Anime Programming in the US
Making a Living in Manga in Japan with Felipe Smith
Lost in Translation
On April 24, 2011, a promotional event for the Fractale BluRay/DVD release in Japan took place in Nakano, Tokyo, on April 24, 2011, where the show's cast and director discussed their favorite scenes from the series. This text interview is a summary of the event, featuring the director and the main cast. (Please note: some statements have been paraphrased.)
WARNING: Included in this report are several spoilers for Fractale.
Fractale: “My Favorite Scene”, according the show's cast and director
On stage is a large screen that shows the “favorite scenes” that the cast and director have selected; the MC interviews each person on the stage following each clip. On the left side facing the stage, Mr. Yutaka Yamamoto, known as “Yamakan” (Series Director), Kobayashi (Voice of Clain), and Tsuda (Voice of Phryne) are seated. On the right, Hanazawa (Voice of Nessa), Iguchi (Voice of Enri), and Asanuma (Voice of Sunda) are seated.
MC: The cast and director have selected their own favorite scenes from the series. We will show each scene on the screen and would like them to say something.
Kobayashi (Clain)’s My Favorite Scene: from episode 11: The scene where Clain, Phryne, and Nessa are together and Clain confesses his love to Phryne.
MC: Episode 11. What made you select this scene?
Kobayashi: I love the scene where Phryne, Nessa, and Clain are together. The three of them are there. Then, Nessa tries this…(Kobayashi tries to imitate Nessa's gesture).I really love that. It's so lovable.. but Phryne has many things that she can't handle. Even so, Clain says that he loves her regardless of all the the problems she has.
MC: In your estimation, how did Phryne see this scene?
Tsuda: Phryne was filled with deep emotion, being embraced by Clain.
MC: What did Nessa feel, watching from below?
Hanazawa: I was comfortable to see these three (Phryne, Nessa, and Clain) together, to the end.
Tsuda (Phryne)’s Favorite Scene: from episode 1: the scene where Clain meets Phryne.
MC: Whew. That was awesome. Feeling good. Tsuda-san, what made you choose this scene?
Tsuda: That was the scene where Clain met Phryne. I love the look on Clain's face.
MC: You are talking about the look on Clain's face, not Phryne's? (audience laughs)
Tsuda: Phryne makes a cool entrance, riding on something from the sky and evading obstacles, and then falling in an impossible way…But, I love Clain's look, where he expresses his relief, seeing that Phryne is alright. Clain's look was very cute, though. I really love it.
Yamakan: I wonder why Phryne was found on the cliff, regardless of the fact that she clearly falls into the ocean. (Audience laughs)
MC & Asanuma: But YOU created that scene! (laughs)
Yamakan: Oh, yeah!? Then I'll explain it. (audience laughs). The ocean was sliding. So, Phryne was falling down diagonally like this, heading toward the cliff.
All: …(it seems like nobody understands his explanation)
Yamakan: Does that not make sense?
Hanazawa (Nessa)’s Favorite Scene: from episode 10. Dias says “Love!”
MC: Tell us why you chose this scene.
Hanazawa: Dias is cool! (audience laughs) Do you get it?
Asanuma: These two guys (Hanazawa and Iguchi) kept talking about Dias at the recordings. (laughs) Yu-san and Minami-chan were talking a lot about Sunda. I want to go to the other side where Yu-san and Minami-chan are seated.
MC: What made you like Dias?
Hanazawa: Well…his looks, eyes, and his voice… (audience laughs)
Asanuma: Hey, that's almost everything! (laugh) Everything important about anime!
Hanazawa: It really turns me on! If Dias whispers “Love!” in my ear, I will surrender.
MC: Please tell us about the Dias character.
Yamakan: Regarding Dias, it was Ms. Mari Okada (Series Composition and Scripts), not I, who wanted to add that type of character. She began to say that without this character, she would be unsatisfied and get bored with the series.(laughs). So we decided to make up that type of character. . Maybe it was a good decision, since we've seen good reactions to the character from female fans.
Kobayashi: At the recordings, we got into heated discussions about “which do you prefer, Dias or Sunda?"
