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FRUiTS October (No.15_1st/Oct./1998)



(Translated by Equator)

I would like to introduce the magazine titled "FRUiTS". The October, 1998 issue of that monthly magazine, there was an interview with Mr. Ueda, a producer of an animation "serial experiments lain". This interview appeared on the Japanese junior fashion magazine. (That magazine wasn't an animation magazine!)

This interview was done right after the fourth story had broadcasted, it was probably between the last week in July and the first week in August, 1998.

An Interview with Yasuyuki Ueda (Producer, 29 years old)

This time I had interview with Mr. Ueda, a producer of an animation "serial experiments lain". This animation centers on a heroine Lain. The background of the story is the world where computer networks has progressed in near future. This animation sometimes shows us strange sights. A boundary between networks("wired") and a real world becomes uncertain.

FR___How was the work which is called "lain" born? In this case, it is a little different from general animation works. There aren't any original comics. Or, no comic writers are making it.

Ueda_Well, I am in my post of the original projects of animations in the company (Pioneer LDC Co., Ltd.). A work which we makes there is not a work based on an original, and we makes it by a plan.

In this several years, I took those works to televisions and theaters. I think, the animation works whom I took charge of were just ordinary works. Such situation went on several years. I wanted to make something different on this project. I don't cling to animations, I wanted to make as the picture work to make with my sense. I wanted to express the theme which I had in those days.

Usually, I discussed the best staff to take with the production company. But in such meanings, this time I looked for staff without others help. For example, I found Mr. Abe who drew pictures of the character design in the homepage of the Internet by chance. It seemed that he could go very much. Then, I decided him as a staff.

FR___Didn't you know him at all till then?

Ueda_I didn't know him at all.

FR___Was he neither a famous person?

Ueda_In the comics member journal and the Internet, he was the existence known a little. But he was still before the professional debut. I told him "Let's make an appointment in the station of Nakamurabashi."

FR___Is he still a student?

Ueda_He is a graduate school student of Tokyo art university now.

FR___What is his specialty?

Ueda_His specialty is a Japanese painting. At that time, he was a university student. Therefore, the person in charge of the picture was decided as him.

I can write only a project document. I need a scenario writer who writes the whole scenario of the series. I asked Mr. Chiaki Konaka for writing of the scenario. I worked with him before. And as for me, he is a terribly favorite writer personally. I told him "Will you do it?"

FR___Let me know about him.

Ueda_From the beginning he is a scenario writer of a real picture. He have once written a scenario of an animation of Pioneer LDC. He writes even the scenario of special effects movie very much. Ultraman Tiga on TV, and he is concerned with next Ultra series. His younger brother is a movie director, they take variously activity with brothers.

And about two years ago, I made a girl game, a communicatio game, it's called "NoŽl", I was the director. I took charge of a scenario and a story. Mr. Nakahara was the director of the game in that time. I involved him the game and the television, both projects started before one year and a half.

FR___Did you set up a preparation period in one year and a half in "lain"?

Ueda_It is so. It passed for two years after I thought about this project. Though I hurried. (laugh) At the beginning as for this plan my mental state was influencing to, it was the uncomfortable story that is difficult to be familiar. But on the TV edition various people were concerned with the production. I had them made the story that probably I myself wanted to make. We succeeded in expressing a warmhearted story. It is finally a good drama, and I am very much satisfied. I planned it by myself, it is sometimes being avoided unconsciously. But, it is made to notice it by the staff who joined from the outside "That's it!"

I wrote the original plan of this project and a frame. The people who participated in the work spread the world of "lain". I got the impression that my old draft was entirely another work, though I wrote it by myself. This fact shows that capable creators gathered around "lain".

FR___The original plan and a project of "lain" was made by "production 2nd". What's "production 2nd"?

Ueda_Actually, it means me. The reason of that name is because the post which I was in at that time was the place of the production 2nd section. This is a literal translation. (laugh)

It is not only that. It seemed to me "lain" has existed out of the main stream of the animation a little bit. There was such a reason. Because of the significance of 2nd label. I named "production 2nd". Well, there was hesitation to write my name, because I am a company employee, I thought it might be interesting to pretend like a label. "lain" receives such evaluation, that is not a typical animation.

As for the staff of this work, the persons who don't know much a fait accompli of an animation gathered. Even these cases will related, "lain" differs with a typical animation.

Therefore it was able to receive and was able to see it in the meantime to the persons who do not have a special interest in the animation. Like this, "What's this?" "It's a strange kind of an animation." I think, someone feels, starts, and thinks something from this work.

It's remarkably small that the business field of the animation industry. It is about 20~300,000 people to purchase animations. It is thought with about 500,000 people even including the potential demand in Japan.

They are a little special, they have the professional consciousness as a customer. They observe works like a critic, very severely. Though it is grateful for us on one side, but it is terrible on the other. It is a fan, or rather a critic, a commentater. There is the trend that is making works while responding to the fan like that with the animation industry, now. I think, that I want to satisfy all, and those enthusiastic fans are important. It is not interesting for me who makes works, arranging and linking elements that fan may be pleased. There is not the production intention that cuts enthusiastic fan. Rather it is the work that made it as the admonition to the production side.

We tried to make such a work, I want to ask "How was all?". In the films, there are various types, like suspense, action, etc., and there is various way of enjoying. As for the animation, a cute girl's character appears, fan sees pleased it, that's all, I am boring like that.

