Regarding Anime Insider Issue 50

I’m not scanning Anime Insider Issue 50 (the Nov 2007 issue). The reason for this is that someone has already done so for the entirety of the magazine, which would make redoing specific pages in black and white pretty redundant:

[Thanks to fredofirish for the tip.]

In lieu of scanning the articles, I will note that there are several interviews in there which you may find interesting to look at:

-Mitsuo Fukuda on Gundam Seed Destiny (p. 24)

-A piece on Kaze no Stigma with comments from director Junichi Sakata (p. 34)

-A 3-page interview with Black Lagoon director Sunao Katabuchi (p.40)

-An interview with US VA/ADR Director Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (p.76)

-An interview with US VA Travis Willingham (p.77)

-An interview with US Publisher Vertical’s executive VP, Ioannis Mentzas (p. 84)

Via Anime Insider: Koichiro Natsume (October 2007)

An interview with Aniplex head Koichiro Natsume. He talks about music tie-ins, discusses how his own career in Sony Music Entertainment’s corporate department led to his being assigned to Aniplex (then SME Visual Works), and estimates the approval rate for projects pitched to Aniplex at 30-40 percent. Note, though, that this interview was conduced well before a conscious decision was made to cut down on the total number of anime being produced yearly, so the figure may well be lower now.

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Fun With Numbers: Kishi Seiji’s Rough Road

Way back in 1960, the NBA’s Cincinnati Royals drafted future hall-of-fame basketball player Oscar Robertson with the first overall pick. In his first season, he was named rookie of the year. In his second season, he became the only player in NBA history to average a triple double (i.e. putting up ridiculous stats in 3 separate historical categories). In his fourth season, he was named the league’s most valuable player. In his fifth through seventh seasons, he never made it past the first round of the playoffs. In his eighth through tenth seasons, he didn’t even make the playoffs despite putting up consistently great personal stats. In his eleventh season, on a new team with the man who would become Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, his team win a then-record 20 games in a row and eviscerated opponents in the playoffs, winning him his first-ever NBA title.

Robertson was great for basically his entire career, and it’s not like he lost those skills when his teams weren’t winning. So then why didn’t they win? Because in team sports like basketball, teams matter. When his team’s second-best player is a 41-year-old coach coming back into the game as a publicity stunt, how good a player is doesn’t much matter. It still takes good players to win championships, but great players not named Michael Jordan don’t win championships alone.

Anime production is not very much like basketball, but it’s a similarly complex process where circumstances can contribute as much asindividual skills do to the net result. Before work on a show can even start, a producer has to successfully pitch an idea to sponsors and justify the business side of operations. A capable cast and staff have to be assembled. Those staffers then have to both have to develop an clear vision for the series and adequately communicate that vision with the hundred-plus animators who typically work on a modern TV anime. And for the project to be a success, that vision then has to resonate with its target audience, something which just doesn’t always happen.

I mention all this because it pertains very much to the discussion of director Kishi Seiji, one of only four directors in the history of anime to helm 3 non-sequel 10k+ hits, and the only one to do so at three separate studios. In spite of having set a career milestone that puts him on the same spreadsheet as Tatsuyuki Nagai and Yoshiyuki Tomino, Kishi has been a constant target for all sorts of fan ire. Taking a quick look at his career, it’s fairly easy to see where this sentiment originates. After a barely-notable start to his career, Kishi spent the years between 2007 and 2010 knocking off three straight winners (Seto no Hanayome, Astro Fighter Sunred, and Angel Beats) and making a bit of a name for himself. Angel Beats, for all its success, has its fair share of detractors, but the majority of bad mojo Kishi has generated comes from the next 3 years of his career, the stretch from 2011 to 2013, that made him one of the many to earn the nickname “the Uwe Boll of anime”. I categorically reject this label, not because all of the shows he directed over that stretch were good, but because the stretch was a daunting one in a way people rarely think about (and included some impressive achievements regardless).

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