Enter the Anime (2019) Movie Script

Perhaps the best way
to understand the stoic surface
of Japanese culture
is by riding the subway.
It's quiet.
The next station is Akihabara.
There's a system.
The doors on the left side will open.
An order.
So how does a culture like this...
create this?
Earlier this year, I became immersed
in something I knew nothing about.
The dark, twisted, crazy world of anime...
and Japanese counterculture.
Like many westerners, I thought of anime
as an endless parade of Hello Kitties
dressed as wide-eyed school girls,
riding rainbow ponies.
Awesome, awesome, awesome,
awesome, awesome!
If I kissed even a fraction
of that much ass,
I'd drown myself in shame.
Choke on my rage!
But it's often dark
and outright fucked up.
Choke on my rage!
Even Hollywood is influenced by anime.
And although I know nothing about it,
I decided to teach myself,
to become an anime expert.
And maybe even a better filmmaker.
Right? Right?
So, what is anime, really?
Whether you're an anime newbie like me
or an Otaku fan, you've probably wondered,
"How the hell
does anyone come up with this?"
Or this?
Or especially...
Who are the creative and deranged brains
behind some of the most innovative anime
out today?
In a culture where conformity rules,
the popularity of this vibrant art
might seem like a problem.
But could it be a solution?
And to what?
I went down the rabbit hole of anime clips
and, instead of finding answers,
I got even more questions.
Sure, Netflix hired me to do this.
But it wasn't just a job.
It became an obsession.
I had to find anime's soul,
tap into the genius minds that create it
and look behind the veil.
This would be an epic anime quest.
Exciting, right?
Only problem is... I'm in LA,
and I have no fucking idea
how I'm going to do that.
See, it all started with Castlevania.
It was so dark, twisted, and beautiful.
I couldn't help but wonder
who would make such a thing?
So, I found him:
the edgiest anime creator in LA.
They call him
the Quentin Tarantino of digital age.
But who is Adi Shankar?
The last thing I Googled
was time travel.
'Cause I'm a time traveler.
I'm from the future,
I'm not from this timeline.
How did Castlevania go from being a...
a beloved video game series
that was kind of dead
to a Netflix show
that became, like, a hit?
So I had this career making films.
Some of them ended up in theaters,
some did very well.
I wasn't really into the movies.
What I was really into
was making fan films on the Internet.
There was a Power Rangers one
and a James Bond one
that I released a week apart.
And, yeah, some of them went, uh,
kind of nuclear viral.
And it's been interesting, you know.
I never looked at my career in this light,
but then I had a rapper explain it
to me this way.
He just called me up.
He's like, "Yo, what up? It's Kanye."
I'm like, "Huh, what? Hello?"
Then we, like, met.
Rappers consider that my mixtape,
which makes me feel very cool.
Because I look at that as just fan films,
which is less cool.
So, fan films led
to Netflix tweeting at me.
Yeah, actually there was a tweet,
saying, "Hey, come in for a meeting."
And that directly led
to Castlevania happening.
When I was growing up,
all the things I loved,
I had no idea
that other people liked any of it.
It wasn't cool. You know,
people would pretend they didn't...
Like people who liked it
would pretend like they didn't like it.
And now, it's, like,
people are cosplaying as Goku.
It's awesome. I mean, I literally
have a power glove that I wear.
It lights up.
When I was growing up in Hong Kong,
there would be, like,
this crazy, awesome anime on TV
and it was never in English.
So, like, I didn't know what was going on,
but I loved the way it looked.
I was like, "Well, one day,
we're gonna make our own,
and it's gonna look just like that."
From the moment Netflix said, "Yes,
go make your crazy anime adaptation
of this video game.
Go do it, go for it..."
Then, uh, both Kevin and I,
Kevin is my partner on the show,
we kind of looked at each other.
It had to be 2D.
It had to be that hand-drawn style,
again that was an homage to those OVAs,
those OVAs that I would watch
on TV in Hong Kong that I loved
and I was like, "This is beautiful.
