411 Movies Interviews: Yasuhiro Nightow, Satoshi Nishimura, Seiji Mizushima, Yousuke Kuroda, and Yun Kouga.
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 07.22.2009
At this year's Anime Expo, we caught up to some of the coolest artists, writers, directors, and producers the industry has ever seen.
To finally wrap up the coverage of the 2009 Anime Expo, we bring to you a group of interviews conducted on Day 0 of the convention. The Anime Expo staff gave us access to all the special guests of honors at the convention including some of the anime world's hottest artists, designers, directors, writers, and performers. The creators were all incredibly nice and gracious in taking the time to answer our questions as well as pose for photos for a very stimulating afternoon:
Yasuhiro Nightow and Satoshi Nishimura Interview
Yasuhiro Nightow (R), Jeffrey Harris (Center), and Satoshi Nishimura (Left)
Yasuhiro Nightow is one of Japan's most influential creators of all time having created the Trigun and Trigun: Maximum manga series. The Trigun series gave birth to the legendary anime heroes known as Vash The Stampede and Nicholas D. Wolfwood, characters you will never find a shortage of being cos-played at any fan convention. Nightow has also served as the designer and creator of the video game and video game turned anime series, Gungrave. Satoshi Nishimura was the director of the original Trigun anime series, and is now currently hard at work on the new feature length Trigun anime movie which you can find the bootlegged trailer for on YouTube at the moment. Nishimura-sensei has also worked on such shows as Black Lagoon and Mobile Suit Gundam Seed.
Jeffrey "The Vile One" Harris: Konichiwa.
Nightow and Nishimura: Konichiwa.
TVO: I'm very interested in the differences between the Trigun anime when the character of Wolfwood died, an event which hadn't occurred in your manga series for Trigun you were currently working on at the time. The stories diverged after a point. But when you saw that in the anime, did that influence how Wolfwood's death would happen in your manga storyline? Or was Wolfwood's death in the manga always how you intended it, Wolfwood's fate?
YN: Vash's growth as a character depended on Wolfwood's death, so it was necessary for that death to occur in the manga as well. Basically, the storyline when he [Wolfwood] dies, its set before the production as well.
TVO: For the new Trigun, is this is a sequel to the anime series like a continuation? Or is it a re-telling of the story and characters we've seen before.
SN: Its not either. It's not a sequel. It's a new story.
TVO: For Nightow-sensei, do you have a favorite character you've created or have a special bond with?
YN: Vash, his personality is similar to me. But I also like Wolfwood because he's easiest to draw. In that matter I like Wolfwood because he's easiest to draw, but personality-wise, I like Vash.
TVO: For Nishimura-sensei, will the original voice actors reprise their characters for the Trigun movie?
SN: We haven't gotten the voice actors yet, but we are hoping we will get the original voice actors back to the play their voice actors.
TVO: For Nightow-sensei, I hear you are a big fan of American comic books, so are there any American comics you are reading right now that you really enjoy?
YN:Umbrella Academy. It's very cute and fancy.
TVO: Is there any American food you plan on eat and trying while you are out here?
YN: I'm looking forward to Americanized sushi, like the California Roll. Something just totally whacked. Just weird sushi.
The gracious creative team was nice enough to pose for photographs. Nightow and I also did a little "Love And Peace" cheer.
Interview with Seiji Mizushima, Yosuke Kuroda, and Yun Kouga
If ever there was a power and prestige team of the anime world that could rival the likes of Spielberg and Lucas and do a better job at executing stories for a classic franchise and not disappoint like Indiana Jones And The Kindgom of The Crystal Skull has, it would be Seiji Mizushima, Yosuke Kuroda, and Yun Kouga. Director Mizushima, screenwriter Kuroda, and designer Kouga are the creative team behind the hit Mobile Suit Gundam 00 series, currently airing on SyFy. Mizushima, Kuroda, and Kouga recently wrapped up the second season of the series in Japan and are currently putting together the Gundam 00 movie that will continue the story told in the series of Gundam Meisters of Celestial Being and Setsuna, the pilot that wishes to end all oppression and armed conflict through use of the Gundam mobile suits. Besides 00, Mizushima's impeccable resume includes having served as director of one of the decade's most popular, relevant, and significant anime shows, Fullmetal Alchemist, as well as director of Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala theatrical movie. Mizushima's also served as director of Slayers Next and Dai-Guard. Kuroda-sensei is one the anime world's most experienced and powerhouse writers having put time in such productions as Trigun, Tenchi Muyo, Please Teacher, and one of my personal favorites, Excel Saga. Yun Kouga before entering the world of anime, was a manga-ka for such titles as Loveless and Ren-ai.
