Kunihiko Ikuhara and Chiho Saito Q&A session at CNAnime
Perhaps the biggest draw at CNAnime this year was the pressence of Miss Chiho Saitō and Kunihiko Ikuhara, the creative forces behind Revolutionary Girl Utena. Miss Saito and Mr Ikuhara held two Q&A sessions, never failing to captivate and amuse their fans they once again delivered. Miss Saito answered fans' questions emphaticly in her usual cute demeanor while Mr Ikuhara's answers varied from quite serious to absurdly silly.
When Miss Saito was asked about the seemingly different relationships between Utena and Anthy in the Manga, Movie and TV Series she responded that at first when she began working on Utena she was under the impression that they were just friends. When she saw parts of the TV Series and Movie she realised just how wrong she was, however she decided that the would keep them as friends in the Manga.
When asked about his leaving the production of Sailor Moon and the basis of Utena Mr. Ikuhara responded that prior to the Sailor Moon R series he was considering leaving the Sailor Moon production team, he felt he no longer had anything to contribute to Sailor Moon. However he was eventually persuaded to direct the Sailor Moon R TV series and the the Sailor Moon Super (S) movie. Mr. Ikuhara had thought up the basis for the movie and was quite commited to its production when the producer left the team, after which he too left. The ideas he had thought up for the Sailor Moon S movie however became the basis for some aspects of Utena. In particular, the race involving the two Pegasii was an idea he had originally had for Sailor Moon S.
Regarding the name "Utena" Mr. Ikuhara responded that no one involved in the production originally liked the name, however he had chosen the name and stuck with it. While Utena does not sound like a Japanese word it is in fact Japanese for pedicel, the part of a flower that joins with the stem.
When asked about their favorite Anime series of the moment Miss Saito responded Gundam, and Mr. Ikuhara responded Power Puff Girls. He later admitted that he had never actually seen Power Puff Girls.
When Mr. Ikuhara was asked about Be-PaPas, if it was still in existence he informed the audience that Be-PaPas had just moved into a new office and that they are currently working on their next project.
Miss Saito was asked about the inspiration for the cloathing in Revolutionary Girl Utena; she responded that she liked military uniforms, in particular 18th century military uniforms. Mr. Ikuhara had asked her for simple designs which would show nice body lines for Utena, he requested that Utena have obvious bust and waistlines. She drew over 100 sketches for him to pick from.
Miss Saito and Mr. Ikuhara were asked what character they would be if they could be any character they chose. Miss Saito responded that she would most like to be Aiko, while Mr. Ikuhara responded.... Chuchu.
Miss Saito was asked if the serial Manga format (fixed number of pages) was a limitation in her creation process for the Utena manga to which she responded that it made no big difference, she was used to working in that format. Had she not been restricted to that format she might have changed a few details slightly, but no major changes. More restrictive was the age group that the Magazine was geared to. There were some aspects to the story that she could not publish for in a Magazine for a younger age group. This however became less of a limiting factor with The Adolescence of Utena.
When asked if there might be more Utena Mr. Ikuhara responded, "Maybe. Maybe not."