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Crunchyroll! Lets Interview: Kiyoko Sayama! Win BRAVE 10 Box Sets!

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Posted 7/18/13 , edited 5/6/14

Kiyoko Sayama has worked as a part of the staff for some of the most PROLIFIC titles in the anime industry ~ !

Not only has she worked on such masterpieces such as Now and Then, Here and There (personal favorite anime!),
Last Exile, Hunter x Hunter, Bokura Ga Ita, Nana and even JEBEI-CHAN ~ ! She's the director of Brave 10 ~ !

Watch Brave 10 on Crunchyroll ~ !

Before the Warring States era came to a close, legend has it that Yukimura Sanada has been gathering
ten warriors known as Sanada's Brave 10, who have the power to change history.


The following questions were chosen for the interview :

Roxas-Sama - What do you feel you take away from the series that you direct?

I get something out of every show I work on. Not every title I work on is in a genre I'm necessarily familiar with, so a lot of times I don't know anything about it until I actually get to work. Of course, before I begin, I make sure I go into the project by obtaining plenty of knowledge through research or collecting data, and all of that knowledge I obtain becomes useful in other titles, as well. Like, for example, traditional tea brewing, dancing, and even sword-dancing.
In terms of how I feel toward something that I direct, there are times where the original creator is younger than me, and at those times the way they feel toward things is quite different from me, which really motivates me when we're working on the characters. Anime characters are often teenagers, and of course the way they think and the situations they're in are very different from when we were teenagers.

Coeus - What do you believe is the most important thing when directing the anime adaption of a popular manga like Brave 10?

I think the most important thing is to take on the work's image. However, this isn't the same idea as simply creating an anime that imitates the original work completely. You can imagine developing a popular property in various mediums, like drama CDs, theater, live action, and so on. Anime has its own special qualities, its own field of expertise different from anything else, and so every day I think about how I can utilize those qualities in order to bring out the charm of the original work as much as possible. It makes me extremely happy when people first learn about a title from the anime, and then go back to the original work.

G_Ochre - Being a director, I imagine you work with many different people from animators to voice actors to sound effects for one project. Can you explain the process of what it takes to start & finish an anime production.

When we first start planning an anime, we decide on the approximate volume of the work. So if it's going to be a series, that means the total number of episodes and the length of each episode. And then based on that, we establish the show's framework by discussing it with the director, producers, and screenwriter (or head writer). Of course, it isn't just a single discussion. We talk over and over again until everything is decided.
Once that's all decided, we start doing laying the groundwork – episode scenarios, character designs, art settings, things like that. And at the same time, we also work on sound-related elements (voice actors and musicians). For voice actors, sometimes we'll hold auditions, and sometimes we request someone specific from the beginning. Sometimes the series director will handle this instead of bringing on a sound director, but in my case I generally ask someone to take over that position so that I can put more work into creating the images themselves. That's basically it for pre-production, and then comes the actual production.
Once the show story is complete, we move on to creating storyboards. If the director could do this by themselves, they probably would. But obviously that's no possible, so they have to divide this work among their animation directors. By the time the storyboards are complete, the typesetting should also be done, so we can then move on to key frame animation and background work.
To begin, each episode's animation director sits down with the director and explains the direction they'd like to take. After that, they'll take what's been decided and communicate this to the rest of the key staff. The animation director will then proceed with the episode's layout (background drafts), general drafts, and then the actual animation video, in that order.
Now, while all this is being worked on, we're also deciding on the color palettes for the characters. We need to make sure their colors match with the background in each scene, so these colors won't be finalized until all the background work is finished. After the final drawings and key art are finished, we then move on to the composite work (filming, in other words). This isn't just putting all the materials together – we're also improving each element so the scene looks even better onscreen.
Once we're done filming, we move on to editing the footage so that it matches with the show's decided format. From there, we begin planning how we want to overlay music onto the edited film, and move on to post-production recording, where we'll watch the episode and start determining voices. This is when we'll work with the voice actors to determine how they'll deliver their performances, and re-edit the material if needed.
Finally, we'll start the process of dubbing everything together, which means combining the recorded lines, the final musical score, and all the sound effects together. This is the process we repeat every single week.

kimmicoa - What were your influences for the different character aspects for each of the 10 warriors in Brave 10?

