Interview with Takaki Kosaka (Nitroplus), Producer of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [3/4]

Why are robot anime made?

Kosaka: In former days, anime were made under various restrictions from toy shops. Now, everything is fine as long as the video package sells, so there are less restrictions compared to toy shops. That’s why after a time, free anime producing was born and a lot of different anime were made. In the old days, toys were a prerequisite for a robot anime.

Ishikawa: It seems that there are less robot anime these days.

Kosaka: Do you know why you can’t see as many works in the robot genre?

Ishikawa: Is there a particular reason?

Kosaka: Of course. Everything has a reason.

Ishikawa: W-well, that’s true!

Kosaka: I think it has more than one reason, but following the line of the conversation, it’s because they aren’t restricted by toy shops anymore. Plus, making robot anime requires a great amount of labor from the maker. I.G is using all its efforts to make them, but if you compare the cost of one cut from a mecha scene of just 3 seconds and a cut where a girl is just standing and talking, I think you’ll understand.

Ishikawa: I think the drawing is very different. Anyway, I think CG nowadays is amazing, because before, I could guess that, “This part is CG,” but now I can’t tell. How much work does CG require?

Kosaka: CG is not a magic tool at all, it is steadily working together with humans. Even in the animation of someone moving his hand, you have to change poses and adjust the balance of the whole, and that’s how CG animation is made.

Ishikawa: So it doesn’t automatically do the physical calculations.

Kosaka: It is automatized to a degree, but in the end, in the sense part, the touch of a human’s hand is always needed. It’s not just CG that makes robots difficult. For instance, in Gargantia, Ishiwata from our company is responsible for mecha design, but drawing just one of them takes long hours, in worse cases even days. There are more lines than in a character drawing, and even making the draft is very difficult. As Makoto Ishiwata is also a 3D CG designer, when designing mecha, he makes 3D sketches in order to avoid impossibilities in structure, and he makes certain that the parts don’t interfere with each other

Ishikawa: Wow, it really is a handful.

Hirasawa: Kosaka mentioned the difficulties of design and drawing, but there is one other thing. For instance, regardless of whether it’s an anime with only girl characters or an anime with robots, the time they can show the viewers in one season is the same. A 12-13 episode long anime only has about 20 minutes per episode, and it is extremely hard to show the charm of both the robots and the characters in such a short time.

Ishikawa: In Gargantia, the girls are cute too, so there is also the difficulty of showing all the charm in a limited time.

Hirasawa: One of the hardest things in anime script is time management. Urobuchi also writes novels and game scenarios, but anime requires a different set of skills. After all, the amount of text that can be written in a novel or a game is limited to a degree.

Kosaka: Customers usually don’t abandon a game in the middle. They are very patient, once they start reading, they think, “Let’s go on.” And if you build your logic on that, a scenario writer can make it longer just by thinking, “I have an idea! Let’s have more robot scenes.” On TV, that doesn’t work, we need to fit inside 20-something minutes.

Ishikawa: You can’t stretch the frame out.

Hirasawa: If the director’s feelings of wanting to depict something more are extremely strong, they are recorded on Blu-ray as an addition.

Ishikawa: So that’s why OVAs are added as bonus footage.

It started with a doujinshi

Ishikawa: Until now, we have been talking about your work, Kosaka. Now, I’d like to ask about why you wanted to become a producer.

Kosaka: Well, I never really wanted to be a producer (laughs) I just ended up as one, without even noticing. Originally, I wanted to be an artist. Macross started just around the time I was in high school, and the OP scene was so amazing, I was taken aback. There was a reason that made me think, “Oh, I see,” for the planes called Valkyrie transforming into robots, and it also had persuasive power; I love sci-fi like that. I was very much into it, and I started to draw a doujinshi about Valkyrie.

Ishikawa: I see. So when you said before that drawing robots is difficult, you spoke out of experience.

Kosaka: I am 47 now, but when I was a child, there was Mazinger Z, and the robot boom continued from there, it was the generation that kept buying toys like Chogokin. My fondness of mecha and robots grew more intense, and I wanted to be a mecha designer.

Ishikawa: Like Ishiwata.

Kosaka: Then, my working life started when I sent the doujinshi to the studio that planned Macross, Studio Nue.

Ishikawa: At that time, how old were you?

Kosaka: Around 18. I was in my third year of high school.

Ishikawa: I’m the same. I entered a training facility in my second year of high school, and I was able to get into my current office in my third year.

Kosaka: Just before graduating high school, the studio invited me to come by, and I ended up going there regularly. When I went there, they taught me things that would come in handy when studying mecha design, and we watched movies together and did various things; it was a lot of fun.

Gargantia x Tokyo Otaku Mode Special Site:

Source: (Japanese)

© Oceanus / Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Production Committee

Interview with Takaki Kosaka (Nitroplus), Producer of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [3/4] 1
Interview with Takaki Kosaka (Nitroplus), Producer of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [3/4] 2
Interview with Takaki Kosaka (Nitroplus), Producer of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [3/4] 3
Interview with Takaki Kosaka (Nitroplus), Producer of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [3/4] 4
Interview with Takaki Kosaka (Nitroplus), Producer of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [3/4] 5
Interview with Takaki Kosaka (Nitroplus), Producer of “Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet” [3/4] 6

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