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All Series / NewType USA May 2007 V 06 #5 [Tsubasa Chronicle feature]
« on: April 20, 2021, 02:56:39 AM »
Not quite as lengthy as the .hack but some fine little blurbs from the cast and crew!  Same formatting styles as that thread apply here. I get the impression is these interviews were probably done at the time of the first season was starting and probably before season 2 aired.

We asked each of the staff and cast members these three questions about Tsubasa:

Challenge: What was your biggest challenge
Impressions: What are your impressions of the series?

Message: Do you have a message for our readers

Yui Makino (voice of Sakura)

Challenge: I was thrilled to play Sakura, but I knew it was a big role and big responsibility. I worked very hard to bring her to life.
Impressions: The original manga was so fantastic I just knew the anime would be a big hit, too. I think it's a show everyone can enjoy, regardless of age.
Message: My goal was to give people a sense of Sakura's warmth. I've been in the entertainment biz for a while now, but  this was my first voice acting experience. I hope I lived up to everyone's expectations.

Miyu Irino (voice of Syaoran)

Challenge: Syaoran's an awesome character, so I knew i need to put a lot of work into the role. I was pretty worried about my delivery because i'm not the best speaker, but I just put in lots of practice and tried not to stumble over my lines.
Impressions: Tsubasa offers hopes and dreams. It's pure fantasy anime!
Message: I hope I was able to bring Syaoran across as I saw him-honest, passionate, and very cool.

[I don't know where the manga was chapter wise when the anime was being made but poor sweet Miyu, he has no idea what he's in for when we hit the Tokyo arc]

Daisuke Namikawa  (voice of Fai)  [the magazine uses the Fay localization; makes sense given that was the convention from the early manga translations]
Challenge: Fai grins a lot, but there's something mysterious about him. Sometimes he'll interject something completely unexpected but always right on the mark. The hard part for me was keeping his presence strong while still making him hard to figure out.
Impressions:  It was every bit as amazing as I knew it would be!
Message: Of course I put forth my personal best, but it was the atmosphere of cooperation that really made this production fun to work on.

Sayaka Ohara (voice of Yuko)
Challenge: Yuko is an otherworldly character who seems to have a bigger perspective on everything, but she's got some surprising vices. The mismatch between those two parts of her personality is what's most appealing, and I thought a lot about that as I played her. But most of all, I just tried to stay relaxed!
Impressions: I was impressed by the grand story. From the dimensions-crossing travels through other worlds to a whole host of encounters in each place, it's one wild ride!
Message: I felt incredibly lucky to be a part of this production. Oh, and if you need to travel through dimensions in search of a priceless object, just call the Dimension Witch!

Tetsu Inada (voice of Kurogane)
Challenge: To feel as much love for the character and story as I could muster.
Impressions: I hope this is one of the roles people remember me for.
Message: Kurogane and I had all kinds of fun in this show, maybe too much fun!

Mika Kikuchi (voice of Mokona)

Challenge: I was the only real novice in the cast, so I just tried to keep a positive attitude and do the best I could. I felt really lost during recording, especially at first, but Mokona is basically just talk, talk, talk, so the main thing for me was keeping the energy level up! [Kikuchi really comes from live action Super Sentai shows so she was really new to anime voice work at this time].
Impressions: The first time I saw the footage I was blown away by how beautiful it was! The production environment was really warm and friendly, and I hope that warmth came through for the viewers. This was a labor of love for everyone that was involved. 
Message: Everyone else was so much more experienced than me, but I still tried to make Mokona as wonderful a character as possible. Age-wise, I was right in the middle, so I thought of myself as the one who was there to cheer everyone up. Tsubasa is just a beautiful, amazing story, I hope you all enjoy it! [Irino is my age so he would have been 15; i think the youngest of the cast]
Shinichiro Miki (voice of Touya)
Challenge: Nothing in particular stood out as a challenge. 
Impressions: It's a terrific show.
Message: I just hope everyone likes it,  I certainly did my best.

[well that was short and simple]

Kouki Miyata (voice of Yukito)
Challenge: I wanted to grow mature right alongside Yukito.
Impressions: Interesting characters, beautiful art, compelling setting-this show has it all!
Message: Now that Tsubasa is finally here, I promise it'll be every bit as good as you hoped! I put everything I had into Yukito, so I hope you enjoy the performance!

Kazuhiro Nakata [voice of Fei-Wang]
Challenge: It was hard to distill everything I knew about Fei-Wang into a concise performance that retained his tensions and focus while still portraying him as cool and calculating.
Impressions: I was most excited by the mystery of it all. What new and strange worlds would Syaoran and the others visit? I was on the edge my seat the whole time!
Message: I want people to feel the same anticipation I felt wondering what Fei-Wang's true intentions were and how he planned to carry out his grand schemes.

