Chiaki J. Konaka & Junichi Fujisaku double interview (4)

Ghost Hound and Real Drive are both based on Shirow Masamune's story concepts, but in order to be adapted into full TV series, they obviously needed the work of experienced screenwriters.
In this four-part interview series, we talked with Junichi Fujisaku and Chiaki J. Konaka, series composers for Real Drive and Ghost Hound respectively, and asked about their different approach to Shirow's world, anime storytelling, character development and even voice recording sessions!

Chiaki J. Konaka - Born in Tokyo on April 4, 1961. Scriptwriter and novelist. His most famous works include The Big O (series composition and scripwriter, 1999) , Serial Experiments Lain (series composition and scripwriter, 1998), Hellsing (series composition and scripwriter, 2001), RahXhefon (scripwriter, 2002), Texhnolyze (series composition and scripwriter, 2003), and Kino's Journey: The Beautiful World - The Land of Sickness -For You- (screenplay, 2007). Other from animation, he also wrote scripts for the SFX series Ultraman Tiga (directed by his brother Kazuya) and for Takashi Shimizu's acclaimed J-horror movie Marebito (2004), based on his own novel. A renown H.P. Lovercraft estimator, Konaka is also a bass player in the band #3b3 Orchestra.

Junichi Fujisaku - Born on August 6, 1967. Director, scriptwriter, game designer and novelist. He joined Production I.G as Game Production Department Chief Director, but soon became one of Team Oshii's core members, participating to the creation of the theatrical feature Blood: The Last Vampire (2000). The girl in sailor suit fighting monsters with a Japanese sword was in fact Fujisaku's idea. For the Blood franchise he also directed the game version and wrote the novelization. Fujisaku also gave his valuable contribution to the expansion of the Ghost in the Shell world, writing the scripts for many episodes of the Stand Alone Complex series, producing and directing the game version for PS2, and writing three related novels. In 2005 he debuted as a TV series director with Blood+. Besides Real Drive, he wrote the scripts for the FX live action TV series Phone Braver 7, directed by Takashi Miike.

Part 4: Names and worldview

How did you come up with character names?
Konaka: Taro's family name, "Komagusu" was Shirow-san's idea, but I named the rest. I don't like using names symbolically, so I stick with ordinary names. I have repeatedly used "Taro" and "Masayuki" in my works including lain. It would be exaggerating if I say I have my Star System, but the most typical Japanese boy in my works is "Taro." Of course each "Taro" is different.

Fujisaku: As for me, the names I used are all related to water or sea including "Haru" (meaning "breakwater") and "Kushima" (Curved Island). The director requested I use the kanji for "ri" (reason) in the main character's name. At one time during our brainstorming retreat in I.G's mountain lodge in Yatsugatake, we did nothing but think about the names. At the retreat, we mainly talked about plots of the story, but when we just couldn't go anywhere, we decided to pick names for the characters as I just said. And then suddenly, the story began to move. It's kind of strange, but when the characters had names, they began to have personalities.

For the storyline, we decided to expand not only the characters, but also the surrounding environment as the story progressed. To tell you the truth, when I heard what Konaka-san said, I felt that Ghost Hound fatefully overlap in some parts with RD. Ultimately, I must admit Shirow-sensei's original stories and ideas all converge in that broad domain of his.

Holon from Real Drive (left) and the Security Robot from Ghost Hound (right)

Konaka: You put it right. I didn't intend to create everything in Shirow-san style, but we are unconsciously bound by it. There is a book titled, The Ghost in the Machine, by Arthur Koestler, which I think motivated Shirow-san to create Ghost in the Shell. That book presented a concept of "holon." The idea of a holon is that something is simultaneously a whole and a part. This sort of worldview is represented in Ghost Hound as well.

Fujisaku: Same here in RD. We used "holon" as the name for one of the characters. It's a type of android and each one of them would have exactly the same face. We agreed to name it Holon on the spot.

Lastly, this is a bit out of the blue, but I would like each of you to comment on each other's works if you ever had a chance to watch them.
Konaka: I have watched all of Fujisaku-san's S.A.C. I was fully hooked. I was immensely influenced by it. Especially when I created the Security Robot, I made it look like a sort of small-sized, primitive version of the tachikoma. I wanted to create a link between Ghost Hound and the Ghost in the Shell TV series world, and I could describe it as the only moe character in Ghost Hound. (lol)

Fujisaku: I can only talk about a writer by looking at a work as a whole rather than a character in a work, so let me give you my impression about Konaka-san's works. When I saw Lain for the first time, I thought, quot;What is this?" It gave me such an impact and that was the beginning. Then came The Big O. I watched and kept on thinking, "What drives him to be so explosive?" I would say he is a mannerist in a very positive way. He has his own world that no one can copy and that's where I feel I can learn a lot from.

Konaka: No need to learn that part! Please. (lol)

(4 - end)

© 2007 Production I.G · Shirow Masamune / GHOST HOUND Production Committee
© Production I.G/Shirow Masamune
© 2008 DNDP, VAP, Production I.G