Production I.G> WORK LIST> Le Chevalier D'Eon> SPECIAL FEATURE> Les 24 Chevaliers Part X: Tomomi Ozaki (Character Design)

Les 24 Chevaliers Part X: Tomomi Ozaki (Character Design)

One of the elements that makes Le Chevalier D'Eon so unique in the current panorama of Japanese animation is undoubtedly the realistic yet stylish character design. The artist behind the astounding drawings of this series is a cheerful lady named Tomomi Ozaki, featured in this tenth exclusive interview with the staff of Le Chevalier D'Eon.

Part X
Tomomi Ozaki's In principio erat Verbum: "Zest"!

Tomomi Ozaki
Character designer. She originally worked in the video game industry before becoming an illustrator. Her first project as a character designer far animation was TV series Kurau: Phantom Memory (2004). Her husband is toi8, responsible for prop design in Le Chevalier D'Eon

How did you land in the job of character designer for Le Chevalier D'Eon?
It was originally given to my husband, toi8, but his schedule was booked and he couldn't take that job, so they asked me. Anyway, I was told to go and see the director and the producer. At that time, I thought I was just going to be assisting someone. I had no idea I would be in charge of everything. I did not expect anything like that!

What were the instructions the director gave you as character designer?
Furuhashi-san told me that characters should not look like manga characters or too real; and not too anime-like. And also, he wanted the characters to be faithful to historical details including the costumes.

The story has a lot of historical figures. How did you develop the ideas and images when you were designing them?
I sometimes referred to the portraits of that age, but I prioritized character images in the script. It was a process of trial and error, through which I tried to come up with suitable characters, for instance differentiating the royal family members from the ordinary aristocrats.

D'Eon is supposed to look like his sister Lia when he is possessed by her spirit. If he were to have a sweptback hairstyle, which was common in those days, I thought it would be difficult to really feel his character. So I added a lock of hair falling on the forehead, which would make him look like Lia when he gazes up a bit.

Teillagory has a slightly longer best than the other characters. He was a noted chevalier during the reign of Louis XIV, so his vestment is stylish, but a little outdated.

I designed a hat for him and the staff somehow inflated the idea, and eventually became "Teillagory's precious hat filled with past memories." I felt the zest of working cooperatively in a way that's only possible with a group of diverse people joining in.

As a character designer, who is your favorite character?
I think Anna and Cagliostro came out rather interesting.


I had no intention to create a pretty Anna. She has an upturned nose and a big jaw. I wanted her to be charming, rather than pretty. Pretty faces are boring; beautiful women all look the same. Since there are only a few female characters in this series and they are all historical figures, I felt some creative restrictions, so that left me to have fun with Anna.

Were there any particular reference resources that you used for designing characters?
Sure! I took ideas a lot from actors in the Western movies.

For Anna's hair, I imaged Brigitte Bardot's hairstyles. For Count Guercy, I chose Jack Black in School of Rock. Durand comes from Brad Pitt, and Anthony Hopkins in Mask of Zorro was my model for Teillagory.

Actually, Robin's personality is closest to mine (Tomomi Ozaki).

How do you like seeing the characters you designed actually move?
I don't think I can ever get used to seeing my characters in motion. It's difficult to express the exact feeling, but it's sort of embarrassing. I would like to thank the animators who improved and upgraded my crude characters with their great skills. For instance, drawing in-betweens for women in dresses is a really relentless work. I don't think I would ever be able to do it myself.

Many freelance designers work at their own studios, but this time you came to Studio 6 of Production I.G almost everyday. How was it like?
I would definitely consider it as a great advantage. If the animators have any questions regarding the designs, for example, how a dress is constructed inside, they can ask me and we can discuss that on the spot. When you face these kind of problems and you have to communicate via phone or e-mail, in most cases it ends up that you wouldn't bother to ask, because it's too big a hassle.

Finally, can you leave a message for the fans of Le Chevalier D'Eon?
We've paid meticulous attention to the historic and geographic settings. I hope you will enjoy the authentic recreation of XVIII century Europe.

© Tow Ubukata · Production I.G/Project Chevalier 2006