It's an art form."
My family says my work is very violent.
It's very violent.
Uh, this is Mooshi. She's human,
so she, like,
literally understands English.
I do always get this reaction
and it kind of weirds me out.
Whenever people see Mooshi, they're like,
"Is this your dog?" I'm like, "Yes."
They're like, "You picked this dog?
This wasn't a girlfriend's?"
I was like, "No! This was, like,
the dog I always wanted."
And they're like, "This is not..."
I always get the same response.
"This is not the dog
that I would see you with."
And then I'm like,
"What? What are you talking about?
What kind of dog
are you imagining me having? Like...
what, like a Rottweiler?
A German Shepherd? Like an attack dog?
Maybe a robot dog?
Maybe, like, a demon dog? What?"
Adi Shankar was a time traveler.
I was starting to wish
he could whisk me back in time
before I said I could make this movie.
What is anime?
This should be easy.
Or not. What is creativity?
How do people get ideas?
Instagram isn't a waste of time,
it's inspiration. Right?
To know anime,
we have to know its birthplace.
How about a classic doc for inspiration?
A country of beauty and variety...
where East meets West...
Mingling in modern dress,
in city planning and in industry...
but where country life
and customs still follow...
Or not. Terrible idea.
No. To know anime,
we have to go to Japan...
to face those deranged brains in person.
To meet the biggest names in the industry.
Tap into the source. The mother lode.
What makes Japan its birthplace?
To understand anime,
we have to dive into the intricacies
of Japanese culture
and the nuance of its way of life.
How are we gonna do it?
My favorite thing
about Tokyo is the food.
I interviewed a fellow foodie,
and anime creator,
who takes Japanese anime ingredients
and serves a completely
cross-cultural anime dish.
Hello! I am Sam.
Nice to meet you. I'm Sam.
Hello! My name is Sam.
Hello there! My name is Sam.
Hello, my name is LeSean Thomas.
Hi, I'm LeSean.
Hi, I'm LeSean Thomas.
Hi, I'm LeSean.
Hi, my name is LeSean Thomas.
After the dot-com crash in New York City,
it was, uh, a difficulty finding work.
So, I found myself, uh, jumping
into freelance comic book illustration.
I think being around other artists
and creatives who are...
really good and better at things than I am
really inspire me.
I'm a big fan of collaboration,
which is why I'm attracted
to the animation production.
I like working in a room
full of really, really gifted people.
It forces me to keep my game up.
So I started off consuming
Japanese animated TV shows
through VHS tapes illegally recorded
in locations in Chinatown.
And it was very niche at the time.
I would say I took everything,
a little bit of everything that I loved
to create Cannon Busters.
The music in Cannon Busters is, uh, a mix
of jazz, philharmonic score and pop music.
Playing with fire
Cannon Busters' style is influenced
by an amalgamation of things
that I was consuming as a young kid
in the '90s and in the early '80s.
Road shows, adventure shows,
Japanese role playing games,
Final Fantasy, Secret of Mana.
This project was a perfect opportunity
to combine all those elements.
My favorite character
for Cannon Busters is Sam,
which is an acronym
for Special Associate Model.
And she's a royal,
high-profile friendship robot.
She's a bit OCD, she's pure,
she only sees the good in people.
No, there are no characters
in Cannon Busters that are based on me.
I'm not really one of those creatives
that puts myself in my work.
I quite like creating distance
between myself and the audience.
I feel like as an American,
Japanese animation,
as a medium, as an art form
is a truly trans-genre medium.
They have animation content for toddlers
to young boys and girls
to teens to adults to porn.
I don't feel like an outsider,
I feel like a visitor,
a guest, if you will.
Japanese animation was my gateway
to Japanese culture.
It was the thing that I was absorbing
since I was a kid
and I knew all about Tokyo through
Japanese animation and comic books
before I even visited here.
Fun fact: Japan uses more paper
to print manga, or Japanese comic books,
than they do to make toilet paper.
Either people in Japan
need to up their fiber intake...
or that's a shit ton of comic books.
