Blazing into homes tomorrow is the incredible new anime film REDLINE, last seen blowing minds in the REEL ANIME 2010 Festival. Taking animation an exciting step forward, Redline is on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 14. To celebrate the hyper-kinetic film’s release, we present this interview by Ted Schlechte of the Wire in Perth.
First of all, thank you so much for your time, Koike-san. It is a real pleasure to talk to you. Please feel free to add anything that I haven’t asked to the interview.
Thank you for the opportunity.
You’ve been animating for well over two decades now. What got you into the career, and did you ever think you’d make it to where you are now?
As a child, I was inspired when I saw GINGA TETSUDO 999 (GALAXY EXPRESS 999) at the movie theatre. When I think about it, I have been in the industry for 25 years, but I still have more ideas to develop.
Japanese anime has always been viewed, at least in the West, as quite different from the animation we are used to from our own countries. In your opinion, what makes Japanese anime so unique?
Japanese anime is everything from anime playing in the theatre to anime made for television anime. What makes it unique is the history of Japanese anime which is over 50 years old, the anime studios, and the way directors infuse their personalities into the films.
Other than Japan, are there any other countries that you think are producing a similar style of animation?
Not that I know.
Did you ever expect the anime scene to become so popular worldwide, and how do you feel about its global growth?
I would not have expected Japanese anime to become so popular 15 years ago. I feel confident (of its global growth) due to recent media exposure of anime. Anime used to be considered only for children, however it now appeals to persons of all ages due to its depth which I see as a positive.
I know that Kawajiri-san has been a huge influence on you, but who else has inspired you throughout the years?
Your film, Redline, is one of the movies at the upcoming Reel Anime Festivals around Australia. Please tell us about the plot of the film for those who are unaware, and how long it took you to make it, from start to finish.
Redline is a film about the distant future, a race of the fastest analogue machine in space. It’s a love story between the main character, JP and the heroine, Sonoshee. It is also a story about the friendship between JP and his long-time friend, Frisbee. Redline is a fast, high adrenalin movie. Planning/ development took three years and production took another four years, so it was seven years in total.
How did you get involved in the Animatrix project?
The director, Kawajiri wrote two segments in The Animatrix, one of which he said was written for me. I was drawn to the theme and setting, and I immediately decided to be involved.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently, I am working mainly on character and mechanical design.
At the same time, I am planning on making another film.
How do you see the future of anime, and what new technologies and developments have come into existence recently?
I see an increase in calibre of directors and writers. I think there has been a remarkable technological development in editing.
You’ve always included amazing and fitting music in your films. How important do you think the score, or soundtrack, to anime films is?
50%! Soundtrack is very important in creating atmosphere and imagery.
(The Wire, Perth)