the japanese portal February shared an interview with the designer Shingo Adachiabout his directorial debut work on the studios’ original anime A-1 Pictures, Lycoris Recoil. This series has gained great popularity inside and outside of Japan, some listings place it at the top as “Best of the Season”, at least so far this season. Summer-2022 (July-September).
- Lycoris Recoil is your first anime as director, how did you get involved in this project?
- The project itself was already underway by Aniplex even before I joined. We already had the plot from Asaura-san’s side, and they contacted me when they decided it was time to start looking for a director. At the time, I was waiting to find out whether or not I would accept the project, but I went to the meetings and expressed many opinions, and it all led to me being asked to direct the animation.
- How much of the vision of the world and of the characters had you noticed when you attended the meetings?
- The five characters in Café LycoReco already had a setting (profile) that did not change at all, including their names. On the contrary, the world view, which at that time seemed to be based on the concept of “a girl, ‘City Hunter’ style……”, had nothing concrete.
- On the surface, it’s a coffee shop, but behind the scenes, it’s like a dangerous mission with a gun in your hand. But if you are Ryo Saeba, you are an adult and you can choose your work freely. But when it comes to underage girls, it’s not like that, right? We needed a reason for these girls not to go to school and do such dangerous things. First, we discussed it with Asaura-san, and then we built the world view by creating scenarios like the organization “DA (Direct Attack)” and its agents “Lycoris”.
- So the scenario changed considerably from one concept to another?
- That’s how it is. However, in my mind, I didn’t want the story to be as dark as possible, so I wanted it to be an easy-to-watch anime that would make you laugh once every five minutes. While I wanted to properly portray firearm action and etiquette, I also wanted to create an anime that would be accessible to non-gun fans.
- The character designs are the work of manga artist Muru Imigi. Was this offered by the Adachi-san?
- Yes, I do. I met him by chance at the Winter Comic Market one year, and when I asked him to help me, he said yes. I really like Imigi’s drawings and have always wished I could draw like him, so I was glad he agreed.
- I feel that the direction of the designs has a great affinity with the characters that Adachi-san has drawn so far.
- We didn’t really think about that, but we wanted a design that would fit the mentioned concept and target audience. I thought that Imigi-san could express at the highest level what I was looking for in this work.
- What orders did you give Imigi-san?
- I almost never did. I gave him the characterization of the text and asked him to create the rest freely, and that’s how this design came about. I actually had a temporary picture drawn by someone else in the planning stage, but I didn’t dare to show it to Imigi-san and asked him to make it from scratch.
- The original design for the Lycoris uniform was done by Kimika Onai, who has worked on costumes for Nogizaka46 and others.
- I know from my own experience that it is really difficult to create a school uniform design that is instantly recognizable as such. We wanted to ask an expert to do it, since it appears in most of the scenes of the play. Fortunately, Aniplex is the production company, so why not ask them through the Sony connection? Just when I thought my idea didn’t make any sense, they approved it. Thank you very much Onai-san.
- How does it feel to participate for the first time in an animation as a director?
- I realized that “being a director is a lonely thing anyway”. Especially this time, as I am also in charge of the series structure for this original work, I had to decide all the development and dialogues myself. The whole time I was working on it, I was worrying if I was okay, if I was going to get mad, if I was going to comply, etc. In script meetings I always wondered, “Why aren’t they saying ‘great’?” (laughs). I am still in a state of doubt and uncertainty about whether my decisions were good or bad.
- This interview was held just before the start of the broadcast, so it was the most exciting moment.
- Yes that’s how it is. The staff, in particular, have spent a year or two working on this project, so the director has a responsibility to make sure the animation pays off for their hard work, and whatever the result is, I want them to at least think that it has been a nice job. If there’s one thing that makes me happy about directing, it’s when the work is appreciated and viewers and workers alike can look back and say they had a good time.
- There’s an element of luck as to whether or not the play will be successful, so it’s not totally predictable.
- I myself believe that I have come this far only by luck. But I may have already run out of luck (laughs). In any case, I think we’ve already done all we can do and now we’re just waiting for our fate.