Anime, and manga that inspires it,
aren't just pop culture, they define it.
During the golden age of anime,
animators and manga artists
were like kings.
Or, to be more geographically appropriate,
Think of them
as the king content creators.
The Instagram celebs of yore.
But, you know, talented.
So how does manga become anime?
And how do these artists
keep going under all the pressure?
I dropped in on an interview
with Toshiki Hirano:
a veteran master
in turning manga to anime...
who gave me the golden key
to solving this anime puzzle.
During the anime boom,
animators were, how to put it...
not stars, but something like that.
They were idolized.
I am an animator in my roots.
I started as an animator
and became a director among other things.
Where do you begin creating anime?
People call them good scenes.
You first make scenes
that become the keystones.
For Baki,
that's the fighters' special poses.
Stuff like that.
The best scenes in fighting
are the KOs.
It just looks good
when they have a clean execution.
For anime, you first put images
like that in your head
and build around them.
Since I'm an animator, I first think
about what I want to show the most.
That's kind of how it goes.
After that, I glue everything else to it.
When you're creating film based on manga,
breaking it apart
and rebuilding is the way to go.
But for Baki, we thought about sticking
to the manga. That part was set in stone.
When did you decide to work in anime?
I never wanted to work in anime.
- You never wanted to?
- I wanted to be a manga artist.
Is that so?
So do you often visit
Mandarake shops?
I go occasionally,
as TMS is located in Nakano,
and there is a Mandarake shop there.
So it's like a mecca there.
You have the studio,
and the original Mandarake nearby.
- Yes.
- What do you look at there?
Well, I look at the figures
and used books.
You see, there aren't
that many bookstores nowadays.
For manga, you have to go
to manga shops to buy them.
Or even look at them. So I just have to.
And the size
of their archives is staggering.
When do you come up with ideas?
Usually in the shower.
Well, when you are,
you can't take notes, can you?
Right. So I hurry out to jot things down.
- Oh, really?
- Yes, or I'd forget.
So you're drawing scenes buck naked...?
Not really. I do dry myself. A quick work
of the towel, then off with the pen.
Rough sketches?
- More like short memos.
- Memos straight out of the shower.
I'm used to being alone.
What was the last word you Googled?
And now you've become
the director of Baki.
So was it fun drawing Hanayama
for the series?
Hanayama doesn't have much screen time!
If you had to fight against
one of those Death Row inmates,
- who would you pick?
- I can't fight.
- They'd take me down instantly.
- What is your favorite line from Baki?
My favorite line from Baki...
"I don't give a fuck."
And there they were: the golden words of anime.
But unlike Baki, I did give a fuck.
I gave many fucks.
So I took to the streets to ask the fans.
What drives them,
what lures them to this crazy medium?
I was worried that flying
all the way to Tokyo
still wouldn't give me
the answers I needed.
But that's kind of the point of anime.
To take risks. To listen to nobody.
To abide by your own rules.
I wasn't gonna let
a language barrier get in my way.
I'm immortal. Sushi like anime, what?
Sorry, arigato.
Anime isn't one size fits all,
just like Japan isn't.
Japan is this:
But it's also this:
Cool, right?
That's because Japanese anime subculture
has bred even crazier,
even more niche sub-subcultures.
And when I say crazy, I mean crazy.
Like rockabillies who dress
like 1950's American greasers.
Or goths.
Or Lolitas.
Or goth Lolitas.
Or steampunk goth Lolitas.
Yeah, you get the idea.
Then there's jocks.
And, of course, metal heads.
I'm sure death metal is...
created from an overdrive
of rock elements to the limits.
It's abnormal... something abnormal.
There's something like that
in fashion too. It's called Gothic-Lolita.
Motorcyclists have those choppers.
Every industry has its abnormalities.
Such abnormalities go by their own rules.
They liberate people bound by the mundane.
That's their function in this world.
So to test anime's limits,
I interviewed three
of Tokyo's edgiest outlaws.
