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Children of the Sea Director Initially Drew Storyboards for Double the Film's Length

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Ayumu Watanabe drew over 200 minutes worth of storyboards for film which was cut down to 111 minutes

Gallery Nucleus's Studio 4°C Retrospective Art Exhibit held a virtual panel on Monday, in which Children of the Sea director Ayumu Watanabe revealed just how dedicated he was to capturing everything in the original manga by Daisuke Igarashi. He initially drew over 200 minutes worth of storyboards for the film because he wanted to "recreate every frame in animation." The film has a final length of 111 minutes.

According to the film's producer and Studio 4°C founder Eiko Tanaka, 111 minutes is already on the long side for a Japanese film. In Japan, filmmakers aim to create features within 120 minutes so that they can be shown on a theater screen six times per day.

Due to the length and visual ambition of Children of the Sea, it was an expensive venture, costing "four times more" than normal for an anime film production. Watanabe said that he was prepared to have a hefty chunk of his storyboards cut during the production process. "My idea was to put in as much as I could, even knowing that not all of it would make it to the final product."

The film incorporated a lot of digital animation, and each individual frame had to be tweaked and corrected. Tanaka remarked that she had to search far and wide to secure the financing.

She also relayed the story of how she got the legendary Joe Hisaishi, best known for his work on Hayao Miyazaki's films, on board as the music composer. "I kept sending him offers for three years. We sent him the storyboards as work on them progressed, and he came to be convinced that this was going to become something special."

The Studio 4°C Retrospective Art Exhibit will run at the Alhambra-based art gallery/boutique Gallery Nucleus from February 6 to 21. The exhibit will include animation key frames, background paintings, concept art, cels, and reproductions. According to Gallery Nucleus, the event includes animation pencil drawings and cels never seen before in the U.S., nor have they ever been available for purchase.

Studio 4°C is the studio behind the anime film adaptation of Daisuke Igarashi's Children of the Sea manga. Children of the Sea opened in Japan in June 2019 and ranked at #5 in its opening weekend. GKIDS screened the film theatrically in North America in Japanese and English in 2019.

Source: Studio 4°C Retrospective Art Exhibit Virtual Panel

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