Konosuba Interview with Koichi Kikuta (Anime Style 009, July 2016)

The following article was originally published in Anime Style issue 009 in July, 2016. Scans and images courtesy of The Canipa Effect. This interview was translated by Twitter user @frog_kun © 2017 Wave Motion Cannon

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The Quality of an Anime is all in the Layouts, not the Characters

Please tell us about yourself, Kikuta-san. You started off as an action animator, right?

Kikuta: No, I wouldn’t put it like that. I don’t have any particular desire to include heaps of drawings or to make the characters move. If anything, I would want to make every cut a bunch of stills if I could. I think that every animator has their own standard for how many drawings they feel necessary to include to satisfy their superiors, and the bar might be somewhat high.

When you started doing key animation, you got a lot of attention from sakuga fans for your action scenes. Didn’t you have any particular desire to do action scenes when you became an animator?

Kikuta: Well, yes. Watching the action scenes was what made me want to become an animator in the first place. You hear this a lot from people of my generation, but I liked FLCL as much as anyone.

You were born in 1984, after all. You must have seen FLCL when you were in middle school or high school?

Kikuta: Yep. It was mind-blowing.

When you say mind-blowing, are you talking about the visuals or the story/characters?

Kikuta: Both. You could say that the strengths of the visuals and story overlapped. That was also when I learned that people could make their living as animators.

When sakuga maniacs like us look at the character designs you drew for KONOSUBA -God’s blessing on this wonderful world!, we can’t help but think that they’re the handiwork of an action animator. Where did you get your drawing style from?

Kikuta: My ideal drawings would have few lines and would be easy to animate. I guess you could call them sakuga-type drawings. That’s the kind of art I’d like to draw.

Whose drawings are you thinking of in particular?

Kikuta: In my mind, the man at the very pinnacle is (Takahiro) Kishida-san. He’s already achieved his final form. That’s the pinnacle, and then there are all sorts of people who riff off that, I feel.

Prior to Konosuba, were there any jobs that you felt proud of? That you’re fond of?

Kikuta: If you’re talking about my job as an animator, I think that everything I worked on was clumsy on a fundamental level, and so there’s nothing I’m particularly proud of. In recent years, I’ve been doing more directing work compared to before. I’ve been thinking that I’m more suited to storyboards and directing. In particular, I think that my strength lies more with short-scale projects like the OP or the trailers instead of the main project. I was in charge of the storyboards and direction for the Genshiken Second Season OP, and I suppose that went over well. I was also asked to handle the storyboards and key animation for a part of the final episode of Yurikuma Arashi. From a directing and production perspective, it came out just the way I liked it.

Why did you think the Genshiken Second Season OP was good?

Kikuta: I was able to convey my intentions to the animation staff with no issues. When you’re an animator, you obtain fulfillment in a different way than you would if you were an episode director. When you’re an animator or an animation director, you obtain a sense of accomplishment the more you revise your cuts, but when you’re an episode director, the less you do the more accomplished you feel. With Genshiken Second Season, I felt like I was getting my entire vision across to the key animators just through the storyboards and meetings. It made me feel extremely satisfied.

What parts of Yurikuma Arashi did you handle?

Kikuta: I handled the storyboards from the part where the male bears fly and say, “Shaba-da-doo,” to the part where Ginko and Kureha are shot and the lilies scatter, although I did pretty much all the rough key animation in that part.  I even agreed to do the final key animations for 2-3 cuts, but since I was animating the scene in my own storyboard, I could do everything the way I wanted, which was very satisfying indeed.

And you achieved that sense of satisfaction with Konosuba episode 9.

Kikuta: Maybe so. (laughs)


Considering all the work in your career so far, it’s a bit surprising that you were asked to do character design work. How did you end up working on Konosuba?