There's a character in Durarara!!
that talks using a smartphone.
I had thought it was adorable,
so I tried it myself
when the perfect app for that came out.
My previous comment was just a joke.
I use an app because I injured my throat.
I previously recorded my voice
into the app for several hours,
and now the app converts
the typed text into speech for me.
What is Kengan Ashura about?
Disputes and rules between companies
are not fought directly,
legal or otherwise.
Instead, each company hires fighters
who settle things with combat.
It's a very simple story
about violence and politics.
Mr. Kishi first explained to me
that he wanted to create
an entire series from just CG.
Basically, the main component
of Kengan Ashura are the fighters' bodies
so I think it was something like,
"How about we draw muscles
like how we draw armor?"
I was sold.
Mr. Kishi said that when people
were done watching Kengan Ashura,
he didn't want them to think
they watched a CG movie
but feel they watched
an ordinary Japanese anime.
He wanted visual expressions
like regular anime
so nobody would realize that it's CG.
I believe that was his theme.
This series is,
in one word, about fighting.
It's uncommon for animation,
so you could say it's unique.
My inspiration?
They really come to me
when I'm least thinking about it.
I get ideas during everyday life,
like when I'm taking a bath.
Ideas really spring to life
during times like that.
I do work out at the gym.
I do make an effort to go and work out.
Japanese animation is a hand-made 3D art.
That kind of animation
is what the industry has developed into.
So I wanted to try it out for this series.
About whether or not
it's rough for my staff?
Well, it's rough.
It really is tough for them.
They hand-create the art
for each and every frame.
In that aspect, I feel the final project
really screams out "Made in Japan."
I met all the martial artists
who participated for the first time
with this project.
We all went to the original Gold's Gym
in Los Angeles one morning.
When we did, we just happened
to meet Schwarzenegger.
We were able to shake hands with him,
and he okayed taking a picture with us.
We went to Anime Expo.
Our director went to Gold's Gym,
and was able to meet Schwarzenegger.
Where were you at the time,
Mr. Higa?
At Gold's Gym, obviously!
We actually have real martial artists
fight out the combat scenes on this floor.
We then take their footage as the base
for drawing each frame of CG.
We really had them punching and kicking.
We then controlled the speed
to make it look more awesome.
We're creating the CG by hand.
It's not motion-capture.
We didn't put devices on the fighters
like you do in motion-capture.
We create each combat scene by hand.
That's the director's concept
we're running with.
What I don't like about our director...
Well, he's a bit...
How should I say this? What should I do?
What I don't like
is actually what I love about him.
That man is just insane.
Mr. Kishi really is insane.
So everyone else around him
starts becoming dumber and dumber.
Children are waiting for our anime!
Sorry! Sorry!
And give me a portrait.
Uh, do you have a close-up?
Seiji, Seiji! Telephone hello.
Nothing screams
"Made in Japan" more than Toei Animation.
I had to go to the source
to see how it all started.
Toei is anime.
The original. The birthplace of it all.
It's for kids.
It's the country's Disney,
except instead of a mouse,
they've got a cat.
Suck it, Disney.
If you were a kid in Japan,
you were raised on Toei.
Japanese animation,
that is Toei Animation,
started right after Japan lost the war.
It was based on Disney.
It was a brand-new industry.
It was a way to give kids hope
after losing the war.
That's how Toei Animation began.
Yes, I'll definitely be watching.
I've watched Toei Animation
for a long time.
For example, Slamdunk,
Dragon Ball Z, Digimon.
I do some illustrating myself,
so I watch it like a student would,
for my own drawings.
Awesome move.
Since they're making it with CGI,
there might be some former fans
who won't be able to accept it,
but the way I see it, it's for the sake
of the younger generation,
so I'm interested to see
how it will turn out.
That's why Toei Animation's
target audience is always kids.
That's why they make anime
that makes them happy.
And that's something
they shouldn't stray from.
I really love the phrase
"Friendship, Effort, Victory."
How to teach that to kids
is where the love in anime is.
That's radical.
