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Interview: Stars Align Director Kazuki Akane (Part 1)


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Shay Guy



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 11:50 pm Reply with quote
FireChick wrote:
Quote:
Having said that, "You only pick those sports because they sell" "My anime has literary value, yours is just paltry escapism". I can see why the production for this show fell through, he sounds like a bit of caustic man to work with and despite people trying to warn him shows like this don't sell he did it anyway. "Escapism" seems like a dismissive word to label any series that doesn't constantly bemoan how hard life is or talk about how awful the world is and every year was the worst one yet like a doomer on social media. I'm sorry characters like Luffy, Tanjiro, and Conan have friendly and relatable attitudes rather than moping around lamenting the state of the world, but casually dismissing them as escapism is condescending and tastes of sour grapes. Considering the growth of the anime industry every year, I don't think he's in much of a place to say the industry is going to die unless they all follow his lead and do stuff like him. Those are things I expect Yamakan to say.


I HIGHLY doubt that was what he was saying. For all we know, he might have been referring to the fact that anime these days tend to be more shallow wish fulfillment stuff that put more focus on ecchi fanservice and overpowered protags with bland, artificial harems rather than anime that actually care about things like a good story and three dimensional characters with flaws and strengths that people can actually care about. You know, like all the bad isekai stuff that's been coming out in droves since 2013. When did he ever say that characters being happy and optimistic was a bad thing? Don't put words in his mouth.


And given that he helmed Escaflowne and Birdy the Mighty: Decode, it feels questionable to describe his ethos as wanting anime to "constantly bemoan how hard life is or talk about how awful the world is and every year was the worst one yet" or objecting to characters who "have friendly and relatable attitudes rather than moping around lamenting the state of the world".
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Galap
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:56 am Reply with quote
Great interview with my favorite director! As always he has a lot of interesting things to say.

I really like how he really understands the concept of 'be the change that you want to see'. As in, maybe his anime will sell or maybe it won't, but it's what he wants to make, and he realizes that long-term, if anime ends up being only stuff for otaku and kids, rather than things that are unabashed about taking themselves seriously and their ideas,it will either die away or just stagnate. Even if this show doesn't sell so well, there is an audience for it, and the fact that this kind of thing can exist is what keeps some people (like me) still interested in the medium.
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DuskyPredator
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:57 pm Reply with quote
I loved the show, and this interview posed some interesting insights, such as the nature of soft tennis. Am curious about how the gender identity thing was researched while looking into the dressing up as girls bit and what that means for Shou earlier in the show, Maki's own elements like wearing the cap and Yu in general.

The interview shows that he had a lot of passion in the show, and I certainly picked that up watching, that more shows need to be made like Stars Align, and probably O Maidens also.
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dragon695



Joined: 28 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:22 pm Reply with quote
Rentwo wrote:
nobahn wrote:
I sincerely hope that the production committee earns a decent ─ if not good ─ return on its investment. I hope that there is a 2nd cour.


The tell-all nature of the interview sounds like it wasn't being vetted by any kind of representative of the production committee or PR rep like every other interview with a Japanese staffer or talent is since. I doubt they would have let so many candid questions and answers fly around so carelessly, so I can only assume they already disbanded and this was a postmortem look. If there was, then I'm surprised!


How is this any different than Tomino candidly talking about his regrets with G Gundam, despite working on retools through film compilation? Sunrise doesn’t vet Tomino. The same for other film directors I’ve noticed. This is not a novice director we’re talking about here.
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jellybeanbandit



Joined: 18 Jun 2019
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 4:54 pm Reply with quote
Zhou-BR wrote:
I think Akane was talking about characters making a living by becoming professional athletes, not authors and companies making money from sports manga/anime.


No, it was pretty clear he was speaking about the writers. Despite him using soft tennis because he played it as a kid, he doesn't seem to comprehend that maybe people want to make a series about a more popular sport because they also enjoy that sport and aren't just doing so because it'll sell. He's basically looking down on people like Tadatoshi Fujimaki, Sayo Yamamoto, and Takeshi Konomi.

FireChick wrote:
.For all we know, he might have been referring to the fact that anime these days tend to be more shallow wish fulfillment stuff that put more focus on ecchi fanservice and overpowered protags with bland, artificial harems rather than anime that actually care about things like a good story and three dimensional characters with flaws and strengths that people can actually care about. You know, like all the bad isekai stuff that's been coming out in droves since 2013.


And who gets to judge if a show is "bad isekai stuff"? Or lacks three dimension characters people care about? I would say the fans, and given how insanely popular those shows are and how popular the characters are they must have been beloved and memorable I could just as easily call Stars Align a bad sports melodrama with bland plot and characters no one cared about.
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Blackiris_
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 5:27 pm Reply with quote
jellybeanbandit wrote:

No, it was pretty clear he was speaking about the writers. Despite him using soft tennis because he played it as a kid, he doesn't seem to comprehend that maybe people want to make a series about a more popular sport because they also enjoy that sport and aren't just doing so because it'll sell. He's basically looking down on people like Tadatoshi Fujimaki, Sayo Yamamoto, and Takeshi Konomi.

He is talking about anime, not manga. And it doesn’t sound like he’s talking about the creators at all, but the unwillingness of producers / production committees to take risks. That would make much more sense in the context of the interview. So no, he’s not looking down on anyone in particular, unless you want to interpret it this way, but I don’t see a proper basis for that.
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Kaylee Smerbeck



Joined: 26 Jul 2017
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 1:26 am Reply with quote
I'm glad he actually talk to queer people about putting them in the series
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Tanteikingdomkey
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 11:38 am Reply with quote
I think stars align has some of the best use of LGBT+ content I have seen, and this interview I think emphasizes why. I was also shocked at how he actually addressed why the series doesn't have any warnings for it's rather extreme (tea pot) depictions of child abuse. So even if I'm not sure I totally agree I get where he is coming from.

Portraying homosexuality as a joke while I think it can have a very positive normalizing effect, I have to agree it easily can go into big bang theory territory. First off actually talking to and trying to understand the people you are representing is something I don't think happens as much as you would think(looks at yaoi writers).

But most importantly it uses the underlying issues that the LGBT community go through to emphasizes how all people are to some extent going through the same issues and that we are actually very similar in that regard. That last part of tying back LGBT issues to what non LGBT people deal with reiterates that it's a universal issue (to a lesser extent for hetro individuals) and brings their issues to be seen as more normal, and thus the LGBT community.

Portraying these issues as universal and LGBT characters as something that is there without making it stand out I think is something that will emphasize how we are not actually that different and we all should be treated the same.
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