"Un-Go" Staff Interviewed on SokoAni Podcast

Highlights of character design process, why there's an Episode 0 movie, and more

Anime podcast SokoAni interviewed some of the staff from Un-Go, the currently airing mystery series based on Meiji Kaika Ango Torimono-chō by 20th century novelist Ango Sakaguchi. Director Seiji Mizushima was onhand, as were the character designers, pako ("in Kazamori state" via Skype) and Yun Kouga. Producer Yoshihiro Oyabu from Bones also participated. 



The staff basically came together through Twitter. As for having two character designers, Mizushima was worried they would feel slighted, and the issue had to be considered delicately, but the two got along well. Also, there are so many guest characters that it was useful from that standpoint to have another desinger. Eveyone agreed that Mizushima was a good director, and easy to talk to.


As for how character designs were broken down, pako did boy Inga, Shinjūrō, stuffed-animal Kazamori, and many of the guest characters. Kouga mentioned specifically that she worked on Rie and Seigen. Later on they noted that character designs were not based on the original work, but mainly on the characters they received from the scriptwriter and director. Kouga didn't read it at all, whereas pako did but then wondered if maybe he shouldn't have.


One of the listener questions was about Shinjūrō's age, since he seems to have so much life experience, but everyone agreed that although you can guess at his age, they'd rather not come out and say it.


When asked what the hardest part of adapting the original work was, Mizushima replied, "The people who are here probably didn't experience those parts" but that it was Shou Aikawa (who was in charge of the story and script) who worked hardest at that (This included updated the setting to add present day issues to the world of the story.)



Mizushima stated his favorite characters as Shinjūrō and Inga, noting their uniqueness. Kouga was sort of funny. She said she likes Rindoku, but then settled on Shinjūrō and Inga after all, that is until Mizushima asked, "What about that guest character from episode four?" whereupon she got pretty excited, "OH! I like Fumihiko!" That's the older brother in the Sasa family; she cited his cute voice. pako mentioned Seigen, but went with Shinjūrō, praising Ryo Katsuji's voicework. Oyabu picked Rie because she's his type.


A listener asked whether the black or white color of the nametags (to help viewers keep track of all the characters) have any meaning. Mizushima replied that it was simply a matter of making it easier to read, when deciding where to display the name on the screen.


Finally, someone did ask the burning question we were all waiting to hear answered—why they made the Episode 0 movie instead of just showing such important story information within the TV series.


Apparently, Toho wanted to do some kind of movie project together. The series is eleven episodes, but they went ahead and budgeted for thirteen, so they were thinking whether to do an OVA with the other 2 or something else...and realized they should do it as a movie. The theater release was timed to fit well story-wise with the broadcast pace. They understand that people are feel sort of gypped that 'the biggest mystery' is explained in a movie, but Mizushima confirmed that, "Actually, even if you don't see the movie you can still enjoy the TV show[...]" 


If you understand Japanese, it's definitely worth checking out the full podcast over at Sokoani!

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