Utsumi: During the first meeting with Ikuhara [in 2015], that it would be a story about Kappa, the 3 young boys, and the obstacle in the boy’s way, Reo and Mabu were decided. Certainly the title “Sarazanmai (provisional)” was also in place. The stage Asakusa was decided later. As for the Otters as enemies, that was borrowed from the novel “Kappa” where the Otters and Kappa are at war.
Utsumi was the one to introduce the concept of Shirikodama – it seems Ikuhara already wanted to make a story about Kappa, but at the first meeting, Utsumi said to Ikuhara who didn’t know about Shirikodama, “When Kappa appear, ofcourse they extract people’s Shirikodama”.
Utsumi: When creating a character, Ikuhara thinks and talks about “What should this character have lost?” [Ikuhara often said] “I don’t want this to be a nice story”. While it’s prone to be a nice story about “friendship” and “connections”, even if in the end it calms down to that, the route there, it wouldn’t be interesting if the characters did only good things. Maybe, Ikuhara as well as me both like characters who make mistakes.
Utsumi: While the middle schoolers are in the category of “children”, in comparison Reo and Mabu are “adults”, there’s that contrast. Furthermore, what’s important for kids vs adults, what kids can say and do vs what adult’s can do.
While the circumstances of Reo+Mabu and the 3 boys are similar, the outcomes are different… Its like that. I want people to think about why the results are different.
Because they’re adults, there’s things they don’t want to press too hard, they turn a blind eye to. That’s Reo and Mabu.
Utsumi: In recent years Ikuhara’s always been interested in the theme of “family”. So that theme would certainly be depicted in this work. But at first I felt that depicting “family” was very difficult. Because I didn’t grow up in a special environment, it’s not something I’ve given deep consideration to. I wondered if it was okay for me to write about that.
Details from Tashima’s interview:
The initial elements were the script lines which showed the order of the 6 characters. He was given animated storyboards from the first 3 eps. He wanted to make use of any usable animation therein. Ikuhara wanted to convey the interesting aspects of Asakusa. Taishima was given a map of locations in the story, and Ikuhara told him some interesting angles to film.