Hisone And Masotan: An Interview With Executive Director Higuchi Shinji & Character Designer Aoki Toshinao

The original video interview can be found on here. The following translation can’t be used as subtitles because I did not format it to be used as such.  All images can be found at the official Hisomaso Instagram.


Executive Director Higuchi Shinji

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Working On An Original Anime

Higuchi: Ok, when you think about it, anime is something that’s essentially inviting you to make original content, and I’ve always been pretty envious of that side of it.

Character Designer Aoki

I think the best part about Aoki’s designs is they appear natural compared to others out there right now. They’re very pure. So pure, in fact, that I was excited to see how Okada (Mari) would taint them (laughs).

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Every week there was a meeting about the scenario and script, and I would be sure to bring Aoki along with me. Sure enough during each meeting, he would draw up something for us to look over. It was like we were playing catch. There were many ideas and drawings that he would toss our way, and we would catch or turn them down. It was like having a concept artist with us at every meeting. It was great.

He has a fascinating way of pulling out the characters’ emotions. Deciding on the characters without visuals is the same as casting VAs without first listening to them. Aoki works in a way where there is meaning in his sketches, and he has to draw something that makes him completely fall in love. He is constantly thinking about how he can improve his design and his drawings — that’s how he invigorates himself.

Hisone

She can’t lie. If she knows something to be true, she can’t go along with others’ charades — the truth will inevitably spill out. Her life has been a repetition of telling the truth and, in most cases, accidentally hurting those that didn’t want to hear it. Because of this, she’s lost any sort of self-drive, but we’ll see if her current view of taking life day by day will change. Or maybe she’ll realize she doesn’t need to change it.

Masotan

Masotan shares a lot of qualities with Hisone. He rejected other pilots and continued to turn them away. He wouldn’t let others touch him, but when Hisone comes along, he thinks, “Oh, maybe it’s ok this time.” It’s a story of the connection between Hisone and Masotan, this dragon, as they work alongside each other.

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Final Thoughts

So it begins. It’s been some twenty years since I last worked in the anime industry and I’m finally back. I’m your modern day Rip Van Winkle. Because of that absence, this is my first time working with Okada and Aoki. For viewers, it’ll be a first to see this group working together, so I hope you can all look forward to what will transpire.


Character Designer Aoki Toshinao

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Working as a Character Designer

Aoki: Naturally, a character designer’s job is to create the character draft, but drafts alone won’t turn into animation. I’m a character designer that has to draw what the character would be doing if they were animated. I see myself as less of a designer and more as an intermediary between my drawings and animation.

The Process

So, I use the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil along with an app called Procreate. Of course, you can draw everything and voila, your picture is finished. But the app also remembers every line you draw. After you’ve finished up the drawing, you can go back and watch it move around. It records almost everything. I’m only using it for my rough sketches, but the app records it like a video, even the mistakes. Drawing the same thing over and over again, it stings to watch all of those mistakes, but at the same time, it’s amusing to see them in action. You can easily visualize your thought process of, “Ok, I wanted this, but actually this looks better.” I get a kick out of it.

The Story

Putting it bluntly, it’s a story of how people can’t survive on their own. However, it’s not “If you can’t survive alone then why not surround yourself with people?” It’s a story about finding someone you can rely on and learning to live alongside them.

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Final Thoughts

With my character designs, Okada’s idiosyncrasies, and Higuchi as executive director I’m excited to see how it all turns out. Right now the characters are already coming alive in the script and recording, so I hope everyone can enjoy watching their personalities bring the screen to life. Thank you.

4 thoughts on “Hisone And Masotan: An Interview With Executive Director Higuchi Shinji & Character Designer Aoki Toshinao

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