The following article was originally part of the Kizumonogatari Tekketsu-hen booklet that was included at the premiere of the film in theaters. The interview has been translated by Twitter user @karice67 © 2016 Wave Motion Cannon
“All I can say is that I want to learn more about the relationship between Tsubasa Hanekawa and Koyomi Araragi.”
~ Akiyuki Shinbo
KIZUMONOGATARI I. TEKKETSU
Interview: Akiyuki Shinbō (Chief Director)
Outside of the Monogatari series, the main works that he’s been involved in as Director or Chief Director are Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Hidamari Sketch, Nisekoi: and Mekakucity Actors.
「With as few restrictions as possible, we aimed to retain the flavor of the novel」
—Could you tell us what you thought of the Kizumonogatari novel when you first read it?
I read it when we were making Bakemonogatari, because I wanted to insert a visual from Kizumonogatari at the start of episode 1. But having done so, I found myself even more puzzled over the question of “why did Koyomi Araragi choose Hitagi Senjōgahara over Tsubasa Hanekawa?,” which I’d also wondered about when I read Bakemonogatari. This left a deep mark on me—I came to consider it a theme of the story, such that it even fed back into the Bakemonogatari TV series.
—In that case, when was it that you first talked about bringing Kizumonogatari to the screen?
I don’t recall an exact timeframe, but it was after Bakemonogatari had finished its initial TV run, when we were down to the episodes that would be broadcast online. I remember starting on the scripts around then. At that point, we didn’t think about the format we’d be presenting the story in, whether to make something for cinema or whether to make it for TV—we just dove straight into the scriptwriting process. That said, right from the start, we’d split the story into three basic parts and were proceeding with the script meetings based on that. So at the very least, we hadn’t assumed that it would be a TV series. However, one thing I remember is that, for some reason, we were unable to use the usual studio for the sound mixing process for episode 15 (the finale).
So we were at a different studio, one with a huge screen that was normally used for mixing cinematic films. When we saw Bakemonogatari on that huge screen, the feeling that “it could work as a cinematic film” somehow gushed forth. Even before that, (Atsuhiro) Iwakami-san and (Mitsutoshi) Kubota-san may have harbored the inner desire to make Kizumonogatari for the cinema, but I believe it was around that time that the stakeholders actually started talking about it.
—Did the scriptwriting process proceed smoothly?
There was a bit of trial and error, but overall, it went pretty smoothly. As we did with Bakemonogatari, we went into it with the mindset that we were “editing the original novel.” We wanted to retain, as far as possible, what was fascinating about the novel—particularly the interesting conversations between the characters, even if they had no direct relation to the narrative. The distinctive flavor of the novels tends to come from the dialogue, after all. Even if we cut some of it, the story would still make sense, but doing so would dilute the feeling that it was “a Nisio Isin work.” With as few restrictions as possible, without cutting things just to keep the films within a certain length, we aimed to write scripts that would retain the flavor of the novel.
—Whose idea was it to name the three parts “I Tekketsu,” “II Nekketsu” and “III Reiketsu”?
That came from Nisio-san. There were a number of ideas on the table, like “Part 1, Part 2, Part 3” and “Beginning, Middle, End,” but the stakeholders really wanted something with a ring to it, and that’s where Nisio-san put forth his suggestion. When I first heard it, I was like “Yeah, that’s it.” But on the other hand, I was incredibly frustrated that I hadn’t come up with it myself (chuckles). Even though the phrase “the iron-blooded, hot-blooded, yet cold- blooded vampire (tekketsu ni shite nekketsu ni shite reiketsu no kyūketsuki)” shows up so often in the Monogatari series. And even though we always made sure that it would stand out by starting a new cut on each of those key words (chuckles).
—What were your thoughts on being present at the voice-over session?
Kamiya-san and the rest of the voice actors were fantastic, but the best thing about it was being able to hear (Meme) Oshino come to life once again. That character just has a certain presence. Iwakami-san has always said that he wanted us to make Oshino really cool, right from the time we started working on Bakemonogatari. Once again, it struck me that we’d succeeded.
