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記事: 【Furusato P (Producer) Anime Path】 Episode 3: "A New Producer's First Job is Chaotic"

【Furusato P (Producer) Anime Path】 Episode 3: "A New Producer's First Job is Chaotic"

In 1995, I became a producer through unexpected and surprising circumstances. Even now, I don't have any clear memories of being genuinely happy about it. "I'm happy, but..." The reason for that "but..." is because, after four years as a production desk and one year as an assistant producer, I became a complete novice as a producer. It felt like I was a first grader in elementary school again.

Also, during my time in production progress and setting production, there were always senior colleagues around whom I could imitate or who would teach me. However, as a first-year producer, there were no seniors to mimic or anyone to teach me. In fact, in the anime industry, there are no textbooks or reference books for production work. There are no teachers either. Basically, you are expected to learn by observing on your own. I've asked my juniors, and they say almost the same thing, so it seems the situation hasn't changed much even now.

Now, facing the reality, the roles of a production desk and a producer are completely different. This is one of the reasons why I felt like a first-year student. I don't know what the first thing I should do as a producer is. All I can do is try to remember how various producers acted during my time as a desk. However, a producer's job involves a lot of external work, and being stationed at the studio desk, I couldn't see what they were actually doing. Incidentally, the term "desk" is said to come from being glued to a desk.

So, here, I will explain what I wrote in the second episode, "It felt like the start of some RPG, yet I thought it was funny—how could it not be? I wasn't given any amazing items or war funds, nor did I gain any companions, yet I was supposed to meet Director Fukuda completely unprepared? (laughs)"

At the time, "Cyber Formula" was known to be a very tough and demanding anime to produce, a fact that had become well-known. The presidents of the outsourcing studios also had quite harsh opinions about working on "Cyber Formula," preferring to work on other titles instead.

I knew Mr. Fukuda from when he was the director of the first episode of "Exkaiser." Yes, he is a director with strong commitments, and so it had become widely known that working on Fukuda's projects was particularly challenging. That's why I thought I needed to be very well-prepared before meeting Mr. Fukuda. What kind of preparation, you might ask? Well, I had assumed that various gifts might be necessary. Therefore, I wrote metaphorically that I wanted items such as weapons and shields. Reflecting now, those 'weapons' might have been the animators I was close with, who were willing to help out when I became a producer, and the directors and staff from various fields who kindly offered their assistance.

One day, I was called in by my boss, Mr. Ishida. "You're going to be a producer now, so choose your staff however you like!" he said. I thought there was some implication in his words, but I understood it later. It meant that since I was taking over from the previous producer, it wouldn't be rude to change the staff or outsourcing companies associated with the project. In other words, it meant that I was supposed to find staff and outsourcing companies who would be comfortable working on the new "Cyber Formula." Wait, does that mean I'm being sent down a path bristling with difficulties? That's what was swirling around in my mind.

As a first-year producer, I wanted to continue working with the staff familiar with the "Cyber Formula" series, having worked on the 1991 TV series "Cyber Formula," followed by the OVA series "Cyber Formula 11" and "Cyber Formula ZERO." However, considering it had been five years since the TV series, I thought it might be okay to make some changes to the staff.

Then, when I met Mr. Fukuda, the first thing he said while looking at the project proposal was, "The main story will take place two years after the era of ZERO, which means Hayato will be 19 years old, so I want Ms. Mutsumi Inomata to draw the character designs." Furthermore, he wanted Mr. Shoji Kawamori to design all the cyber machines. In my mind, I was questioning if this meant starting from scratch, essentially the same as making a new anime. The sheer amount of tasks felt overwhelming, and I was nearly mentally overloaded. However, there were many elements from the previous settings that could still be used.

There were techniques and knowledge from the past five years, such as layouts for race scenes, original drawings, and a BANK system for motions. Reflecting later, I realized how much I could rely on the experienced art and background team, editors, and sound engineers. There was a wealth of knowledge on how to create the distinctive Cyber feel. Ultimately, I was the one who least understood the "Cyber Formula" know-how. Therefore, my study of being a producer and learning about "Cyber Formula" involved listening to and observing various seniors to learn as much as possible.