The basic costume designs remained pretty much intact from the original work. There may have been some slight changes to make the animation move more smoothly, but I think it's basically the same (other than some of them becoming a little more simplistic).
Although this is a historical drama, it would have lost its appeal if we'd focused too much on tying it down to realistic historical facts, so we decided to use some overexaggerated elements, including the way the characters talk, move, and behave in general. Actual ninjas are pretty plain, after all...
I received very precise instructions regarding each character's image based on their personalities from the original work (for example, light, darkness, fire, water, and so on). So I didn't really have any trouble creating their styles.

captain_nfnf - When approaching big projects like Hunter x Hunter and Brave 10, what are your biggest concerns?

This is kind of similar to my earlier answer, but the thing I paid the most attention to was simply to not ruin the work's image. For example, when I first took a look at the original work, I got the impression of a historical drama with a punk rock feeling, so I made a conscious decision to use a song that combined rock with a more traditional Japanese flavor. This lined up with my own personal tastes, so I might not have been as concerned about that as other areas...
I guess the other thing I really focused on was how the main character, Saizo, was drawn. The anime focuses on that period of time where Saizo grows to become one of the Braves, so I made sure he wasn't drawn as a flawless hero. Instead, I wanted him to have a number of flaws on display. I thought this would humanize him a little more and make the audience empathize with him. I feel like a flawless hero doesn't have any charm, so maybe that's just how I like to do things.

phantasyprisma - Since I'm a big fan of the Brave 10 manga, and especially Shimotsuki's works, I noticed there was a difference between the two forms. Was there anything from the manga that you'd love to have added into the anime but couldn't add because of restrictions or time constraints?

The episode on Goemon Ishikawa. Just based on volume, it was already difficult to get all of the 10 Braves together, so I wasn't able to introduce any other characters besides the Braves. I really hope that I get to show them onscreen someday – not just Goemon, but all the characters in that gang were really charming. I also would have liked to show the lolita ninjas. Also, I really wanted to show more of the Braves' everyday lives.

yumikikoharu - Did you watch anime when you were younger and did it influence the way you work on these anime?

Just like our general viewing audience, I did watch a lot of anime myself. One show I especially loved was "Adventures of Gamba." But I don't think that's necessarily reflected in my own work. The thing that really influenced me when it comes to animation is stage performances more than anime. Sometimes the habits I learned when I was trying to become a stage director come out, and so people often tell me that my work isn't especially anime-like.

jdondo34 - When working with a larger casts, how do you balance the storyline and its progression while still developing characters and evoking a connection with the audience?

What I really try to be careful of is not to get too greedy. If you just keep on drawing everything you want here and there and wherever, the story collapses, especially if it's a high-volume show. Each character has their own fans, so I am sorry that I can't give them all the same amount of screen time, but the way I find balance is to try and decide on the main axis, and then develop all the characters around that axis. I try my best, but sometimes we just can't balance their screen time. But even if we can't change that fact, that doesn't mean we can't bring out each character's charms in other ways.
Even if they only appear in a scene briefly, I always make sure to pay attention to every scene so that the viewer can always look back at the end and think, "Oh, so that's what that meant. That really was an important character." I want to make sure there isn't a single unimportant episode or even scene.
Regarding connecting to the viewers, it's kind of hard to explain. But with the growth of the Internet, I have access to viewer comments and opinions faster than ever. Even so, it's impossible to incorporate that within our production time, so it's still common for us to already be done with production by the time we get those comments. Plus, if I were to take viewer comments into account and change direction each time, it would just confuse the whole thing and act as a detriment. I think it's better to incorporate those comments into my next work so that I can give that back to everyone.

conundrum32068 - throughtout Brave 10, you seemed to be hinting that Isanami was the Dark side of the elemental circle, but i did not detect the same level of build up regarding Saizo being the light. In fact it seemed to be leading up to the princess being both light and dark, depending on which mode she was in. Was this ever your intention?