Sanae Kobayashi (voice of Xing-Huo)
Challenge: Nobody knew much about Xing-Huo at first because she didn't have many lines, and that made it hard to know how I fit into the production. The things Fei-Wang says are the only clues you have to go on, but I hope everyone can still find things to enjoy about the character.
Impressions: I was impressed by Syaorans's pure hearted devotion to Sakura. The underlying message is that you can be both strong and kind as long as you have someone to live for. This show inspired courage.
Message: Are you excited now that Syaoran's journey is at hand? Tsubasa is beautiful to watch, and I tried to make my performance worthy of the spectacular visuals!

Maaya Sakamoto (voice of Tomoyo)

Challenge: Princess Tomoyo comes off as easygoing, but she's got an inner core of pride and dignity that I wanted people to see.
Impressions: All along I knew this show was going to be something special. The art is beautiful and the voice acting's superb, not to mention the wonderful music and sound effects!
Message: I was lucky enough to get to sing the ending theme too! I think it turned into an amazing song that really matches the world of Tsubasa.
[Sakamoto seems to be a favorite of CLAMP she's been apart of a lot of anime before and after this]

Kaori Nazukia (voice of Chii)
Challenge: My main motivation was to truly enjoy playing my character. I tried to breathe life into each one of Chii's lines because the words themselves are significant.
Impressions: The thing that impressed me most was the hugeness of it all. The story is so epic and exciting to watch. I was eager to find out what would happen next!
Message: I was sad that my character didn't show up on screen so much, but I put all of the passion and energy I had into delivering the few lines I did get!
[at least she has a whole Season 2 episode!]

Yuko Kaida (voice of Souma)

Challenge: I wasn't sure at first how much screen time Souma would get, so I put a lot of effort into voicing every single line, trying to imagine all the twists and turns the story might take.
Impressions: All you have to do is watch and you can see how much loving care went into this production. It truly is a fantastic series!
Message: Tsubasa is a well-crafted production and I feel proud to have been apart of it. I did my best every step of the way, and I hope everyone loves it just as much as I do!

And now the staff:

Hiroyuki Kawasaki (scriptwriter)

Challenge: All through production, I stuck to the basic formula of having a climactic scene in the second half of each episode. The hard part was dealing with the huge amount of information tin the original story. Every time I picked up the manga and read a few pages it felt like my internal memory circuits were overloading!
Impressions: Tsubasa is brimming with interesting and appealing characters. Syaoran and the people he meets are all unique in their own way. I couldn't wait to meet up with them again and again every week the series was airing.
Message: My philosophy for the project was: Tsubasa no matter how you slice it" and we were able to achieve that by playing to all the strengths of the original manga. I'm certain this series will be remembered as a classic.

Kouichi Mashimo (director)

Challenge: During production, the Bee Train studio was in a constant state of pandemonium! Trying to keep on schedule for a TV production is more nerve-wracking than the most intense video game you can imagine. My challenge was to make sure we never lost our sense of humor.
Impressions: Tsubasa is the kind of show that slowly works its way into your heart.
Message: All I ask is that you watch the first episode and see for yourself.

Masashi Koizuka (art director) [though my research only lists him as a conceptual designer rather than Art Director.  Fun fact he's since gone onto directing Attack on Titan 2-4]

Challenge: Before this project, I'd only done realistic design, so it was hard adjusting to the cartoonier look you see in Tsubasa. I was also expected to produce art that looked fashionable, or at least stylish. It was a real challenge and I deveoted a lot of time to getting it right.
Impressions: This series is a true adventure. My feeling was that the presentation should be two-pronged; nonstop action combined with Syaoran - the heroic young male that female viewers swoon over! 
Message: I want people to pay close attention to the sword-wielding-Kurogane. Toward the ned of the series, he he adds another layer of depth to the story through the use of a very starting item!

Shin Watanabe (art director)

Challenge: Tsubasa invovles hoping from one world to the next and each world has to feel real to the audience, so I did exhaustive research on all of them. But the biggest challenge was creating background settings that were dynamic enough to complement the plot development.
Impressions: The manga had a big fan following even before production started, but my hope was that people who were unfamiliar with the original story would still get sucked in once they started watching.  [you among us who only watched the anime, did he succeed?] Tsubasa offers a spirit of adventure to young men and women with big dreams of the future.  [perhaps that's what was so appealing to me as a high schooler]
Message: I tackled this project with passion and resolve-just like Syaoran, who bravely accepts his fate and never once sinks into negativity about it. I sincerely hope this show will live on in the hearts of everyone who sees it.

Makiko Kojima (color designer)
Challenge: it was tough transforming the color palette into something usable for a TV anime series while still retaining the well-balanced color scheme of the original.  [Frankly I think she gave it a nicer color scheme compared to the few color splashes of the manga but that's me]
Impressions: Hmmm...nervous excitement?
Message: I just tried to do my very best.