Kikuta: Before Konosuba, I was asked to be a series director on a certain project at (Studio) Deen. As I was preparing to take on that role, the project was halted. I believe that was around March 2015. Since I had kept my schedule open for that project, I was scratching my head about what to do now that it wasn’t happening. Then (Nobumitsu) Urasaki-san, the animation producer, told me that there was an audition for the character designer of Konosuba. Even Urasaki-san didn’t think I was cut out for doing  character designs, but the topic just happened to come up as we were talking.

What did you think of the source material?

Kikuta: I thought it was funny when I read it, and I laughed at the jokes. If it’s funny and can make you laugh effortlessly, then it’s got a chance of success, in my opinion. So I figured I might as well go for it.

What did you think of the light novel illustrations? They’re rather adorable, aren’t they?

Kikuta: Indeed they are! I thought: “The cuteness… is beyond my drawing capabilities!” (laughs) I believe that with the light novel illustrations, the appeal of the characters lies in what Kurone (Mishima) thought would look cutest. By contrast, the anime took on a different drawing style in order to bring out the individuality of each character. And instead of bringing the cuteness of the characters to the fore like the light novel does, the anime designs are only half about cuteness. The other half showcases their more human sides, like their unflattering traits and their distressed moments.

So you made characters who could express unflattering traits.

Kikuta: Yep. I was going for a look where you could easily imagine them vomiting. I also wanted to make the differences in their ages and physiques more pronounced.

Were you ever asked by the producers or the original author to make the characters resemble the light novel designs more?

Kikuta: Nope. The illustrations I first submitted for the character designer audition were entirely in my own style, but Urasaki-san and the series director (Takaomi) Kanasaki-san asked that I made the designs more like the light novel, and I revised them one more time for the sake of the audition.  They were almost identical to the final designs. Those illustrations passed the audition, but I still revised them from scratch, intending to touch up the designs. I made them resemble the designs in prime time anime aimed at children.

By prime time, are you referring to something like Slayers?

Kikuta: Something like Pokémon (Pocket Monsters).

Oh, really!

Kikuta: I thought that the story of Konosuba was similar to that of those old prime time anime series, the kind that wouldn’t be out of place in a manga magazine like CoroCoro Comic. After the audition, I kicked things off with a design aimed squarely at children. They told me, “This is just a late night anime, so just do it like you did in the audition!” so I went back to my previous style, and that’s how I ended up with the current designs. I kept going back and forth quite a lot.

But rather than drawing the designs in the style of a late night anime, you created them in a way that would be easy for you to draw, I take it?

Kikuta: I did my best to make the designs resemble the light novel illustrations when I was devising them. I wanted to make them look more alike, but it was difficult to distinguish between the characters in a way that’s necessary for anime while also maintaining the cute style of the original. I’m absolutely terrible at drawing characters in a way that resembles the original. And to top it off, I didn’t look at the designs when I was working on the show proper, so some of my drawings came out differently from the original anime designs, even.

So that’s how the even-numbered episodes and odd-numbered episodes ended up with drawings that looked different. Momoka Komatsu, the other chief animation director, handled the even-numbered episodes, and her illustrations hewed closer to the designs.

Kikuta: (laughs) I’m always completely shattered whenever anyone tells me that the animation in the even-numbered episodes is good.

Do viewers have a higher opinion of the even-numbered episodes?

Kikuta: In the even-numbered episodes, the characters look prettier, and they resemble the designs more closely. That’s the correct way of doing things. When I was doing it, it never occurred to me to make the characters resemble the designs. I feel like I just did whatever I liked.

Did the series director give you any specific requests for the designs?

Kikuta: Barely any. He did ask for minor adjustments like to make the eyes slightly bigger, but basically he let me do my own thing. I had nothing to worry about except whether the characters resembled the designs.

In the end, don’t you think that Konosuba has both lively animation as well as the attractive designs befitting late night anime?

Kikuta: Oh, you think so? I wouldn’t go so far to think of it as a sakuga anime when I was drawing it, but I did think it would be nice if it could evoke that kind of nuance.

By sakuga anime, you mean anime that showcases movement?

