Sakura Con 2016: Rie Matsumoto/Toshihiro Kawamoto Interview, Part 2

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Q: This is a question for both of you. When you were growing up, what was your favorite manga or anime series, and as of right now, do you happen to have any manga or anime titles that you’re enjoying at the moment?

TK: I think if you compare director Matsumoto and me, there’s maybe a difference of two generations… or maybe just one. The generation gap is kind of like parent and child, almost, so I’m sure we were drawn to different things when we were young. In my generation, one of the works that sparked this animation trend was Spaceship Yamato, and also works that were created by Leiji Matsumoto. I was really inspired by those works. Right now, I need to look at other anime to learn what styles they’re using and what new process they’re using. The animation studios I’m interested in right now include Kyoto Animation and Studio Ghibli, so I see works from those so I can learn and incorporate what they do into my work.

RM: Since I was very small, I was really interested in Japanese fairy tales and there were anime versions of those shows on TV, so I would watch those a lot. I was also a fan of things with anthropomorphized animals. For example, there was one that took place in a zoo like with a penguin, and it was the humanized animals living out a human drama. I liked that sort of thing. Often I would meet these shows randomly, by accident when watching TV or something. When certain things are handled in live-action dramas or with human characters, they have a lot of heavy themes like divorce or losing family, but in those shows, since the characters were animals, it kind of softened it so kids were able to watch it, and it was kind of like practice for entering society and I feel that I learned a lot from those. Also, there were a lot of really quality shows at the time that I was in elementary and middle school, like Cowboy Bebop that Kawamoto-san had done.

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Sakura Con 2016: Rie Matsumoto/Toshihiro Kawamoto Interview Part 1

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At Sakura Con this year, I had the incredible fortune to participate in a round-table interview with Guests of Honor Toshihiro Kawamoto and Rie Matsumoto. Kawamoto earned his place in animation history as a founding member of Studio Bones and one of anime’s foremost character designers and animators, with credits including Cowboy Bebop, Ouran High School Host Club, and most recently, Blood Blockade Battlefront.

Matsumoto is one of anime’s rising star directors. In an industry dominated by older men, she has directed three major works at the age of 30, including a Pretty Cure film and smash hit Blood Blockade Battlefront.

Rie Matsumoto: I am Rie Matsumoto and I’m a director.

Toshihiro Kawamoto:  Hi everyone, my name is Kawamoto. I’m from Studio Bones and my roles are character designer and animator. Today, I am here with the director to promote Kekkai Sensen together.

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Sakura Con 2016 report

This year, I was more excited for Sakura Con than I have been for a convention in a long time. I had friends coming in from out of town, was doing three panels, and looking forward to seeing Rie Matsumoto, one of the most talented directors working in anime. Sure, I was broke, but that’s been the case at conventions for the last… five years? Ten years? Since I moved back to the US, for sure. It’s hard out there for a preschool teacher/blogger. But that doesn’t really matter – I’m not much of a Collector of Things. I’m happy keeping my convention budget to the con membership.

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