In this area, I was simply following the original work, but that kind of misleading was definitely intentional. The scene where Saizo is revealed as the Light also relates to his growth as a person, so this was considered to be the main point of the story. The moment that Saizo accepts that he is the Light is when they finally truly become the 10 Braves. That's why it was important not to reveal Saizo as the Light too early.

itsBrentCurran - How do you feel about simulcast websites such as Crunchyroll alowing your audience to vastly grow from japanese fans to world wide fans? Does this enlarged fan base change how you direct?

I'm extremely happy about the fact that Japanese anime, especially anime that displays the unique culture of Japan, has been widely accepted by fans across the world. These other fans have different perspectives and impressions, so it's very stimulating for me. At the same time, with the way I direct and create anime, I can't say that there's really much change. I've always been doing the same job as a creator, hoping for fans to accept these Japanese works as they are. But it also requires a wide range of perception in order to create anything. So to do that, I think it's important to listen and take in as much input as possible, so I would be thrilled if you could continue to send us your impressions, opinions, comments, and anything else. I'm truly grateful to all fans around the world who are rooting for Brave 10. Thank you very much!


Crunchyroll's own Keikawa and SailorBee will be interviewing the director herself, and we want to bring your questions TO HER ~ !

We would like to bring questions from Crunchyroll users with us and have THOSE make up our interview ~ !


♫ Simply, write your question in this thread ~ !

You have until MIDNIGHT, Friday June 26th, 2013 to submit your questions.

If you miss this deadline, feel free to FOLLOW and TWEET your Questions to us ~ !

Twitter - @SailorBee

Twitter - @Keikawa

The ten questions we choose to ask Sayama-san, will win PREMIUM EDITIONS of the BRAVE 10 Boxset from NIS America ~ !

♫ Thank everyone ~ ! We cannot wait to bring home answers to your QUESTIONS!

♥ And remember, if you haven't already watched Brave 10, you MUST ~ ! SERIOUSLY.
It's really pretty, kind of scary and overall I can't explain it publically with the language I want to use. MUST WATCH.
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Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/19/13
What's your favorite anime that you've directed, so far?
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21 / M / Watching CR
Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/19/13
What were the biggest limitations on directing Brave 10?
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29 / M / Otakuland
Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/19/13
What do you feel you take away from the series that you direct?
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F / Canada
Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/19/13

Is directing an anime such awesome as this fun,difficult,different????

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30 / F / Somewhere
Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/19/13
Who or what have influenced you the most?
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Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/19/13
From the anime's you've worked on, was there a character that you felt a close connection to?
92 cr points
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34 / M / The Woods, Canada
Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/19/13
What do you believe is the most important thing when directing the anime adaption of a popular manga like Brave 10?
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34 / M
Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/19/13
How did this compare to working on Hunter x Hunter and who's your favorite character in Brave 10?
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22 / M / Austin Tx
Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/19/13
as a director how do you feel about your anime, do you feel like you have accomplished something good that you are proud of?
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I'm right here.
Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/19/13
Being a director, I imagine you work with many different people from animators to voice actors to sound effects for one project. Can you explain the process of what it takes to start & finish an anime production.
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Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/19/13
"Which do you think or feel is more difficult to direct, Comedy, Drama, Action or Horror?"
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21 / F / USA
Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/19/13
Which character can you relate to the most?
What was your favorite series to direct?
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22 / M
Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/19/13
What can you tell us anime fans that would help us pursue our dreams in any job anime related whether it's voice acting, directing, creating etc.?
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62 / M
Posted 7/18/13 , edited 7/19/13
With all the new technology more and more American audience and audiences world wide now watch anime than ever before. Does that play any part in your decision making or pressure from the company than it did years ago. If so what are they

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