In the spirit of Hi-Evolution's "remixed" chronological order, the following Q&A sessions with the director of Eureka Seven: Hi-Evolution, Tomoki Kyoda, will be presented out of order. You may have caught my preview of Eureka Seven: Hi-Evolution, but there was plenty more information Kyoda had to offer about his movie. Over the course of several Q&A sessions, he provided information about the philosophy film trilogy, the production of movie 1, his career, and some interesting hints regarding what comes next. The first set of questions were delivered immediately following the world premiere screening of Hi-Evolution on Saturday while the second rewinds to Tomoki Kyoda's focus panel on the previous day.
Did you pay any special attention to the mecha action?
Eureka Seven is a very over-the-top story. In order to make an over-the-top movie to work out, you have to be realistic in certain ways. For example the scenes such as the spectacular explosion of the battleships were made possible by the recruitment of super animators such as Hideki Kakita and Takashi Hashimoto.
Can you tell us more about Acperience 7?
If you look up the Acperience, you won't see it in the dictionary because it comes from a german techno group called Hardfloor. Dai Sato and I have been big fans of them since our youth and we asked them if we could use their composition Acperience 1. They said “no, let's do something completely new” and they wrote a new one for us called Acperience 7. The original parts for the compositions only went from 1-5. They skipped over 6 and went directly to 7 to keep with Eureka Seven.
The scene with Adroc. Did that make you more emotional as you watched the film?
Yes, the scene with Adroc is the beginning of it all, so it’s meant to be very meaningful to all three movies. After you’ve seen the 3rd Eureka Seven movie and go back to watch the Adroc scene, it’s meant to be meaningful in a new way.
Other than that, do you have any other favorite scenes?
During the pre-titles everything is memorable to me, but especially Adroc’s first line. It was delivered by voice actor Toru Furuya. He was very spot-on.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the last half? Such as the monologue by Renton and the play back/play forward construction of the film?
Eureka Seven was always going to be a story that spans two generations. The part with Adroc is very serious and heavy and thus I wanted to make the part that’s 10 years hence, the story about the child, Renton, be much more light and calm. It’s a more comedic story and so we found this composition.
How is your impression of the music?
My original intention was not to feature techno sound in the movie, but after hearing the recording I felt it would be appropriate to use Hiroshi Watanabe’s sound. This would be the piece that strung Eureka Seven from 12 years ago into and the new film together.
Do you have any other favorite scene from the last half?
I like the dogs...
The other thing is that I really meant this movie to make sense as part of a trilogy. There are parts in the latter half of the movie that might be frustrating or cryptic on first view. They’re really meant to make sense and be much more sympathetic after we go through all three parts. That’s my intention and something I really put my heart into. The composition will really make sense when all three parts are released, so I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
After the credits there was a teaser for the second movie--can you talk a little bit about it?
We are currently in pre-production for the part 2 movie and a lot of you may have been wondering “where is Anemone?” You can there will be a lot of Anemone in part 2. I haven’t decided if part 2 will be just as light-hearted in style as the teaser. So that hasn’t been fixed yet. For each part of the movie, we go through a codename for the title. The working title for part one was Renton Seven. Part 2 the working codename is Anemone Seven.
PLAY BACK: 27 hours before Eureka Seven: Hi-Evolution world premiere
What is the best way to watch Hi-Evolution?
The best way to watch it is without any spoilers at all. The best way to understand it is that one of the primary characters in Hi-Evolution will be Renton’s father and Renton will be following in his father’s footsteps.
Hi-Evolution is the story of Renton and him transforming from boy to man. It’s something pretty common in anime these days, usually featuring a harem of girls, but that’s not gonna happen in this story... Everything he has will be destroyed so only the future is something he can look forward to and build for himself.
What sort of audience do you want to watch this?
Our intention was, of course, to accommodate and reunite with the audience who watched Eureka Seven 12 years ago but there will be new people, perhaps some who weren’t even born at that time, who are welcome to discover Eureka Seven as a new show. Those are the two audiences that we intend Hi-Evolution for.
Can you tell us a bit about the music?
In the original tv show we featured a lot of folk music such as Denki Groove. For Hi-Evolution, we wanted to get much more original in the sound track. Myself, and also the screenwriter Dai Sato, have really been influenced by this artist called Hardfloor for this reason. Since Hi-Evolution is not only a story about Renton but also this father, we wanted to go back to our own roots and so we went to Hardfloor and asked if they would do the music for us. We got a “yes” and they made a great soundtrack and that's something that’s been incorporated into Eureka Seven: Hi-Evolution.
