Animage #26: Staff Messages

Messages from the Yamato Staff Room

Behind the voices of the main staff are the unsung heroes who endure unrewarding drudgery every day and don’t come out into the spotlight very often. We decided to give these staff members a questionnaire.

The questions:

1. What are the names of the people in your department?
2. What is your job description?
3. What is your progress as of June 15?
4. What are the highlights?
5. What is your present condition?
6. What is your message to the fans?

Production Assistant/Progress/Records

1. Your names

Assistant Directors: Hideki Takayama, Ang Tai Hong
Pacekeeper (progress checker): Koji Sekiguchi
Recording: Yoko Kuroishi

2. Job description

Art/animation checking

Takayama: I serve coffee to the staff and comfort them as well as I can…exaggeration! Having fun while work progresses. But I guess I ordered more retakes than any other staff member.

3. Progress as of June 15

It’s good that more of the animation cels are getting done in the latter half of the production, but more checking is needed, so that is tough.

4. Highlights

Takayama: Battle scenes and the intimacy between Alphon and Yuki.

Hong: Heroic scenes of Yamato attacking the enemy, Mamoru Kodai sacrificing himself to save another, and the sad love of Mio.

5. Your present condition

Takayama: To work with the Yamato staff in the staff room is fun and interesting because everyone is a unique person. Painful work is always painful, but now that we’re in the latter half we’ve entered the photography stage and we’re getting closer to the real thing.

Hong: Until now, I have only worked in Korean Television, but now I work on the Yamato staff, checking animation for an original feature film. Everyone in the staff room is wonderful to work with and I look forward to doing my best while discussing new ideas in various ways. But having no time to myself and putting it all into Yamato production is a bit hard.

6. Message to the fans

Takayama: Study hard!
Hong: Beautiful dreams to you…

Coloring Department

1. Your names

Once Princess, Keiko Abe
Sato-san, the pony tail goldfish
Yoshiko Sekiguchi, from Iscandar
Kiyomi Fujihashi, the pure (pristine) beauty as the name says
Chizuko Masukawa, Badminton lover
Kuniko Murata, Glorious East-Murayama Citizen
Junko Yamada, devilish sadistic
Masako Yamauchi, Alien
Kazuko Yoshimura, Fuku-man Fuku-chan
Junko Furuya, ‘Necchu Jidai’ [TV Drama title, means ‘Passionate Days’] Another Beauty, Mitsuko Goto

(I asked the coloring chief to introduce the staff; these are his original words. -Editor)

2. Job description

Applying color to the back of a cel

3. Progress as of June 15

Today (June 15) is like someone’s thin hair; not very crazy. It will get busy in July.

4. Highlights

They are not sure how to answer this, since their work has just started -Editor

Original Animation

1. Your names

Tadashi Shirakawa, Michihiro Kanayama, Tatsuji Kino, Akihiro Ogawa, Takao Sakano, Teruo Hattori, Keiko Shibata, Yoshinobu Usuda, Toshiaki Kobayashi, Takashi Abe, Mario Ishiyama, Shigeo Matoba

(In this case, a lot of the animation work is outsourced; it was only possible to introduce the in-house team. -Editor)

2. Job description

Original picture [key frames] and animation.

3. Progress as of June 15

Completion of the key frames. The animation drawing is in full swing.

4. Highlights

Matoba: How will Yamato‘s launch turn out?

5. Your present condition

Matoba: I was in charge of Yamato‘s launch scene; figuring out how the rocks crumble was very complicated without going over the schedule. Rather exhausted.

Hattori: I was not readily familiar with a realistic narrative tone and had a hard time with it, probably because I grew up with Toei Animation (pastoral and manga-like).

Sakano: I cannot project my true nature as a joker into work that is not comfortable.

6. Message to the fans

Sakano: Anime lives through scenes of people. If the people in those scenes are not alive, it is not anime, but just [an imitation of] live-action.

Trace & Finishing Inspection

1. Your names

Trace: Kimiyo Okuyama, Kazuko Kurosawa, Reiko Igarashi, Sonoe Sakano, Mihoko Irie

Finishing check (Inspection): Hiroshi Morita (chief), Masahiro Nakamura, Masatoyo Kobayashi

2. Job description

Trace: making a copy of animation layout drawings. [Translator’s note: Trace machines were used at the time to electrostatically transfer a pencil drawing onto a blank cel so that the inking stage could be skipped.]