Kikuta: That’s right. I think it’d be nice if my art looked as if it was prioritizing movement, but it might actually just look cheap. But it might fit the nature of the show in its own way…

“I wanted episode 9 to be complete.”

What sort of things did you do as an animation director?

Kikuta: I was basically just the chief animation director, so my job amounted to correcting the finished drawings. I corrected almost everything from the layout stage onward for episode 1. The first part of episode 1 was almost entirely empty space with nothing in it.

You’re talking about the scene after Kazuma dies.

Kikuta: Yep. That scene had no layouts for the art department to draw backgrounds from. Things like the atmosphere were portrayed entirely through the photography. Even though I said I did all the corrections, it was basically just the characters I corrected. Also, the interior of the guild is done with 3D layouts for the most part, so I didn’t correct those either. And so, even though I intended to look at all the layouts in episode 1, I don’t feel like I did much in the end. As for the other episodes, I only corrected the layouts that looked iffy. As the episodes went on, less cuts came my way to correct, and I worked on less cuts accordingly. The work became a bottleneck. In episode 1, I looked at all the cuts, but with episode 3 I looked at about 190 cuts, and with episode 5 it was about 170, and by episode 7 I only received around 140.

So that was a scheduling issue?

Kikuta: I think so. If I could, I would have looked at all the layouts and made them consistent. There were quite a few occasions where I corrected the characters’ bodies but not the faces, or I would just correct the backgrounds. I didn’t perform at the usual level of a chief animation director, I don’t think.

Is that connected to episode 9?

Kikuta: Yep. Since I hadn’t been able to do all the cuts for the episodes until then, I wanted to look at all the cuts for the last broadcast episode that I was in charge of. Just looking at all the cuts wouldn’t improve the quality drastically, but I did insist that it would definitely improve things, so they let me do it. Inside, though, I was just thinking, “I want this episode to be complete.” (laughs)

Episode 9 features a lot of fanservice cuts from the female characters. Was it a coincidence that this was the episode you wanted to handle by yourself?

Kikuta: It was a coincidence, but it doubled my motivation.

(laughs) So in other words, you would also have wanted to do a normal episode on your own.

Kikuta: I would have wanted to look at all the cuts for a normal episode as well, but I wanted to do episode 9 even more thanks to its quality content. It had elements that gave me a little extra bang for my buck, you could say.

I see. So how exactly did you grapple with it? Were you even involved with the coloring?

Kikuta: The succubi in the background were all drawn on the spot, so I’d comb through each cut and decide the colors.

What about the bathroom scene in the latter half of the episode?

Kikuta: I think that was all done according to the designs. I merely asked them to adjust the steam and the out-of-focus parts. The censorship was heavier at first, but I requested that they show more skin.

How did the succubus at the reception end up with those body proportions?

Kikuta: As far as I’m concerned, I intended to draw her as I normally would. There are books about human anatomy, you know? I drew the succubus as I was looking at that sort of material.

Oh, is that so? You weren’t visualizing a sexy foreign actress?

Kikuta: No, not at all. I was looking at a photo collection book or something of the sort, trying to draw the character realistically. Since I was using people who were around high school age as models, I might have overcompensated. This also happens when I’m drawing the main characters, but I really agonize about the characters’ body shapes. That, and I wondered how everyone would handle the designs. With the female characters, I basically wanted to give them slender shoulders. A human’s shoulders take up the most width in real life, but if you make them look broad in a drawing, the characters would seem coarse and unrefined. And so in order to balance things out, I’d make the pelvis wider and the shoulders narrower. I wanted to make things look as realistic as possible, but I probably didn’t quite get the balance right, and that’s why that succubus turned out the way they did.

Darkness’s proportions also look completely different than they do in the other episodes, don’t they?

Kikuta: Oh, they do? (laughs) Are you talking about her chest size?

The size and the way they hang.

