Graph­ics, Direc­tor Oshii has a series of arti­cles called “Stray Gad­get File” on mecha design. There, he wrote a harsh cri­tique on Yutaka Izubuchi and sur­prised every­one involved.

  1. “You should­n’t both­er. Don’t say I did­n’t tell you so.” Printed in the March 2002 issue of Kadokawa Shoten’s New­type.↩︎