Finishing inspection: checking the color application, color specification, and the cel. It is nerve-wracking work because it is the final stage of completion. [Before photography.]

3. Progress as of June 15

Trace: 15.7% of the whole.

Finishing inspection: Compared to the previous Yamato, this one is quite behind schedule, but we have to do it anyway.

4. Highlights

Morita: The improvement of the size and scale; please look forward to it.

5. Your present condition

Irie: Nothing has happened yet because we’ve just gotten stared. Let’s hope it’s not that tough.

Special Effects

1. Your names

Yoshiaki Okada, with glasses (Yamato Chief)
Shoji Sato, nicknamed “Uncle” (Yamato Sub)
Chiaki Hirao, Special effects star
Noboru Sekikawa, School teacher type
Keitaro Hama, the oldest walking dictionary
Masayuki Kawauchi, the only bachelor

(This is how the chief introduced the special effects members. Most of them except Mr. Okada and Mr. Sato are now engaged in other TV projects and will join up later when Yamato becomes hectic. -Editor)

2. Job description

Special effects: hand shading, brushwork, and blurs caused by touch, and effects such as transparency through glass. These effects are used substantially in SF and mecha anime, and Yamato Part 3 is no exception. It can’t be done without explosions, rocket fire, and other special effects shots.

3. Progress as of June 15

As of June 6, our part is finally underway. Up to now, we’ve been making various patterns and doing repeated tests.

4. Highlights

Okada: I want everyone to see the new technical things we are attempting, particularly the engineers; please have a look.

5. Your present condition

Okada: Going to the video center to test things such as Scanimate compositing; time spent looking at developing technologies has been the most enjoyable. During the homestretch, the lack of sleep is likely to be painful.

6. Message to the fans

Okada: This is not just to Yamato fans, but everyone: please become a general anime fan. And please pursue it in various ways.

Art Department

1. Your names

Hageshi ‘Geki’ Katsumata, Yamato Shadow Captain
Yuko Kobayashi, Alphon’s lover
Kumi Iijima, Yamato cooking chef
Yoshiharu Ishigaki, father of background art division
Kiyomi Aoki, Yamato‘s utility
Hidetoshi Kaneko, one and only calm and steady
Noriko Akahoya, last days of Starsha
Hiromi Hido, background princess
Masayoshi Ichihara, grand master of background
Akiko Isimori, cool beauty Yuki Mori
Kazumi Kudo, star in space
Fumio Akutsu, background art progress

(We asked the chief to introduce the staff. -Editor)

2. Job description

Scenic artwork.
(A) create an image board to determine the visual aspects.
(B) paint the backgrounds to harmonize with the characters.

3. Progress as of June 15

We are very late.

4. Highlights

Akahoya: The backgrounds, of course.

5. Your present condition

It was a pleasure to meet the various staff members.
Iijima: I am sleepy!
Aoko: Painful…it is not possible to write about all of it in this space.

6. Message to the fans

Aoki: Don’t even think about another Yamato
Kobayashi: I hope there’s no Part 4.

Photography

1. Your names

Yukio Katayama, incurably sympathetic
Yoichi Takanashi, Careless Tora-san [famous live-action movie character] the second
Tamio Hosoda, loves mountains and the natural vegetables there
Yoshio Ai-iso, effortmaker and ambitious for winning
Masao Shimizu, bookworm
Toshiharu Takei, self acclaimed handsome(?) and forever young
Hiroshi Meguro, house cleaning lover
Shigeyoshi Ikeda, heavy drinker
Masatoshi Fukui, skillful baseball player
Jiro Yoshimura, loves Igo and Shogi more than meals
Nobuhiro Yamada, travel lover
Kenji Machida, Idea man

(The chief introduced each of the staff members -Editor)

2. Job description

Photography [of art & cels]. We match the characters with the backgrounds and shoot one frame of film at a time. Setting up a shot in the camera is very laborious and time-consuming. We do our best.

3. Progress as of June 15

Because we haven’t started photography yet as of June 15, there is no work being done. But we’re doing various tests right now.

4. Highlights

Most of all, the (censored) of the (censored) changes. [Translator’s note: the censored words were “size” and “screen,” in reference to Warp Dimension.]

(The “surprise on screen” was touched upon in this issue’s Nishizaki interview, but it is still a top secret at the present moment and will not be disclosed until the premiere. -Editor)

The End

Special thanks to Sword Takeda for translation assistance

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