Makoto Hoshi / an anime seeker (4)

“I had always liked books from the beginning. I read all the completed works of masterpieces in primary school, and after that, I read Ranpo Edogawa, Maurice Leblanc, Conan Doyle, and so on.
I remember I liked biographies. Hideyo Noguchi, Fabre, Lincoln, Washington… I loved biographies of great men.
I didn’t want to become such a great man myself, but I enjoyed knowing that there was such a way of living in different times.

I encountered some valuable works of the field of nonfiction in high school.

Roh Takenaka “Uncle Kurama-Tengu … Oral Transcription of Arrakan Biography”(1976 Shirakawa Shoin)
Tetsuo Takahira “Deep Interview …… Everybody was Naughty Boy” (1977 Shirakawa Shoin)


The former is a collection of notes recording the talking of Kanjuro Arashi, a famous movie actor who performed Kurama-Tengu. Takenaka exactly reenacted everything including the tone of voice.
It is said he didn’t use a recorder but wrote down everything by hand.
Takahira is the person who worked as a constitution writer of the TV variety program “Waratte-Iitomo”. This is also a book writing down what he hears, in which he interviewed Fujio Akatsuka, Masaaki Sakai and other people who were cool at that time. I didn’t know all the people in those days.But it was interesting to understand their characters. Everyone was passionate and young.

At that time, I met this way to describe a person.I opened my eyes to the world of non-fiction, and the technique of describing a human being, so vividly.
This was a big discovery for me. I think this is the origin of my interviews.

I hope my interview will become a writing like that.
I hope it will become one that the readers can feel the interviewee’s talking tone and movement clearly.
I am glad if they think these anime creators are living in this book and am glad if they think they can meet them anytime if they open this book.

Both Takenaka and Takahira have love and respect for the interviewee. It’s like they can write about them like this because they have so much respect. I was affected by them very much. This is my textbook.”

Makoto Hoshi / an anime seeker (5)

I came to Tokyo for university and went to Mandarake almost weekly.
It was when there was only one Mandarake store on the third floor of Nakano Broadway. I went there many times, and became acquainted with the owner, Mr. Furukawa.

In 1999, I was called by Mr. Furukawa and was asked about the anime-interview for Mandarake’s catalogue “Mandarake ZENBU”.The catalogue was to be the Special Issue of “Lupin Ⅲ”.
I was asked who was good as an interviewee. Although people usually would mention Mr. Otsuka or Mr. Hayao Miyazaki, I recommended Mr. Takeo Kitahara who had created neo-Lupin.
Mr. Furukawa said, “That’s fun!” and said “Will you do it, then?”I was surprised because I expected just to help behind the scenes to the end.
Mr. Kitahara appears at the end of this book, but originally, he was the first interviewee.
In that meaning, I’m lacking in naivety. When I reread it, I was speaking from the beginning in an ordinary way.

I am not a critic. I will not give meaning.
I will leave the undiluted solution in the interview like in a vacuum-pack.
I want to write it so the readers in times to come can feel that this person is such a soul.
I want the readers to talk with the creators in this book, even if the people disappear. I have been doing this with that aim.

Makoto Hoshi / an anime seeker (6)

“One of the characteristics of this anime-interview is that I often interview background animators, I think.Though people commonly pay attention to animation characters, background painting is in fact terribly important.
When we watch a scene, 70%-80% of it is background.
How will you depict a background in an anime-cartoon: gag-like or realistic What tone will you paint it with?

This is the key animation.
It’s the background key animation of “Pole’s Miraculous Adventure”.
It is an art board by Mitsuki Nakamura, the art director of “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”,”Gatchaman”.

Then, how will the mood be in this world at night?

It becomes like this. The trees grow luxuriantly in the mountain behind the mansion, dark clouds enshroud the sky, and then, Belt-Satan comes to kidnap Nina.There is a background like this, and the world appears. Here, an animator puts characters on this painting.

