Production I.G> WORK LIST> Le Chevalier D'Eon> SPECIAL FEATURE> Les 24 Chevaliers Part XII: Kyoji Asano (Animation Director)

Les 24 Chevaliers Part XII: Kyoji Asano (Animation Director)

For this twelfth installment of our special feature on the TV series Le Chevalier D'Eon, we met Kyoji Asano, one of the diamond head animators at Production I.G. His outstanding work as animation director can be appreciated in episodes 2, 8 and 18.

Part XII
Kyoji Asano's In Principio erat Verbum: "Momentum"!

Kyoji Asano
Animation Director. Asano joined Production I.G soon after graduating from an animation school, and now he can be considered one of the studio's great talents. His major works as key animation supervisor include Kaidomaru, Stand Alone Complex and 2nd Gig, and the feature film Tsubasa Chronicle - The Princess of the Birdcages Land.

Le Chevalier D'Eon is a little different from the usual Production I.G works.
Tomomi Ozaki, who is the character designer for this series, doesn't have a lot of experience in field of animation, but her drawing sense is superb. Each of her characters looks real, but at the same time has a fine quality as drawings. I don't mean to say whether it's better to have or not to have experience, but she has a design style only those who hadn't been involved too much in the animation industry can have. From my standpoint, this was definitely an incentive to work on this project.

What was your impression when you heard about the content?
When I read the script, what I liked most was the fact that the four main characters really had depth. And they always worked as a team. I saw human drama in these attractive characters. As for the animation work, I dedicated much attention to their facial expressions and manners in order to enhance the breadth and depth of their personalities.

Did you try anything new for Le Chevalier D'Eon?
There are many accomplished animators within Production I.G; for instance, Takayuki Goto draws beautiful pictures, you can leave realistic pictures to Kazuchika Kise, and Tetsuya Nishio can handle comical to anything-you-name-it. Then I wondered, where do I stand among these giants? So for Le Chevalier D'Eon, I made up my mind to focus on the characters' realistic features.

What are your impressions now that you've done your work as an animation supervisor?
Curiously enough, I began to feel affection for each character. I've never experienced this before with other projects. As the story advances, various fates await each character. I wanted to thrill the audience even more by steadily layering the portrayal of each character before the story really started to unravel.

The original film frame from episode 2 (above) and the key frame correction sheet by Kyoji Asano (below).

Which character do you like?
Teillagory. Durand has more life experiences than Robin and d'Eon, but he is no match for Teillagory. Durand looks up on well-experienced Teillagory - this might be close to how I regard Teillagory. He is the eldest and is the most experienced of the four. And that life experience will lead to him making certain decision. He has a depth in his character that is unmatched. That might be why I am attracted to him.

How was the atmosphere of the staff of Le Chevalier D'Eon at work?
I was very much inspired by working side by side with animators in my generation who have worked extensively as freelancers. It sure helped me to improve my work even more. They maintain a sense of tension, such as, "if you do a slack job once, there is no next time." And I was impressed by their attitude toward work. They don't mind staying up all night working. I thought getting away from staying up all night to work was the key to work efficiency, but those freelancers still stay at the studio all night because they believe they need to spend enough time to get a good result. I suppose this makes them get a real feel of working on a project.

Do you think the experience of working on this project would have any effect on your subsequent works?
My affection for the project increased because I worked in the studio where the actual production was happening. And I could do my best and work energetically without feeling burned out because I had a notion this project was "worth doing" even though it was a tough one. I would like to keep this work attitude in the future, and transmit this personal experience to the younger animators that will join the studio. Le Chevalier D'Eon will probably become one of the works that I would point out and proudly say, "I took part in it!" I would like to ride this momentum and work on future projects with good motivation.

Lastly, please give a comment to the audience of Le Chevalier D'Eon.
I am sure the audience is watching the program with a certain affinity for the characters. Just like I am dreaming to be like Teillagory, I hope you will see yourself as one of the characters in the story and enjoy the show.

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