(Summary/Translation) Macross Frontier Episode 12 Staff/Cast Commentary
July 22, 2012 25 Comments
With Nakajima Megumi, Kawamori Shouji and Kikuchi Yasuhito (the director).
Summary based on a little comment made at the end of this commentary: 12 was probably the most important episode of the series for Ranka, wasn’t it?
Note 1: This summary-translation is completely my own work. Please DO NOT reproduce it anywhere else, though you are quite welcome to link to it if you wish.
Note 2: Don’t take these as translations, but as paraphrases of what the commentators say. I simply don’t have the time to note down everything that they say. Furthermore, I’ve probably misheard or mistyped something somewhere, but well, sue me. (^_^)
[Megumi-chan begins this episode commentary the same way they did ep. 10…and it’s really somewhat amusing to hear Kawamori and Kikuchi try to join in!]
Nakajima: When we first received the script, this was all still in Japanese – it was only later that the Zentradi roles were set. But the Zentradi language, I heard that it’s something that you invented.
Kawamori: Well, yes, when we were making (the first series) 25 years ago, we thought it’d be boring if the Zentradi were just speaking Japanese or English like everyone else…
Nakajima: And, you invented a script too-
Kawamori: Yes, I managed to get a senior designer to help us create one.
Kikuchi: And at the time, you released something quite detailed
Kawamori: Ah, yes, we even made some (ink) stamps for it (Nakajima: wow!), like, as part of the merchandise line.
Nakajima: Hm…it’d be cool to have one of those.
Kawamori: Yeah. Well, I haven’t seen any around lately – like, where did we put them? – we’d have to reissue them.
Nakajima: During the recording session, it felt somewhat strange.
Kikuchi: Because it wasn’t Japanese that we were hearing, right?
Nakajima: Yes, that – it felt like I’d come to the wrong place.
Kawamori: Well, I hadn’t been about to complete the translation in time to put it in the script – I was working on it all the way up til the day of the recording itself.
Kikuchi: at the studio
Nakajima: but I had a chat with Konishi (Ozma), and he said that it reminded him of the movie (probably DYRL?)-
Kikuchi: Ah, so he knew about it?
Kawamori: We have to be thankful to him then.
Nakajima: and that ‘it’s like we’re not doing Frontier anymore’. It’s not something we thought would be in Frontier.
Kawamori: Ah, true true. You could say that the Zentradi were included here so that we could do “Interstellar Flight” (Seikan Hikou)
Nakajima: Wait, really?
Kikuchi: Yup, because we needed a crowd that would really get into it.
Nakajima: so, because of “Interstellar Flight”
Kawamori: The only audience that would give such a huge reaction to “Interstellar Flight” would be a Zentradi one. (laughter)
Nakajima: Ah, now that you mention it.
Kikuchi: They’re all pop music fans, after all.
Nakajima: The Zentradi, you mean? (yup yup) Some of them may even get nosebleeds. (yup yup) But wow…just so that you could use that song.
Kawamori: And of course the Vajra can’t react to Ranka’s song this early.
Nakajima: Ah, so there was that reason too!
Kikuchi: After all, as number one fans [of pop, I’m guessing -karice], they have to react.
Nakajima: But I really could not imagine when “Interstellar Flight” would be used at all.
Kawamori: I must confess, when I first heard the demo, I just kept repeating the “kira!☆” part.
Nakajima: But it wasn’t actually “kira!☆” at first, was it? At first, it was part of the music, so I practiced singing it, “la-la-la”. So I was surprised that I ended up having to say “Kira”.
Kawamori: But it worked out well, didn’t it?
Nakajima: True true.
Kawamori: it ended up have a big impact.
Kikuchi: And Kanno really is amazing, don’t you think? (Nakajima: absolutely amazing). And I really had no idea how you’d add a “kira!☆” into a dance.
Kawamori: We ended up asking them to keep redoing it, like, three times, because it was still very ‘weak’.
Kikuchi: like, it was very smooth at one stage.
Nakajima: I had no idea…’smooth’?
Kawamori: like, it just wasn’t enough
Kikuchi: it didn’t pack enough of a punch
Nakajima: You mean, rather than a signature pose, how to do it as part of the dance choreography?
Kawamori: That’s right. The poses have all been right so far, non?
Nakajima: Hm…and well, I didn’t know, but someone told me, that internationally, that sign means “I love you”
Kawamori: really? That was a complete coincidence.
Nakajima: I had no idea myself, so I was rather moved when I found out.
Kawamori: ah, I see. ‘But of course I knew it right from the word go’ (raucous laughter).
