Honey-chan and her team of reporters swarmed Otakon in Washington, DC and had the chance to sit down and talk with some of the creators of our favorite anime. Honey-chan scored an interview with Yuji Matsukura, the Executive Officer and Chief of Production at J.C. STAFF, and producer of shows like “Revolutionary Girl Utena”, “Food Wars!”, “A Certain Magical Index” and “Danmachi: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?”!
Interview with Yuji Matsukura (Executive Officer and Chief of Production at J.C. STAFF)
You have been credited on nearly 100 anime, it must mean you love your work. What is it that you like about the medium of animation?
I think anime is a very different medium than manga or light novels. I would describe anime as cumulative, bringing together sound, art, and acting. I feel it to be very honorable to be involved in a creative process like that. I was previously in the game industry and would say it is similar to the anime industry but also different. A game is concerned with how the player interacts with the characters, as opposed to anime where you have a lot more control of what is seen and how characters react.
I may have worked on more than a hundred titles and there is not one on that list of one hundred titles that I have worked under the same mindset. I needed to have a different mindset for producing each different anime.
Do you have time to watch anime? If so, what is your current series?
I am very busy. So, I only tend to watch the anime I make. That said, I do really like the anime I am working on right now, High Score Girl.
How did you get started in the anime industry?
It started with a drink. I was going to be in the game industry and I had a drink with a man that works for our company (J.C STAFF) and now I’m here. When I started, computers were becoming very powerful and the gaming industry was making a shift to better graphics and I thought, back then, that there would be a time in the future when the two industries would merge and games and anime would become one thing. It has been 20 years and I’m still here. I think I’ve been captured by how fun the anime industry is.
What elements make a good anime?
I think that is a very difficult question. I think in broad strokes that two elements, like story and characters being very lively are two elements that make a good anime. You’d think that the idea of good characters and a good story are a given for an anime, but you’d be surprised at how many anime can’t do this. It is my job to try my best to make sure my production has both these elements.
Food Wars! as well as other food-related anime are very popular. Do people just like cooking shows or is it something else about the stories?
First, good food is universal. I would also like to say that, as far as Food Wars! goes, there are a lot of things that we do to make sure the food is actually good.
What do you find more difficult, creating an anime from the source material or an original production?
I would like to start to say that both are equally difficult. I think for something based on a novel or a manga, you need to make sure that you translate the best parts of the source material into the anime. I think there is a challenge in fortifying the best parts. It is a completely different challenge when we are creating something completely original and need to build it from the ground up. The creation of that structure is very difficult too. I am personally more comfortable with an original work.
Is there a series that you’d like to revisit? We know some fans would like more of The Familiar of Zero.
I was with Yamaguchi-san, the creator of Familiar of Zero all the way up to the end and we talked about the next season (season 4) and how he wanted to end it. I think we were able to talk things out. I think the series is complete the way Yamaguchi-san wanted it. I think if you look at our J.C. STAFF titles, lots of them have an ending. It is my personal belief that if we are to start something, we should have an ending.
A Certain Magical Index is an example there are storylines we want to wrap up and may not get wrapped up this upcoming season but in later years.