Do you have COSMO?
I'm already 70 so it's almost gone,
but it's still there.
When a movie is done,
or when I finish a TV show,
I am liberated from stress.
Until then, I'm a clump of stress.
I'd guess it's the COSMO
that keeps me creating anime.
Seiya, burn your COSMO.
Saint Seiya
Every young boy
Saint Seiya
We will stand with you
Till the end
Oh, yeah
Oh, yeah
Something like this.
Music is a huge part of Japanese culture,
and of anime.
Anime shows are known for their crazy,
over the top, rock operaesque theme songs.
And anime fans everywhere
go apeshit for their musical stylings.
- It's Evangelion! Know this song?
- Yes, yes.
- I can sing the song.
- Can you sing it? Sing it!
Music is everything
to these fans.
So next we found their muse.
When I first heard
the melody for "A Cruel Angel's Thesis",
I thought,
"Wow, this is such a difficult song!"
I don't know how many times I've sung it,
but I think the count
is in the tens of thousands.
The audience reaction changes
with each country,
but they all sing in Japanese with me.
They surprise me every time.
Today's costume was again designed
by my stylist Chica Hanashima.
- What's your inspiration for the costume?
- This time, it's a queen.
I don't make that many phone calls
before concerts,
but if I do, I call my daughter.
She's sleeping.
I'm so sorry, my daughter...
Oh, she hung up on me.
My favorite episode in Evangelion
is the final episode.
I like the last episode of Evangelion,
despite it having mixed reviews.
Everyone has their opinion.
I felt that those scenes
were the most philosophical,
and for me, it felt like an awakening.
That's why I like it.
Philosophy in the song lyrics...
I think it depends
on how you interpret them.
In my head, the part,
"Young man, become a myth" ultimately...
feels very profound as I sing it.
Well, I'd like to call my manager now.
Where are you now?
I'm outside.
Where is outside?
Eh? Outside is outside.
- Do your best in the actual performance.
- Yup, I'll do my best!
- Bye. Take care.
- Thank you. Bye.
I never wanted to be
a professional singer.
I get extremely nervous
before going on stage.
As I was learning
more and more about anime,
I was feeling like I knew less and less.
Anime was originally for kids.
So, I went back to the beginning.
It's not a secret that Japanese
have a thing for cuteness.
After all, look at these kids.
And these cuties all love anime.
What's your favorite anime?
Oh, yeah. Language barrier.
Aikatsu Friends.
Pretty Cure!
- "Let's play again."
- Oh, let's play again.
Yes, I would love that.
"Kawaii culture" literally
translates to "cuteness culture."
But don't be fooled,
it's not just for kids.
Like, did you know kawaii culture
started in the '60s as the rebellion
to adulthood and authority?
That, in protest, students threw away
their school books
and read only manga? Yeah.
And now kawaii anime
revolutionizes the anime form.
So cute!
Such a big head!
There are rumors that there's an old guy
inside Rilakkuma. Just rumors, right?
I've heard people say
it might be Kaoru's father inside.
Rumors, right?
This is how we go about creating
stop-motion animation.
The first thing we have to do is
assemble everything
that appears on camera.
First we make the puppets,
create the artwork, create the rooms.
In this case, create the puppets
for Rilakkuma and the humans.
And then, we start moving the puppets.
As for how long it takes
to create stop-motion animation,
it takes a whole day for a single animator
to shoot ten seconds.
I love the zipper on Rilakkuma's back.
The reason why Kaoru needs Rilakkuma
is because he's so soft and warm,
and I think she can't give him up.
I don't think
that Kaoru's really struggling in life.
I think there's a time
when every one of us
feels like nothing's going right.
So, I think it goes to show
that Kaoru is just normal,
like the rest of us.
I think it's important to take it easy
because if you keep yourself too busy,
you might end up forgetting
to be nice to others.
If you don't relax,
food won't taste that good anymore.
Sweet dumplings? I love sweet dumplings.
My favorites are the ones
in a sweet-and-salty glaze
of soy sauce and sugar.
