Interview: A Q&A Session with Blue Exorcist Movie Director Atsushi Takahashi and Producer Takamitsu Inoue

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During the London May 2014 MCM Comic-con weekend we managed to have a quick Q&A Session with the director (Atsushi Takahashi) and the producer (Takamitsu Inoue) of the Blue Exorcist Movie, so we decided to find out first hand what it was like to direct and produce one of the biggest animated films of last year.

AnimeBlurayUK: Hello I’m Scott from AnimeBlurayUK and today I’ll be talking to the director and producer of the Blue Exorcist movie, so could you please briefly introduce yourselves and your involvement with the film?

Atsushi Takahashi: I’m Atsushi Takahashi and I am the director of Blue Exorcist: The Movie.

Takamitsu Inoue: I’m Takamitsu Inoue and I am the animation producer for Blue Exorcist: The Movie.

AnimeBlurayUK: Well it’s a pleasure to meet you both, so first of all how are you finding it in London?

Atsushi Takahashi: It’s fun… it’s really nice.

Takamitsu Inoue: I heard that it rained all the time, but actually when it stops its quite nice.

AnimeBlurayUK: Well it did rain earlier today, but since you are here now the weather has brightened up, so that’s a good thing.

Takamitsu Inoue: Beautiful.

AnimeBlurayUK: So with the weather out of the way are you two enjoying the MCM Expo?

Atsushi Takahashi: Well I’ve actually not been able to see any of it yet, but I hope to have a look round it later today or tomorrow.

AnimeBlurayUK: I guess that’s to be expected due to all of the interviews and meetings that you’ve been doing today?

Atsushi: well I am here for work.

Takamitsu Inoue: *Laughs*

AnimeBlurayUK: We know that you are the director and producer of the film, but what does that actually mean, what did you do during the production of the Blue Exorcist movie?

Takamitsu Inoue: Simply put it’s the work of getting the film out to the world. There was a manga and the producer decides to turn that manga into an anime and then he finds people that would pay to turn that manga into an anime and then he would negotiate with the TV stations to broadcast it.

AnimeBlurayUK: Wow, so there is quite a lot of leg-work involved.

* Takamitsu laughs*

Takamitsu Inoue: Yes, I have no money myself so I have to start by convincing companies to give me their money.

AnimeBlurayUK: So with that in mind what was the pitch you gave to the companies that allowed you to generate the funds needed to produce the anime?

Takamitsu Inoue: The manga already had about 3 volumes out at that point and the artwork, the characters and the story were all good and I (we) thought that it would find fans as an anime.

AnimeBlurayUK: So for those who haven’t seen the film/franchise could you briefly tell us what blue exorcist is about?

Atsushi Takahashi: Well I didn’t direct the TV Series so I can’t tell you much about that, but the film is certainly made so that people who aren’t familiar with the TV series can still enjoy it. So you can either watch the film on its own, watch it before the TV Series or watch it after the TV series, the choice is up to you.

AnimeBlurayUK: After seeing the film myself I thought the film focused on Rin and Usamaro’s relationship as well as the importance of memories, was this an idea you had from the start or was it just something that happened during production?

Atsushi Takahashi: Intially I wanted to have a female character, a heroine, that rin would get together with and fall in love with at the end of the film, but then we thought it actually wouldn’t be good for him to fall in love with someone who wasn’t a fan so we ended up turning it into a child character.

AnimeBlurayUK: That’s quite interesting and makes sense as at the start of the film the two characters don’t get along and often fight each, but towards the end their seems to be a strong bond between them.

*Both Atsushi and Takamitsu nod in agreement*

AnimeBlurayUK: Anyway moving on, speaking of the films production did anything go wrong, like missed deadlines or multiple script rewrites? or did it all go to plan?

Takamitsu Inoue: We meet all the deadlines.

AnimeBlurayUK: Well that’s good to hear…

*everyone laughs*

Takamitsu Inoue: I think it’s the director that has the toughest job as there were hundreds of people involved with creating this one film.

Atsushi Takahashi: In the anime industry we just say “late as usual” as it’s always late, it’s never early.

