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Interview: Yasuke Director LeSean Thomas


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InvertedIkemen



Joined: 28 Apr 2021
Posts: 1
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:57 pm Reply with quote
Obviously he shouldn't have to make a historical drama just because he was the first person to make an anime out of Yasuke's life, but... I will always be amazed that the first anime of Yasuke isn't really about what it might have been like to be a slave turned warrior retainer for Oda Nobunaga. That just seems like such a great premise on its own.

Hopefully the show's good. Straight to Netflix doesn't usually spark optimism in me.
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AsuraTheDestructor



Joined: 24 Dec 2013
Posts: 413
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 2:14 pm Reply with quote
I'm cautious. LeSean Thomas's fraudulent Cannon Busters Kickstarter makes me hesitant to watch his work.
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Beatdigga



Joined: 26 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 3:51 pm Reply with quote
AsuraTheDestructor wrote:
I'm cautious. LeSean Thomas's fraudulent Cannon Busters Kickstarter makes me hesitant to watch his work.

Same. His business practices and the show being garbage have given him no benefit of the doubt.
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Sven Viking



Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 826
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2021 4:37 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
and his latest work is Spring 2020's Netflix Original animation, Yasuke

Was that meant to say 2021 or am I misunderstanding something?
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luisedgarf



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 496
Location: Guadalajara, Mexico
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 7:48 pm Reply with quote
Beatdigga wrote:
Same. His business practices and the show being garbage have given him no benefit of the doubt.

It doesn't help much that, considering the current social climate in the U.S., any related issue against him could be used by him as an accusation of racism, and what's worse is that Japanese animators have no idea of the accusations against him.
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El Hermano



Joined: 24 Feb 2019
Posts: 407
Location: Texas
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:24 pm Reply with quote
I don't see why MAPPA would care. They were hired to animate his show, so they animated his show. Whatever controversies he's been involved in isn't really a concern to them. So long as he paid them properly, of course.
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Kai99



Joined: 18 Aug 2015
Posts: 82
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:17 am Reply with quote
Mecha... MECHA! Dude should have just kept it as a historical drama and go. This is the exact same problem with cannon busters, a show I couldn't even finish. They had all these different elements in it that did not go together and did not need to be together. It like the show couldn't decide what it was about so it decided to try a little bit of everything...and it failed miserably in the process. Now he is trying to match a historical drama, magic, and freakin mecha all together for some ridiculous reason.

Lesean, the story of the first (and only?) black samurai in feudal Japan is interesting enough as it is without all the supernatural crap!
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kae kurono



Joined: 24 Mar 2011
Posts: 89
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2021 7:11 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
It's not for real! It's like we live in a ghetto! They can't—“No one likes mecha!” It's like, “What?!” That's how anime boomed out big!


Mecha is what created otaku culture in the first place so its pitiful to see the casual anime fan dismiss the genre over superfluous reasons.
Ironically when more popular main-stream genres have a far stronger interest on fetishsizings superfluous elements (shonen & slice of life) than mecha ever does.

Ironically mecha more so than any other action/adventure genre tends to focus MORE on relationships & the psychology of its cast of character than any other genre of action too.

So its very funny & ironic when the casual anime fan criminally dismiss mecha as just giant robots fighting each other.

A blogger named flawfinder said: "One thing you should always keep in mind is that while anime is special, said specialness comes with its own drawbacks. For example, don’t go into anime expecting writing quality on the level of what Hollywood has put out in its prime, or trying to find a show with the same amount of craft as The Sopranos. With the exception of mecha and magical girls, every genre that you see in anime has been done better by American films and TV alone, and that’s not even getting into stuff like French cartoons, German TV, or the Korean movie industry. Anime is not really capable of creating something like Breaking Bad because of cultural differences as well as all the drama surrounding its very production from the underpaid workers to how a lot of shows are just expensive advertisements for the source material."

I'm not sure if that's true or not since i don't watch any american media. But i find the part where mecha & magical girl are exceptions to be 100% based & on point if there's any truth to be made there. Since i would present mecha as a reason why anime is just as a respectable medium of its own on the same scale of others.

Quote:
I think the anime that I got exposed to that got me into Japanese animation were… Dangaioh, The Guyver: Bio-Booster Armor, City Hunter… all of the really late 80s, early 90s original video animations.


Guyver, Devilman, Blue seed, Gunsmith cats & so many others, oh yeah me too.
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Sven Viking



Joined: 09 May 2005
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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2021 11:43 pm Reply with quote
I wonder if part of the reason for the fall in popularity of mecha shows could have been the trend at one point of shoehorning them into every series even if it didn’t make sense. This lead me personally to often have a “not mecha again!” sort of reaction when seeing them pop up in something despite liking mecha overall, just because the mecha elements in those shows can usually be counted on to be forced and lacklustre.

