Fuji TV Producer Discusses Their Increasing Focus on BL Anime
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Livedoor News recently interviewed Fuji TV producer Yuka Okayasu regarding Fuji TV's new anime label "Blue Lynx." It's first anime film announcement was an adaptation of Kou Yoneda's Twittering Birds Never Fly (Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai) manga. Okayasu discussed the circumstances behind creating the label and greenlighting Twittering Birds Never Fly as an R-18 film.
Okayasu, a self-proclaimed fujoshi, said that many of her colleagues shared similar interests and that it was relatively easy to create the "Blue Lynx" label. The success of the Fuji TV live-action drama Ossanzu Rabu (A Geezer's Love) convinced even the non-BL readers at the company that BL was commercially viable, paving the way for a BL-focused anime label.
One of the goals behind the label was to create anime adaptations that are as true to the spirit of the original work as possible, including sexual and mature themes. Although there have been a number of BL anime which have toed the line in terms of sexual expression that is permissible on TV, they have had to cut scenes. According to Okayasu, there are many BL works that would be impossible to make at all under these restrictions. This was the rationale behind greenlighting Twittering Birds Never Fly as a series of R-18 films.
Okayasu claimed that "other than scenes which had to be cut to fit the length, the film follows the source material almost exactly." She emphasized that the sexual depictions are very important to the story and the emotional states of the characters.
Regarding the decision for GRIZZLY to lead the production, Okayasu said that the studio was established during a similar time frame as Blue Lynx, and although the two have no direct connections, they decided to work together due to the common goal of creating BL anime.
Blue Lynx's most recent announced project is a film adaptation of Kanna Kii's Umibe no Étranger (L'étranger du Plage or The Stranger on the Beach), which will open in Japan in summer. Okayasu described it as a "lyrical" work, so rather than splitting up the story into 11-12 minute TV episodes, she thought it was better to take it all in through a film.
She also clarified that the Given anime was originally planned to have both a TV series and a film, and that Blue Lynx was not originally involved in its planning. The TV series was planned for the Noitamina TV block because it was "a BL work with good compatibility with Noitamina." Okayasu mentioned that its music themes made it similar to Nodame Cantabile and Kids on the Slope, which previously aired on Noitamina.
Saezuru Tori wa Habatakanai: The Clouds Gather opened in Japan last Saturday. The film stars Tarusuke Shingaki as Yashiro and Wataru Hatano as Doumeki (both are reprising the roles from earlier drama CDs). Kaori Makita (Yuri!!! on Ice, Banana Fish episode director) directed the film at GRIZZLY (Yarichin Bitch-bu).