Animazement 2003 Guest Interviews & Con Report

Interviewee Photo
  • Interview with: Yasuo Yamaguchi
  • Interviewed by: Tsukasa on May 23rd, 2003
  • Location: Animazement 2003: Durham, North Carolina
  • Publication Date: May 31st, 2003
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Editor's note (04/10/08):

This interview was originally part of a single page that contained multiple interviews, and the author's convention experience merged between Q/A segments. We've moved to a new format where each person we interview gets their own page, and our experiences related to the interview appear above the interview transcript. A handful of very minor edits and omissions have been applied for clarity. We realize that some of these older pages will still look funny, but we believe that the consistency achieved makes up for that. At any rate, if you wish to view all of the pages that were originally part of the convention report, click here.

At Animazement 2003, I had the opportunity to speak to a number of fascinating guests who had come all the way to the con from Japan. I had prepared a great number of questions to ask, but ultimately due to time constraints, I was only able to ask a few at each press session in which several of the guests would get to sit down and respond to the questions posed by the few of us who showed up, with the aid of several translators.

On Friday, I sat down at the table with Yasuo Yamaguchi, Hiroyuki Kitakubo, Yoshinobu Yamakawa, and Kazuto Nakazawa. Mr. Yamaguchi has directed a number of productions, such as Ge Ge Ge No Kitarou, Getta Robo, and Devilman, but he is best known as having been the chief planner of Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon. Mr. Kitakubo is best known for having directed Roujin Z, Blood:The Last Vampire, and Golden Boy. Mr. Yamakawa has taken on a variety of jobs, particularly director and character designer in a number of series, and his work was featured in Di Gi Charat and Slayers Gorgeous, amongst others. Mr. Nakazawa is an animator, and best known for his work as the character designer for El-Hazard:The Magnificent World. During this first press session, I was only able to ask a couple of questions, as the time quickly flew during that hour, but I tried my best to make them interesting ones. I opened with a question to Yasuo Yamaguchi.

Anime Dream:

How does it feel to have helped bring one of the defining shows of the Magical Girl genre to life?

Yasuo Yamaguchi:

I was not the first line producer in the project, but I took on more of a managerial role. It all began when I was talking with some people at Kodansha, after having produced the successful Candy Candy. They were talking about putting together a new series, but we were all half drunk at the time, and most series ideas tend to fizzle out when discussed under such circumstances. Ultimately, while we were searching for a new talent, we came across someone (Naoko Takeuchi), and thought she had real talent, so we decided to give her a shot, since her manga was becoming popular. I took a more hands off style in overseeing the project, ultimately, and I feel as if in the end, I only really helped propel the series from the beginning until it took off on its own inertia.

Anime Dream:

What do you think of the censorship and plot changes anime often undergoes in order to be broadcast on American television?

Yasuo Yamaguchi:

I think the custom tailoring of anime series and works for cultural reasons is unavoidable, but all alterations should have to be approved by the original creator, I think. It's difficult at times to keep track of all the changes a series goes through. For example, a series' score is sometimes changed when brought out in other countries, but it legally conflicts with the original version's copyright. There needs to be a formal system of keeping track of all the changes a work goes through when released in other countries, and the creator should have direct say in what alterations he or she allows to be made in their work when viewed by foreign audiences.