Interviews: Read or Die Team
Interviewed by Erwin Limawan
Hideyuki: I am Hideyuki Kurata, scriptwriter for ROD. My past projects are the ROD TV series, the ROD OVAs, and Excel Saga
Masunori: I am Oichi Masunori, My past projects as director are Photon, the ROD TV series, and others as the director.
Tomonoro Ochikoshi: I am Tomonoro Ochikoshi, the producer for the ROD TV series. This is my first project as a producer.
Ishihama Masashi: I am Ishihama Masashi, the character designer for the ROD TV series. This is my first major title.
Q: Was the ROD TV series a lot more popular than you imagined? Last year, you mentioned that it would take at least 2 years to continue the series.
Masunori: The US release seems like it has only been one year, but it has been over 2 years between the Japanese OVA release and the TV series.
Hideyuki: We put a lot of effort into the ROD TV series. We didn’t sleep for several nights working for the TV series.
Masunori: The OVA was very popular, so when we were dealing with the license, we were able to close the deal really quickly.
Q: The OVA and the TV are based on two different works by Kurata-san. Why didn’t you continue the OVA storyline?
Kurata: We were too lazy to think of what had happened in the 5 years. *laugh* Even Star Wars had a 4-year gap. Plus, we wanted to do something new.
Q: Will you do another OVA series to continue the ROD storyline?
Ochikoshi: Since the storyline hasn’t really ended, we still think it might continue. But right now, we only have a vague image of it, so we don’t really have any plans.
Q: Which parts of the project did you concentrate on for the TV series compared to the OVA series?
Masunori: For the OVAs, since we could use higher quality work, we focused on the quality, by putting in more frames in the animation. For the TV series, since it’s going to be long-term, we focused more on establishing the storyline and the characters.
Q: Since the ROD TV series is set around the world, do you feel the popularity was because you provided a world view, or was it just for Japanese audiences?
Masunori: James Bond went around the world. *laughs*
Ochikoshi: We didn’t really think about the world audience, but we didn’t just think about the Japanese audience either. We just wanted lots of people to watch it.
Kurata: By using different places around the world, we thought we would be able to travel there, but it turns out we were only able to travel to local places.
Q: Since your last project was the 3-episode OVA, how different was it compared to the longer TV series?
Kurata: We had to put more effort into the scenario. How to develop the story, and about how we could hold up the impact of the story. We couldn’t hold that impact. *laughs* We had difficult times, since the length is so different. We had to think of a way stop the audience from getting bored throughout the series and make them watch it through to the end.
Masunori: Another thing is that we made the staff work much harder because of the project. So we got 4 fresh young staff to work their asses off. *laughs*
Kurata: We worked them to right before they will die. *laugh*
Q: The characters designs were a lot different for the OVA compared to the TV. Was it because you just wanted to make the series something different?
Masashi: For the OVAs, I was able to apply my own style to the character. But for the TV, since many people were going to work on it, we needed to set really concrete designs for the characters.
Q: In the series, the episode and music titles are named after books. Are you worried it will get lost in the American translations? Are you worried there are any symbols in the series that will get lost in the translation?
Kurata: It all depends on the American director working on it. We really wish they can make it closer to the original Japanese meaning.
Q: Does this mean you won’t have any input on the American translations?
Ochikoshi: Since the American side will understand Americans better, I believe they will do a better job. But there are things which we believe are better “that” way. If there are things they misinterpret, we will ask them to change it.
Q: What are your hobbies, as a child and now?
Kurata: As a child and even now, books. It’s different now though. Adults have adult books. *laughs*
Masunori: I do various things. As a child, I have childish ways, but as an adult, I have adult ways. Do I have to say in detail? *laughs*
Ochikoshi: It’s not really play, but I like to imagine things. So it’s not really a hobby, but we like to be a lot more creative. As a child, I did lots of sports like baseball. As an adult, I like to watch them. My favorite is the Hanshin Tigers. My play is beer. *laughs*
Masashi: As a child, I like to run through wild mountains, now my hobby is to ride bicycles.
Q: Last year, you talked about working on another project you wanted to work together on. Has that gone anywhere?
Kurata: Most likely, we were talking about the TV series. We have a current project right now where we’re trying to work again as a team. We just need to straighten ourselves out.
Q: Since ROD is really popular, do you think this will cause them to be noticed by someone who might want you guys to work together as a team?
Masashi: Yes. *laughs*
Q: You also directed Kokoro Lilbrary. How much influence did you put on ROD from Kokoro Library:
Masunori: None at all. *laughs* What I was able to use for ROD from Kokoro Library was the order of the books within the library.
Q: Some of the jokes in the ROD OVA were dropped in the American translations. Do you think some of the inside jokes within the TV series should be kept in the translations?
Ochikoshi: There are things that only Japanese people can understand. Those kinds of things we think should be changed slightly.
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