Kirara Magica Interview Shinbo Akiyuki

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Shinbo Akiyuki

Translated from Chinese source:

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From Season 2 to Movie compilation - The beginning of a plan
Kirara What led to the development of the Madoka Magica Movie?
Shinbo I originally want to start working on Season 2. When we reviewed the sequel proposal by Gen Urobuchi, however, we felt that the content are not enough to fill a full second season. This is when producer Atsuhiro Iwakami suggested, "Wouldn't a movie be better with this storyline?" From here, in order to connect the TV series with the new movie, we decide to start with the compilations first.
Kirara Did you plan from the start to not only make a sequel, but also a compilation movie? Or had you consider broadcasting a special edition on TV first?
Shinbo We didn't consider broadcasting on TV. If the new work was to be a movie, the full story need to be available in the theatre. The staff never consider making an TV edition instead.
Kirara As the director, how do you approach the series compilation? Do you have an overarching concept in mind?
Shinbo I don't have any special concept in mind. For children of my generation, "Space Battleship Yamato" is definitely the cultural milestone. So in some vague fashion, I want to make something like that. There are plenty of examples for compilation movies.
Kirara Like as "Mobile Suit Gundam (1981)" and "Densetsu Kyojin Ideon (1982)"?
Shinbo Also "Homeless Remi (1977)" and "3000 Leagues in Search of Mother (1980)." Many of these franchise left a strong impression for me. For a niche title to reach the big screens as a compilation, I think it is not bad.
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The birth of the compilation

the importance of the sequel

Kirara When did you really start working on the project?
Shinbo From near the end of 2011. I remember still editing the storyboard in the first month (of the lunar calendar). I was even working during lunar new year's day (laughter)!
Kirara That's a bit too much (laughter), was editing the storyboard the first step?
Shinbo Not quite. First I worked with miss Rie Matsuhara, editor for the compilation movies, to create the compilation outline. From this outline, we worked on improving on weak scenes, smooth out any conflicting points, and as well as eliminate unnecessary parts. Trying to get everything right; It's kind of like we're watching as we edit. This process worked well for us.
Kirara As the heart of the compilation project, the editor has quite a heavy responsibility.
Shinbo Definitely. Thanks to miss Miss Rie, the project had progressed smoothly.
Kirara While we are at it, I want to ask about the new supervisor: Have you ever have to produce a compilation of your own TV series before?
Shinbo This is my first time.
Kirara Ah, so it's like this.
Shinbo Honestly, not my area of expertise.
Kirara This is a surprise!
Shinbo Even though this was old history, before the "Soreyuke! Uchuu Senkan Yamamoto Yohko II (1997)" OVA, I was asked to make the Season 1 compilation. I instantly rejected the offer and suggested someone else (forced laughter). I feel uninspired working on these type of editing work. I always felt, "need to splice to this shot, got to add this angle." With existing footage, I am at a loss.
Kirara Sounds like this is a new challenge to the supervisor.
Shinbo Yes. However, I have Miss Rie to lead the way (laughter).
Kirara In interviews, the supervisor often bring up Rie Matsuhara, Kazuhiko Seki (Editor, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei) and such editors.
Shinbo Because series editing is a very important job. It's up to the editor to build cohesion within a piece of work. In some ways, editing can be consider the most important part of a series. Also, sometimes I will force in some shots that doesn't really connect together. If they make sense, it's really to the editor's credit. I feel a work's cohesiveness is highly dependent on the editor.
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Anticipated issues about the Madoka Magic Movie
Kirara Do you plan to add any additional scenes? Redraw any existing scenes? The fans are anticipating what you might do.
Shinbo If we need to draw new scenes to connect sequences together, we'll draw them. Most wouldn't see much changes. However, voice acting will be redone, as well as the soundtrack.
Kirara So we can look forward to the higher fidality sound in the theatre?
Shinbo I plan to redone the original soundtrack in 5.1 surround sound, as well as add new pieces. Additionally in the Witch sequences, while retaining Gekidan Inu Curry's unique visual presentation, I want to merge the sound and runes in one form. Hopefully this will improve the impression slightly.
Kirara What about the Seiyuu side of it?
Shinbo Most voice acting will be redone, except for some parts of Episode 10. I am somewhat hestitating on whether to keep the original TV recording. The work is built on voice acting. Superb voice acting doesn't really need to be redone. Furthermore, with all other parts re-recorded, this just make Episode 10 more special. Right now, my biggest worry is whether to redo Episode 10.
Kirara Besides yourself and miss Rie, who else are working on this project?
Shinbo Production is headed by the TV series director Yukihiro Miyamoto, because the atmosphere of the series wouldn't see significant changes. Still, each performance will bring about slightly different pacing and atmosophere, creating a conflicting feeling. To remove this feeling, we need Mr. Miyamoto to make the necessary adjustments (write the timing of animation, special effect direction, like the animation design type stuff).
Kirara As Supervisor, do you plan to bring a different style or meaning from the TV version?
Shinbo There'll be some difference between TV and theatrical version, but my focus will be avoiding making our original fans uncomfortable. Because it's an special activity, even if the movie presentation and style is not obvious, it would do the job. What's important is to highlight Madoka Magica's style. I do believe this type of work will be the best.
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Madoka Magica's inspiration and legacy
Kirara Wrapping up, Madoka Magica has quite an impact since release. I want to ask you again, what does this franchise mean to you?
Shinbo Through working on this project, I gained many new experiences. For example, this was my first work to be spoofed. I truly enjoy all the fanworks. If we include everything, this series probably has the greatest impact that I worked on. Even typical obasans living near the studio, when saw the studio poster, will sign "Oh, it's Homura!" For my work to have such universal recognition, I am overjoyed!
Kirara Do you felt much more pressure with a larger audience?
Shinbo It really is a sigh of relieve, because making an original work already has significant pressure. If it had failed, I could had very well ruined the whole original work magical girl genre. Not only that, it also make original works appear more difficult. Not being a dud is a great sign of release. At least I didn't kill off this genre. Before Madoka Magica, I also made the original work "Le Portrait de Petit Cossette." Which ended without a lot of exposure. With that experience, this experience made me really happy.
Kirara This work even signals the success of original works. Indeed it was a frightening experience.
Shinbo ANIPLEX's "Ano Hana (2011)" was also very successful. With the success of these types of original works, everyone will want to try making their own. This is a great trend. Besides relieve, it also made me a bit self conscious.
Kirara Success led to movie, very grateful?
Shinbo If we can continue this, I want to discover the next signpost of animation. I also want to expand the Madoka Magica franchise a bit more. For this, I have to first complete the threatre version, that's all.