Female cast: Yeah, we did.
Iguchi (Enri)’s Favorite Scene: The scenes where Enri cries out “ecchi (pervert)!”
MC: This was collection of edited scenes, right?
Iguchi: Yeah, I said, “ecchi” so many times.
Asanuma: Do you know how many times you said that?
Iguchi: How many times did I say that? Anybody know?
Iguchi: Of course, nobody knows. (audience laughs)
MC: Iguchi-san, do you remember?
Iguchi: No, not at all. (audience laughs)
Iguchi: I said it many other times besides the scenes being played right now.
Asanuma: Just guess. If your answer is correct, you might win something.
MC: Who knows the answer? (laughs). Ah, we should play the scenes and count again.
MC: Really? 18? Did you count them?
Iguchi: No, that's my guess.
The scenes are played over again. People count the number of times Iguchi says “ecchi”.
The result was 17.
Iguchi: There were many episodes where I had to say it. I was doing a video-check at home. My parents overheard me yelling “ecchi” over and over and wondered what I was doing. I was embarrassed. But, the more I said it, the more I got used to practicing saying “ecchi”, even at home. In the end, they got used to it and did not care anymore. (laughs)
MC: Iguchi-san, how come do you think Enri says “ecchi” so many times? Any particular reason? Is Enri obsessed with it?
Iguchi: Maybe Enri is “ecchi”, too.
MC: Let's ask Yamakan about it.
Yamakan: Again, that was Mari Okada's decision! She came up with the idea that Enri would be a character who keeps yelling “ecchi”. She is crazy... she is an "ecchi" herself."
MC: Let's move to another topic… I shouldn't have asked you, Yamamoto-san…
Asanuma(Sunda)’s Favorite Scene: from episode 9: The photo session with the Granitz Family
MC: This is the 9th episode. Please tell us how you feel about this scene.
Asanuma: This scene shows the characters as though they're like a real family, even though they aren't. Of course, the Granites family is a real family, but even Clain looks like he's part of the family. I really like that. Moreover, Enri counts Butcher, who went to heaven. That was moving. I also like the last line of the scene.
Yamakan's Favorite Scene: from episode 11: Phryne=Nessa's Awakenings
MC: So, you must have been looking forward to seeing this; this is the scene that Yamakan has selected as his favorite.
The scene is played.
MC: This scene would make anybody cry, Yamamoto-san! Please tell us how you feel about this scene.
Yamakan: This is a serious thing for me. I have said this couple of times in interviews. I have too many things to convey. It could go long once I get started….
MC: Please express yourself.
Yamakan: I will make it short. We couldn't come up with a way to conclude the story in the end, when we were discussing the series composition. I thought it through. But it just didn't come to me. Then I asked the staff to entrust the ending to me. But, though the script writing and the production went, I still didn't get the idea. One day, it came to me about what the future relationship among Clain, Phryne, and Nessa would be… this kind of story has many different names. We can call it a bildungsroman in one way, a picaresque novel in another, where there is an adventure tale which contains irony and satire. It was inspired partly by a drama, “Candide, ou l'Optimisme”, written by a French Philosopher, Voltaire. I got the inspiration for the ending from the last scene of the musical based on that work. The music playing in the last scene is “Make Our Garden Grow”, which represents the theme of Fractale. This is the idea that I could honestly and unpretentiously send out to the world. Under that unifying idea, we could go into production, heading into the finale. That was a long and winding road, but we produced Fractale, all the while focusing on that final scene. In that sense, I am satisfied.
MC: Clain and Phryne, how did you feel about that scene?
Kobayashi: Well… that was the first time that I have heard the word….
MC: Picaresque Novel.
Yamakan: In the context of an anime series, people say that it is hard to understand, but it actually isn't. I mean that. I never made it difficult to understand. I actually tried and
succeeded in making a drama with a very traditional approach. And I believe it conveys honest feelings.
MC: Phryne, you said that you liked the last scene. How do you feel about it?
Tsuda: I cried when I was practicing that scene at home and had to stop. So, I had to record the last scene without much practice.
