The guidebook has pages and pages of interviews with Ikuhara, Migi, Miyano, Hosoya, the main trio, Ishikawa (animation director), Noboyuki (chief director), etc., the below is just some of the more interesting excerpts.
Migi/Ikuhara joint interview
Ikuhara on what he was considering in the planning stage for Sarazanmai:
“I feel that now is a time of intense change. Even compared to when we were kids, it feels like huge changes are occurring. In the midst of these changes, maybe I should express our feeling [about it].”
“I’ve been trying to make an anime about boys for a long time, but the timing didn’t fit. Since its original I wanted a shounen manga-ish nuance to it – with shounen manga-style characters. In Penguindrum, though there was the Takamura brothers, but Id say was closer to a shoujo manga in style. Now I wanted to move in a shounen manga direction. Its different now, girls also read shounen, there’s not a barrier there.”
On Reo and Mabu’s designs:
Ikuhara: “Glasses” and “a gaudy feel” is what I said (to Migi), by that time already.
Migi: After that, “brown [Reo’s skin colour]” and so on. It was a specific image. More ideas came from director [Ikuhara]. The teeth and hairstyle too.”
Migi mentioned that ReoMabu are inspired by “buddy cops” series from a long time ago, and Ikuhara mentioned he was inspired by eg 1979 Japanese police series “Uwasa no Keiji Tomi and Matsu” and 1977 American crime drama CHiPs.
Ikuhara also explained that before the script was written, the setting was not decided to be Asakusa. He was thinking about a setting of “somewhere in the countryside”, “meet kappa at the local river bed” was what he was talking about back then.
Ikuhara on designing the characters, re: Enta’s hair:
“A bit otaku-ish”, or something like that, I might have said it. To understand the character’s personalities, Toi is a bit delinquent. Enta, who wears glasses, is a little bit otaku.”
On her first impressions of Sarazanmai:
“Unlike Ikuhara’s works to now, there’s a mixture of the spirit of a Fujoshi, the spirit of a primary school boy, and appreciation of beauty (aesthetics), its chaotically interesting (lol).
She explained that since the director Ikuhara is a man, while with male main characters its possible to say its intended for women, its not demarcated just for women.
“And with a good meaning there’s aspects that aren’t intended for women. Perhaps male viewers can enter there, is what I personally think. Its not only for women, we want men to try viewing several episodes as well.”
On his first impressions of Sarazanmai:
“It was ㋐. It begins here. It is [XXX].”
On ReoMabu: “they appear to be each other’s “one & only best friend”, Mabu is carrying a hardship behind Reo’s back, which isn’t what Reo wants him to do. I think that there is an exquisite aspect, “is THIS what friendship between men is?”
Hosoya explained that during recording the animation didnt exist yet, so a dancer acted out “Yokubou Sakushu no Uta”. During recording Hosoya believed that Mabu was the one taking Reo‘s heart from his chest
“Its a weird story, but there’s a slightly beautifully sexy [艶っぽい] scene (lol). Director Ikuhara was very fussy over it. In the mixer room, people laughed at his demonstration, then he said, “Well, this please!” (lol). It was absurd to carry out (lol).”
Hosoya said that during after recording, his impressions of Ikuhara were “He’d enter the studio and his verbal explanations were, like… ‘a child’s talking about their dream from last night.’ I thought ‘is this a joke to make us laugh?’ (lol)”
On his impressions of Ikuhara during after recording:
“Because Reo is a very important character, he carefully explained the parts that havent been made public yet. Despite the unique philosophy, “we’re making entertainment” (…) “entertainingness” was very important”
“Parts that cant be captured by common sense, that are non-reasonable are important to this work, is what I felt while talking [to him]”
Miyano also said with reference to Reo that “in a good way, look forward to having your expectations continuously betrayed.”