The other piece of music featured in Eureka Seven comes from Hiroshi Watanabe. If you go back to the original TV show, he wrote the themes for Charles and Ray. Since Charles and Ray have a much more prominent role in Hi-Evolution, their music was reprised and revised.
The other theme song is provided by Hiroya Ozaki, but since Hi-Evolution itself is a story about father and son and Ozaki himself is the son of another singer, Yutaka Ozaki who was a very talented singer who died young in a tragic way. His story and the story of the Ozakis resonates with the father and son theme in Eureka Seven: Hi-Evolution. It was just so fitting and he has made a great song for us.
For fans of the original TV show from 12 years ago, you’ll find something familiar with Hrioshi Watanabe’s music and, at the same time, the coming of a new film in Ozaki’s songs.
As a director, what was the most challenging project for you to work on?
Eureka Seven: AO
What sort of themes were you looking to explore with the new trilogy that you hadn’t yet explored or old things you covered in the past that you want to revisit?
It may not be something that we couldn’t do, but maybe something we didn’t really explore in Eureka Seven would be the relationship between father and son. Since all three of us, myself, Dai Sato the screenwriter, and character designer Kenji Yoshita have aged 10 years, we probably have changed our perspective and ideas. That could possibly be reflected. At the same time we want to be consistent with what we originally depicted in Eureka Seven.
I do that the central pillar of Eureka Seven is the childhood experiences of Renton and Eureka. I think that has always been consistent in all the works of Eureka Seven. Possibly not in the best way but I do think it’s been pretty consistent.
You previously worked no the RahXephon movies, which were an adaptation of an existing TV series. When you are adapting an existing property how do you plan what ideas you want to retain from the original work while also introducing new elements?
One difference between RahXephon and Eureka Seven is they were made at different times so philosophies and elements will be very different. One of the things that's most time consuming in adapting an existing story is deciding what to focus on. Once that’s done, the rest comes much easier. In the case of RahXephon, it was the relationship between Ayato and Haruka and how Haruka would retain her feelings for Ayato. In contrast with Eureka Seven the relationship is still a work in progress and that’s the difference when we went into production.
Being an animation director, do you give your animators a lot of freedom or do you prefer they stick more closely to the storyboards? Also, do you prefer to make more detailed or more sketchy storyboards?
That is actually one of the biggest evolutions in my own style of storyboarding and directing. I’ve been directing for the past 20 years and started off by doing storyboards and expecting animators to trace out exactly what I did in the storyboard. But, as I’ve learned there are plenty of talented animators who can come up with scenes and draw much better than I, I’ve learned that the best way to do storyboards is to come up with ones that will be inspirational to the animators. However, one thing that my staff has been telling me recently is that I really expect a lot from my animators and really set the hurdle high.
When you draw for 20 years, it’s very natural that you get better at drawing and when you look at my storyboards you get the impression that it might be a little detailed but we like to present it to the animators as a springboard for their own ideas.
In the original Eureka Seven TV series, how much freedom did you give episode directors? Would you say each episode is the closer to your vision are theirs?
The production style of a TV show is different dependent upon the show and the culture of the studio, so what I say now does not reflect every single production. There is one person who supervises the production of every episode and that is the general director. There is then the technical director who works on individual episodes.
The general director's job is to come up with the common underlay that follows beneath each episode. I consider it my job to prepare the ground so the episodic staff and the technical director can do their job. That leads to slight discrepancies between each episode but it’s the animation director to unify all those styles so that everything is consistent throughout the series.
How did it feel to work on franchise as legendary as Space Battleship Yamato and, if you got the chance, would you like to work on more Yamato projects in the future?
The reason why I had involvement with Yamato 2199 wasn’t because the show was legendary or because I was fond of it, but moreso because of director Yutaka Izubuchi. Since I owe a lot to him, he wanted me to work on some part of Yamato. It was really difficult to adjust my schedule and I think I was able to oblige him when I got to do the storyboards for the very final episode and I was very happy. This required both the elements of the show being Yamato and the director being Izubuchi. If neither of those were the case, I don’t think I would have been involved.
As for if I would be interested in working on any other legendary shows, I can’t really come up with any shows that I would find enticing, although in terms of a legendary franchises I would be very happy if I could work on Pacific Rim.