I think, if this work "lain" succeeds commercially possibility spreads even the industry of the animation. (laugh)

FR___I watch the animations of TV TOKYO all the first time. Because, I was not able to see "Neon Genesse Evangelion" in real time.

Ueda_I didn't watch it in real time, either.

FR___I check because of the regret of the failure and there is sometimes interesting. I saw the first broadcast of "lain" by chance, and thought "Amazing! What's this!".

It was remarkable tension, I thought whether or not this continues as it is. It is the 4th broadcast yet now, I am expecting until when it continues with this tension.

For example, the title of opening was wonderful. It began in the suicidal scene of a girl of a senior high school student first and suddenly. Weren't you scared at the chain reaction?

Ueda_I was very afraid that it happened to be the same as the first story before the broadcasting. (laugh) I think, even if happended the same act as the first story, TV TOKYO may broadcast. (laugh)

"lain" is a very simple story. It is just a drama of a girl.

The scene of suicide, death was intention to express how she feels life. That suicide scene is not so important for the drama, but it is so important to feel the value of life.

I got permission about it in the television station in advance. Without such deep understanding, I don't think that it may have been able to be broadcast.

FR___Was it a problem after all?

Ueda_As for the present Japanese TV broadcast industry, there are these themes, strengthen self-imporsed controls, and carry out the age restriction of TV viewers with hardware.

In a ordinary sense, it is no wonder, "Why do you telecast this forcibly?" There were several scenes that were not permitted broadcast in other works.

Negotiation, in this time, I knew from the beginning, the scene is not permitted broadcast. I explained "No, it's different. By all 13-story, What I want to express is like this." "Because, the scene is indispensable."

Fortunately I could have the person in charge of the TV station understand it. As a result, it was able to telecast it.

FR___On the 2nd story, there was the indiscriminate firing scene of the gun in a club. (laugh)

Ueda_I had difficulty in that very much.

FR___Was it so? (laugh) A boy drank the machine like a small bug.

Ueda_The boy drank the "Accela", trip out, and indiscriminately fired. Drug and gun, sensibly thinking that is crime.

FR___Was that a machine drug?

Ueda_Yes, it was so.

FR___I am the first time such an idea.

Ueda_It calls "Nanotecnology", now, the development of the chip like the nerve fiber that was furthermore ahead of the silicon chip is carried out.

FR___Is that the idea Mr. Ueda's?

Ueda_No, that is the idea Mr. Chiaki Konaka's, a scenario writer.

Development of technology is done in all over the world. The topic from academics books is becoming a base. He brought it. As for my knowledge, there is the comprehension of technical terms a little bit than an ordinary person.

FR___In the original plan Mr. Ueda's, how was the trip scene?

Ueda_It was not at all in my original plan. My original plan begins the story of a mother of Lain's, and "Why was Lain born?".

What kind of a heroine I wanted to make, A girl has her individual concept which is different from us, A girl who advanced one step.

For example, the girl who is younger than you by 10 years. You don't quite understand what she thinks. Sense of values changes quickly.

For instance, person who thinks that body is not important to exist in this world, person who spends the whole life without meeting the others, those persons will have sense of value which is absolutely different from us.

I needed to see it from the eyes of those persons. And I thought that an essential thing could be seen clearly, like "What is right?" "Who am I?". I think how can I do for that.

What I thought the original plan, "Why has the girl be such situation. What has she fond there." Therefore, her personality is the girl whom we can't understand. She has the value which is the same as us.

But she changes remarkably. As for the point from there, she has her individual concept. This is the animation of such a girl, and the awakening of Ego and the transfiguration of the value overlap.

FR___I see. Mr. Konaka, a scenario writer, comprehends that background completely, and he is developing a story.

Ueda_It is so. It is usually, if creators gather the thought to the charactor of each creator differs.

Mr. Chiaki konaka, Director Nakamura and I, we have common recognition together. We had not done such a meeting during work, "This child do not say thing like this?" We were same to think. "So do I."

I thank for it on production work remarkably.

Most firstly, I say, "I want to do this way." Mr. Chiaki konaka makes the thing more than I think one after another. Director Nakamura makes it evolve more, and images of Lain which I couldn't discover is shown to me.

FR___A fashion sense is terribly fine, too.

Lain extends only the left forelock, and stops with the rubber band in the x mark. Did Mr. Abe do it?

Ueda_That is the order from me.

I wanted to make her an ordinary girl, but I didn't want to make her just an ordinary girl. I wanted to give her something unusual, and break down a symmetrical balance.

She extends only the left forelock. Because she is a "radio waves", so called. She believes that it can be prevented from something hearing it from the left ear of her. There is a setup of the charm in her hidden somehow.

FR___Indeed. It is good!

Ueda_I order draw the thing that she extends only the left forelock so that it may seem to be nature. I think that it could be done without sense of incongruity.

FR___After, her room wear is a bear.

Ueda_That is the setup of director Nakamura, and Mr. Kishida of the character design in the TV.

However, that bear is not only a service to TV viewers. That is meaningful. She stands alone in the family. It is the combat uniform when she opposes with the family. She puts that on, and goes, when she does a serious consultation with her father. That protects herself. It is such a thing. It is a hat of a bear mark at the time of going out.

FR___Like that, is it so? It is interesting!

(to be continued...)

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Last updated on March 23rd, 2001
Lawrence Eng
leng@cjas.org