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Sarazanmai Anime's Pitch Did Not Mention Butts

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Director Ikuhara waited until after the pitch had been approved before writing this key element into the plot.

Butts are a very important part of Sarazanmai. You might even call them an essential part of the package. It's hard to imagine what the anime would be like without those raucous musical segments every episode.

In the anime's official guidebook, an interviewer asked director Kunihiko Ikuhara, "Weren't there worries about whether such a shocking element would be allowed on TV?" Ikuhara responded that there was no mention of butts in the anime's original pitch. It was only after the pitch had been approved and the script-writing process began that butts became a key component of the plot.

Ikuhara explained his thought process like this: "Say, for instance, that you're making an anime out of a Weekly Shonen Jump manga which have a bunch of bold ideas. Those ideas have already been proven to work through popularity polls and so on. But when you make an original anime, you may come up with some really out-there ideas, but the pitch may not get through. That's why you put in the really wacky stuff after it's already been approved... You have to resort to something like a sneak attack.

"To be fair, it's also a matter of whether it's possible to express crazy ideas through a pitch. A pitch that looks nice on paper will never be anywhere near as convincing as a Jump anime adaptation. The Jump manga has already done well in the rankings, while the pitch for an original anime has no track record. That's why I think my job is all about to what extent I can keep getting away with cheap, illegal moves like playing my hand after seeing everyone else's cards. (laughs) It always causes a load of trouble! If Sarazanmai's pitch had included any details about extracting shirikodama from zombie butts, then it wouldn't have gotten approved."

Ikuhara also mentioned with a laugh that he was surprised that nobody in the staff stopped him. "Even as I was telling people, 'This is how we're doing this,' I was thinking, 'Okay, somebody is definitely going to call me out on this.' But nobody did."

Ikuhara said that the image of Kazuki and the other two boys pulling a shirikodama out of a kappa's butt was the visual core of the series, and was one of the very first things he decided on as far as the visuals went. He figured that this would be pretty original for anime while also staying true to kappa folklore.

The shirikodama is a mythical human organ that is said to exist in the rectum, and kappa were thought to literally reach up a human's anus to retrieve it for a snack. For more information about kappa folklore and how it relates to Sarazanmai, check out this introductory article.

The Sarazanmai anime series premiered on April 11. Kunihiko Ikuhara (Revolutionary Girl Utena, Penguindrum) is directing the series at Lapin Track (Yuri Kuma Arashi) along with scriptwriter Teruko Utsumi. MAPPA is co-producing the animation.

Source: Sarazanmai Official Guidebook


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