Sadly, though, while I wish they’d left the mecha out of this particular series I accept that this part is a very understandable concern for a commercial product:
Quote:
It was like, “How do we create a world that is separate from other Jidaigeki anime in Japan?” because you know… Jidaigeki anime are not very popular in the US, right? And it's not popular in Japan.
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SHD



Joined: 05 Apr 2015
Posts: 757
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2021 4:22 am Reply with quote
kae kurono wrote:
A blogger named flawfinder said: "One thing you should always keep in mind is that while anime is special, said specialness comes with its own drawbacks. For example, don’t go into anime expecting writing quality on the level of what Hollywood has put out in its prime, or trying to find a show with the same amount of craft as The Sopranos. With the exception of mecha and magical girls, every genre that you see in anime has been done better by American films and TV alone, and that’s not even getting into stuff like French cartoons, German TV, or the Korean movie industry. Anime is not really capable of creating something like Breaking Bad because of cultural differences as well as all the drama surrounding its very production from the underpaid workers to how a lot of shows are just expensive advertisements for the source material."

Yeah, no, I think this is ridiculous. So ridiculous in fact, I don't even know where to begin, I keep re-reading it and just throwing up my arms going "what??" It stinks of snobbishness, US-centrism and misunderstanding of anime and manga in general... never mind the blogger applying their own subjective tastes as universal.

One, anime is not trying to create Sopranos or Breaking Bad - and that is fine. That's one of the immediate flaws in this approach, that anything that is not Sopranos or Breaking Bad is inferior by default, with the implications that animation is inferior to live action by default. Why? It completely ignores the fact that animation is an entirely different medium!

Two, why magical girls and mecha? What about shows like Rurouni Kenshin or Drifters, or Mouryou no Hako, for more recent shows, Deca-Dence or hell, Fairy Ranmaru, where's the American (Korean, German, French) equivalent for those that do the same things? (No really, point me at an American show that does what Fairy Ranmaru does, let alone does it better. And no, it's not because it's a "magical boy" show. It's because what it does simply can't be done in live action, but also even if it could it would never be greenlighted. It is because it's animation that it can do what it does the way it does it.)

Three, I don't think I've ever seen an American show that comes close to the LoGH OVAs, GitS (especially GitS:SAC) Gankutsuou, Cowboy Bebop, Kemonozume... Yes, Babylon 5 or The Expanse are kind of similar to LoGH and they're both really good shows, but they're still not doing what LoGH does so they can't be compared directly. Same with all the American cyberpunk and GitS, yes, there's a lot of it out there and a lot of it is good, but none that I've seen does what GitS does (unless it's inspired by GitS) so unless we're talking about the entire genre of cyberpunk/sci-fi, it remains apples vs oranges. Sure, Firefly is kind of similar to Bebop (no surprises there) but it still can't come close to the quality of writing in Bebop, let alone the whole package of visuals, voice acting, music and writing - Jupiter Jazz I-II are some of the best episodes of anything I've ever seen. Kemonozume is so inherently Japanese and more specifically Yuasa, that I don't even know what it could even be compared to if not another Yuasa work. And I've never seen anything quite like Gankutsuou before or after, anime or live action or cartoon - even though the visuals in Gankutsuou draw heavily from French sci-fi cartoons, it's completely different. It's doing its own thing.

And I could go on.

If there's anything anime is limited by it's the fact that it's a business like any other, and if it can't create market trends it has to follow them to sustain itself; and the market for anime tends to be dominated by demographics that appreciate certain things more than others. There's a lot of manga and novels (not LN, actual novels) that are easily on the level that this flawfinder dude seems to think is "real quality" or whatever, and that's not even mentioning original ideas. But the chances of them being adapted into an anime are really low, since they wouldn't make much money.


Last edited by SHD on Sun May 02, 2021 8:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Horsefellow



Joined: 01 Jan 2020
Posts: 204
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2021 5:43 am Reply with quote
kae kurono wrote:
Mecha is what created otaku culture in the first place so its pitiful to see the casual anime fan dismiss the genre over superfluous reasons.


Even if this is true, which is certainly debatable, the otaku who got into mecha anime back in the day generally care more about the girls than the actual robots. See: Macross, Gunbuster, Nadesico, Evangelion, and so forth Why not just cut out the middle man and make a harem or fanservice show? Or some kind of mashup like KanColle/Azur Lane with mecha girls? I mean, we only got like 1 or 2 model kits of the robots from Darling in the Franxx but a ton of Zero Two and Ichigo figures and merchandise. Same thing with Promare where Galo and Lio have tons of figures but there's zero kits of their robots. Whatever role otaku had with mecha probably isn't the one that applies to this.