The greatness of an anime art director is that they have a town in their heads, while normal painters commonly see a scenery.
It is in 3D before computers even appeared.
Nobody knows the White Base of Gundam.But how the corridor is, or how a light is shining etc.… the art director decides all the details of the scene.
They have a perfect 360 degrees plan in their heads, and they can look at it from all angles and decides how to picture it. They can make the lighting like this or that, or they see it dark because it’s the inside of a warship. Therefore, we can walk inside the warship.

An art-director shares the world inside the general director’s head and embodies it.He lingualizes it and explains to several hundred staff…the scene in morning should be painted with this color, in daytime with this color, in night with this color, and others. It’s an extraordinary matter.
After all, I think that the background picture is the main color of the anime we watch.
Had it not been for the background picture, it is no use even if a good character works so much.

Now it is the age of the computer. If they draw a background a little, they can move the angle on the computer, can’t they? But in those days, everything was manual labor.
See, the difference of this painting and a common picture is that it is in focus everywhere.
They must neatly draw it for the setting, and so everywhere is in focus.
It is drawn well and realistically like a photo with a digital camera.
This is a picture around 30 years ago. Art directors of anime cartoons did so like this from those days. This is a skill of a master.”

Makoto Hoshi / an anime seeker (7)

” Mr. Akihiro Kanayama, he is incredibly good at drawing.
For example, in “Tosho Daimos” (Fighting General Daimos), Mr. Shioyama of”Soko Kihei Votoms”(Armed Trooper Votoms) revised the original pictures as the product director and Mr. Kanayama oversaw as the total drawing director.
The original painting is good too.But Mr. Shioyama revised it and the expressions were tightened, and in addition, Mr Kanayama touched up just the eyes.
It is a very delicate difference.But they became the uneasy eyes of the youth.
This difference of eyes revealed Kazuya’s feeling. It showed all the delicate ambivalent feelings of the teenage youth.

The greatness of Mr. Kanayama is in this point.
A delicate emotional expression. One hair, the corner of the eye, and so on. Such a trivial part changes the face dramatically.Mr. Kanayama does this so normally.
He had to revise several hundred pieces every day and was running out of time. So, he changed only the line by a little. Then what happened? Kazuya’s face became one of determination.His expressions were entirely different.
This is the power of the drawing director.”

“This is Erika, the cute heroine of “Daimos” which Mr. Kanayama drew. She keeps closing her eyes; we know she has fainted. We know she is a young lady from a good family by just this one piece of painting.
As for the characters of “Daimos,” Yuki Hijiri had designed them in a very stylish way.
Mr. Kanayama gave them life.
Glamour or a feeling of vitality was given to the characters, as if the characters were taken over. That is Mr. Kanayama’s drawing.”

Makoto Hoshi / an anime seeker (8)

Mr. Akira Daikuhara received little attention at the time when I interviewed him.
But the present TOEI animation is a result of his contribution.
Although staff kept retiring after the several labor struggle, Mr. Daikuhara stayed in the company to the end.Therefore, I repeatedly said to him during the interview: “You supported the foundations of TOEI.”

This is a picture by Mr. Daikuhara. Extremely good!
This “Tantei-Oh” (an old mystery magazine), which I bought at a secondhand book store, is worn-out with a tattered cover.But this content is great.Takeo Nagamatsu, the creator of “Golden Batt”, and Jiro Kuwata, the creator of “the Eightman,” contributed to this issue. Mr. Daikuhara, too.
Mr. Daikuhara drew fascinating drawings in this.


(Contens of the “Tantei-oh”)

In Mr. Soji Ushio ‘s interview, it was the most interesting to hear why Tokyo-Movie Shinsha came into existence.Nobody asked why until this interview was released.

Mr. Ushio had the permission of Osamu Tezuka to animate “Big X” with P-production.
But the plan hit a setback by the opposition of the staff of P-Pro.So TBS, the TV station which was going to televise it, was troubled and made Tokyo-Movie in a hurry.
As there were few staff, the president Fujioka kept scouting here and there.
I hear that some animators of Mushi-Pro did a part-time job there in those days.
Mr. Osamu Dezaki, famous for supervising “Ashita no Joe (Tomorrow’s Joe)”, seemed to have established a relationship with Mr. Fujioka there at the time.

