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Reideen Press Conference Report

Japanese CS channel WOWOW will air Reideen starting this March 3rd. There was a press conference on November 25, 2006 preceding the launch of the series.
Attending the press conference were: Kiyotaka Ninomiya (Managing Director, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation), Mitsuhisa Ishikawa (President & CEO, Production I.G), Noriaki Kuromizu (Executive Managing Director, WOWOW), and Shinichiro Inoue (President, Kadokawa Shoten).

The foursome talked of their anticipation and enthusiasm for Reideen.

From left: Shinichiro Inoue (Kadokawa Shoten), Noriaki Kuromizu (WOWOW), Mitsuhisa Ishikawa (Production I.G), Kiyotaka Ninomiya (Tohokushinsha)

How was this project initiated in the first place?
Ninomiya: Originally, there was a series entitled Reideen the Brave, produced thirty-one years ago produced by Soeisha, which was one of our group companies. The series proved to be both a milestone and a classic to stay in Japanese animation history. And our intention was to revive it today. I first consulted Ishikawa-san about five years ago and now the project is moving at last. The original Reideen the Brave was received very well. If we were to revive it in the present day, how should we recreate it as a new robot anime? That was the question we kept asking while we tackled this job. The film was made with Production I.G's state of the art technology, so I am confident to say this is an anime created with the staff's full potential.

Ishikawa-san, what were your thoughts for the new project from the production side, having to deal with such a famous title?
Ishikawa: I.G has been specializing in the original work and feature film arena. That means we have a lot of tough and wild people. (lol) All of us knew Reideen, the Brave. We watched it when we were ten or fifteen year-olds and were definitely influenced by it. When I told them this was our next project, all of the staff members were interested and wanted to take part. This was my first impression. Secondly, regarding the remake of Reideen the Brave, Yoshikazu Yasuhiko (NOTE: character designer of the original series) has encouraged us with his comment that it would be nice to let someone with the hottest ideas in the business to work on it using up-to-date technology. Currently, the director Mitsuru Hongo and staff are exploiting the digital tools to the max. The finished episodes are all superbly done. I think it's not an overstatement to say that this project is the product of our staff members passion and potential.


Kiyotaka Ninomiya (left) and Mitsuhisa Ishikawa (right)

The new Reideen will debut on WOWOW on March 3, 2007. This is a question for Mr. Kuromizu, the executive managing director of WOWOW. What fascinates you about Reideen in particular?
Kuromizu: First of all, the new Reideen is loaded with CG technology and full of incredibly realistic scenes. At WOWOW, our concept of anime production is, "cutting edge." In other words, an animation that thrills and captivates an adult audience. I think Reideen has that potential fully.

Inoue-san, you have done a lot of manga adaptations of anime. I heard you attend script meetings for Reideen.
Inoue: I first got involved around summer time in 2005. Production I.G kindly showed me the image boards and Takuya Saito's character designs. Director Hongo's intention was quite clear. I instantly figured out he wanted to do a kaiju movie-style anime with CG. To be honest, I love monster movies. And if Production I.G was going to do it with their high-tech, I knew it was going to be cool, so I joined the team. I occasionally do attend their script meetings. I brought my favorite school movie DVDs and some more DVDs that show the mind-set of present-day high school students to Director Hongo. Of course, I don't know whether that was helpful or not. (lol)


Noriaki Kuromizu (left) and Shinichiro Inoue (right).

Talking about using CG in anime, I.G's previous series IGPX is a good example of a non-standard amount of computer generated animation applied to a TV production. And this is another question for President Ishikawa. How would you compare Reideen with IGPX as to the components you focused on?
Ishikawa: When I had a discussion with Director Hongo, he mentioned he had three focal points for applying 3D-CG in this project. First of all, to demonstrate the size of Reideen, a 70-meter high colossus of steel. By fully employing the CG techniques, we are trying to make the audience feel its immense size. Secondly, the movement: Hongo wanted this huge mech to move at a slow pace. And lastly, the mood of the screen - especially the darkness. These are the main concepts. As for IGPX, our focus was on using 3D-CG in order to demonstrate speed. For Reideen, we focused on rather the opposite concept, or Slowness, combined with Hugeness and Darkness.

A basic question for Ishikawa-san. Is it hard to render a slow motion sequence?
Ishikawa: In 3D, you have to take into account the resolution of the screen. If you want to render a slow motion sequence, you need a higher spec machine. And a high-resolution image would take more time for rendering. With the computer environment of three years ago, it would have been unthinkable to achieve this result. And I believe the passion of the entire staff, including the creators and the director that complemented the leading-edge technology, really made this project possible.


Reideen is a combination of a romantic fantasy and school movies as President Inoue intended. State-of-the-art CG generated action scenes area must-see, but you shouldn't miss the human drama surrounding the main character Junki Saiga, and the story motif of the lost technologies relating to the "Hieratic Characters" and "O-parts."

Now to Kadokawa Shoten's President Inoue. I heard it is quite rare to have a staff member from the publisher attend script meetings. I think this shows how committed you are to this project. Is there any episode from the meetings you'd like to share with us?
Inoue: One of the reasons why I attended the script meetings was because I was a fan of Reideen the Brave, thirty-years ago. But as I said earlier, it was greatly due to the fact that I have been a fervent fan of the school and kaiju movie genres. I paid a lot of attention to the portrayal of the school life. I am sure the spectacular scenes such as a battle of Reideen and the mechanical beasts will be impressive without question, but when it comes to the portrayal of main characters' school life, that's an accumulation of little episodes, so I hope extra care will be taken in creating these scenes. Another thing I'd like to mention is that the story takes place in the suburb of Tokyo. That's close to where I was raised, so I feel a special affinity there. You see, Production I.G is in Kokubunji, a suburb of Tokyo. So I asked that they include a background landscape, or I should say "an atmosphere" of a suburban residential area unexpectedly close to the mountains. The comics adaptation is already appearing in the magazine Shonen Ace. We've contracted Suku Karasumata, a rookie manga artist who recently won Shonen Ace's Manga Prize. The comics version has a slightly different tone from the anime version with a little more emphasis on the psychological aspect, so I really hope you will take the time to read it too.


The resurrected
Reideen and the huge mechanical beast created by CG, as featured in Episode 1. The main production concepts for this production are Hugeness, Slowness and Darkness.

Final question to President Ishikawa of Production I.G. Tell us about your passion about this project.
Ishikawa: The body of the new Reideen is coated with a golden mirror finish, so every movement involves reflections. On top of the difficulties of the rendering I mentioned earlier, we have to add these reflections to make the mecha really glitter, and then to add up the solidness to make it look attractive on the screen. These are the things we are focusing on. At the same time, it is basically a high school anime as Inoue-san mentioned, so we are strictly adapting it to modern tastes. For the production staff, Reideen signifies a rebirth, or rather, a challenge. And we are proud to be part of the project. We are putting a lot of time and technology into it; that means the budget will be huge as well. Actually, if this project becomes a hit, I hope to pass on the benefits to the staff. As you can see, this is a big challenge for us. On behalf of the production staff, I'd like to add that we are hoping Ninomiya-san definitely ask us to do the feature film version as well.

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