Sven Viking wrote:
I wonder if part of the reason for the fall in popularity of mecha shows could have been the trend at one point of shoehorning them into every series even if it didn’t make sense. This lead me personally to often have a “not mecha again!” sort of reaction when seeing them pop up in something despite liking mecha overall, just because the mecha elements in those shows can usually be counted on to be forced and lacklustre


Mecha lost popularity because it's primary goal was to sell toys to children, and children have moved onto other shows and activities so there's not a whole lot of point to making stuff if it's not going to move merchandise. Mecha dropped in popularity around the time monster battling and card game franchises started popping up and taking over the market away from them.
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Mr Boobo



Joined: 25 Nov 2002
Posts: 9
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 2:36 pm Reply with quote
Like others have mentioned, I have little interest in watching anime by a guy who stole over $150K from over 2K fans and continues to insult them with lies on a regular basis. Also sad ANN doesn't even ask about this issue when it has been mentioned a number of times to them.
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juaifan



Joined: 20 Mar 2021
Posts: 6
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 8:28 pm Reply with quote
Mr Boobo wrote:
Like others have mentioned, I have little interest in watching anime by a guy who stole over $150K from over 2K fans and continues to insult them with lies on a regular basis. Also sad ANN doesn't even ask about this issue when it has been mentioned a number of times to them.


ANN has never shied away from asking people and companies the hard questions in the past, so it is a bit disappointing to see it not even mentioned when interviewing a controversial creator. Unfortunately I feel their focus on trying elevate Thomas and his work took priority over holding him responsible for his actions. They certainly had no issue in pressuring The Promised Neverland's staff for a response on how Sister Krone was depicted. I'm not sure how else to read such a softball interview.
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luisedgarf



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 496
Location: Guadalajara, Mexico
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 10:18 pm Reply with quote
juaifan wrote:
Mr Boobo wrote:
Like others have mentioned, I have little interest in watching anime by a guy who stole over $150K from over 2K fans and continues to insult them with lies on a regular basis. Also sad ANN doesn't even ask about this issue when it has been mentioned a number of times to them.


ANN has never shied away from asking people and companies the hard questions in the past, so it is a bit disappointing to see it not even mentioned when interviewing a controversial creator. Unfortunately I feel their focus on trying elevate Thomas and his work took priority over holding him responsible for his actions. They certainly had no issue in pressuring The Promised Neverland's staff for a response on how Sister Krone was depicted. I'm not sure how else to read such a softball interview.


Maybe because Thomas is American, and the people behind The Promised Neverland are Japanese.

And let's be honest: This guy is using the current social situation in the U.S. in order to benefit himself, so no one could accuse him and risking themselves of being racists, while also taking advantage about the Japanese love/hate relationship with the Americans and the fact maybe the Japanese side possibly aren't fluent on English to check the current legal situation about Thomas in the U.S.

And doesn't help American courts are normally biased to the locals, just check the whole Macross/Robotech debacle that lasted so many years.
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octopodpie
ANN Executive Editor


Joined: 02 May 2011
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2021 11:41 pm Reply with quote
Before we start hypothesizing why the Black woman who performed this interview didn't grill LeSean Thomas about Cannon Busters' KickStarter is due fear of being accused of being a racist (did you not watch the video at all?) I'll instead explain why.

While the concerns about Cannon Busters are valid, the accusations aren't according to KickStarter's own terms of service. I'm not going to split hairs about what the community may feel amounts to be "ripped off" versus "actual theft," but it matters from a professional journalism standpoint. If Thomas had run a Kickstarter campaign that failed, we would have asked him about it. But he didn't, it succeeded. It succeeded to the point that it manifested an entire series on Netflix. People backed a pilot and it got made and was used to sell an entire television series, which can now be watched by everyone.

What people considered "theft" is unfulfilled physical Backer rewards, including a physical copy of the pilot. The pilot, in that form, did take a lot of time to come out. But they did; in March 2021 to North American backers. What does this mean? International Backers don't have a physical copy of the pilot, and people are otherwise still waiting on an art book, t-shirts, ands signed memorabilia. Is that the same as "stealing US$150,000"?

I could honestly ask some philosophical questions here about who would invest money (because ultimately that's what it is, Kickstarter is not a pre-order service) in the Cannon Busters series concept and get the full series created only to turn on the creator over a Blu-ray or T-shirt? Did you want Cannon Busters or did you want Cannon Busters stuff?
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