Sword Art Online Director Confirms Chinese Studios Seek Japanese Staff
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Buzzfeed News Japan posted an interview with anime director Tomohiko Ito (Sword Art Online, Silver Spoon, Erased) on Sunday. Topics Ito discussed ranged from the state of anime production, Kemono Friends, and the smartphone game bubble to upcoming anime such as Hayao Miyazaki's "final" film and the long-awaited new Evangelion film. The bulk of the interview was a retrospective look at the anime of 2017.
In the interview, Ito said his final work for the Sword Art Online franchise was when he traveled to Beijing in September for the opening of the Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale. He said that Himouto! Umaru-chan is a popular anime in China.
He also confirmed that Chinese studios have been scouting Japanese staff. When Ito went to China, he was invited to come to a Chinese studio. In addition, he revealed that a certain company had asked him if he might be willing to make a promotional video. When he replied that scheduling was difficult for him at the time, the company responded, "As far as the schedule, anytime is OK." Ito noted that Chinese studios seem eager to recruit famous Japanese directors.
When asked what anime caught his interest last year, Ito said Dynamic Chord did. Ito said that he had at first avoided the series after hearing it lacked continuity. However, he became curious about what kind of show it was, and he was amazed when he saw the broadcast. Ito said that he had a certain sense of relief that that kind of anime is airing in 2017. He said the series made him think about how anime used to be like that "in the old days." Ito also noted that he generally watches anime twice: once when it airs, and once on Niconico Douga.
Ito's Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale film opened in Japan on February 18, and it has earned more than 4.3 billion yen (about US$38.2 million) in worldwide sales. The film has screened on more than 7,500 screens in 27 countries worldwide.