Katsuaki Kamata (filming director) [more accurately Director of Photography]
Challenge: I work for Studio Twinkle, and this project was our first experience filming in an HD-compatible format, so I was worried about issues like rendering time and data volume. But somehow or other we made it through!
Impressions: My first impression after reading the manga was the anime adaptation was going to call for loads and loads of special effects!
Message: My goal for this project was to take all my years of know-how as a filming professional and make Tsubasa the most visually satisfying series possible. I hope I succeeded.

Yuichi Mari (concept designer)
Challenge:  The main thing I wanted to capture was the sense of "softness" I got form the manga. You feel it everywhere when you read it, but I knew that was a man, it was going to be hard presenting something like that in a natural way. If oyu sense the same "softness" in the anime visuals, than I've done my job.
Impressions: I think this is a show everyone can love-at least I hope it is!
Message: I just hope my works was up to the high standard set by the women of CLAMP in the original Tsubasa manga.

Yuki Kajiura (music)
Challenge: Tsubasa is set in a world full of interesting characters and different realms that they go back and forth between, so I had to find a way to inject a sense of that diversity into the music. But at the same time, I wanted a unified musical soundscape for the series as a whole. It took a lot of thought to get the right sound.
impressions: The original manga was a highly individual work, and with all the strong personalities on the anime production staff, I knew were in for a volatile mixture of ideas and philosophies that would make for a very interesting show!
Message: All the songs I composed for the series were influenced by my acquaintance with the colorful world of Tsubasa. I hope you enjoy them as much as you enjoy the show itself. 

Minako Shiba (character designer) [rest her dear soul  :'( :-[ :( ]

Challenge: Usually, once a character designer creates the main characters for a series, all that's left is doing guest characters on an episode-by-episode basis. But with this show, every time the characters moved to a new world it was a complete redesign! For production reasons, we had to alter the designs at they appeared in the manga, but I was very careful to not lose the essence of what made the characters so attractive in the original.  [contrast to the OVAs which are the most like the manga designs]
Impressions: This is a show that anyone can love.
Message: All my effort was for one purpose-making sure you enjoy Tsubasa!

Hiroshi Morioka (assistant director) [and co-director on S2, and the man who brought us Bishonen Batman!]

Challenge: Tsubasa is about a group of friends who travel from one world  to the next, meeting lots of new people and forming closer bonds between themselves along the way. I worried most about how to present them in the most appealing way possible. I wanted to make especially sure that the inner strength and inherit appeal of Syaoran came through loud and clear.
Impressions: This anime will appeal to you whether you're a CLAMP fan or not. It's just good wholesome fun, the kind of thing you can sit down and watch with the whole family.
Message: One of Syaoran's catch phrases in the manga is, "When I decide to do something, I do it!" The Tsubasa production staff really took those words to heart. I hope all of you get the chance to see the show yourselves!

Toru Nakano (sound director)

Challenge: Dozens of applicants came to the voice auditions, and I want to thank all the actors and staffers who participated. I'm most proud of the fact that we were able to achieve such a strong unity of vision on character voicing between CLAMP and the sound production staff.
Impressions: Once you've seen Tsubasa for yourself, you spirit of adventure and compassion will be sparked by the many examples of courage and kindness in the show.
Message: We all put in long hours working to bring you a sonic experience that's every bit the equal of the gorgeous visuals you see on screen. This is one of those show that will define my career. All I ask is that you watch the show with an open mind-instead of comparing it to other CLAMP anime, try to see it as the fresh new production it is!

.hack//* / NewType USA Dec 2002 V 01 #2
« on: March 01, 2021, 09:01:54 PM »
I found an old copy of this NewType USA magazine on Ebay that had a spot on .hack//SIGN with an interview of producer Daisuke Uchiyama, writer Tatsuya Hamazaki (whom wrote the manga Legend of the Twilight, GU and Quantum) and Mashimo.  It was a double spot feature on the franchise as a whole and Legend of the Twilight.  Italic text are the sub headlines,  any comments by me I'm writing in brackets, otherwise I'm writing this out verbatim for you fine people.  I'll have to try to scan this some other time but for now enjoy! 

What lurks beneath surface of Kazunori Ito's world?

Uchiyama: I don't think Kazunori Ito's script for the OVA was anything revolutionary per se.  It's just he was able to blend the elements together in a really masterful way.  It made the people watching it go, "Hey, that's new!" even though it actually wasn't.  Personally, I think he was in parody mode when he was writing (laughs).

Mashimo: Ito and his highly talented team have made a career of pushing the envelope, searching for a way to accurately portray reality in anime. It's a genre that traditionally hasn't been concerned with realism, but that's not the case any longer.  It must've been some sort of frustrated reaction that cause the shift-it feels like this push towards realism just came out all at once.

[personal thought: Maybe that's what drove Noir to be relatively grounded?]

