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Crunchyroll Expo 2022
Interview With BONES President Masahiko Minami

by Lynzee Loveridge,

At Crunchyroll Expo, we checked in with BONES president Masahiko Minami to see how things are going with the studio lately. We also asked him opinions on everyone's favorite conman Reigen. Does Minami know that Reigen has become an internet sex symbol?

ANN: The last time ANN was able to have an interview with you was in 2013. What major changes have happened at Bones in the last 10 years?

Masahiko Minami: I've gotten older by 10 years (laughs). Within this time span, we have worked on series like Mob Psycho 100, My Hero Academia, and Bungo Stray Dogs, which all started at around the same time 6-7 years ago. But we have continued to work on these series until even today, which is a first for Studio Bones—to have so many titles continuing on for so long. To be able to continue these projects all this while is a great source of pride for us.

It's similar when it comes to our original works like Eureka 7, which we've been working on for the past 17 years, with the movie last year being the conclusion to the movie series. To be able to continue producing new titles for a series over such a long time span is really rare, and we see it as a big achievement.

I've noticed that Studio Bones hasn't taken on any projects that would fall into the isekai trend that's common right now. I was curious if that was a deliberate decision.

I'm not really sure what exactly counts as isekai, what the boundaries of the genre are. For example, we've worked on titles like Scrapped Princess, which blurs the line between fantasy and isekai, and Snow White with the Red Hair, a fantasy, so I'm not really sure if these count. But when I used to work at Sunrise, I worked on Escaflowne, so in my mind, titles like those—where a girl who goes on an adventure in a new world—are the pioneers of the isekai genre. Also, Yoshiyuki Tomino directed Aura Battler Dunbine, which hardly anyone knows about these days.

It's not that we don't take on isekai titles on purpose, it's just that the other animation studios do more isekai work so those tend to not really come to us. I would like to give it a shot sometime.

Bones is in charge of multiple popular series including My Hero Academia, Bungo Stray Dogs, and Mob Psycho 100, and you've talked about having several sub-studios handling those. How do you allocate resources to these sub-studios while also creating original work?

In general, at Bones, the sub-studios center around the producers for those projects. My Hero Academia is the only exception; because it's such a long series, we have a sub-studio entirely dedicated to it. But in general, if a director or a producer wants to work on a specific project or have a proposal for an original show they want to make, then a sub-studio will be formed around that particular project or proposal.

This is kind of a funny question, but I was wondering if you were aware that Reigen Arataka (from Mob Psycho 100) has trended as an internet sex symbol. What do you think of the fans' attraction to Reigen?

I had no idea he was a sex symbol. One thing about Reigen is that he's a bit child-like, but he does try to act very mature as an adult. I do think he is very visually handsome, but one of the big appeals about him is the combination of Mob and Reigen and their interactions with each other. Mob and Reigen each have some qualities that they lack, and as such, they complement each other very well. Another interesting aspect about Reigen is that he starts out as an isolated character, but as the series goes on, many people gather around him and discover that he's kind of nice and fun to be around, so I feel like he is quite a central character in that regard.

I think that people try to show off their maturity once they become adults, but Reigen is quite true to himself. He says what he thinks and expresses his emotions freely, whether it's happiness or sadness. I'm not sure how he came to be seen as a sex symbol, though (laughs). Where did that come from?

There was a period of time where, when you searched the term 'internet sex symbol' in Google, pictures of Reigen would turn up.

I had no idea! Must've been someone else's doing.

The first two seasons of Mob Psycho 100 were major successes, thanks in part to the high technical ability as seen in the animation. How is the animation team maintaining that level of quality with a first-time director (Takahiro Hasui) at the helm?

Director Tachikawa continues to oversee the entire process, from the scriptwriting all the way to the art direction. He checks everything. Director Hasui is new and young, and especially for Mob Psycho 100 where everything is hand-drawn, having both old and new talents contrast each other works really well.

Is there a character in Mob Psycho 100 that you feel deserves more attention? And who is your favorite character personally?

Reigen is my favorite character. Like I said earlier, Reigen has the confidence to say things that other people can't bring themselves to say. I think it's really cool that Reigen is the type of character who can go to the bar alone—even though he can't really drink.

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