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Anime Expo 2018 News Roundup: Day Zero, One, Two Headlines
Anime Expo 2018: HIDIVE's Pop Team Epic Panel with Producer Kotaro Sudo

by Kalai Chik,

2018 is an explosive year for Bkub Okawa's Pop Team Epic, as it transformed from a 4-koma to an epic 12 episode anime with some of the biggest voice acting talent in Japan. With 24 pairs of actors, innovative meta gags, and drastic changes in animation style within a single episode, its production couldn't have been anything but absurd. One talented member of the creative staff, Kotaro Sudo, made his appearance at Anime Expo 2018. He's responsible for bringing in talent and animation and tying it together to make the absurdity that is Pop Team Epic.

Taking a trip down nostalgia road, the panel began as the audience watched the first episode with Sudo, laughing together as some jokes never get old, like Popuko punching Pipimi. But smiles turned to serious faces as the crowd dueled each other in an intense round of rock, paper, and scissors against Sudo for an exclusive shirt. However, they were up for a challenge as Sudo nonchalantly mentioned that he's very good at it. In the end, after the long struggle, two victors emerged and walked away with their spoils.

Finally, HIDIVE prepared some questions for Sudo to give fans a behind the scenes peek into the process of making Pop Team Epic.

What made you make the decision to make Pop Team Epic? Were you a fan of the manga or did you see room for creativity?

Sudo: I didn't know much about the manga at first, but I saw them as LINE stickers and some footage on Twitter about two years ago before the show started production. It piqued my interest and I bought the manga, but it wasn't interesting. However, I really liked Popuko and Pipimi and thought it'd be interesting as an anime project. That's the power of social media.

What was your budget for Pop Team Epic?

Sudo: Going from what the normal budget for anime is, much cheaper than that. The rest is secret.

We see a lot of voice actors in the show, but was there a secret audition for them?

Sudo: Not really. It's a labor of love and I was interested in having certain voice actors. Luckily, when I asked them, they agreed. There's so many voice actors in the show, so the fact that they all agreed was impressive.

Was it challenging to work with all those people to create your vision for the anime?

Sudo: Because there were so many pieces to be put together for an anime to work, it was complicated and took a lot of time. But I enjoyed working with everyone and the project itself, so it wasn't frustrating at all. I'm happy with the final product.

How long did it take you to make the whole season?

Sudo: About two years. 

Did you have any memorable moments working on the show?

Sudo: There's a part in episode five that I wasn't able to use and that's my favorite part. In the beginning of episode five, there's a scene with a boat. It's something like, “this scene was taken down because of reasons.” The reason is hard to say, but it's very mouse-like.

Will there be a season two?

Sudo: First I'd like to rest, as it has been a long two years. Depending on how things go, it's a big possibility. I'll do my best.

Why did you include Shōta Aoi in only the last episode?

Sudo: Well, isn't it interesting? Aoi has the power to jump through different time periods, I decided to use him for that.

From Skyrim to Pokémon, there's a lot of gaming references in Pop Team Epic. Are you a gamer and what games are you playing right now?

Sudo: I love games. I'm currently playing Undertale.

Wrapping up in Pop Team Epic fashion, Sudo and the audience participated in a screenshot round of Ridiculous Fortunes. As it turns out, Sudo received Worst Luck, but he found companionship with members of the audience who also received the same unfortunate result. What about me? Best Luck, of course.

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