Hamazaki:  It was sudden, wasn't it?

Mashimo: In the OVA, we had this middle-aged guy say the line "I'm piss off at anything and everything."  We wanted that outburst to touch a nerve with viewers and show that it's not just young people who have these feelings-the older generation feels angry, too.  Because of that, you might find the show hard to watch, or if you've ever felt the same way as that middle-aged guy, you might crack a smile. Or maybe you'll think the show is just plain strange-it all depends on you.

[the dub line is a little different where he says I'm pissed off at the morons around me]

Hamazaki: There's an inherent duality involved in writing .hack stories.  Even while events are playing out in the online world, you've always got to keep the real world in mind as well. It can get pretty rough (laughs).

.hack Behind the Scenes

Uchiyama: I think we pulled off quite a feat to have released the comic first., when it actually tells the end of the end of the story. The comic, anime and game all deal with the end of "The World," but in different timeframes. It got a little confusing at times, but in the end, when it all came together to form a continuous story, it was a great feeling.

Mashimo: The video game was an adventure story that centered around Aura.  And for the OVA, Kazunori Ito and Michiko Yokote gave us this sort of coming-of-age film about the realities of the modern girl - their feelings of alienation.  The TV anime was shot as if someone had just set up a camera inside "The World" while the comic was a more light-heated tale about adolescence and first love.  The result is that .hack is one giant story told in very different ways.

Uchiyama: Each of these stories is a completely different beast.

Hamazaki: We started planning on the comic, Tasogare no Udewwa Denetsu in November of last year, so it was a little hard to find out footing, so to speak.  At that time, the title for the game wasn't even .hack yet (laughs)! If we'd set the comic in the past, we would've ended up contradicting the TV Series, so I'm glad it was set in the future.  Looks like I managed to weasel my way out of that one!

Uchiyama: The truth of the matter is, for a while there we were kind of running all over the place trying to get the game done.  But I think people are going to be pleased with the amount of effort that's gone into it.

Yuki Kajiura-the man behind the music of .hack

[Kajiura is mistakenly identified as male]

Mashimo: Kajiura is the consummated musician.  For him , music is everything. And yet, he doesn't rely on musical cliches, which is exactly why we regard him so highly.

Uchiyama: Mashimo and Kajiura convinced me that music was crucial to the game creation.

[curious that when she doesn't write for the games but oh well]

Mashimo: Kajiura's songs are not only excellent in their own right, they're also the perfect fit for this show. So we raised the volume, but some people complained they couldn't hear the dialogue.  Well, I have something to say to all of you complainers - it's better that way (laughs)! We're doing it on purpose, so if you've got a complaint, you can take it up with me (laughs) We just had to turn it up!

Uchiyama: Eve Kajiura's ismplest of songs have this sort of underlying darkness.

Mashimo: You can be listening to one of his songs thinking it's a nice heartwarming piece, when all of a sudden that darkness sneaks up on you.  Kajiura's work is almost venomous. I mean that in a good way of course. As of a matter of fact, right now, I'm in the middle of writing a .hack novel that's set slightly before the events of the anime.  The hardest part about it is incorporating the feel Kajiura's music into the narrative.  It's all sort of trial-and-error right now. I'm not quite there yet.

[I've never heard of this novel, I don't know if it ever was published but I would read it in a heartbeat!  Also Mashimo did write a novel in based on Eat-Man so he's done it before]

 .hack-from the written page to the small screen

Mashimo: the comic has a great, solid story and a vibrant cast of characters that almost leaps off the page.  Of course, maybe this is because I've just come from working on .hack//SIGN.

Uchiyama: The story really kicks into high gear from here on out. The writing is really sharp; it's like a breath of fresh air. It's not depressing or gloomy at all.

Mashimo: I like convoluted endings and all [that certainly explains MADLAX] with unexpected twists and turns-but quite it with the unsatisfying endings that just leave a bad taste in your mouth! (laughs)

Hamazaki: Key of the Twilight is an important point you'll see cropping up throughout the entire .hack series and just as the story began with Aura, it'll end with her too.  I guess now we have to figure out a way to tie everything up nice and and neat (laughs).  The comic has a real sense to it that this is all a game.  It's up to Shugo and the rest to figure out how to reach their goal while operating within the boundaries of the game.

And that is the whole interview.  Short and to the point.  Some other blurbs go into the people, Mashimo is still identified as being from Tatsunoko, with the three select titles by him being Noir, Eat-Man and Mirai Keisatsu Urashiman.

Some other fun things from this magazine include a spot on Fruits Basket and InuYasha.

 Monthly sales for DVD, CD, games and Manga.

in the US, The End of Evangelion took the #1 spot for DVD sales.

In Japan, .hack//SIGN OST 1 ranked #2 in CD sales  and Spirited Away was #1 for DVD sales.

