Animage July 2019 interview translations

From the ReoMabu spread:

What is the destination for Reo, who’s lost sight of his former love, and is being made to dance to his desires by the otters? Is this Mabu, said to be hollow inside, truly a different person to the former Mabu? The conclusion of this story woven by these two’s love and desire is just a little bit further!

It also states the war between the Kappa and Otters has been going on for “hundreds of years”.


Interviewer: So the Kappazon boxes really are Amazon boxes, that’s correct?

Ikuhara: Well, you can see it that way, right. (lol).

Interviewer: Kazuki, Enta and Toi are friends, but, for Reo and Mabu, looking at the manner of Reo’s attachment to Mabu, is it ok to call it a romantic relationship?

Ikuhara: That’s up to your own interpretation. If you say it’s romance it’s romance, if you say it’s friendship it’s friendship.

Interviewer: In your prior interview, you said that Penguindrum is a “Chabudai [small Japanese tea table]” anime and Yurikuma is a “School stuff” anime. What about Sarazanmai?

Ikuhara: It’s a Desire anime, right. (lol). It feels like it’s that kind of anime.

Interviewer: Is “Don’t let go, desire is your life” power words for Sarazanmai?

Ikuhara: Yes. The power words you decide are for creating a story, but also words for inspiring yourself. There are a lot of severe and painful things when you make a work. But my desire to complete the work, I can’t let go of it. “Don’t let go, desire is your life” is a word that always inspires and inspires me.

Interviewer: Murase said that your instructions for the shirikodama removal scene was that it shouldn’t be 100% pain, it felt a little good too.

Ikuhara: That’s right. “Have you had your shirikodama removed?” I said (lol). A odd and also sexy/sensual feeling is what I wanted.

Interviewer: Sarazanmai has many scenes and metaphors featuring sexuality.

Ikuhara: Oh no, it became that way unintentionally (lol). From the beginning it was decided to use “Kappa” as a motif, And within that it’s known there’s word “Shirikodama” is weird.  What can be said to be the impact, the weirdness of the first impression, as much as possible I didn’t want to damage it.

Interviewer: When the title Sarazanmai was first announced, I was overwhelmed.

Ikuhara: Three for the cut! (Sanmai wo kiru)! was also a title proposal (laughs). As a result, the current title was decided by the sense of words, but it mainly rested on “Sarazanmai [Kazuki – Enta – Toi – 3 kappa] and “a lot of dishes” [three of them – zanmai]”.

He confirms that the kappa trio’s names are a homage to the main characters of Japanese TV show Three for the Kill! (Sanbiki ga Kiru!). He comments that he’s always liked wordplay, and Sarazanmai is especially full of it.

Ikuhara also mentioned the novel Kappa written by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, and that in that novel the Kappa are at war with the Otters, though didn’t outright state if it is inspiration for Sarazanmai.

Ikuhara said that “Reo” was a candidate for the older brother in the Takamuras of Penguindrum (Kanba), so he decided to reuse the name here. Mabu’s name went through various versions, but Reo’s name was already decided.

Interviewer: Do you have a final message for fans?

Ikuhara: Everyone, please find your Shirikodama! (lol). Because the shirikodama is desire, I hope you don’t let go of it!


“Tooi has an image of “a really good kid” in me. His first appearance is disturbing and “a scary transfer student”, but as I continue watching, Toi is actually the best at being sensitive to the human heart.. I think that’s probably because he concealed complex emotions from an early age.

He’s aware what he’s doing is bad, he knows his brother isn’t a good person, but despite that he fundamentally has the feeling of “I want to believe in my brother”, “I love my brother”.

While writing the series, Enta became my favourite character. Because Enta was [the character I could] do as I liked the most with, that helped. I think the aspect of same-sex love isn’t too important, I think the important thing is his deep feelings for Kazuki as a person. But, he’s gone too far (lol). “

Utsumi said that Ikuhara was the one to come up with Chikai’s “I’ll wreck you” catchphrase – he wanted “a line that was a little bit unsettling”. After going through various candidates, Ikuhara decided on “I’ll wreck you”. Utsumi said she laughed a little when she first heard it, but now she thinks it was the right choice. It’s a little funny, but a little scary too.

Interviewer: What meaning does ア have?

“Ah… That’s difficult! It can’t be said there’s a precise explanation of the meaning. Originally, the time when we thought about “Asakusa as the stage, Kappa as the motif, the boys’ connection, to depict it”, we made an easy-to-understand icon to represent that.

She continued: For example the association with the shape of a “Yen”, there’s many associations possible. We encourage each viewer to have their own interpretation, there’s not one right answer. I think it would be better for me not to say “this meaning” is the right answer. However, she suggests after ep 11 if you watch ep 1 you’ll have more of the answer.

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