Makoto Hoshi / an anime seeker (9)

“There are several people who decline an interview.
I wrote a letter using five or six pieces of letter-papers to Mr. Nagayuki Toriumi, in which I mentioned my impressions of his books and asked to interview him.

It is said that only the last story of “Sience Ninja Team Gatchaman” does not have a scenario.
I heard that Mr. Toriumi wrote a story-board that became the post-recording script.
Mr. Tatsuo Yoshida thought Mr. Toriumi was the best person to film a realistic drama and chose him as the director of “Gatchaman”.And then, Mr. Sadao Miyamoto, Mr. Mitsuki Nakamura and Mr. Kunio Ohkawara, who all had an ability for realizing Mr. Toriumi’s vision, met there.
All the conditions were fulfilled to become “Gatchaman.”

Without Mr. Toriumi, “Gatchaman” could not have been made.
The last episode was created because Mr. Yoshida entrusted so much.
I wanted to hear such episodes from Mr. Toriumi, but I could not.
When I asked him, “Was the overseas joint work “Pierre’s Journey of History” your turning-point?” he said yes.
But he wouldn’t talk about “Gatchaman” itself.

To be frank with you, my interview always becomes a quarter or one-fifth of the original conversation. But most of the content I heard is included.
I want to disclose the contents as much as possible.Even if it is impossible to disclose everything, I want to get permission to reveal until the limits.

Therefore, as I truthfully wrote, I couldn’t hear about “Gatchaman”. From Mr. Toriumi’s manner, it seemed as if he said “I don’t have to talk about it. You already know, don’t you?”
But I wanted to hear it!


Makoto Hoshi / an anime seeker (10)

Speaking of Mr. Shingo Araki, the power of his still images and beautiful characters are well known.
For example, Hyuma Hoshi of “Kyojin no Hoshi(Star of the Giants)”.
A picture of Hyuma drawn by a normal animator is this. This is good, of course.
But when Mr. Araki draws it, how will it be?
… Entirely different.
Even the former is good enough.But when Mr. Araki draws it, it becomes this. Mr. Araki himself does not know why.He just says “I don’t know why. This comes automatically.”

Mr. Araki draws such great powerful paintings, but in addition to it, I have always considered that his pictures had poetic sense and lyricism, and I wondered about it.
Just then, an anime magazine “Animage” ran a special feature on Mr. Araki, and I read that he had once drawn gekiga there.So I looked for it very hard.


Speaking of gekiga, young manga fans imagine a gang or a hard-boiled story, but it is different.
There is such a world like this, too.It’s lyrical, and the development of frames is like “Jun” by Shotaro Ishinomori.
Some teenagers who had aimed to be an Osamu Tezuka could not debut in a manga magazine and came to the world of gekiga.

Mr. Araki lost his father in the war when he was a child. After graduation from the junior high school, he worked hard in the ironworks where a slight error could lead to a lost finger, but at night he drew manuscripts of manga all-night.
He drew after he recognized contradiction or coldness in the world, which all oozed out from Mr. Araki’s pictures.We also perceived it through the screen.

Mr. Araki was delighted at my having brought his old gekiga and asked me how I felt reading it.
He said he rejoiced in hearing someone’s impressions of it, which he couldn’t hear in those days.
At the time, I thought Mr. Araki was a depicter…that he was a first-class creator.
I understood we have been impressed with his picture because we have received that.

Makoto Hoshi / an anime seeker (11)

For example, as for the special effects shows on TV, movie staff who were unable to make a living from the decline of the movie industry came to create it.
The animated cartoon is the same.Some entered because Kamishibai (storytelling with pictures) business was crumbling, and others entered because Akahon (early comic books) business was ruined, or because the gekiga business became depressed.
Many people entered the anime world with just an expectation to draw a picture.
Though there is criticism, the achievement of Tezuka, who made what’s called an animator as one occupation, is great.
I am attracted by these people who drew pictures every day and fed their family and put children through university and so with just a pen… I respect such people very much.