ELDA TALUTA / Yuki Kajiura Princess Principal Interview
« on: January 03, 2019, 10:37:38 PM »
The deluxe edition of Princess Principal on Bluray came with a great booklet filled with cast and staff interviews, I figured you'd appreciate the music notes here as the OST doesn't have linear notes (or at least I don't recall any that wouldn't be in Japanese anyway).

Q: I believe you read the script before you wrote the music for Princess Principal, what were your first impressions?

A: I'm not afraid to say, I loved it. I thought, "This is an incredible script!" I laughed I cried....It has this cool, unemotional foundation but it has all kinds of things on top of it that even everything out.  If it was unemotional through and through I think some people would say "I wish it were a little more entertaining."  But I thought this series struck a wonderful balance.

Q: So you're saying even the scripts had a high level of perfection.

A: They told me later a lot of people worked really hard on the script, always saying "No not like this, not like this either," trying to get it just right.  So I get the feeling it was the result of a lot of collaboration.

Q: Did you discuss the music with the anime production team?

A: I did.  We had a fair amount of people - I actually think it was pretty much everyone - who got together to discuss the music.  It was really interesting, hearing so many opinions from so many people.  Basically everyone wanted to make it something the audience could enjoy and I felt everyone's feelings solidified around, "I want to make quality entertainment," and "I want to make something that's not childish."  It was a very fruitful meeting.

Q: Did you talk about any specific musical genres?

A: No one said, "You have to write it like this!" But what I focused on the most was that it took place in London, so I had to decide if there would be a sense of  the Great British Empire in the music or not.  If I had made it with an obvious British flavor - like mildly classic music that's strangely upbeat and also somehow overbearing - then I think it would have turned into something completely different.   You get this feeling that the British Empire is oppressive and easygoing at the same time, don't you?  This idea bothered me so I asked, and they said, "Actually we don't need it to be like that," so I figured it'd be okay to make the music more entertaining.  And I know calling it "entertaining" is vague but that's the idea that helped me to reset and think about how I was going to approach it.

Q: By "entertaining" do you mean by emphasizing the "spy" aspects....?

A: It was the obvious way to go. Spy films have the most typical soundtracks, but I figured I might as well just go with it.  there's a part of me that thinks that entertainment needs to be obvious so if it's a mysterious scene, be mysterious; if it's unemotional, be unemotional; if it's sad, be sad.  If you don't get those feeling across in an obvious way, then it's difficult to entertain the audience.  You can't go obscuring things for no reason, so I figured instead of acting self-important and approaching it from an unusual angle, I'd tackle it from an obvious one.  What I mean is, for this series, I thought maybe it's better if it people could tell it's a spy series as soon as they heard the music.

Q: It's true, there are places where the jazz starts playing and you can't help thinking, "This is a spy series!"

A: It's really obvious, right? But these girls are extremely adorable and charming, too.  So for example, if the music sounded like Lupin III, it would make it more dark and grim.  In the case of Lupin III, you want to create a tough, manly image, so it's okay to use jazz or jazz funk style music, but these characters are girls, after all, so if you don't have some of that sparkle, the music would be a downer, and it would take the girls down with it.  So to avoid too much of that, I would put sparkling strings over the piano, or make heavy use of the vibraphone. Or I would insert a pretty string melody or chorus in the middle, or bring in a really distinctive melody.  I really paid attention to the flavoring.  My concept was basically "something unemotional that doesn't bring down the visuals."

Q: Are you saying male jazz and female jazz are different?

A: Well, if these girls really were the edgy female spy types who never said what was on their minds and kept the lies up form start to finish it would be another story, but they're not. They have their cute sides and sometimes they want to get a laugh out of you, right? That's true even while they're fighting, and so I figure the music has to encourage that laugh; I wanted ot leave that sparkly feeling.  I felt like if nothing else, I had to keep that charm as the core of the music.

Q: So approximately, how many tracks did they request you write? And if you had any discussion with the sound director, Yoshikazu Iwanami, please let us hear about it.

A: About 40 tracks.  As expected, there's a lot of music for Ange.  Iwanami-san told me, "This is Ange's story, so we want to basically attach all the music to her," so there are about 20 tracks related to Ange.  There are a few tracks for Princess or Chise, but their job is basically to embellish Ange's story.  Of course, we use them in other ways, too, but the music composition really started from the stance that it's Ange's story.

Q: Are Ange's emotions expressed through the music?

A: Ange isn't honest with her feelings, so there actually aren't that many tracks that express her emotions.  If we told Ange's emotions with the music, it would probably be misleading, and if the music became a liar, too, then we wouldn't get anywhere.  In the end, I realized that we need to let her thoughts remain a mystery.  So there's music for when a situation is happy or sad but there is no music for Ange's sadness.  Generally, there is music we play for situations that are relatively sad but I'd say it goes along more with the viewers sadness for Ange.