Those soy sauce ones
are my favorites, too.
I would love some. May I?
Please bring me some yummy dumplings, too.
In the script, we included the main events
from each month
celebrated in Japan from April to March.
About the seasons,
we calculated the sun's position
over 12 months to create the lighting.
We also used snow and cherry blossoms
to illustrate the seasons.
I wanted everyone to be able
to relate to her.
This was the first time we used
stop-motion animation
so I knew we could do things
that we never could with live-action
so I wanted to let my imagination
run wild, to explode,
and have it lead me
to a totally different world.
Japanese culture revolves
around the values of respect,
honor and pride,
particularly pride in one's work.
Japanese people work hella hard.
Maybe it's rubbed off.
In Japan, I was working harder
than ever to piece this film together.
I had to squeeze out anime's essence,
or be left behind forever.
I interviewed the creators of Aggretsuko,
which revolts against office culture
in a new deafening way
by being both kawaii and edgy as hell.
The name "Rarecho"
is from my amateur days.
I was using it as my internet screen-name.
It doesn't really mean anything.
It's something I randomly came up with.
And now that I'm 46,
the fact that I still go by that name...
does make me think,
"Well, isn't this a problem?"
I am the character designer,
who chooses how characters look
and how they act in Aggretsuko.
I'm wearing this mask because...
I'm a bit shy.
When I first made my presentation
to Sanrio,
instead of voicing everything myself
like I usually do,
I asked my wife
to voice the lead female instead.
Sanrio fell in love with her voice
and wanted her in the cast.
I was like, "Really? Seriously?
We're doing this?"
My name is Retsuko.
25-years-old and single.
A Scorpio, blood-type A.
Retsuko is made
of many people's stories.
She is a mixture of several people I know.
An example of inspiration
from experience,
take the story where Retsuko went to work
wearing her sandals in episode one.
I've done that several times already.
This was how Retsuko started out.
Director Gori and Washimi
were much more realistic.
My body wasn't made to sing death metal.
I started singing because
I didn't know anyone I could ask.
So I thought,
"Oh, well, guess I'll do it myself."
I Googled how and practiced for a month.
"Death voice" isn't made for microphones
like these.
Excuse me?
Why death metal?
When my friend grunted while griping,
it sounded like death metal.
So, I thought death metal
would fit right in.
That's why Retsuko started singing.
The themes in Aggretsuko,
like when Retsuko
gets sick of serving tea,
have been in Japanese comedy
for the past three decades.
I was surprised people overseas
found it funny.
But then
with the recent #MeToo movement,
perhaps the world hasn't evolved
as much as I had thought.
It's part of your job, too.
For the women, that is!
Shitty boss!
If I had free time...
I would like to sleep.
Last thing I Googled?
I think that would be an "ego-search."
My own name.
But, well, since you can skip intros
and endings on Netflix,
not many people know who I am.
End of the world, karaoke all alone
Heal all the pain from my office job
Choke on my rage!
I was starting
to feel like I was losing my track,
getting caught in Japan's contradictions.
How do we get anime like Aggretsuko,
loud, aggressive, and gritty,
when, seemingly, Japan is literally
the least gritty place I've ever been?
To say Japan is clean
would be an understatement.
It's pristine.
There's no litter,
which is impressive enough,
until you realize
there aren't even any public trash cans.
And Tokyo isn't just clean.
It's green.
Maybe that's also what drives
this art form.
Anime does tackle big issues,
like climate change, technology,
the apocalypse, utopia,
flora and fauna mutation, and crabs.
Giant man-eating crabs.
There's even an anime
with all of the above.
Oh, and girl power.
7SEEDS is about a world
where humans went extinct
from catastrophic natural disasters.
The connection between the world of 7SEEDS
and our own?
Actually, the conditions are different,
but I feel similar things are happening
in our world and their world.
During the creative process,
as we draw out
how the protagonists behave,
and as I'm directing their movements,
it felt like this was actually present day
and that their situation was similar
to the one that we've been put into.
