anibee Features: Noizi Itou!

Itou Noizi

Many esteemed guests attended what was possibly, one of the biggest shows in Singapore, the Singapore Toy Game & Comic Convention (STGCC).

Arguably one of the most popular guests was manga and game artist, Noizi Itou, whose works include mega-popular shows like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Shakugan no Shana!

anibee got to sit down and have a chat with this prolific artist - and ask some burning questions!

anibee: Welcome, Itou-sensei! How are you finding Singapore so far?

Itou: Thank you very much! It is a really clean & beautiful country and I am enjoying it immensely!

anibee: Have you tried any local dishes or been to any of the sights here?

Itou: Not just yet, but I would very much love to go for the Night Safari! I wanted to see the Merlion too, but unfortunately it was under construction. Perhaps next time!

anibee: How did you enter the industry?

Itou: I studied at a game design school, as I initially wanted to go into the gaming industry. After I graduated, that was when I was offered my first job at a game company and how I made my first step.

anibee: Aside from your massive body of popular works like Haruhi and Shana, you also have your own doujinshi circle, "Fujitsubo-Machine". Is there a difference in the work you do for anime & manga, and what you do for your doujinshi projects?

Itou: I enjoy doing both very much, but there is a significant difference. When doing my mainstream work, it is always initiated and determined by the requests of my client, down to the last detail.

For my doujinshi projects however, I have a lot more freedom to do what I want and I can experiment with doing things I normally would not do in my main works. It's generally a lot less stressful for me too!

anibee: What commercial project did you enjoy working on most?

Itou: It is difficult for me to pick one that I like the 'most', but I did enjoy working on the anime, "Another". It had a dark, edgy setting to it, which I found to be a refreshing new challenge for me personally.

anibee: Anime & Game projects – do you prefer one over the other?

Itou: I enjoy doing both in general, although I feel that game projects tend to be more challenging as I need to draw multiple frames and make necessary alterations to accommodate for technical aspects such as character animation.

anibee: It must be really exciting to see characters that you have planned, designed and drawn, come to "life" in anime form! What is your general reaction to hearing the seiyuu (voice actors)'s performances of your characters for the first time? Do they do them justice? E.g. Aya Hirano as Haruhi Suzumiya

Itou: When I design a character, I don't normally have any idea how he/she would sound like. Hence every time I hear a seiyuu's performance, it's always a very pleasant surprise to me. I often go "Oh wow, so that's how she would sound like!" - it's a very moving and refreshing experience! I think all the seiyuu I have worked with are very talented and it's been wonderful getting to know them!

anibee: You seem to be partial towards creating female protagonists who are high school students! Is there a reason for this?

Itou: I do admit that I enjoy drawing high school uniforms very much! I like to believe that one's high school days hold many happy memories for lots of people, and the uniform is my way of expressing the energy and happiness one feels during those special years.

I do not deliberately choose to focus on just female leads though, as it is often something that is mandated by the client. But to facilitate this, I often like giving the female protagonist a male supporting character that is important, yet doesn't make an effort to "stand out" e.g. Kyon in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

anibee: What projects are you working on currently?

Itou: Unfortunately, I cannot really say at the moment, but I am working on a new game, as well as an anime. One of these even has a male protagonist, which is new for me!

anibee: What advice do you have for aspiring artists who want to achieve the same success you have?

Itou: Always keep an open mind and try to watch and appreciate all kinds of other media, as it will help you to expand your creative thinking. Also, keep practicing, regardless of your ability, and stay true to what you truly love doing - that way you will eventually find your own audience you can appeal to and that helps to feed your passion more.

anibee: If you could be one of the characters you've created, who would you be?

Itou: I think it would be nice to be able to live as freely and carefree as Haruhi!

anibee: Imagine if you weren't an illustrator or mangaka - what do you think you’d be?

Itou: A NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training)!

- Q

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