Q: Now that you mention it, I do feel like, more than actually seeing characters being sad, we get sad watching the series.

A: I think it's like looking at someone from behind and they're not saying anything, but you can imagine their sadness - that's the kind of direction it goes in.  That's why I get the feeling that we used the music more for the viewers emotions - how they're watching and thinking, "Oh she's sad. Poor girl.  I'll cry with her."

Q: Were the insert songs for Episode 6 & 7 included in the first music order?

A: It was all there. The menu was so perfect, it was all in there, the fist time I got the order, and they didn't ask for any additions.  I asked for all the details I needed when they first made their request, and in most cases, they used it exactly as planned.

Q: That might be unusual for a TV series.

A: That's why I feel like a lot of things got locked in place in that very first meeting.  The really interesting thing was that they showed me a picture of a music box - an automatic music machine - and explained how it worked in minute detail.  From the beginning, they only planned to use it once, and it really would only be playing for about ten seconds, but it's supposed to be a mechanical performance, so I wanted to make it something that sounded boring on live strings, so I'm talking with these talented string musicians and requesting, "I'm sorry, but please play it more more mechanically; not as interesting." (Laughs).

And it was funny at the recording, when I said "Please play like a machine!" Then there are insert songs, especially the one in the episode with Dorothy and her father.  The script was always good, and everyone was very earnest when they said, "We want to play a song like this." But when they ordered the song, they said "It has to be a famous song that everyone in this world knows," so when I was writing it, I was brooding about how high they set the bar.  (Laughs)

Q: But the end result was a wonderful song. You can't watch the last scene in episode 7 without crying.

A: I think that scene wouldn't have worked with a complicated piece.  They all sing it a cappella, so I kept that in mind, and decided to start it on the downbeat.  When you start on a middle beat, or at the end of a beat, it can take about five seconds to catch the melody.  They asked for two a cappella songs for this series, so it's a relatively minor detail, but both of them start on the downbeat. 

Q: So you put an emphasis on making them easy to sing?

A:  Not easy to sing so much as easy for the listener to pick up on.  The scenes weren't long, so if the listener worried even once, "Where does this start," then they'll be late coming in.  It wouldn't be a problem if there was accompaniment, but these were a cappella.  Then I wanted them to be as simple as possible, with the lyrics that aren't too difficult, and a melody that you don't really have to think about.  A song that you can listen with just the right side of your brain.

Q: So which track did you write first for this series?

A: The first thing they made was a promotional video, so I wrote a short melody for that. I I figured I could develop that for the main action scenes, so I started with those phrases, and made various different arrangements,.  The piece is actually rather long, and it includes two different phrases, so it has been expanded into various tracks as Ange's phrases.  The title is "Shadows and Fog," and you could say it's the main theme of the series.

Q: So did any pieces give you trouble or present a challenge?

A: There are quite a few that I agonized over.  First, I'm the one who decides on the lowest limit of the emotional level, and then when I find it, the next problem is where is the highest? When the emotions are at their highest, how high is that going to be?  these girls really aren't open with their feelings, so they're not going to tell you when they're sad.  So when they are sad, how high do I raise the energy, the temperature?  Or when they're fighting for their lives, how much tension do I put in the music? One thing I think about looking back is maybe I could have raised the emotions a little higher. (Laughs)  The energy level was just a little higher than what I had predicted would be the optimum.  I said, "it should be about this sad," and wrote it that way, but now I wish I'd written one or two a little sadder,  In fact, they actually used the saddest piece I wrote several times.  So I wish just a little that I had written at least one piece where I really pumped up the sadness. 

Q: Is there any particular scene that made you think that?

A: No, pretty much the whole series.  I really just want to change a sound or two.  Really minor things, like, "I had the strings back off at the end, but maybe I should have pushed them forward."  I thought if I raised the emotions there, it would be too emotional for the series, so I made a point to end it by going quieter, bit now I think, "Maybe I should have made that mezzo forte a forte."  Things like that.  I wrote the music so that when the girls were sad but not crying, we'd have some quiet music to go with the quiet energy level, but now I think it works the way it is now but when I watch, I think about these things.

Q: Do you have any other new opinions about how they used the music, now that you've seen the finished series?

A: I was really relieved when I saw the episodes with the song.  It wasn't like, "Oh, good, it works!", but more like a reaffirmation, that thye did what they were supposed to...Also the situational tracks are separated into the ones with a little bit of jazz and ones without any.  For example, for the London Wall and heavy things like that, I made sure to compose the music to be heavy to go with them - I thought about balance.  I would feel bad to say it turned out just as I expected, but I do think that they're functioning the way I wanted them to.  The music seems like it's supporting the rest of the work, and that makes me very happy.

Q: You said that most of the music was written for Ange, but do you have any special attachment to Ange as a character?

