(Translated by sumire from an article in the February 1999 Animedia)
"As we head for the 21st century, let's start something interesting and unprecedented!" With that aim, Takehito Koyasu and Editor Orita joined forces. To measure their "spiritual fullness," they have tried such things as Zen meditation and Tai Chi Ch'uan... Last month, they visited a fortuneteller and were told, "Your new plan will succeed!" Also, the two were encouraged by the many "Keywords for the Millenium" readers sent in, and at last they decided to start the new plan.
Koyasu: Let's do a manga.
Koyasu: But, I can't think of an artist off the top of my head.
Orita: Well, then, let's get a character designer and try setting the characters first. Who would be good?
Koyasu: I know a good person. I've been indebted to Maki Fujii since Weiß.
Orita: I'll go arrange it with her right away.
Character Designer Chosen!
Orita: Today we welcome character designer Maki Fujii to our "New Plan" meeting. What a happy event! By the way, Fujii-san, how did you feel working on Weiß? 'Happy to be able to draw beautiful men' or something similar?
Fujii: Yes. I like "Visual-kei," so I enjoyed Weiß. (laughs)
Koyasu: Could it be... you directed the one where Nagi was the main character?
Fujii: Yes. You mean episode 22, right?
Koyasu: I thought so. Nagi was unusually beautiful, so I wondered if you were behind it.
Fujii: It was like shoujo manga, wasn't it? I was the only female director on Weiß, so I thought I'd go ahead and do it. (laughs)
Koyasu: In the episodes you directed, the characters were very attractive--their eyes in particular. Characters' eyes are their fortunes! I thought, "This is it!" and fell in love.
Orita: Oh really?
Koyasu: Actually, Fujii-san's teacher Tetsuya Yanagisawa draws masculine, cool-looking eyes. I wanted him to bring that element to Weiß when I asked him to do the character designs for the anime. This time, the image I have has more of a shoujo manga slant. That's why I wanted Fujii-san's designs.
Fujii: I'm flattered!
Orita: Now, Koyasu-san. Just what is your image of this "new plan" manga?
Koyasu: Overall, it's a mystery. To compare it to a popular drama series, I guess it's like Nemuri no Mori (The Sleeping Forest). It's a mysterious, tense world, as if you don't know whether the flow of time is slow or sudden...
Others: hm hm... (listening intently)
Koyasu: The setting is--considering the readership, it's a high school, of course. A high-school boy is the hero, and lots of cool boys will appear.
Fujii: Sounds like something I'd like to draw.
Orita: Fujii-san, you said you studied design in school, so the characters' clothes should end up quite fashionable.
Fujii: I'll do my best!
Orita: By the way, it's better if it's a work that can attract male fans, not just female fans.
Koyasu: Don't worry. There's also a cute high school girl as the heroine.
Orita: Good, good. (sounds satisfied)
Koyasu: There's a deep secret between the hero and heroine. And there's a shadowy existence hidden in the school that manipulates things. Riddles summon mysteries, nazo nazo... (laughs)
Fujii: Ah ha ha--what an unpleasant school! (laughs)
Orita: By the way, Fujii-san. What is your favorite Visual-kei [band]?
Fujii: L'arc [L'arc~en~Ciel], I think.
Koyasu: Eh? Same here! Please think of this manga as a "L'arc" world. To take it to an extreme, give it the feel of a L'arc promotion video.
Orita: This is rather exciting, isn't it.
Koyasu: Yes. It's a plan for the new century, so we've got to do something that's never been done before. No hiding behind protection, Orita-san!
Orita: Yes. Let's go with an agressive stance.
Koyasu: Well, the basics are full of mystery, but if you read into it, the theme is "platonic love."
Fujii: Platonic love? Well, I'm glad it's not a love comedy. Personally, I like mysteries. Hearing the story today, I'm relieved that the work suits me. I'm bursting to do it!
Koyasu: I think my concept and your pictures will fit together perfectly.
Orita: You can really get something done when you gather the talents of different people. (heartily) It's sudden, but Fujii-san, can we have you create a first-draft character design?
Koyasu: I'll send you a more detailed overview right away.
Fujii: Right! I'll give it a shot!
Fujii-san: "BI. Kirei na no ga suki dechu." (BEAUTY. I love prettiness.)
This signcard is typical of the woman who says, "I love Visual-kei!" The character designs for the new plan should be overflowing with beauty.
Koyasu-san: "KUSABI" (WEDGE)
"It's just as you read the character. I want to become a wedge in your heart (heartmark)," says Koyasu-san, and this signcard seems to have a deeeep meaning, too.
Editor Orita: "Tsudoeri! Kitai shimasu" (Able to come together! I hope.)
Orita-san, who values harmony, couldn't help being happy about the gathering of superbly talented people. He was all smiles.
Character Designer Maki Fujii-san
Born January 3, blood type O, birthplace Kanagawa-ken.
Joined animation in Iron Leaguer. In charge of first original picture, Tenkuu no Escaflowne. Going through Yuusha Shirei Dagwon to Weiß Kreuz as ___ director. Her motto is drawing "characters that will be liked by others."
Photo caption: Shared smiles full of harmony! The "platonic love mystery" of the new plan will impress the world... maybe.
To be continued next issue!
NOTES: In the photo, Koyasu-san is wearing a white sweater with a big Bugs Bunny varsity motif on it.
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