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Otakon 2010: Japanese Directors & Producers Panel

Fifteen minutes before this panel, which brought together some of the best guests at Otakon (Hiroshi Koujina, Koji Masunari, Tomonori Ochikoshi, and Atsushi Mita), there were four people, myself included, waiting in a room that could easily hold 200 people. By the time the Guests of Honor showed up, there were maybe seven of us. With such small attendance, the panel hosts asked if we just wanted to pull some chairs into a circle and talk. I couldn’t picture anything more wonderful for a Q&A session with such notable directors and producers (and their translators). What followed was one hour and 15 minutes of back-and-forth with some surprisingly frank answers and even one soap-box rant. This was the best Q&A I’ve attended so far.

What follows are some of the more interesting questions and answers offered during that session. Unfortunately, I was a writing a bit too feverishly to note who was responding to which question, but the questions and answers themselves usually give some clue as to which guest was talking. The answers given at least serve as a great overall view of the range and solidarity of attitudes amongst these famous directors and producers. Some questions have been omitted due to either my poor handwriting, poor audio qualty (no microphones were used in this large room), or the asking of a question we've all heard 10,000 times over in interviews. The questions I posed and their corresponding answers follow the break, along with a link to the full transcription. Enjoy!

Q2: What were the influences for the use of magic realism in R.O.D., if any?
A2: The idea of using paper as prop(?) was not my original. It came from Hideyuki Kurata, who wrote the novel that Read or Die is based on. And the ability for Yomiko in R.O.D. to manipulate paper goes hand-in-hand with her normal apparent lack of any athletic ability. So the ability for her to be a sort of superman who can do anything to villains and to be the complete klutz who can do anything has to be reconciled into one coherent character.
Q15: Regarding noitaminA, the programming block in Japan late-night that kind of addresses older female viewers, anime not directed geared to shōnen viewers. How as directors do you welcome this availability for different programming?
A15: I don’t think we make any. [Laughter.] Maybe some interest in working with it, but not really familiar with it.
Q15a: Is it viewed as any sort of competition, or is it just written-off as having nothing to do with you?
A15a: I haven’t written off noitaminA, but noitaminA may have written me off.
A15b: Actually, I will be working on a noitaminA title. I ended up doing that, and what I’ve been told is that the intent for noitaminA is to make shows that are meant for mature audiences, both male and female. And that the intent is to make an animated show that is like a live-action drama and it would be consistent with that type of spirit. And this would be meant for viewers not familiar with anime. So we need to make the show as accessible as possible for a non-anime-viewing audience.**

View the full transcription here.

**Anime News Network did some follow-up on this question, and the spoils can be seen here.

Click here for more of our Otakon 2010 coverage
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