A: I do.  But everyone in the series is very charming.  They all have their own drama, and I ended up getting attached to all of them.   I ended up getting attached to all of them.  If I had to pick, actually, Dorothy is just too great.  (Laughs)  She's a character I just can't not like.  When I watched the episode with Dorothy and her father, I was nervous about whether the music would work and I was very curious about the viewers' reactions, so in that sense, too, it was  a special episode.

Q: If there's anything about Princess Principal that you haven't told us about, like something that impressed you while making it or a memorable anecdote, please tell us.

A: I could tell you about when the director and I did an interview together and he talked about the art.  As you might expect, music meetings focus on music, but at this interview I was able to hear a lot about the details they paid special attention to, and it was very interesting. I got to hear about how much they risked their lives to make machines that would show up in just one scene, and how bricks were laid in the English bond.  But I don't think any of that has anything to do with the main story. (Laughs)  There were so many details that they were so particular about that I wanted to ask, "Can you survive all of this...?" But that's how they ended up with such beautiful art.

Q: Finally, please give us a message for the people who purchased this package.

A: Princess Principal is good on the first viewing, but with the second or third viewing, you'll see it in different ways.  I think once you've seen it once, you'll want to watch it all over from the beginning.  I hope that you will rewatch it to your heart's content, and keep enjoying it and realizing, "Oh! That's what that line meant!"  that's what I plan to do, so please have fun watching!

.hack//* / .hack//Quantum ~Rewatch~
« on: April 20, 2018, 03:08:18 PM »
I know we're just coming off .hack//Roots but maybe we could watch .hack//Quantum.  It's only 3 episodes so it'd be a quick one-and-done.


.hack//Quantum dubbed

.hack//Quantum subbed

Bee Train Role Playing Game / Madoka Magica RPG
« on: March 28, 2018, 09:28:08 PM »
It's been a while since I tried an RPG so I thought I'd try again with one set in the Madoka Magica universe so take this as an interest thread.

Few possibilities: Original characters - easy enough to do
Existing characters - a bit more complicated but not impossible (certainly there's plenty of characters some of us want to play)
Mix-and-Match - probably same difficulty

Storyline: Need to determine if to set it before or after Rebellion or alternate timelines.  Before would probably set it before the events of the series after Rebellion and AT leaves a lot of room for interpenetration.  And can result in less being meguca is suffering. 

Anything else I'm not thinking of feel free to bring up.


AlexShadow: Homura/Nagisa
Wolf: Mami
MartAnimE: Kyoko

.hack//* / Tsukasa vs. Microtransactions (A very short fanfic)
« on: March 01, 2018, 02:55:15 PM »

Tsukasa limped further and further in the winding dungeon.  Chest after chest had failed to yield any needed health items for him to survive.   Within this large game, The World the mysteries piled and built ever more including the mysterious character whom seemed to physically be within the game.  Now here he was again before another chest.  "Come on, a potion, health charm, anything."  Tsukasa moaned out as he dragged himself to the chest and with all his strength he opened it.  It wasn't much it was a basic potion but at least it'd give him a little more strength.  As he prepared to gulp it down a voice echoed out in the deungon, it wasn't the mysterious woman who had been speaking to him rather a generic computerized NPC voice.

"Good day to you, User Avatar, Tsukasa, you've received a Health Drink.  In accordance with new expansion of, The World Health Drinks now give you 10 HP.  If you'd like to restore 150 HP you can earn 10,000,000 World Coins."

"10 Million?  But I only have 120 after five floors and 6 portals worth of enemies.  If I don't get more I'll die and I may never wake up here or there."

"Your server location is based out of...TOKYO, JAPAN...For just 5 YEN you can purchase WORLD COINS.  For 20 Million WORLD COINS you buy a Healing Potion worth 400 HP, for 30 Million you can buy a Recovery Drink worth 800 HP, for 800 Million you can buy a Healing Elixir for full HP Recovery.  For the price of 1200 YEN you can also buy a Noble Wine for full SP and HP recovery."

"Please buy Noble Wine, bill my Account, Shoji An" Tsukasa shouted out

"Account name, Shoji, An Subscriber ID 589724123057415.  Is this correct?" The NPC replied

"Yes!" Tsukasa shouted eager to get a move on and get out of this dungeon

"Our database indicates you have a credit card of file, do you wish to bill your transaction to this account?"


"Processing, please wait... We're sorry but that card is not valid.  If you wish to enter another form of payment please add your new credit card now."

Tsukasa dropped is staff and fell down in despair, oh no it was as bad as he thought, as (s)he laid catatonic on the outside no doubt remained "Dad, must have put a hold on everything...I can't see my terminal I can't enter more information...I'm so screwed!"

"Tsukasa!" The voice of Mimiru running to his aide "oh no are you okay?"

"I'm out of items, I can't possibly get more."

