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Director Kunihiko Ikuhara Discusses Link Between Sarazanmai and Tohoku Earthquake

posted on by Kim Morrissy

In an interview with fashion magazine anan, Sarazanmai director Kunihiko Ikuhara discussed the social and cultural context in which he had developed the anime.

"This isn't just the case with Sarazanmai; every time I create characters, I base them on the idea of 'loss,'" he explained. "As the character's loss becomes more apparent, other characters who have also lost something become drawn to them, and they come to understand each other through their mutual feelings of loss."

This feeling, Ikuhara went on, is also one of the key motifs of the current era. "Right now, we're going through a period of turbulent change. The post-war era was a world of material things, but it reached its conclusion and ended. I think that the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami is the biggest event that Japanese people experienced in the post-war. What we felt there is a theme across all Japanese people. When you look at the flow of time, it's often said that new things are good, or that it's better to forget the past, or that the future is sparkling. But in the end, I think that there are things that you don't want to forget, or that you mustn't forget. There's no future in just forgetting. I'm sure that the future coexists with loss."

The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan. The World Bank's estimated economic cost of the disasater could reach up to US$235 billion, which would make it the most expensive natural disaster in history.

In closing, Ikuhara said, "The fact that we've lived thus far is affirmed by material things: clothes, cars, houses, and so on. But when the Great Earthquake happened, everyone felt keenly that we can't take our lives for granted. The material world ended right there. But even so, I want to reaffirm that we're alive. My desire is to search for a way."

Ikuhara stated that he hopes that all sorts of people watch Sarazanmai. He has a feeling that it will reach people who have never particularly watched his works before. Perhaps it will even lead to people discovering him as a creator. "I'm looking forward to seeing their reactions to Sarazanmai. I suppose it'll be a first experience," he said with a laugh.

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: anan No.2152 (May 29 issue)


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