anibee Features: Group Discussion on "From the New World"!
As the months pass, we draw closer and closer to the highly anticipated release of the new anime, "From the New World"! Several key members of the team who are bringing you this destined-classic discuss what it's been like to adapt the award winning novel!
TV Asahi Designer: Eiichiro Yamakawa
TV Asahi Producer: Atsushi Kaji
Director: Masashi Ishihama
A-1 Pictures Producer: Yutaka Omatsu
Music Producer: Osamu Isoyama
Music: Atsuhi Komori
Firstly, let's talk about how the project started! Yamakawa-san, you decided immediately that you wanted to adapt "From the New World" for the screen after first reading the novel?
Yamakawa: Yes! I got my hands on the novel right after it was first published, and I recall being extremely moved by it. I'm a big fan of entertainment, so I watch all sorts of things, from movies to anime; it doesn't matter what genre it is to me. When I read the novel, it really hit me as a great example of entertainment and had a great impact on me! I couldn't believe that someone like me, who is over 40 years old, could be so moved by a novel - it was really that powerful!
As Director, what were your first thoughts when presented with the challenge of faithfully adapting such a rich body of work, yet making it your own vision?
Ishihama: Personally, I always make it a prerequisite of having fully read and understood the source material of any work, before I take on the task of Director. With regards to a novel like From the New World, even though there are no illustrations, everything is so rich and fleshed out, that I was inspired and thought "Let's help create a visual representation to do justice to this amazing world!". Of course, besides the visual and descriptive aspects, the underlying themes of the novel were also impressively done; that I instantly felt it would make a great anime adaption right from the start.
How was the direction for the character designs decided upon?
Ishihama: When I first read the novel, I initially pictured the art to be simplistic and minimalist, much like that of a Masterpiece Theatre-styled work. However, I soon felt that such an approach would be too 'ordinary'. I wanted to make these characters exude the child-like innocence they possess, right before stepping into the horrors of the world they live in. There's something very sweet & innocent I find about that, and I wanted them to possess this quality.
That was when I decided on making these characters very relatable too, characters that you would probably meet casually on the internet and think "he seems nice!".
With regards to the music direction, both Komori-san and Isoyama-san worked on it together. Firstly, could we ask about what it was like producing the music for the series?
Isoyama: When I first read the original novel, my first thought was "Let's get Komori-san on board". Komori-san has excellent music sense, which is important. When it came to From the New World, I couldn't think of anyone else I'd want to have working on it.
Kaji: With a title like "From the New World", we naturally conceived the show to have a classical music style. However, upon hearing Komori-san's more hybrid-styled music choice, it felt like a very natural choice. With the original novel itself being a blend of Science-Fiction, Horror and Mystery, amongst many other elements, we found that Komori-san's work was a perfect fit. We freed the show from the "classical curse" so to speak haha!
Komori: The first impression I had upon experiencing the world created in the novel was one of "Awe". While the stage is set in Japan, it is quite a different "Japan" from the one we're familiar with, one that has undergone massive changes. I wanted to be able to express just how different this world is from our own, and figuring out how to do that with just music & sound, was what fascinated me the most!
One of the main elements from adapting From the New World into an anime is its dramatic portions. What other notable points have arisen during this process?
Yamakawa: Personally, I feel that one notable point that came up for me was trying to imagine what life is like for a child like Saki and the rest of the cast, being in school with this friendly atmosphere, despite the odds.
Kaji: With a regular story, the main focus would most likely be on the characters' emotions. With From the New World however, one also has to focus on the different time periods that the story takes place in, as well as the growth of the characters. Balancing these concepts, the very dramatic composition of it, that was the main concern when working on the script.
Please give a message to the audience!
Yamagawa: Having worked on this project for so long, the moment when I first saw Saki move in the PV (Promotional Video), I began to tear up. Likewise, when you enjoy the series, be it from reading the whole novel or watching the showing until the last episode, I do hope you will be just as moved as I was! I hope the show will be something that can be treasured by our generation, the next, and many more generations after that. If it can achieve that large an audience, I would be truly happy.
Kaji: A concern of mine is how a lot of titles recently have been disappearing after debuting and being shared for just a short period of time. I would want From the New World to achieve big success and being something that stays prevalent for a long time - and it can only be possible with your support!
Omatsu: This anime is a debut adaptation of one of Yusuke Kishi-sensei's works, and thus, is being promoted heavily. It has a complex world and a profound story, but I also feel that there are enough cute girls to keep anyone happy haha! I would really like it if people can enjoy it through various channels!
Courtesy of TV Asahi!
Translated & Edited by Q