"I'm out too. And I'm broke, dammit why did I have to buy all that manga?  Wait maybe Subaru can help us, I'll send her a quick message. Hang tight, Tsukasa we'll get through this!" In an instant the chime of a message came out "We're in luck, Subaru's got cash she's eagerly adding funds and she'll be here as quick as she can!  This dungeon is tough, Subaru better form a party, we're in B6, Mimiru."

Subaru did eventually make it down to B6 it wasn't much easier for her as a Heavy Axe facing off against so many monsters but she had what was needed and she tenderly gave him a Noble Wine to give his strength back.  "Here, Tsukasa, drink up!  The sooner we get you awake in the real world the better, these microtransactions are really gonna kill you!"


Announcements & Introductions / Anime Banzai 2016
« on: April 24, 2016, 06:33:21 PM »
Well we had a great time last year was hoping to see if anyone was again interested this year? If not, no worries.  There's a better chance now this year I'll be co-hosting on a panel or two, I was invited to co-host a Pokemon retrospect panel, should be fun.  Pre-reg is open $40 for the weekend.  Runs October 21-23

Announcements & Introductions / Anime Banzai 2015
« on: June 04, 2015, 03:17:11 PM »
It's been a while since we gathered together for a convention so for anyone who is interested in coming to Salt Lake City to attend Anime Banzai here's the details:

The con is running October 16-18 at the Davis Convention Center
Online Registration is open (has been for a while, oops) and is $45 through the end of August
At the Door prices are $50

To sign up you can mail in but I suggest registering an account at the anime banzai site and doing online registration

ELDA TALUTA / Puella Magi Madoka Magica Rewatch
« on: February 22, 2015, 02:09:18 AM »
So while we await to finish TRC we can jump into PMMM and we could do Friday the 27th, work?

All Series / El Cazador and Murder Princess Parallels
« on: May 28, 2014, 03:04:31 PM »
So while working on my upcoming reviews of Murder Princess and El Cazador de la Bruja I couldn't help but notice a few striking similarities between the two shows.  I find it interesting considering Murder Princess is based on a manga whereas El Cazador was an original work, both had different people in charge of scripting and directing and both were probably in development about the same time. 

Both came out in 2007
Both feature two female leads (kind of cheating because so did Noir :D)
Both play sort of like a buddy comedy
Both have a character who starts off on a mission for payment only to give up the payment
-Nadie is seeking Ellis for the bounty, Falis wants a payment for saving the kingdom both give it up because of how close they get with their companions
Something of value gets broken and the two have a dividing moment
Both are action series and have fantasy and science fiction elements mixed in
 Yuri tease!

COINCIDENCE?  I.THINK.NOT.  Well maybe but I these are things I think about at work sometimes.

.hack//* / .hack// DVDs
« on: April 08, 2014, 11:20:23 PM »
.hack//Legend of the Twilight

.hack//* / .hack//Liminality+GIFT rewatch
« on: April 06, 2014, 01:16:05 AM »
With the brillaint success of Noir, Avenger and .hack//SIGN let's have a re-watch (or can be a first for some) of .hack//Liminality+.hack//GIFT 

All Series / Immortal Grand Prix micro-series
« on: March 04, 2014, 09:41:28 PM »
I did post about this series a while back but as those links have long died out but I was able to find the original Bee Train/I.G/Cartoon Network produced micro-series from 2003 on YouTube.  Video quality isn't great unfortunately but this short series is worth a look if you haven't seen it and maybe worth another glance if you saw it back when I first posted it   

This is only in English as there was never a Japanese language version but it was produced/translated from a script Mashimo co-wrote himself.  And yes it is only 5 minutes and 5 episodes.  This series was meant to be sort of a proof-of-concept-pitch to Cartoon Network, for what would eventually become the full 2005 series, more than a full blown fleshed out series.

Spoiler: Episode 1 • show

Spoiler: Episode 2 • show

Spoiler: Episode 3 • show

Spoiler: Episode 4 • show

Spoiler: Episode 5 • show

All Series / The Future?
« on: December 30, 2013, 04:17:32 PM »
WELL....What can I say but there is a new seires but can't say any of us would have seen this coming.   Dragonar Academy is being produced by C-Station, directed by
Shunsuke Tada (Tsubasa OVAs, episode direction/storyboards for .hack//SIGN, Wild Arms, Arc The Lad, Noir, Popolocrosis) character designs by Mutsumi Sasaki (curious I thought she went to become a Photographer), Creature Designs by Yoshimitsu Yamashita.  Based upon a light novel.

Basically it looks like generic harem, ecchi low brow, nonsense fantasy 8 million and one.  Which is a shame many fantasy can be fun.

Maybe time to say that the old creed is really dead.  :'(

Official Page

.hack//* / .hack//Infection
« on: October 15, 2013, 01:23:04 AM »
For those wanting to see the story after .hack//Sign you can watch my LP of it here

We don't talk over the cut scenes so it should make it easy to see the story in full.  

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