Kikuta: I might have overdone it a bit there. When I was drawing her, I lost restraint. I had the feeling that her breasts were getting bigger—and what do you know? They were slowly but surely getting bigger. (laughs)

And yet her breasts droop according to the laws of gravity in a realistic way. Were you trying to make that realistic?

Kikuta: That has less to do with realism and more to do with me drawing whatever I like.

It doesn’t particularly follow the designs, huh?

Kikuta: Not at all. Even I thought that they were off.


Kikuta: I thought that her breasts were too big and that they don’t droop that low. I might have gone a bit overboard with the whole braless thing. My senses were numb at the time, and when I look at it now, I do think I overdid it. The same thing applies to the boob jiggles. Once I started putting them in, it felt like something was missing when they weren’t there.

In episode 1, the guild receptionist Luna’s breasts jiggled to a certain degree.

Kikuta: Back then, her hair swayed in the drawings, so I used the same frames to make her breasts jiggle while I was at it.

As the chief animation director, you made her boobs jiggle?

Kikuta: That’s right. (laughs)

And by contrast, the boobs in episode 9 jiggle all over the place.

Kikuta: Ah, yes. They jiggle even in the part before the OP. If the boobs jiggle even from such slight movements, then it would be strange if they didn’t move when they walk. That’s my rationale.

They jiggle even when they’re just eating food.

Kikuta: They do. (laughs)

Konosuba Interview with Koichi Kikuta (Anime Style 009, July 2009) 3.jpg

When the succubus lady is giving the explanation, she routinely puts her hand on her crotch. Why is it that her hand keeps moving so much? When you insert that much character acting, it adds an unnecessary amount of drawings, doesn’t it?

Kikuta: Oh, yeah. There were no directions to make them move in the storyboards. Normally, I’d be relieved that this part would basically be all stills, but it just so happened that the first cut that came my way was the one where the succubus lady says, “Please be careful not to drink too much.” In that cut, the succubus lady is holding up her hand as she utters the line. The key animator drew her touching her own breast with her fingertip. When I saw that, it occurred to me that if I kept all these movements in the animation, the scene wouldn’t be wasted. From an animation perspective, it would enhance the content. That cut had a crazy number of frames. (laughs) Given that this cut had so many frames, the other cuts ended up being animated to the same degree in order to balance things out.

And thus the succubus lady ended up touching her own body as she speaks.

Kikuta: Yep. (laughs) The movements are very detailed. Since it’s just a talking scene, it would have just been there without accomplishing much of anything if there was no animation. The animation has the effect of making you pay attention to the screen, so I hoped to bring out that effect. That was the official stance I took.

Speaking of episode 9, the cut where the ruffian stands up and leaves was wonderful.

Kikuta: Oh, you think so? When I did it, I was just thinking of how people normally stand up.

In the storyboards, he just walks straight out. But in the completed footage, he turns sideways in order to leave because the place is too cramped. You don’t tend to see that level of character acting.

Kikuta: Ah, yes. Generally speaking—and this didn’t just apply to that cut—I wasn’t thinking of inserting a lot of movement at all. I was thinking things like “Will it look strange if I do it like this?” or “This should be enough to not piss off my superiors.” I put in enough effort to avoid causing problems, considering the scale of the scenes. Although I was in charge of fixing the layouts, the key animator was the one who drew that layout showing him hitting the table and causing it to shake, so I strove to bring that to life.

You just drew the character actions normally, following the flow of the scene?

Kikuta: That’s right. That’s really all there was to it. I wanted to keep the level of realism at a similar level across all of the cuts, or something like that.

So you kept the level of realism consistent within the episodes.

Kikuta: Yep. Episode 9 had a certain standard of realism to maintain.

If you’d make the boobs droop, then you could make the geezer stand up realistically too.

Kikuta: Exactly! That’s how it was. I more or less tried to keep the same level of realism when it came to things like weight or a sense of space. In most episodes, the boobs don’t jiggle that much, so it might look as if they jiggle quite a lot in episode 9, but it’s not that strange for boobs to jiggle a lot as a biological phenomenon. I also think that each strand of hair sways naturally, and so on. Once I started thinking that way, it occurred to me that it would be unnatural if they didn’t move.

