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Interview: Remake Our Life!'s True-to-Life Depiction of Creative Work With Frontwing Producer Yasuhiro Atobe

by Kim Morrissy,

Remake Our Life! tells the story of Kyōya Hashiba, a game industry worker. After encountering a dead end in his adult life, he travels back in time to his university days, where he strives to create things with his newfound friends. The visual novel development company Frontwing is part of the anime's production committee. ANN spoke to producer Yasuhiro Atobe to learn about Frontwing's connection to the anime, and how its depiction of creative work rings true to life.

©NACHI KIOKADOKAWA/Remake Our Life! Production Committee

How did Frontwing get involved in the production committee of Remake Our Life!?

Frontwing has worked with the author Nachi Kio on other projects such as Grisaia. There are fans of Remake Our Life! in Frontwing, so we came up with a proposal to make it into an anime, and after consulting with KADOKAWA, we were able to proceed with this project.

You have extensive experience with a doujin circle as well as professional experience at Frontwing. When did you start creating things, and how did you make the leap from creating doujin works to commercial works?

It's been a dream of mine since I was little to become an announcer. When I was in high school and university, I participated in announcement contests and made radio dramas, and so on. At my first job, I had a friend who participated in doujin activities; they invited me and that's how I made my start.

The first commercial work I ever participated in was the ending theme lyrics of the Dream Eater Merry anime. Our doujin circle got a request to compose music; we held a competition within the circle, and the Dream Eater Merry anime producer chose my submission. Since then, I've participated as a lyricist in other anime projects, such as Place to Place.

As a producer on Remake Our Life!, what exactly is your role on the project?

My role is as a coordinating producer for the Remake Our Life! anime production committee. I handle a broad array of tasks related to the anime: coordinating with director Kobayashi and the animation production studio feel., having meetings with the music producer, approving the PR strategy, and so on.

The story of Remake Our Life! begins with the protagonist experiencing burnout. Did you ever go through anything similar? How common is it among people involved in the novel game industry?

There are a lot of people around me who do other jobs for a living while moonlighting in creative work. So I think you've got to be extremely blessed to be able to do the creative work or job you love to the extent that you burn out.

Also, when it comes to people in the novel game industry, even when they get burnt out and leave novel games, there are many powerful people who are working hard in another creative industry.

A large part of the story of Remake Our Life! takes place in the mid-2000s. What was it like to be a doujin creator during this time? Are there any significant differences nowadays?

I think the 2000s were an extremely energetic and chaotic time. It wasn't yet mainstream to release your creations on the internet, and new works were mainly released in storefronts. Also, compared to now, profitability might have been less of a factor relative to the pursuit of leisure.

There are people who were active in doujin work at the time who work in the commercial industry today. I think that the gap between indie (doujin) and professional creators is smaller now compared to back then.

It seems that a creator's university years can influence their works and style very deeply. How did you spend your university years? Were there any works that you consumed during those years that made a strong impression on you?

When I was in university, I joined a circle at a university that I didn't belong to. I made a community FM radio program and did consulting for local businesses at seminars for this university that I didn't belong to. Also, I worked a lot at my part-time jobs.

An anime that I watched a lot even after I graduated university, and which I still love to this day, is Kaleido Star. It's an anime set in a circus.

Like the protagonist of Remake Our Life!, you seem to be capable of handling many different tasks at the same time. How important is it to be an “all-rounder” when it comes to creative works?

I think it's my job to cultivate an environment where the creators can focus on their work. In order to accomplish that, I think it's extremely important for me to become an all-rounder who can do everything other than creative expression.

Generally speaking, how much can you personally relate to the story of Remake Our Life!? Do you have a favorite scene from the anime?

Any kind of creative work involves an element of compromise. When it comes to the work behind Remake Our Life!, the characters have to grapple with these kinds of compromises, but since I'm nowhere near as excellent as the protagonist Hashiba, I feel jealous.

My favorite scene in the series is the aftermath of Nanako's school festival singing performance in episode 5, when she goes looking for Hashiba and sees him getting kissed by Shinoaki. I think the visual direction there, with Nanako's face reflected in the fountain, was utterly fantastic.

I have to ask: Are you in the Shinoaki faction or the Nanako faction?

I'm a Nanako supporter!

Do you have any advice for aspiring creators?

What kind of work are you making, and who are you making it for? If you're going to make it, there might only be one person who likes it. Make it something that this person will treasure for the rest of their life. Challenge yourself, even if it's just once. I'm sure that something will change for you if you do.

Remake Our Life! is streaming on Crunchyroll.

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