Asanuma: You cried a lot.
Tsuda: (proudly) I cried!
MC: During the recording?
Tsuda: No. I was dry then, because I cried a lot at home. (laughs) I felt refreshed.
Asanuma: You asked Kana-chan to repeat the lines of this scene, right? You had to grasp Nessa's attitude…
Tsuda: Nessa and Phryne are together now…. so….
Iguchi: I remember. We practiced together.
MC: Now, we have to wrap up the event. I'd like our panelists to each give us a final word. First, from Yu Kobayashi.
Kobayashi: I feel honored to be a part of the cast as Clain for Fractale. Minami-chan mentioned that she never stopped crying. Clain felt the same way. I felt the same at home, and the studio. I was happy to share that feeling with Minami-chan. I hope that you (gesturing to the audience) can continue to talk about Fractale and watch the DVD/Bluray over and over.[In Clain's voice] Don't forget about us!
Tsuda: Thank you for being here today. I am happy to wear a wonderful costume like this. This is the first time that I've ever done cosplay like this. I am a little bit nervous. The event is over now, though. Thank you. You can see Phryne and Nessa any time on DVD/BluRay. Thanks.
MC: Then, Nessa, please.
Hanazawa: Fractale started with Nessa's saying, “Dooon!!”. I enjoyed thinking about how to approach my role for every single line. I really enjoyed playing this role. Then, finally, I can dress like this…. (referring to her costume)
Hanazawa: We made a good team. We enjoyed ourselves at the recordings. I hope that you can continue to support Fractale. Thank you.
Iguchi: This is the first time for me to attend a Fractale event like this. I have not had many chances to talk with Mr. Yamamoto.
Yamakan: You avoided me, didn't you, at the recordings? You had a “don't come close to me” aura. I could not come close to you.
Iguchi: No. You have had an aura of the director at the studio. I didn't know how to break the ice with you. I was shy around you… I did enjoy watching you and Kana-chan kidding with each other.
MC: Oh! Was something else going on there? “ecchi!”
Iguchi: I hope that we can meet you (referring to audience) again and you can love Fractale. Thank you.
MC: Shintarō Asanuma.
Asanuma: This is an anime which feels particularly relevant to today's serious environment. I feel honored to participate in this show. The Bluray/DVD contains many valuable things, word by word, line by line, and the beautiful background artwork. Please enjoy watching every piece of it. (in Sunda's voice) See you again if we get lucky!
MC: Yamakan, Please give your message to the fans.
Yamakan: This show was a very difficult delivery. I've never had difficulty like this. Maybe, it was due to Fractale being my first original show. My personal feeling toward anime has changed time and time again. I got lost, distressed, and felt anguished. I still don't know if it was valuable or not. Some people might say, “Don't put so much of yourself and your personal feelings into a work of entertainment”. However, I have a personal creed that as an artist, I don't want to deceive myself when I'm expressing myself. I believe that Fractale was, without doubt, the project where I could reflect on and express my thoughts and feelings 100%. The cast here helped me accomplish this and complete the show. It is and will be a treasured moment in my life that I could share this with everybody here, and the fans who could not come to this event. I am not sure if I will continue to be a creator or not. I might be a ramen shop owner (laughs). But, without a doubt, this is my most memorable show, and I'd be proud to show it anywhere, and into which I put everything that I have picked up over 36 years of my life. In the future, I might make a big hit show, or might become something like an incredible Academy Award Winner or maybe not. But, the show that I want to take with me into my own coffin is Fractale. I believe that it became the show that I could be proud of as an artist. As Asanuma-kun mentioned, the show contains many lines, which I squeezed out of my flesh and blood. I would like you to see it again a couple of times. I believe that you can understand what I said in the series now. I wish you to keep that in mind. Thank you!
MC: That is the end of the event. We had Mr. Yutaka Yamamoto, Ms. Yu Kobayashi, Ms. Minami Tsuda, Ms. Ms. Kana Hanazawa, and Mr. Shintarō Asanuma. Thank you so much.
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history