AnimeBlurayUK: Since you are [gestures to Atsushi] the director what was it like to manage so many people and make sure they are doing the correct job?

Atsushi Takahashi: Actually I don’t manage the people themselves I just check whats made, as they report to me… and I don’t get angry at the people who are late.

AnimeBlurayUK: Well that’s generous to hear, so could I come and join your team then?

*Atsushi smirks*

AnimeBlurayUK: Moving away from the Blue Exorcist movie for a moment – you’ve both been involved with anime for quite some time, so I was wondering how did you first become involved with the anime industry?

Atsushi Takahashi: I happened to be looking in a magazine, I saw the ad and applied.

Takamitsu Inoue: I had seen Patlabor at a junior high school and after I had graduated I was looking for work and I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I applied to work at the studio that made that particular film. I kept trying to get in and then eventually I did.

AnimeBlurayUK: Continuing on from that what was it like working in that particular studio?

Takamitsu Inoue: It was really really tough.

AnimeBlurayUK: How so, was their lots of deadlines that needed to be met then? Or was it something different?

Takamitsu Inoue: Lots of deadlines yes, and the animators are always late with their drawings so then the director would get angry as he would want to know where his drawings were, but once it all comes together and you have the finished work then you had a sense of achievement.

AnimeBlurayUK: Indeed, it’s always nice to have that sense of achievement… So have you two ever had an argument with each other?

*both Takamitsu and Atsushi laugh*

Takamitsu: We haven’t.

AnimeBlurayUK: So it’s all happy in the work place then, thats good to know. Out of all of the titles you have worked on what has been your favourite?

Atsushi Takahashi: For me it’s Doraemon, we are still making it now and we have new episodes starting in September. That series is very special to me

Takamitsu Inoue: For me it’s Blue Exorcist. When I first gave the proposal for the script they told me it wouldn’t sell and now I’m here in London and it’s proved to be great fun and a really excellent piece of work.

AnimeBlurayUK: Do you [gestures towards Takamitsu] think Blue Exorcist is your favourite because it’s the one you’ve worked the most hardest for, because you were told it would not sell and now it’s a worldwide phonemon?

Takamitsu Inoue: Yes, I think so. The intention was to show the people who said that it wouldn’t sell that it did sell and to sort of get my own back on them, but actually a lot of things you think will sell don’t so I’ve tried not to be big headed about it.

AnimeBlurayUK: Now before I move onto a community question out of all of the Blue Exorcist characters which one is your favourite and why?

Atsushi Takahashi: I like Yukio, he didn’t have much to do in this film but I wanted to give him the oppitunity to do more.

Takamitsu Inoue: I like Rin as I like strong protagonists like Naruto. Recently in Japanese anime there is a lot of weak protagonists, but I like strong ones.

AnimeBlurayUK: That’s quite interesting, as you are both the ‘head figures’ of the Blue Exorcist movie and yet you both like the main protagonists of the film..

*both Atsushi and Takamitsu laugh*

Takamitsu Inoue: That’s right

AnimeBlurayUK: Thomas McKinnin ‏(@Tmckinnin) wanted to know what process was followed to make the idea into a film and is there any differences between the series and film (such as animation style and characters design)?

Takamitsu Inoue: As far as turning the series into a film goes the tv series came to an end after 25 episodes and we wanted to carry on but their was no story left from the original manga to put into the TV series so we thought lets carry on and make a movie

AnimeBlurayUK: Well that sounds like a logical choice, now before I go I’d just like to thank you both for taking the time to answer our questions and I hope you have a great time here in the UK.

Atsushi Takahashi: Thank You

Takamitsu Inoue: Thank You

That’s all we had time to ask the director and producer of the Blue Exorcist, so hopefully you guys enjoyed our first ever ‘Q&A Session’, in the meantime the Blue Exorcist Movie is now available on DVD and Blu-ray within the UK, and if you are still undecided then why not check out our thoughts on the film.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

One Response to Interview: A Q&A Session with Blue Exorcist Movie Director Atsushi Takahashi and Producer Takamitsu Inoue

  1. Pingback: May 2014 London MCM Comic Con Highlights in Pictures | AnimeBlurayUK

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