And then, it was decided to ask Ms. Chiaki Ryosawa to be the writer. I was like, "Huh? Who?" Actually, Ms. Ryosawa had written scripts for the previous "Cyber Formula ZERO," but her name hadn't been publicly credited, so I was not familiar with her. By asking Mr. Fukuda various questions, I learned that she had already written several scripts for "Cyber Formula," including CD dramas, and I agreed to it.

From then on, I would work with Ms. Ryosawa on "New Century GPX Cyber Formula SIN" and "GEAR Fighter Dendoh." When Ms. Ryosawa came to the studio and we had our initial meetings and conversations, she was always smiling and gentle. However, during discussions, when she and Director Fukuda had conflicting opinions, her expression would become stern, and they would engage in a stubborn exchange of words. Nevertheless, in the end, it would usually resolve with Ms. Ryosawa slightly sighing and saying, "I'll think about it."

Honestly, I think Ms. Ryosawa always showed a kind side to me. Even over the phone, when discussing the script, she would ask how far I had written, inquire about the characters' actions, and ask what issues I was encountering, to which I would share my thoughts. I'm not sure if my ideas were helpful, but we did talk a lot over the phone.

I remember when she was working on "Mobile Suit Gundam SEED," she would call me secretly and we had various conversations. Being an original work, she taught me about the importance of considering everything from each character's motivations and actions to their past. She is a writer who has taught me many valuable things.

What is a script? What makes a good or bad script? What should a script do? Ms. Ryosawa's teachings on these topics are always in my mind. And I believe she has also taught me how to view and consider these scripts from a producer's perspective.

As a new producer, the workload kept piling up day by day. Since many things were new to me, I often acted before thinking. I generally adopted a "hit and break" approach, and indeed, I broke often... I was constantly asking myself, "What is a producer?" and "What does a producer do?" At that time, I couldn’t find answers to my own questions.

One memory from that time stands out.

My new business card read "Producer," which made me feel quite embarrassed. Why? Because I was a novice producer. It wasn't a time when I could proudly claim to be a seasoned producer. Honestly, I remember handing out my business card timidly and without confidence.

Furthermore, what I realize now is that I didn't know the rules of business card exchange. At that time, as I was meeting new people more frequently, there were many occasions for exchanging business cards. I didn’t know who should offer their card first. Generally, it seems that the person who visits the company or who is younger should offer their card first. As I was from the publishing side, the other party usually offered their card first, and I had gotten used to that without properly researching the etiquette. Now, as I have grown older, there are hardly any instances where I meet someone older than myself.

In many ways, I wish I could be reborn with my current memories back when I first became a producer. However, doing the same things all over again would be boring, and sometimes I think I'd like to try a different life. But I wonder, what would I choose?


I've also started the YouTube channel "Furusato P Anime Road" today, so please make sure to subscribe and check it out.

🔻Here is the link



🔻Furusato P Photo Album: This Week's Photo



Naotake Furusato

Born on May 3, 1961, in Aomori Prefecture, Japan, began his career in the anime industry in 1982 as a production assistant at Nippon Animation. By 1985, he was working as a production assistant on Studio Ghibli's "Castle in the Sky." In 1987, he joined Sunrise, where he contributed as a production progress staff, setting creator, production desk, and assistant producer (AP) on projects like "Mister Ajikko" and the "Brave Series." He was promoted to producer starting with "Future GPX Cyber Formula SAGA" and went on to plan and produce 14 original animation titles, including "Outlaw Star," "GEAR Fighter Dendoh," "Go! Machine Robo Rescue," "Mai-HiME," and "Mai-Otome."

In February 2011, Furusato established his own planning company, Odd Eye Creative, Inc. He served as planner and producer for series such as "Phi Brain: Puzzle of God" and "Cross Ange: Rondo of Angels and Dragons." He also assisted in planning "Revue Starlight" and participated as an associate producer on "Grendizer U." Currently, he is involved in the gaming sector and is preparing new projects.




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