Nakajima: Well, yup, you must have, right?
Kawamori: Yup yup.
04:39 Alto trying to do something
Nakajima: Alto at this time was still quite cool.
Kawamori: “Still cool, huh?” So when did he (stop being cool)?
Nakajima: hm…(a few episodes later?) but it was at this point that I started thinking…’hm…although he’d been cool right from the start, when he first met Ranka, what’s happening now…?’
Kawamori: True. Although he keeps going to save [Ranka] from every little thing.
Nakajima: You’re right…so I wonder why I started thinking that way…
Kawamori: Perhaps him helping Sheryl is where you don’t approve.
Nakajima: Ah, that might be it. I might just be jealous.
[The person who drew the Zentradi was really excited about it.]
Kikuchi: It was quite difficult actually, having this many Zentradi in a scene.
Kawamori: Because they’re so big, you had to be careful about the episode direction.
Nakajima: From our perspective here, they seem to be the same size as humans, really…
Kawamori: If you don’t have a valkyrie to compare them too, they sure do.
Kikuchi: So we’ve got a car there to give viewers a sense of scale.
Nakajima: Oh! I see, so that’s what it is!
Kawamori: And we put this shot in on purpose, for a sense of comparison.
Nakajima: This…really brings back memories of “First Mark” (??)
Kawamori: It does, doesn’t it?
Nakajima: And then we suddenly return to the school! I was like, “What?!”
6:35 Ai-kun, quarantine issues
Nakajima: At first, I didn’t know it was a vajra larva.
Kawamori & Kikuchi: Ah, really. Good. It worked!
Nakajima: When I realised it later, I wondered if it was ok that I didn’t know.
Kawamori: Well, if you had known, you’d have been nervous/worried about it.
Nakajima: Other people asked me: “You didn’t know!?”, I was like “No, I didn’t”
Kikuchi: We thought it’d be good if it could be seen as a lovable species.
Nakajima: I was thinking that I should act as if I was keeping a pet like a cat or dog – so that’s what you did.
Kawamori: I mean, if you’d known everything beforehand – there is no one who knows such things beforehand, so we thought that you’d act more naturally if you didn’t know.
Kikuchi: You can’t imagine all the things we did to make sure that none of the (voice) actors guessed things ahead of time.
Nakajima: But we really didn’t pick it all, you know. At each recording session, everyone would throw out their theories and speculation, but I don’t think there was anyone who got it (all).
Kawamori: It would have been difficult for anyone to guess everything, probably.
Nakajima: But actually, Nakamura did declare that Alto wouldn’t be attached to either of them in the end.
Kawamori: But I wonder if that’s because he was saying it to you (laughter)
Kikuchi: True, if it’s Nakamura, hm…
Kawamori: that’s what would happen, probably.
Kikuchi (repeats): ‘Oh?’
Nakajima: As for me and Endou, we really had no idea. We were always saying ‘I really thought it would turn out this way!’.
Kikuchi: For us, you know, it was pretty difficult balancing the two of them. If we made one stronger, than we had to make the other stronger too.
[NB: I’m pretty certain they’re talking about Alto’s relationships/empathy with the respective girls here -karice]
Kawamori: But with regards to this, it’s not as if we worked on it with a particular conclusion in mind.
Kikuchi: True, we just focused on powering them up.
Nakajima: I have a question: do you ever not know how a story will turn out?
Kawamori: Well, rather than not knowing how a story will turn out, when we talk about it, instead of setting a goal, we say that we want to get to the other side of the “mountain”.
Kikuchi: The overall direction is somewhat set in stone-
Kawamori: The direction is determined, but the (final) answer lies on the other side of the mountain. Like, we’re climbing the mountain, and we know which paths we’re probably going to take. But the answer at the end of that-
Nakajima: is unknown…
Kawamori: The way I see it, not knowing 100% what’s going to happen actually ends up making it more interesting.
Nakajima: For me, from here on, I started asking all my senior co-workers some questions. And what ended up happening was that I’d change everything that I’d practiced at home. (laughter) So I’ve been wondering how it is for all of you who create this material, ever since this episode or thereabouts.
Kawamori: Hm…that’s a good point. If you prepare too much/set too much in stone, you can’t respond to other opinions. So we kind of leave it a bit raw, if you like.
Kikuchi: Even Yoshino (the writer) would discuss things with everyone, but what happens next might still be different.
Kawamori: We had a plan set out, but the attitude we had was probably something like ‘if it turns out exactly like that, we should stop right there’
Kawamori: Rather than gunning for perfection, we were after something unexpected, a little like what you might get in a live performance. It’d be more interesting if there was an accident or something. And we just happened to have a lot of staff like that.
