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Great Pretender Writer Explains Differences Between Writing for Live-action VS Anime

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Anime written by The Confidence Man's Ryota Kosawa premiered on TV in Japan on July 8

Great Pretender series composition writer Ryota Kosawa, who is also well-known for writing the screenplays of popular live-action movies and dramas such as The Confidence Man, Legal High, and Aibou, was interviewed by Newtype regarding his experiences working on a television anime for the first time.

He said that he was approached by Wit Studio president George Wada after the broadcast of Legal High. He had been considering working on anime for a while because the medium has passionate fans across the entire world. When he eventually made the formal decision to work on Great Pretender, he decided that he wanted to make an anime that someone who only watches anime casually can also enjoy.

Generally, he was left to his own devices to write the scripts. When he was done he would meet up with the director Hiro Kaburagi and revise his work. Something he found surprising working on anime was how he had a lot of time in advance to write and complete the story, in contrast to live-action television shows where he would have to pace himself to meet the broadcast deadlines. Also, he was used to writing scripts while imagining the actors, and the actors would help in defining their characters' personalities, but when it came to an anime, it felt harder to grasp who his characters were. It was only later when he saw them animated that he was blown away by the detail and heightened sense of reality in the character acting. Until he saw the animation, he was always fretting about his writing and whether it was up to par.

Another thing he pointed out about anime production was the high level of passion for animation he could sense in everyone working on it. Although live-action production sets are also filled with very passionate people, it also has just as many people who come and go because they have different vocations. Some people are on TV because they are celebrities in a different field, others got a job at the TV bureau and just happened to be assigned to the production set, and so on.

Kosawa concluded the interview by recounting his experience at Anime Expo in Los Angeles last year. He saw people meeting the anime's character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto and bursting into tears. "It made me understand on a visceral level just how many people around the world have been saved by anime," he said. The experience made him think about how he could reach out to a global audience in a similar way through his live-action work.

The anime's "Case 1" (episodes 1-5) premiered on Netflix in Japan with English subtitles on June 2. Netflix will stream the anime exclusively worldwide, but it is streaming in Japan ahead of the rest of the world. The anime also premiered on July 8 on Fuji TV's +UItra programming block. Hiro Kaburagi (Hozuki's Coolheadedness, My Little Monster, 91 Days) is directing the series at Wit Studio. Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Evangelion, FLCL) is designing the characters.

Source: Newtype August 2020 Issue

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