Ages ago, before a reporter went to interview someone, he/she would go to the Soichi Oya library to check all the articles on the person.
But do these people have such a record?

Nothing.

The only clue is the work career of the person.
The work career is in my heart.Then, with emotions, with the impression I got in those days, and in addition to that, the skill that I acquired in my job… anyway, with a fan’s point of view like that, I go to the creators.Well, I have considerably aggravated it.

Then I ask him whether the thing which I have received is truly so. The thing which the person created comes to us, diluted through film and a cathode-ray tube.But its essence must exist in that. I am interested what that essence is.I really meet the person and talk to him about what I received. Well, there has never been a case in which I was told that I was wrong.

Makoto Hoshi / an anime seeker (12)

I suppose that children in those days were all intrigued by the strange mood of “Yohkai-ningen Bem” and “Ohgon Bat”.
Well, for example, “GeGeGe no Kitaro ̅” is indeed a story of Yohkai but it is cheerful.
But as for “Bem” and “Ohgon Bat”, they gave us a true stateless feeling.
That gray sky, the dim atmosphere of the European-style building. It felt dark even if it was a blue sky.

Mr. Morikawa Nobuhide lost his father in his teens and learned animation by self-education. He made this manual by himself in the ages when copying was still expensive.

Then, he went alone to Korea and instructed people on anime with this manual.
The way to move a character’s mouth, the way to describe time-sheets, the way to make Ohgon Bat fight.
He even made a color chart of cel by himself, and distributed it and taught how to make an animated cartoon from the beginning.
He studied by himself, and collected all the materials through his own efforts, and then, taught how to make animation in Korea from scratch.
I was curious about the world of “Bem” and I was hooked on it.I understood what the origin of my wonder was from talking with Mr. Morikawa. That mood came from Korea. Although many art boards were drawn by staff in Japan, that mood still appeared.Mr. Morikawa went alone there and created the work with the local staff in that way. That’s why the mood appeared.

Makoto Hoshi / an anime seeker (13)

This is an original picture of “Lupin the Third” by Mr. Takeo Kitahara, who is the first interviewee of this interview series.
Mr. Kitahara could draw any picture.But as for Lupin, his picture really changed, didn’t it?
He drew this picture first.

 

The splitting problem of Tokyo-Movie occurred, and A-Production moved.I heared only Mr. Kitahara stayed there to supervise “Lupin”.He did it, saying that he was glad to do it because he had wanted to make”Lupin”.
At first the picture was slightly awkward.He gradually got used to drawing it. Then, Lupin like this appeared.It looks fine, doesn’t it?

Pictures change constantly. It is changing while being drawn many times.
That’s what an object is. It is inserted into the creator’s life.
I am not a collector.I don’t have a sense called “complete”.
I am looking for a thing, an object, as a lead to feel the trail of a creator’s life. I definitely want to reach the person who made it through it.
The “thing” is a start to talk with the creator, and to know the creator more deeply.

Now is when we have Mandarake and various data on the Internet, and many things are dug up.
But in the past, we couldn’t research what the person created.
In 1977, the first number of “Rendezvous”(; the extra number of anime magazine “OUT”) ran a special feature on Tatsunoko-Production. I liked Tatsunoko for many years and I had been searching for its materials.
Just then, the color mook book was released for the first time.A picture of Mr. Tatsuo Yoshida appeared on the mook, and this was splendid.
At that time common book stores didn’t sell Mr. Yoshida’s comics, so I looked for it in secondhand bookstores. His picture is splendid.Though I knew a famous illustrator, Goichi Yanagawa and others, Mr. Yoshida’s picture is favorable compared with them. I thought it was great.

On “Rendezvous”, I read that Mr. Yoshida had made a picture story, and I looked for this.
It is this, a picture story by Mr. Yoshida.