Nakajima (laughs): So everyone was like that.
Kawamori: Sometimes, you get people who have to do things step by step according to a plan. It just so happens that we don’t have any staff like that this time.
10:00 scene with Sheryl and Alto
Nakajima: I didn’t expect a scene between these two here. It’s like there are a lot of threads running parallel to each other, and (why they’re all here is) not something you’d understand from the first viewing.
Kawamori: Ahh, yeah, it happens quite often now, ever since the start of the video age. The first time you watch something, if you compare it to watching it after you know what the conclusion is, or after you know some of the background setting, you can see it completely differently.
Nakajima: I agree, it’s completely different.
Kawamori: When you see plays and so on, different actors bring different things to their roles. But for TV and film, where that’s not possible, I like trying to create scenes that you’d look at differently the next time around.
Kikuchi: Like, we inserted lines of dialogue with two possible meanings,
Kawamori: and the first time you see the scene, you don’t know which of the two it is. Though perhaps we put a few too many of those in. (laughter)
10:50 Michel and Luca talking about the new fold pack
Nakajima: I love it whenever Michel-kun comes on.
Kawamori: Then next time, let’s put you with Michel
Nakajima: Well, I’m a fan of Michel-kun.
Kawamori: I see…then let’s think of some ways to have you appear with him.
Kikuchi: he (Michel) does have some good points after all.
|Pretty cool, huh?|
[The eye catches are pretty amazing – the staff worked hard at them.]
Kikuchi: Kawamori was pretty unreasonable though.
Nakajima: He was?
Kikuchi: Yes, like, just telling them “Please make one” and leaving it at that
Kawamori: Usually I have them make it, then take a look and ask them to change a little bit here and there. It’s better this way, because there’ll be a bit of variation that way.
Nakajima: I’m just stuck on the idea that you were unreasonable.
Kikuchi: You see, if he didn’t do that, then it’d become just another job for everyone. Like, they’d just look at the episode, pick something out and go ‘how about that one?’.
Nakajima: So, you wouldn’t get anything unexpected?
Kawamori: Precisely. You see, if there’s no sense of ‘Deculture!’, then it’s not Macross
Nakajima: Ah, of course. ‘Deculture!’
12:15 Alto in action
Nakajima: I like this scene quite a lot.
Kawamori: He really does quite a lot.
Nakajima: Now that you mention it…
Kikuchi: But well, his wishy-washiness is what people remember.
Kawamori: For some reason, that seems to be how most people characterize him.
Nakajima: Why is that, I wonder… But really, this is a great scene. He’s not directly fighting against them, but…what is it…
Kikuchi: If you think about it, Alto was the most proactive protagonist that season.
Kawamori: you could say we were aiming for Basara levels.
Nakajima: When you put it that way, yes, totally! He’s actively fighting, after all.
Kawamori: He fights, and makes quite a few other contributions. But in the end, the appeal of the two songstresses was too great [i.e. everyone was focused on them so forgot about what Alto actually did/tried to do!]
Nakajima: That kinda makes me happy.
Kawamori: About the different kinds of Queadluuns, in previous Macross series, male Zentraedi were the ones piloting them. But thanks to certain adult circumstances…(we added women too)
Nakajima (giggles): Thanks to ‘adult circumstances’, hm…
13:55 Ranka’s grand entrance
Kawamori: Ah, she’s here she’s here.
Kikuchi: Never thought we’d have to do (this kind of descent)
Nakajima: …Will…she be alright?!
Kawamori: At first, we’d talked of her being in the palm of the Valkyrie, but of course, that’d be impossible
Kikuchi: Everyone was opposed to it
Nakajima: If she’s in the palm of the Valkyrie…
Kawamori: Of course they’d be annoyed. And if you look carefully, she’s got a seat belt on.
Nakajima: What what?
Kikuchi: Around the waist
Nakajima: So she was wearing a seatbelt…!
Kawamori: If you don’t look carefully, you won’t catch it.
Nakajima: This catch phrase was…a bit of a challenge! At first, I wondered what in the world it was. (laughter) I asked if it was like Sheryl’s “Listen to my song!” and was lightly told “Yup!
Kawamori: Going back to the line, it was actually “Please listen to my song” (“watashi no uta wo kiite!” following Sheryl’s “watashi no uta wo kike!!”) but we wanted something different from Sheryl’s. So let’s use “embrace”! And “everyone” and “the galaxy” got added after that.