The Gundam 00 creative team: Seiji Mizushima (Director, R), Yousuke Kuroda (Writer, Center), and Yun Kouga (Character Designer, Left)
Jeffrey "The Vile One" Harris: Thank you very much for coming to Los Angeles, for the Anime Expo. Have you been here to conventions in the US before?
Seiji Mizushima: This is my fourth time here.
Yousuke Kuroda: This is my second time.
Yun Kouga: This is my first time here.
TVO: I heard they built a life size Gundam model in Japan. How far away is technology from making fully functional Gundam mobile suits to take over the world?
Kuroda: Probably never, unless we're like in Gundam 00, start going into space and all that good stuff. It may be possible, but for now probably not because gravity wise it wouldn't make sense. But in thirty years, maybe if it actually works out, real Gundam.
TVO: Are there any other Gundam stories that specifically speak for your love of Gundam.
Kuroda: I like Gundam 0080: A War In The Pocket and Gundam: F91
Kouga: I like Turn-A-Gundam.
Mizushima: I like Gundam 0083.
TVO: My favorite is G-Gundam.
*They all laugh.*
TVO: For Mizushima-sensei, have you been watching the new series for Fullmetal Alchemist at all, and do you have any specific on the new direction they've taken with the new story?
SM: I've watched up to episode 3. Right now I have everything saved because I'm too busy to watch it, and I'm friend of the director, Yasuhiro Irie, and I'm hoping he'll do a good job.
TVO: For Kouga-sensei, do you have a favorite character or mobile suit you like to draw?
Kouga: I like Setsuna from 00 and Allelujah. And my favorite Gundam mobile suit is Gundam Exia.
TVO: For Kuroda and Mizushima, for any the anime you've worked on, is there a female character you've worked on that you'd like to date?
Kuroda: I like Mizuho from Please Teacher. That character was right from my imagination, and I told them, "I want it like this, so draw it!" I wanted her perfectly how I imagined the character.
Mizushima: I can't think of one right now.
TVO: What about Winry from Fullmetal Alchemist, you wouldn't want to date her?
Mizushima: Winry's kind of abusive. She always socks you with wrenches.
TVO: For Kouga-sensei, is there any type of design you find very challenging or stimulating when you draw?
Kouga: I'm not very confident when I'm drawing something for someone else since it's not my work. But if it were my work, I know that it's *this* character or *this* design, so that's the most difficult part about doing Gundam and collaboration in that type of work.
TVO: What's next for Gundam 00?
Mizushima: We're making a movie, so please enjoy it.
TVO: Its been rough for the anime industry lately and its gone through some changes. Do you see it surviving in the long term?
Mizushima: You just have to work positively. As long as there is a market for it and a job for me, I'm OK with it.
TVO: Thank you very much for your time. I love Gundam. TOUKA KOUKAN (This means "Equivalent Exchange" in Japanese, a catchphrase from the Fullmetal Alchemist series)!
Mizushima: Touka koukan.
TVO: Arigato gozaimasu.
All: Arigato gozaimasu.
We'll have one more interview with voice actress, Kari Wahlgren, to wrap up the AX '09 coverage. Remember, yours truly will be once again reporting live from this year's San Diego Comic-Con event. So remember to tune into 411mania.com for all the latest news, juicy tidbits, and announcements to come out this year. I'll be reporting the day to day goings-on at the conventions, and also bringing you some dynamite, blockbuster level celebrity interviews. And the place to get all this awesome coverage is 411mania.com. Remember, you can bookmark 411mania.com to your favorite places by pressing the Ctrl and B keys on your keyboard. You can also make 411mania.com your homepage by clicking Tools and selecting Internet Options in your web browser.