His picture had some sorrow, or refinement. There is not vulgarity.
I think that this shows the best part of Mr. Yoshida’s picture. It is juvenile literature. This is Mr. Tatuo Yoshida. He is really great.
Though he cannot have been to the United States in those days, he drew it without it having a Japanese style.He must have had no material, but this picture is really good.
Despite being a picture, it’s moving. Hey, this is like a movie, isn’t this?
He might have had a desire to move his picture from those days.
Now, I write “The Miracle of GATCHAMAN” in a serial column “I want to know manga moreover” on “Mandarake ZENBU”.I explore what Mr. Tatsuo Yoshida thought about in that time.
It is exciting for me to find out gradually what he was thinking.
To research the person who influenced me teaches me many things, even if I can’t meet them.

Makoto Hoshi / an anime seeker (14)

“This is an original of a rejected cover picture of “Captain Shark” (Sonorama library)which Mr. Noboru Ishiguro drew. In fact, he was a really amazing person who could make a superb picture like this.”

“Mr. Ishiguro once drew manga with Yoshiharu Tsuge, the famous manga artist.He threw that away and entered the world of anime.It’s extraordinary, I think.
You say it’s the charm of animation? But it’s a thorny path, isn’t it?
You can write a novel for yourself. You can draw manga for yourself, too.
But, as for an anime, it is teamwork and so various people’s intentions get in inevitably.
An animator should worry about the producer, the sponsor, the director, the original author and the TV station. Besides that, the authority’s check is severe.
After synthesizing all these intentions, how much the animator can show his/her originality is the unceasing challenge.

Mr. Ishiguro is a restrained shitamachi Tokyoite and has never boasted his achievement at all.
But too many persons who are great masters now were his works’ staff when they were young.
I was very much interested in how he foresaw that these people would transform into great creators.
Mr. Ishiguro said that they were brought up by themselves from beginning to end.
But according to him, he painted a cel with his fingers like this when he created the explosion scene in “Yamato”.
Mr. Hideaki Anno did an anime with experimental expression in “Neon Genesis EVANGELION” and “Karesi Kanojo no Jijo(Kare Kano)”,but Mr. Ishiguro was already doing so on his own, and he let young staff do so freely, which we can see.

Mr. Osamu Dezaki and Mr. Yutaka Tomino became masters, and they do as they please.
Mr. Ishiguro, you don’t do so. Why? I asked him, “You don’t have a leader album, do you?”
Then, he answered that he preferred to ad lib like in jazz.
I think I got a good answer.
To Mr. Ishiguro, who had been a musician, that was a question which I could ask because I had dabbled in music. All experience was helpful, and I felt I have done everything for this.

The reason why I said that I wanted to see the slapstick of Mr. Ishiguro?
Originally, I wondered why Mr. Ishiguro entered not Mushi-Pro but TV-Dohga which created “Kaitoh Pride(Phantom Thief Pride)”.
“Kaitoh Pride” is a fun anime like an overseas work.Therefore, I guessed Mr. Ishiguro had wanted to create a relaxant and nonchalant gag anime.
I loved anime like that, too. Mr. Ishiguro said that he wanted to create it.Well, we were in common there, too.”

 

Makoto Hoshi / an anime seeker (15)

“I like music, I like books, I was also hooked on nonfiction and pro-wrestling. I’m the follow-the-crowd type.If Makoto Hoshi is not so, that is not Makoto Hoshi anymore.
Everything that I have been doing in many places is finally coming to use.
Now I finally became like that, what do you think?

Life appears in a painting. It reveals itself.
Although an animated cartoon is a group creation, something comes through the group work.I took that in in the countryside of Kyushu, as if I had received a correspondence course through a TV screen.Through a picture, through a thing, I aim definitely for the person.
In that way I want to leave the trail which the person walked like vacuum pack.

There is a phrase I like. It is the words “being rude, being uncivilized, but not being mean” from the title of a book by Saburo Shiroyama.
I think that we must not lose dignity even if we are very rude or uncivilized.
Though I may be rude and uncivilized, I won’t be mean. I always think so.
After all, I like a person who hopes so. I go to such people.”

*

Mr. Hoshi’s words end here.Please read his interview book “The Legendary Animated Cartoon Creators” after this.
The question of who he is seems to have a big meaning for Mr. Hoshi himself.
A seeker is what Mr. Hoshi names himself.This is not a very general expression.
It is usually a researcher, isn’t it?