I think it's a great series
with characters that stand out.
7SEEDS is a really interesting series!
I really love 7SEEDS!
7SEEDS is so interesting! It's the best!
The reason why 7SEEDS
is so popular among females
is because each female character
is powerful in different ways
and the male characters can be either kind
or strong.
I believe each character is very appealing
in their own way.
The meaning of "7SEEDS"
is literally that of seven seeds.
Each of the boys and girls
sent to the future is a "seed."
Where 7SEEDS differs
from other girls' manga is how,
unlike most girls' manga
that focus on romance,
this series takes a different approach
and talks about a deeper theme
of survival.
If I was not a part
of the animation industry,
I believe I would be
doing something related to astronomy.
All these anime creators
seem to have a backup plan.
I need a backup plan.
What should it be?
I used to want to be a chef.
I think I'd be really good at it.
If I wasn't in the animation business?
That's a very dangerous question.
A dangerous question, indeed.
Because the life of a creator is no walk
in one of Japan's clean, green parks.
It can be soul-crushing.
Anxiety-inducing. All-consuming.
And, I was coming to realize,
incredibly lonely.
Would I move to Tokyo forever?
No. I miss my family too much.
Since I was a student,
I'd be working 20 hours straight every day
making movies
while running myself into the ground.
Creating anything in film
turns you into a clump of stress.
If I had free time,
I'd sleep six hours a day.
Animation production,
it's hard to get a lot of free time.
Everyone's so busy.
If I had free time...
I would like to sleep.
Your next step?
To live an easy life?
Hedgehog wrangling.
That's gonna be my backup.
I was starting to doubt everything.
My decision to come to Japan.
My ability to tell this story.
All of these anime creators
started to seem so distant.
How do they keep going,
running on no sleep
and having to come up
with creative innovation?
Especially the ones
who have been doing this for decades.
When I was singing
Ultraman's song for my son,
he asked me, "What's that song?"
I said, "This is Ultraman's song."
Then he started loving Ultraman.
We watched old series and new series.
We both love Ultraman. Ultraman pose.
I used to want to design cars.
I think I'd like to have done that
for a living.
The first thing I ever directed
was Madox-01.
It was a short, 40-minute
original video animation, OVA.
The first show I directed
was Patlabor Minimum,
these short movies that accompany
the OP for a show called Patlabor.
I did hand-drawn animation for decades.
Then something came along
that would bring out both our designs
and worldviews even more,
like computer graphics.
It was all over the news,
and I thought,
"This is the way to go from now on."
Without a doubt, that would be
the first APPLESEED movie.
It was my first time using motion capture,
and rendering everything in 3DCG.
I think I've been involved with
Ghost in the Shell the longest.
There were two series, after all.
I also made
one feature-length theatrical film.
Eden of the East
was my first completely original title.
One of the films that I spent
a lot of time on was Captain Harlock,
a full CG film.
I think it took more than five years
to complete.
I don't remember all the details,
but I think Mr. Aramaki initially wanted
to create
a different Ghost in the Shell series.
It was at a party,
and producer Ishikawa
happened to be sitting next to me.
I thought I'd just ask him
for the heck of it,
since he was right there.
So, it was decided that Mr. Aramaki and I
would make
a Ghost in the Shell series together.
But we were both directing other projects,
and we couldn't get started right away,
but there was another project
in the works.
It was Ultraman and they offered it to us.
Since we're both from the generation
that grew up watching
the first Ultraman shows,
we were both really passionate about it.
In terms of visuals, sure...
jaw-dropping action scenes
are great and all,
but since the CG is motion capture-based,
the humans look more human
as well as more raw.
It's that fusion of human rawness
and anime's deform style
that I want to pursue to the limit.
I was starting
to feel like I'd hit my limit,
which was hard to do in Tokyo,
which feels like a place
where limits don't exist.
From vending machine restaurants...
to bullet trains...
to the most confusing, high-tech toilets
the world has ever seen.
Japan is already living in the future.
