Marvel Future Avengers Producer Discusses Balancing Japanese, American Tastes

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

Marvel Future Avengers, the latest television anime based on the Marvel comic book superheroes, premiered on July 22. Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web website recently interviewed the anime's chief producer and development manager at Marvel Entertainment Yurika Araki Dennis to discuss the series. Araki highlighted the inherent different viewpoints between people in the two countries that impact production.

Araki was asked about the differences that come up when working with companies in both Japan and the United States. She responded, "As far as differences in culture and values between Japan and the U.S., we encounter them with various aspects of the project. Things that are considered natural for the culture of one side are no good in the culture of the other side." However, Araki added that the differences create a fresh atmosphere leading to surprises and laughter.

For example, Araki said that the typical American image of superheroes depicts them with bulging muscles when not wearing body armor. However, Japanese aesthetics typically involve less brawny characters. When looking at the Japanese designs for Marvel's superheroes, members of the American company often request bulkier upper arms and calves. Apparently, eight or nine designs are sometimes rejected while trying to find a balance between Japanese and American styles.

Araki also said that major differences arise on the story composition side when everyone involved in production tries to determine what will be attractive or "cool" for the anime. Americans tend to like a lot of action scenes but get bored if there are a lot of introspective scenes about internal conflict. In contrast, Araki explained, Japanese storytelling involves more build-up providing psychological descriptions of characters. The anime's development team has to explore a variety of solutions to meet the desires of staff in both Japan and the U.S. She added, "I feel that give-and-take regarding the script was the most difficult work."

In addition, Araki noted that differences in cultural and social rules created scenes in the story where it would be natural for a character to apologize in Japanese but say "thank you" in English.

The anime follows Makoto, a young boy who gains superpowers due to an evil gene manipulation experiment. Makoto and other youths join the Avengers as apprentices named "Future Avengers." The anime shows Makoto and others as they train, fight villains and grow, under Avengers members Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, and Wasp.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web

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