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Interview: George Wada, Producer of Attack on Titan

by Lynzee Loveridge,

As Anime Expo drew to a close in Los Angeles, Anime News Network sat down with Studio WIT founder and president George Wada to discuss the production of popular anime series Attack on Titan, its themes of isolationism, and the company's goals for the future.

ANN: The first thing I'd like to start with is that there was a really exciting announcement earlier by the president of Production I.G for Psycho-Pass season two. I don't believe its been announced in Japan yet. Is Studio WIT going to be involved again and are you going to produce for the second season?

George Wada: If there is a season two, I would like to work on it again. [laughs, then in English] Sorry!

When it comes to working on Attack on Titan, what does your job entail?

As a producer, my main job is to create an easier working environment for the staff.

Attack on Titan is popular with both fans in Japan and in the West. What about it do you think makes it appeal to Western audiences?

I feel there are two reasons why Attack on Titan is popular in the West and around the world. The first reason is overall, the theme of overcoming the "Wall of Fear" plays a big role in the series. I think people overcoming that fear is relatable to the audience. The second reason is there are many cool looking action scenes using the 3D maneuver gear. I think that caught people's attention.

The Wall of Fear is a very interesting concept. Do you think that theme of isolationism shown in the series is unique to Japan or resonates with international audiences too?

The idea of being isolated within the wall originated with manga creator Hajime Isayama, who was inspired by Japanese culture. The Japanese people can become very isolated and enclosed, so it's more of a Japanese cultural idea.

You've worked on two series, Psycho-Pass and Attack on Titan, and both were popular with Western audiences. Do those kinds of shows appeal to you more? What kind of themes attract you creatively?

For Psycho-Pass, the overall theme and idea was inspired by the L.A. Confidential film as well as a lot of Western films. Attack on Titan isn't influenced by Western culture, but humanity and society as a whole. It's more focused on every individual's inner feelings, instead of Western culture.

Attack on Titan and Guilty Crown generated a lot of buzz before they aired. Do you feel like this is pressure to succeed? Do you prefer working on a popular series or would you rather work on something less well known with less stress?

I feel very strongly about creating anime that will be popular. I have pride in creating anime people will enjoy. I don't want any of my works to be low-key or minor, so of course I want every anime I make to be popular. I let the creative staff come up with their own ideas of what will be really popular and go from there.

How do you feel Attack on Titan compares to the majority of modern anime?

I feel the main difference is the overall action theme. I think the series has the best action scenes overall with the unique 3D maneuver gear. In terms of action, Attack on Titan is more unique, more robust, and more appealing to fans than any other anime out there.

Are their plans to extend the Attack on Titan beyond 26 episodes? The manga is still ongoing.

I can't tell you how many episodes there are until the end, but there is roughly 26, maybe? But as long as the manga continues to go on, I would like to continue to anime series too.

Is there a character in the series that you find most inspiring?

I like Sasha best, the potato girl.

How does working with a brand-new studio change the production dynamic compared to larger, more established studio?

Wit Studio allows myself and the staff to focus more on creating a single anime and put more effort into a single project compared to say, Production I.G where I would have a smaller staff and multiple projects. That's what I think the main difference is between the two.

Is there a genre of anime you would like to try next, such as sci-fi or fantasy?

I'm not really interested in categorizing into specific genres, but I want to create something for 10-14-year-old kids. I'd like to create something for that audience.

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