「One reason that I continue to create the mystery known as Tsubasa Hanekawa is…」
—In the course of making Kizumonogatari, is there anything that you’ve become interested in?
All I can say is that “I want to learn more about the relationship between Tsubasa Hanekawa and Koyomi Araragi.” Remember the puzzle I mentioned earlier—“why did Koyomi Araragi choose Hitagi Senjōgahara over Tsubasa Hanekawa?” That’s something I’ve wondered about ever since I first read Bakemonogatari, and I didn’t find the answer in that series. When I read the subsequent stories, Nekomonogatari Black and Nekomonogatari White, that’s when I finally realized “Oh, so that’s what it was.” I have the feeling that Nisio-san, too, wrote the continuation in order to bring out that answer.
—Well, amongst readers, there are quite a few people who support Hanekawa, after all.
This is something that I’ve never asked Nishio-san about—it’s just my own supposition—but I suspect that it was something of a dilemma for him. I get the feeling that, as an author, he wanted to make himself and the readers accept the idea that “the person Koyomi chooses is Hitagi.” And that’s precisely why Hanekawa came to have such a unique appeal. But as long as this series continues, I think that, perhaps, you never know just what might happen. Maybe, at some stage, the relationships between Koyomi and Hanekawa and Hitagi might change.
—That would be quite a major incident.
Well, then again, what’s curious is that Oshino has said, right from the start, that Hanekawa “gives him the creeps.” Maybe, just maybe, Hanekawa might develop in various ways that aren’t related to Koyomi. For example, there’s a possibility that she’ll end up with Oshino…
Oshino finds Hanekawa difficult to deal with, and that’s a problem that he has with no one else. In other words, you might say that Hanekawa is, for him, a unique existence. And on Hanekawa’s part, she respects Oshino, which is also something of a unique stance for her, right? It would be quite unexpected for people with this kind of relationship to get together, don’t you think? (chuckles).
—I see… Hanekawa is a character that, to readers and viewers, is
wrapped in mystery. And it’s the same for you—she’s just a complete
One of the reasons I continue to make the Monogatari series is to keep
looking into her.
—From your perspective, what are the highlights of Kizumonogatari?
The animation is still incomplete, so I’m really looking forward to it. I want to
see the completed film as soon as possible. And I suspect that Oshino will
come across as having been placed in the best light.
—To finish off, do you have a message for the fans, who are all looking
forward to the upcoming developments?
Part I: Tekketsu is the prologue of the entire work that is called Kizumonogatari. In terms of action, the next chapter— Part II: Nekketsu—should be the most impressive one. The animation should also be quite perfect, so please look forward to it. Each and every chapter right through to Part III: Reiketsu will have its own highlights, but if possible, once you’ve seen them all, I hope you will judge them all as the single work known as Kizumonogatari.
Shipping Oshino with Hanekawa…. Shinbo-san….
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I… I should not have read this shipping with Oshino… >_>
Well, at least he seems to really like best girl Hanekawa. Also not really on board with the Oshino ship though… that’s.. just weird..
Is Shinbo serious? What kina logic is that? Araragi Harem can’t have each other shipped together… Only ship is towards Koyomi…
This is the type of stuffs that Japanese fans get to read and enjoy. We’re pretty much clueless about what these creators have in mind. Japanese fans knew about this 9 months ago!
If Japanese fans can read things that western fans have been speculating, they might think, “Pfft, you foreigners think you know everything. whatever…”
We’re just happy that we get a poster at a theater during the premier…
On another note, I like the page layout of the movie booklet. It looks like a cut from the Monogatari shows.
Sasuga Shinbo. I would never have thought of Meme x Tsubasa, but it’s such a perfect ship…
Thank you for the awesome interview!
A friend sent me a link to all the Monogatari stuff you have here and I’m digging it. Keep up the good work, man!