May 2019 Entertainment Station Ikuhara interview

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Ikuhara said that, when he started work on Sarazanmai after Yurikuma in 2015, he planned for it to air in 2018, but things were delayed due to lack of manpower at Lapin Track since its a small company.

Interviewer: Why is the device of a ep final scene twist used so much?

Ikuhara: Probably because I like it (lol). Maybe it’s because I’ve always been doing it, but works that have a lot of information so you want to watch it 2-3 times, whether its my own works or other people’s, I like it. For example, with Kurosawa’s films there’s so much information you can watch them so many times.

Mystery devices also put information onto the screen, so if you look closely you will understand. Some actually noticed it during live broadcast. Even Kazuki as a crossdresser is different in detail from the real Sara. As for Haruka, the depiction of his house [ie the disability modifications] is depicted from first episode onwards.

Interviewer: This Shirikodama extraction scene is an anime world first, right?

In a sense, what I did in itself didn’t have a different feeling to butt-focused anime like Obocchama kun or Crayon Shin-chan. But, I knew there’d be more female viewers, so I wanted to do something that could be shown to them. I was prepared that this is a work not everyone will like, but I didnt want to be hated either. So I really listened to female staff. “Is it acceptable to take out the Shirikodama? I [masculine] am no good with this, but…” is what I said (lol)

Interviewer: What were the answers?

“That’s cool” “Eh, really, do you want to see?” “I want to see!”、while I had some hesitations about it. In the “Leaking” scene, [the female staff said], “I would be happier with the image of young boys connecting more than Kappa”, more than me, that’s what the female staff got on board with.

[Half of the staff at Lapin Track are noted to be women. ]

When drawing attractive men, there are aspects that men can’t grasp the true meaning of.  Now, the scenes where it can be thought “this group of men, how cool”, that is filled with the power of the female staff. Not just my own, it expresses the sensitivities of various staff.
[On the ReoMabu heart removal scene]: This is where the female staff put their strength, including Kayoko Ishikawa (character design, animation director). Ishikawa was fussing over it just before the broadcast, so I didn’t even know what the finished scene would be.

Ikuhara on “After school Kappa”: this song has a double meaning. More straightforwardly you can interpret it as “actually they are dead”, but if you think about it more, you can also read into it “they’re ignored at school, they thought their presence is dead”. So then the final line is “We are friends right?”

Interviewer: It seems some fans consider that last line like “This is a cursed song!”.

Ikuhara: A cursed song (lol). I think this is still a “friend’s song”.

Interviewer: (compared to Hougako Kappa) Massara and Stand By Me are very refreshing songs.

Ikuhara: I requested that “I want you to make it straightforward, please”. The opening has an exciting, pleasant feeling. The ending, because it receives the influence of each episode, it has a melodiously heartrending feeling. While I was explaining this work to the artists, I was worried they would think “it’d be good to give it a deep and eccentric feeling”. By making it intentionally straightforward, I wanted to show the breadth of the work.

At first, I was thinking about making a series out of what happened up to ep 6. But, to do that Sarazanmai would become Kazuki’s story alone. So, the “Story of friends” I always wanted to do, lets do it with these 3 – thats how it became like the present structure.

It can be said that “the first part”, so to speak, up to six episodes is where a conclusion is reached for one of Kazuki’s secrets. In the second half, the story of the friendship of the three boys and the story of the relationship between Reo and Mabu will be comparatively evolved. I think that some shocking scenes are waiting in the second half.

Especially in the first half, I depicted more varied details of the lives of the main 3, but it was difficult to put it in… Quite a lot had to be cut. Fo example, what kind of life Enta is living, or what kind of shady work Toi is doing. Some of this remains in the novel version. “


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