I see, so this means that episode 9 was operating on a different level of reality from the other episodes.

Kikuta: Pretty much. I did have this sense of awareness that I was attempting to draw things realistically.

That was reflected in things like the layouts, the characters’ builds, and the swaying movements, I take it?

Kikuta: To be honest, I poured most of my effort into the layouts for episode 9. I’m better at drawing layouts than characters to begin with, and since I was doing a lot of it for my job, there was a part of me that wanted to draw the layouts. And that’s why I ended up correcting almost all the layouts in the cuts, even for episode 9.

Are you talking about the layouts for the backgrounds?

Kikuta: I’m talking about the overall layout.

So basically you worked on the scene composition.

Kikuta: Pretty much. Trying to make the composition as realistic as possible is par the course for me, and I always draw layouts with the hopes of bringing out a camera-like or photo-like feel. I did my very best to evoke that with episode 9, but when I looked it up on the internet, people only talked about the boobs. (laughs) Not a single person talked about the layouts. It was devastating.

On the contrary, I thought the finished product was dense in a way that reminded me of an old-time OVA.

Kikuta: You think so? When I tried my hand at episode 9, it reaffirmed to me that the quality of an anime is in the layouts, not the characters.

Are you talking about where to place the camera and how to position the images?

Kikuta: That’s the gist of it. When I’m doing the layouts, what matters most according to my standards is making it clear where the camera is positioned. If you can easily guess where the camera is while you’re watching the anime, then my basic work is done. From there, I go to the next level: making the images look cool and using interesting compositions. Of course, making the episode director’s intents clear is a given.

Is your desire to work on all the layouts connected to your desire to handle both the directing and the animation?

Kikuta: For sure. The more cuts I handled per episode the happier I was, and if possible I’d like to do an entire episode by myself. That would be the ideal. Also, I just happen to love the drawings in their own right. I do watch anime for the story/characters, of course, but I also watch it for the drawings. You could say that anime is like a really rich art book, or that it’s partly like watching an assembly of images. That’s why I like it when the art belongs to someone.

You want the individual cuts to be valued as works of art drawn by each animator?

Kikuta: Yes. If you take this argument to its logical conclusion, all the cuts would have a completely different look, but you can’t actually do it that way. That’s why I end up reconciling the images drawn by each particular animator across the episodes. Ideally, one animator’s drawings would be used throughout the entire episode. In other words, you’d be able to tell that each episode was solo key animated by a different person. I don’t mind if the characters’ faces or whatever look different in each episode. I like anime that brings out an individual artist’s style.

The artist would work on both the layouts and the characters for their illustrations in that episode.

Kikuta: Right. When it becomes group work, you end up not being able to tell who drew what. I’m not really a fan of that. As far as I’m concerned, the role of an animation director or a chief animation director is antithetical to the art of drawing illustrations. That’s why I have no desire to correct the faces or anything like that, even when I’m acting as chief animation director.

As chief animation director of Konosuba, then, you left the faces as they were and only corrected the layouts and the proportions, as you mentioned before?

Kikuta: Yep, that’s right. To be blunt with you, I think that faces and stuff like that should just be left to the artist/animator in question. Whenever I submit drawings, I want to show off the parts I did myself, and that’s why I don’t have the slightest urge to correct other people’s drawings and make them my own, even when I’m the animation director.

Is there any GoHands influence in the way you put emphasis on the layouts and first key animation?

Kikuta: Yes. The skilled artists would draw everything in the first key animation, and after that the second key animators take over. If the layouts are strong, then even a bad key animator can perform to an acceptable standard. The average viewer couldn’t care less about layouts and will pay more attention to the attractive characters or how neat the movement looks, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s inconsequential in the scheme of things.

