Anime Expo 2005
Anime Expo - Tsuneo Kobayashi Focus Panel

by Wendi Hamilton,
Hosted by: Greg Ayers

In his introductory remarks, Mr. Kobayashi said he had heard about American anime fans from the media and was very happy to see them at his panel and was pleased that American viewers had seen his shows. He planned to enjoy AX and then go back to Japan to work on more shows.

One of the reasons why he has explored so many genres as a director is that Studio Pierrot is so diverse in their range of shows. All of the shows share the similarity of him finding something to loves in the show, then taking on the role of the story teller. He supervises the storyboards and sets the overall tone for the show. In Victorian Romance Emma, he coordinated the background style as well as the more subtle colors used for the animation. With a show based on a historical time period, he and the production staff went to England to do field research, so that the visuals would be as accurate as possible. Even though there was that much awareness to detail, Mr. Kobayashi admitted there was a deliberate mistake in episode 1 where a door opens outwards instead of inwards because of a story element that was transferred from the manga. The attention focused on even such tiny details is much appreciated.

The manga for Midori Days had not yet finished when they began animating the series. The animation staff was not given direction by the manga artist, they were only told how the series should end. The end was a surprise to Mr. Kobayashi who had his own ideas on how the manga would finish up.

Another example of taking liberties with the original work to make it flow better would be The Twelve Kingdoms, where the parts of Sugimoto and Asano have been greatly expanded from the original novel. In the first chapter, Yoko is transported to the kingdom alone, and most of her dialogue is internalized, and Sugimoto and Asano were put in so Yoko would be able to have a dialogue with other characters. Sugimoto also served as an ‘emotional mirror’ for Yoko, consequently, being betrayed by Sugimoto would be emotionally challenging for her as well.

It was unfortunate to discover that Mr. Kobayashi had given up WWE tickets to come to AX. He is a considerable fan of wrestling and one of the hardest questions he had to answer at the panel was who his favorite wrestler was. At first he went with his safe answer of Stone Cold, but quickly changed it to Vince McMahon, because he is his favorite as an entertainer.

Mr. Kobayashi closed the panel saying he needs to keep on improving as a director, I am sure everyone will look forward to viewing his future works.

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