The best bee in the hive, Honey-chan sat down with Director Tatsuyuki Nagai for a brief talk about his career and anime while attending Otakon in Washington, DC. Tatsuyuki Nagai directed such memorable anime as Toradora, A Certain Scientific Railgun, Anthem of the Heart, and Anohana: The Flowers We Saw That Day.
Interview with Director Tatsuyuki Nagai
Do you consider yourself a storyteller?
Yes. It is my job as a director to take a story and make it easy to understand. We (directors) in a sense translate a story into a form the audience can understand.
Iron-Blooded Orphans and Anohana: The Flowers We Saw That Day are two very different kinds of stories, one being very sentimental and the other filled with action. Was one genre more difficult than the other to make?
I don’t think that one is more difficult to make than the other. I think it is because they are both stories that have teens with their many emotions that the story isn’t that different. I think that despite the very different situations they are, at the root of it all, very similar.
You’ve helped bring some very popular titles to the screen, like Toradora, A Certain Scientific Railgun, and Anthem of the Heart. Is there a character you really enjoyed bringing to life?
I do like to do characters that are very different from myself. In Toradora we have Taiga and she is very different from me. So in that sense, I was able to have a lot of fun.
Anthem of the Heart has been one of my favorites and I describe it as a romance? Is that accurate? Or is it more a story about letting go of guilt and regret?
I made Anthem of the Heart a movie where people deal with their guilt. So, it is kind of a growing up story.
Are the plots of the growing up stories the result of creating for a demographic composed of younger viewers or is it because they are simply good stories?
I think at the plot level you are right that they are good stories. I will also agree with you that a good story has the growing up of characters. The idea of Anthem of the Heart started with a conversation with Okada-san (Mari Okada) that we would have a story with a girl that can’t talk and then the conversation evolved in to what can we do for her.
So, you created a problem for the heroine Jun Naruse and then created a story for the cause of the problem and then the solution?
Yes, that would be correct.
When you are looking for voice actors for your roles and you listen to their voices do you have an “Ah-ha!” moment when you realize it is the right actor for the role?
I’d like to say that in everything I’ve made there is that “Ah-ha!” moment of yes, this was the perfect casting. But, this comes from the fact that during the auditions we don’t have any video or image to base the character off of and we hear the voice and think “oh, this voice will do nicely.” It is during the actual recording that it becomes a growing experience for the actor and it is the actor becomes molded into the character.
Is there a story you worked on and would like to continue?
I think revisiting Iron-Blooded Orphans would be one because there are other stories that happened in-between the storylines we saw. It has a historic feel to it so I think that kind of second look would go very well.
Honey-chan would like to thank Tatsuyuki Nagai for speaking with us. Your thoughts gave us amazing insight into these anime. We really hope to hear more about revisiting the Gundam Universe of Iron-Blooded Orphans in the future. We also look forward to all of Tatsuyuki Nagai’s projects in the future.