Production I.G> WORK LIST> Le Chevalier D'Eon> SPECIAL FEATURE> Les 24 Chevaliers Part VI: Yui Shibata (Literary Producer)

Les 24 Chevaliers Part VI: Yui Shibata (Literary Producer)

Tow Ubukata is responsible for the original story and the script for Le Chevalier D'Eon. Yui Shibata is the literary producer who supports Ubukata in the background. We don't hear much about "literary producers," so we asked him about his role in the project.

Part VI
Yui Shibata's In principio erat Verbum: "A new generation of classics"!

Yui Shibata
Yui Shibata, executive director and planning supervising producer at T.O Entertainment, Inc. Soon after starting his career with Kadokawa Shoten Publishing, Shibata was sent to work at its Fujimi Division (now Fujimi Shobo Publishing). He put together more than fifty books consisting mainly of "light novels" such as the Fujimi Fantasia paperback series. After joining this company, he has expanded his field and has been working as an agent for authors, including Tow Ubukata, to plan and develop their works as well as producing projects.

How was the Le Chevalier D'Eon project conceived?
It started two years ago when Ubukata handed me a written proposal since I was already his agent. With the proposal, I even traveled to the USA to find sponsors. I know I was too reckless. (lol) While I was still traveling, I remembered Ubukata had said, "I'd like to work with Production I.G some day." I thought, "that day has to be now" and asked them to produce this project.

We're not familiar with "literary producers." What are your responsibilities?
I am not familiar with that title either. (lol) In short, I am an editor in charge of Ubukata's works. If he says a great idea has come into his head, then we'd talk about it all night. We just keep on talking about how we could make things more interesting and we'd propose these ideas to the director and those at the script meeting.
Since this project is quite huge, I am managing Ubukata's overwhelmed work schedule as well. The title doesn't define my job. I try to do whatever is required of me. I do advertising, make flyers and also take care of public relations. I will do my best to see the work completed and delivered to the audience.

From your point of view, what is the best part of Le Chevalier D'Eon that we shouldn't miss?
If I pause to think about it, I must admit I like Le Chevalier D'Eon because it is a solid classic no matter how complicated the story seems, with lots of different characters. There is a brother who desperately searches for the murderer of his beloved older sister. And the search involves a variety of people. He learns that the sister was someone in a high position and he ends up trapped and in big trouble.

The scale of the story is huge and the list of the characters is long, so the plot seems complicated at first glance, but the structure is simple and it reminds me of the American TV drama, 24. At the same time, there is a dense network of clues, so even if you watch it over and over again, you will find something new every time.

"Who murdered Lia? For what reason?" As the answers to these questions are revealed, each character's life story is told. Everyone is so "real." And when one of the characters died in the story, staff members couldn't stop crying. It seems like a story set a long time ago, but I feel the modern world shares a common theme. Revolution actually changes entire lifestyles - it really is dreadful. To put it in simple words, suddenly the one million yen you saved diligently until yesterday can only buy you a bowl of gyudon today. It's very shocking.

Through each character in Le Chevalier D'Eon, you should be able to sense how an individual tries to survive through the innumerable changes. You will see the tragedy of an individual who is repeatedly pushed around by the revolution. But precisely because of that, I think we can also see the sense of hope among the people who survive.

Has anything changed in you through this process of making Le Chevalier D'Eon?
For me, the essence of creating is to meet new people. Of course I mean the staff members that I work with, but also anyone I pass by in town after the broadcast saying, "did you see Le Chevalier D'Eon yesterday?" I feel that's an encounter too. I really want to hug that person. (lol) For instance, in the future, you will have people coming into the industry saying, "I watched Le Chevalier D'Eon when I was a teenager and decided to become a creator." I feel very honored to be doing this.

The staff was extraordinarily intense in this project, and I got a lot of inspiration from them. I am determined to "be more serious about work, more than ever."

What are the things that we should be paying extra attention to in Le Chevalier D'Eon?
We at the promotion meeting desperately worked hard to come up with the promotional tag, "Their meeting marked the beginning of the end!" that appears in the big poster. I'd be happy if people remember the line when they watch the program. You know, the heartache of knowing that the meeting is the beginning of the end, but the end is also a beginning. We wanted to communicate this feeling of hope.