HN: Mr. Konishi, what things did you take care in and were particular about when you did the visual design of the characters in the film?
Kenichi Konishi: To make the most of the attractive characteristics of Mr. Igarashi’s original works, I didn’t simply copy the visuals of the original manga. I had a certain amount of time to get my body accustomed to Mr. Igarashi’s illustration style to allow the visuals to permeate my body, and only after that I redesigned the characters’ visuals for the film.
When I design characters for an animation based on an original Manga, I draw their visuals for the animation after familiarizing myself with the original Manga’s visual style and making the illustration style as my own. However, in this film, I could not come up with a visual design of the characters that delivers the attractiveness of Mr. Igarashi’s original visuals to the audience only by my usual character design process alone.
So, while I follow my personal intuition in drawing the foundation of the characters’ design, I relied on the design of the original manga to illustrate the detail of the characters. In other words, the visuals of the characters wouldn’t be in Mr. Igarashi’s taste if I drew the details of them through my vision. Hence, in the process of this film’s production, I selected the visual design of the characters for each cut that conveys Mr. Igarashi’s stylistic tastes to the audience in the best condition.
HN: You said that you’ve made your body get used to the illustrations of the original manga. Is that a matter of repeatedly copying Mr. Igarashi’s illustrations until you are able to draw his visual style at a satisfactory level?
Kenichi Konishi: The role of character design isn’t as simple as just designing characters with proper proportions and accurate anatomy just because the original creator, Mr. Igarashi, is a manga artist with a realistic drawing style.
For example, the original manga characters by Mr. Igarashi have the extremities of the body – the tips of their hands and feet – slightly enlarged. When I draw the characters’ design for animation, I use two different design styles: one is with their hands and feet being smaller and the other is with their hands and feet being drawn bigger, which remains faithful to Mr. Igarashi’s illustrative style. I would be unable to distinguish between the two design styles in the film without allowing Mr. Igarashi’s tastes in visuals infiltrate my body. The process of getting my body used to the original manga’s illustrations requires time for making that possible. So, it’s not a simple matter of repeatedly copying his illustrations.
HN: Mr. Konishi, could you please let us know the scenes in the film that you’ve particularly struggled with and the scenes you have a special attachment to as the supervising animator?
Kenichi Konishi: It is the shots that are zoomed in to each character. For me, drawing those shots is not painful, but actually fun. However, it takes more time to make a closeup drawing than for the other shots in the film. Even if a still drawing held in a shot becomes a powerful visual expression, the shot wouldn’t work because animation production is not concerned with a single drawing; it needs to move. It means that creating in-betweens become harder and takes more time with those shots. It became one of the reasons the schedule had to be pushed back.
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