From the self-introduction of Mr. Hoshi, his thought that he wants to only understand and seek after the longed-for world in his boyhood seems to shine through.
Therefore, his title is also not a commentator.To know exactly what moved him in the past is different from attaching a meaning to it, Mr. Hoshi thinks.
And when he talks about a work, he wants to talk about its appeal no matter how trifle the work is, like Aunt Komori or Mr. Nagaharu Yodogawa in the movie commentary world.
His self-restriction including such self-reliance and scrupulousness. on the other hand, indicates the overwhelming strength of his awareness of the distance with the object and the methodology.

As I mentioned in the beginning, Mr. Hoshi published “Zusetsu TV Anime Zensho” a must-read book to grasp the overall history of animation back in 1999.
20 years since, Mr. Hoshi seems to enter the domain others are incapable of following, more and more. But I do not need to repeat this now.
Because the person who had amazing power to see the possibility in the young, a director of “Space Battleship Yamato”, had already seen through and foresaw everything.

FIN

Chiko Takahashi (Apple-Box-Create)/ profile

Chiko Takahashi

In 1949, he was born in Ninohe-City in Iwate Prefecture.
After graduating from Daito-Bunka-University, he entered “New Design Center “in Shimbashi,Tokyo.
He was mainly in charge of picture conte of TV.
In 1971, he was invited by Eiichi Murano with who he had become acquainted with during college days to join a dojinshi circle “Kijin-Club”
(dojinshi: publication aimed at a hobby, or a fanzine)
He released “Miiko-Metamorphosis””The Adventure of Kotono””Super NYANNYAN”etc.
After leaving the company and working as a freelancer, he opened the secondhand comics shop “Natsuman-King” (the present name “Seiwado”) in Shinkoiwa, Tokyo.
He presides over a dojinshi circle “Apple-BOX-Create”.
He has published “Shonen-Natsuman-Oh””Manga-Ichi”, reprints of many old comics, and so.

Mr. Takahashi says
“During my dojinshi activity, Osamu Tezuka died. Hibari Misora and Yujiro Ishihara died.
The economic bubble burst, and the Showa era was over. I retired from the work of picture conte, opened a secondhand bookstore, and 30 years have passed…”

“New Miiko-Metamorphosis”

Chiko Takahashi(Apple-Box-Create) /manga reprint, dojinshi(fanzine)(1)

Close to Shin-Koiwa Station, on the first floor of the apartment facing Kuramae Street, there is a secondhand bookstore.
With “Seiwa-do” written in gentle gold-lettering on the door, it has such a discreet appearance that many would not notice it is a used bookstore at first glance. However, it is actually a well-known vintage manga specialty store, overflowing with valuable vintage manga books inside.
The shopkeeper is a comic artist, Chiko Takahashi, who has created works such as “Miiko Metamorphosis.” At the same time, he runs the fanzine group “Apple Box Create”.

At present, Apple Box Create regularly publishes two series called “Natsuman-Oh” and “Manga-Ichi”.
Reprinting old manga not published as a single title and lining it up with the cover of when it appeared on the magazine, both fanzines are published four or five times a year. Add single reprinting of old manga, and it publishes twenty-four or twenty-five issues per year.
The distinctive feature of Apple Box Create is its deep attachment to old manga which can even be called an obsession, and the depth and the length of its challenge that overwhelms others.

In April 2018, the 50th “Shonen-Natsuman-Oh” was published. The old manga reprinting project will celebrate its 30th anniversary in the summer of the same year.

Regarding this marvelous achievement, I hardly have any words to describe it.
I asked Mr. Takahashi what his motivation to continue up to this point is, and why he has been continuing reprinting like this.
I personally expected words that talked about a strong sense of mission and passion, but such words never came out from him.
Mr. Takahashi, with a quiet manner, seems like the person who originally does not have words of such high-handed attitude in his dictionary.
When he talked about delight, his words were modest. And even when he recounted his hardships, a serene atmosphere, as if looking back through the eyes of a third person, drifted.
Thus, only the enormously large facts he has piled up, remain.