It's all about full automation...
especially in animation.
I really can't stand
the repetitive tasks.
I wish we could use computers
for all of that.
3DCG involves numerous processes
and elements to produce visuals.
Now, I'd like to explain each process
to you.
This is part of an animatic.
This raw data allows us to experiment
so we can figure out
how we can create the powerful scenes
we have in our heads.
Then, you start the modeling process.
I wanted the fist to get
smashed more and sink into the flesh.
And I wanted the place where it landed
to bulge out here.
This is an effect.
Here you can see the impact of the punch
is so powerful,
the steam inside this muscle
is leaking out.
I really want it to come out from
the crack,
but it would be so much work
to make it come out from the crack.
So, the steam emerges from the surface.
You can tell
that we're cheating this shot.
As for the lighting,
the reason I have so much light
hitting the ring
is because I wanted to create a sense
of flashing during the characters' fight.
The characters' emotions are linked
to the color of the light.
I was hung up on using the flashing
in an effective way.
My goal isn't so much about
reproducing Japan's anime in 3DCG.
But, rather, I'd like to take
the American comics, graphic novels,
bandes dessines that I love so much...
and find a way to somehow
set them in motion in that style.
That's my goal.
A director has three jobs.
Three truly basic jobs:
To have a vision. To choose. To decide.
Yeah, I didn't know what to do.
Guess we'll have to get to anime's essence
the hard way.
I'm sending in backup.
It's an interrogation.
- Name?
- Rui Kuroki.
- Age?
- Forty-one.
- Hometown?
- Tokyo.
- Dislikes?
- Getting older.
What did you eat for lunch?
- I haven't eaten.
- Why is that?
I don't have time.
- Who do you work for?
- For myself.
- How did you get here?
- By car.
- Any pets?
- No.
- Dogs or cats?
- Dogs.
- Favorite food?
- Crabs.
- How long have you lived here?
- Forty years.
- Favorite color?
- Black.
- Favorite movie?
- Ghostbusters.
- Where are we?
- IG.
What is your job?
Animation producer.
Your first anime title?
Kill Bill.
Number of anime titles
you have produced?
Over 20.
Your favorite among them?
B: The Beginning.
Who do you respect?
Who do I respect?
My father.
Where does your inspiration
come from?
The brains of other people.
What does your family think
about your job?
They take pride in it.
What was the last thing you Googled?
Stan Lee.
The hardest project you worked on?
Kill Bill.
Your favorite author?
My favorite author?
William Burroughs.
Your ultimate goal?
Going to heaven.
- Your next step?
- To live an easy life?
- Should we be worried?
- I don't think you need to be.
- Are you Keith?
- I am not.
- Are you Koku?
- I am not.
- Are you Killer B?
- I am not.
What is the climactic moment
in season 2?
I cannot tell you.
Turns out I did need this quest
to understand anime,
not to be a better filmmaker.
It's about acceptance, inspiration,
and something these anime creators
knew all along.
The contradictions of Japan
aren't confusing.
They're vital.
Relax in the chaos
and the great ideas just flow.
How do I come up with my ideas?
I get ideas during
everyday life, like when I take a bath.
Bath time.
It can be when I'm in the bath...
Usually in the shower.
They hit me at all times,
like when I'm taking a walk.
The commute home.
...or just strolling around the area.
Ideas don't pick a place or time.
So, the question is not, "What is anime?"
How it's made, why it's made,
what makes the fans love it?
It's not just the people who create it:
the idea-makers, the dreamers,
the visionaries who have the guts to say,
"I don't give a fuck."
The thing that unifies anime
and makes it special...
is the way it makes you a part
of something bigger than yourself.
How it accepts you
into this crazy community.
And the way it makes you feel
like you're not alone.
Made by misfits for other misfits.
It didn't matter what school
I went to in what country.
If I saw someone
who wore a Wolverine T-shirt,
I was like,
"I can talk to this dude about X-Men."
Right? And that was a way
to connect across cultures.
The veil has been lifted.
Enter the anime.