The way I apply shadows was also influenced by Shingo Suzuki-san from GoHands. His manner of applying shadows has an incredibly realistic feel to it, and the way he puts shadows on the noses in particular is a distinctive trait of his. He draws them so that the shadow falls underneath the nose. Other people generally do the same thing when they’re drawing realistically, but there aren’t really that many people who make it a standard practice. Shingo Suzuki-san makes the noses his trademark, and I was influenced by him to draw them the same way.

Getting back on topic, the crab-eating scene was also a highlight of episode 9.

Kikuta: The prop designer (Yasuhiro) Ito-san sent in corrections for all the cuts in that scene, so I never drew the crabs myself. While I did draw the general position of the crabs and their size when I was adjusting the layouts, Ito-san’s corrections turned them into very fine crabs indeed.

The prop director came after the chief animation director? Was this true throughout all the episodes?

Kikuta: No, this was just for episode 9. And come to think of it, I think he only did that for the crab scene.

The crab scene was a special case for this series, I see. Thanks to the crab, it became quite an extravagant scene.

Kikuta: It sure did. There were things like a gas stove and sake in the scene, as if it were normal. It made me think, “Does this even fit the setting?” It was really just like a Japanese dining table. The crabs gave that scene a good vibe.

You’re even credited as a second key animator for episode 9. Why is that?

Kikuta: That was simply because there was no time and I had to do key animation. We weren’t able to assign the bathroom scene to the second key animators, and so when I was told to turn the layout corrects I did into key animation, I ended up being credited for the second key animation.

So you turned your layout corrections into animation for the final product. Did you do the entire bathroom scene?

Kikuta: I did almost all of it. It was a bit time-consuming, but it was more efficient for me to draw all of it myself. I was lucky because they were naked the whole time.

You prefer that over drawing them with armor and so forth?

Kikuta: Yep. I think it would have been annoying to draw them if they’d been wearing clothes, but since there are fewer lines to draw when they’re naked, I figured it’d be doable. And so I did the key animation myself.

By doing episode 9, did you feel as if any latent talent of yours had bloomed? Particularly when it comes to the erotic stuff?

Kikuta: Nah, I wasn’t that ecstatic about doing erotic stuff. Handling the visual presentation is more important to me when it comes to my standards. I was split between feeling satisfied about the layouts I had corrected and feeling dissatisfied that the layouts I had poured so much energy into didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to. I didn’t particularly feel as if I had done something new. I felt keenly that I had a lot of room for improvement.

“With season 2, I want to show everyone that I can have my cake and eat it too.”

Let me ask about the series as a whole. Are there any characters you found easy to draw, or were fond of drawing their expressions?

Kikuta: The characters I found fun to draw were Kazuma and Aqua. With those characters, you could get away with drawing any kind of expression on them, seeing as this was Konosuba (if you know what I mean). Megumi, on the other hand, always has the same look on her face.

Cute and unruffled.

Kikuta: Yeah. I don’t know if it’s because of that, but people tell me, “Megumin is always cute.” I kind of thought that the “cuteness” people normally talk to me about signifies consistency and that it was something people were keeping an eye on.

I see.

Kikuta: It was something that surprised me a little. I don’t draw her face any differently when she’s unruffled or when she’s surprised, but her expressions struck the audience quite differently. People talked to me about “funny faces,” but I had no inkling that I was doing funny faces. I drew those faces as part of her normal range of expressions.

Oh no, I thought the expressions were rather varied.

Kikuta: Oh, you think so? (laughs)

Did you get any requests from the episode directors?

Kikuta: Not at all.

They never said things like, “It’s too off-model,” or anything along those lines?

Kikuta: I think I was told two or three times that the female characters looked a bit too villainous.

So they essentially let all those amusingly off-model faces pass?

