Disclaimer: This transcript may be edited for reading clarity.
Fans of the anime Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous) flocked to the anime’s panel attended by the producer himself, Kiyotaka Waki from Studio Orange, during Visual Arts Expo 2018. Waki was working with MADHOUSE before going on to work with Studio Chizu, where he was involved in the production of Hosoda Mamoru’s “Wolf Children” and “The Boy And The Beast”. Now, he is the producer of Studio Orange.
Q: Can you please do an introduction for Houseki No Kuni?
A: The Houseki No Kuni anime is an adaptation based on an original work by Haruko Ichikawa. The director of the anime is the same person who made Love Live – Kyogoku Takahiko. The special thing about this animation is that the characters are fully CG, which is quite rare in Japan.
Q: Hoseki no Kuni is a revolutionary animation in full 3D which is very beautiful. Based on that, would you be open to more anime being produced in the same manner?
A: This anime is actually our first work as a company. We hope that we’ll be able to take on more work that applies this kind of style in the future.
Q: Is the 3D style more difficult than traditional animation?
A: It’s actually more difficult compared to the traditional way of doing animation.
Q: What about it makes it more difficult?
A: There are certain aspects of the show that we couldn’t portray with traditional animation, so it was a challenge trying to pull it off using CG.
Q: Considering the success of the series, could there be more content? Let’s say another series or an OVA.
A: As of now, I don’t have any news regarding a continuation of the series. There may have been some discussion but news hasn’t reached me yet.
Q: With the success of Houseki no Kuni, could this be a turning point for Japanese animation companies to start leaning towards CG?
A: In fact, there are already a few people doing it. It is actually a good improvement, so you’ll gradually be seeing more and more of this style.
Q: As a producer, what do you feel is the most satisfying part of your work?
A: The most satisfying thing that has happened during my work on Houseki no Kuni is that my president actually thought that the entire anime is very interesting.
Q: Who is your favourite character in the series?
A: Diamond, because even though the character is cute, there’s a lot more thought to her and another element of personality behind the cuteness. I like the kind of character that has two personalities.
Q: Did any of your own ideas go into the show?
A: I actually took reference from a few other CG anime. There is this animation from another company [that served as] one of my references. These characters are fully CG, so Hoseki No Kuni actually took inspiration from these characters. It’s their work so I can’t say too much about it, but I think the CG is well done so I want to live up to that standard.
There’s a lot of CG animation in Japan, but they are mostly one-shots or short stories. Since I was able to produce this series without the restriction of time constraints, I was able to achieve the quality I was aiming for. If this technique is improved, then maybe there will be more TV series instead of being limited to just one-shots.
Q: What is Studio Orange currently working on?
A: There was a trailer released 3 days ago for the movie we’re currently working on. It’s only going to air in Japan for now, but it may show in foreign countries in the future.
Q: Can you please introduce the new project?
A: Monster Strike is actually a social game in Japan. The original team from the game is actually on board to make this movie, and it will be directed by Nishikiori Hiroshi who did “A Certain Magical Index” and “A Certain Scientific Railgun”.
Q: Is your company looking for a scriptwriter?
A: In Japan, there are two kinds of scriptwriters, which are those who write for anime and those who write for live-action, so I’m hoping to find someone who can excel in both.
Q: Because Hoseki no Kuni is coming to Animax for the first time, what do you want people to expect or to feel when watching the anime for the first time?
A: As the creator, I hope that people will think that it is interesting. That they’ll find it interesting as a new thing without thinking about it too much.