Interview with Kanta Kamei (2)

Kanta Kamei
From key drawings to visual effects, from compositing to direction, Kanta Kamei is a multi-talented veteran in the Japanese animation industry. Starting from the key animations in Tales of Phantasia (1998), he worked in several "Tales of" series titles, and directed the movie part of Tales of Legendia (2005). His technical experience proved invaluable in many I.G's works, such as Blood: The Last Vampire (2000, visual effects and key animator), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003, visual supervisor), Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004, visual effects and key animator), IGPX (2005, visual effects) and Asience: Hairy Tales (2007, director of photography). Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike is his directorial debut in a feature film.

Part 2

What kind of characters are Yuri and Flynn?
Judging from their age, I thought they already had a vague idea of what they wanted to do in their life, but not completely focused yet, to the extent they would be unable to explain it properly if asked. So I created a new character, the Ceazontania garrison commander, Niren Fedrok. He is an adult man, he has made his apparently controversial choices, and he is showing the two freshmen a possible way of living they have not considered yet. Then it's up to Yuri and Flynn to decide what to take and leave from Niren's example.
Although Yuri is the most popular character in the game, I was more interested in Flynn. In the movie, Yuri is the one who seems to be surer of his belief. He is the quickest in throwing away any previous hesitation and setting up his mind after his encounter with Niren. However, the same encounter leads Flynn to change his way of being an Imperial Knight dramatically. To this extent, the story of the movie revolves more on Flynn's coming of age.

So I guess you favourite character in the movie is...?
Niren, of course. He's the kind of guy who can adapt his response to the person who stands before him. He has a very frank and straightforward approach to everyone, but he talks to Yuri and Flynn considering their different background and personality. And he is not all words. He has them understand his point with facts.

The movie unveils glimpes of Flynn's childhood in a delicate monochrome style. The flashback sequences were drawn by Kazuyoshi Yaginuma.

From the movie we also get to know more about Flynn's father.
In the game, Flynn is depicted as a sort of cold-blooded perfect guy, and nothing was told about his past. That inspired me to expose Flynn's most weak and human sides in the movie, especially the traumatic conflict he has with the memories of his father, who died disobeying orders. Nothing about Flynn's father was mentioned in the game, and I'm glad that Namco Bandai Games allowed me to explore this side of Flynn's psychology.

The relationship between Yuri and Flynn is central to the film. Can you describe it for us?
They respect each other's way of thinking without invading each other’s territory. Their kind of friendship is not about hanging together all the time. Mutual respect does not necessarily have to be expressed with words.

Is that your ideal vision of friendship?
People who can still bear up with me after all these years are probably what I can call "best friends." I may not see them everyday, and everything might be limited to some e-mail exchange every now and then. But, for example, they get angry with me when it's the case. I think this kind of friendship is priceless these days. I can't say whether this is an "ideal vision of friendship," but for sure, I cannot deny that I built up the relationship between Yuri and Flynn also with reference to my personal experience. I guess every director or storyteller does the same, in the end.

(2 - to be continued)

© BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc./TOV Project
Original Character Design © KOUSUKE FUJISHIMA