Kikuta: They did. Apparently, the series director wanted things to look off-model, but not off-model enough to turn off the viewers. I can’t say I really wrapped my head around it, though. There were a few times when I wondered if one face would be considered okay, but another face would be no good. They essentially let me do whatever I wanted. I watch quite a lot of different anime, and I often wonder why the expressions are so stiff or why the faces never change. Now that I’m trying my own hand at it, I’m told to do things like “funny faces,” and that makes me wonder if the standards are different. The usual practice is to draw the faces according to the designs. I wondered if the viewers would find that appealing.

Were there any occasions beside episode 9 when drawings things off-model was worthwhile?

Kikuta: Not in particular, but I distinctly remember thinking that we had captured the variations in their expressions well. I also thought we handled the eyes incredibly well. With anime these days, the eyes are drawn with detail, and the photography department puts in special effects to bring out how gorgeous they are. They use all kinds of digital tracing and coloring, and they insert graduation and things like that. Hoping to buck the trend, I wracked my brains about how to separate the colors in order to make the characters look attractive in a simple way. This time, I was allowed to do that.  We did a good job with this style of coloring, huh? Although we did insert some color tracing for the lights in their eyes, that was all it took for their eyes to appear very pronounced. Also, the middles of their pupils have one color with a high chroma. We put the dark part right next to the color with high chroma. Thanks to the high chroma and the lights, it looks like the eyes have gradation when you look at them from a distance, even though we only separated the colors in a simple way. I am secretly satisfied with how we handled the eyes.

What kind of feedback did you get for the anime as a whole?

Kikuta: I wanted the humor of the original story to get across, and I’m really glad that it did. Even if people tell me the art is shabby, I don’t mind at all!

It’s been announced that a second season of Konosuba is in the works. What kind of direction are you thinking of taking the series?

Kikuta: I suppose I’d improve the weak parts.

And what would those weak parts be?

Kikuta: Nobody told me that the characters were cute. Their personalities might be cute, but people think that they’re drawn badly.

No, they were cute. They were funny and adorable.

Kikuta: You think so? (laughs) This season, I was disinclined to make one of those so-called moe anime, but with season 2, I want to show everyone that I can have my cake and eat it too.

Obviously, you’ll be working on Konosuba’s second season, but would you want to make another episode 9 kind of thing, where you’re involved with the entire episode?

Kikuta: That reminds me, I’m not remotely suited to being a chief animation director or anything of the sort. If possible, I’d like to make something entirely on my own. Doing a half-hour episode of anime on my own is biting off more than I could chew, but if I could, I’d take on a project with a shorter length… Come to think of it, I’ve been thinking of getting away from anime production in general.

Are you thinking of getting into illustration or something like that?

Kikuta: Yep yep, I want to be an illustrator. Just as I finally got one job, the Konosuba episode came, so that kind of fell by the wayside, I feel. Since anime is fundamentally about drawing someone else’s pictures, I feel like doing my own illustrations. If my wish could be granted through anime, that would be the best case scenario.

Even with regular anime, an environment where each individual animator can draw whatever they like would be ideal, even though it doesn’t quite work that way. Komatsu-san, who was the chief animation director for the even-numbered episodes, didn’t just follow the character design sheets; she produced her own drawings. She wasn’t pulled by the drawings in the odd-numbered episodes. I’m quite happy with the work she did for us. I think it would be nice for a job I’m involved in to take a shift in that direction.

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  1. What a fantastic and incredibly informative interview. I’d love to hang out with that dude. He seems like an awesome person. I also don’t mind that he’s a massive pervert. 🙂

    Just an FYI, the url says this was published in 2009, rather than 2016. 😉


  2. >Yep. I was going for a look where you could easily imagine them vomiting.
    Sasuga. This guy is quickly becoming my idol. Every anime should follow this design paradigm.


  3. Awesome interview! (And great translation)

    And the bits about the boobs was pretty entertaining. Kinda sad to hear that’s all people focused on from episode though (though it’s kinda hard not too, haha).

    I also really appreciate scene composition in anime, and episode 9 had exceptional work on that front. This guy does some great work. Too bad he wants to leave the industry though (if he hasn’t already)


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