Kikuchi: It expanded just like that. “Everyone, let’s embrace” didn’t feel like enough, so we added “to the ends of the galaxy!” Like, people kept saying that it didn’t have enough of a punch. (laughter)
Nakajima: “Let’s embrace”…’embracing’ has the nuance of “let’s cherish each other”, right? But it’s very Ranka-ish.
Kawamori: There’s a bit of duality, right, it could be “embrace me!” or “everyone, let’s embrace each other”
[The commentators then go into a little discussion about Ranka’s dance moves. Takahashi, one of the two character designers, worked as the animation director for the sequence, and he really copied down all the dance moves perfectly. At the time, Megumi-chan had not even performed the songs on stage – she’d only been practicing the choreography.]
Kawamori: At during the concert, you stood on the palm of the valkyrie, huh?
Nakajima: I did, I did.
Kawamori: Could you see (?), when you were up there?
Nakajima: Yup, I could, from behind. I was super happy. All the fans were really like the Zentradi, roaring away!
Kawamori: Real-life versions, huh?
Nakajima: It was a wonderful feeling (performing up there).
Kikuchi: So it would have been.
Kawamori: Ah, he’s here he’s here
Kikuchi: Speaking of (Yasaburo), is it true that he appeared in your dream?
Nakajima: Yes, it’s true.
Kikuchi: What happened?
Nakajima: Ah, you don’t know?
Kikuchi: I haven’t heard (the details).
Kawamori: Well, it was on your blog, wasn’t it?
Kikuchi: Ah! I see!
Nakajima: Well, Yasaburo suddenly asked me to marry him.
Nakajima: He proposed to me.
Kikuchi: How did he ask?
Nakajima: “Please marry me.” (Boku to kekkon shite kudasai)
Kawamori & Kikuchi: Ohhhh…
Nakajima: So I said, “is it ok to marry someone I don’t love?”
Nakajima: Then he replied “It’s ok if love develops after marriage.” And it ended as I was contemplating that.
Nakajima: Actually, Yasaburo is my type of guy.
Kawamori: Really? Which parts?
Kikuchi: That you can’t tell what he’s thinking from his face?
Nakajima: Yeah, something like that. He’s quiet, but it’s like he’s hiding a black heart.
Nakajima: A nice person, but it feels like there’s something there
Kawamori: Ah, that’s what you mean.
Nakajima: Yeah, I really liked him.
Kawamori: I feel like I’ve been let into a nice secret.
Kikuchi: like, he has two faces.
Kawamori: that’s one way to put it.
Nakajima: Like, there’s a gap between his character and how he looks.
[Kawamori actually likes asking people about their dreams. He’s also fascinated with the idea that you can found out some things about your future from them, through a professional dream reader. Megumi-chan has had dreams with Ranka in them too, and has even talked with her in them. About trifling things, but the interesting part is that “it’s my own voice”. (laughter)]
19:50 The gorgeous sunset and Nekko Nikki
Kikuchi: The atmosphere is is just fantastic.
Nakajima: It is, isn’t it? Like, full of happiness.
Kawamori: At first, it was meant to be Aimo, but after I listened to ‘A Cat’s Diary’ (Neko Nikki), I thought it’d be nice and switched it
Kikuchi: yeah, (Aimo) didn’t really match.
Nakajima: ‘A Cat’s Diary’ was the ending for episode 11, wasn’t it? I was wondering just where it would be used in the show, so I was really happy to see this ‘date’ scene.
Kikuchi: Yeah, it’s good that it’s used for this ‘date’ scene, or rather, it’s a cute scene, so ‘A Cat’s Diary’ is just perfect.
Kawamori: The ending for the 11th episode was actually going to be Aimo, but after watching it, we just couldn’t [let Ranka’s hope alone. *I really can’t catch this! -karice]
Nakajima: ‘A Cat’s Diary’ really is a strange song, isn’t it? There is an air of loneliness about it, but there’s also happiness.
Kawamori: it’s a cute song
Nakajima: And here their cheeks are also rather pink. But whether its because they’re blushing, or because of the sunset…
Kawamori: Either way, it’s a beautiful scene
Kawamori: I really wanted to have just one long cut of the valkyrie floating in the sky, and that’s why we ended up with something to put in the ending.
Kawamori: This…really broke apart something that seemed to be going really well, huh?
Nakajima: It’s like, it just doesn’t go the way you might want.
Nakajima: It becomes somewhat suspenseful from here on, doesn’t it?
Kikuchi: (Laughs) and everyone just got a little bit excited
Kawamori: The Macross…but you know, I was afraid that everyone would get the wrong impression, and be annoyed when the next episode didn’t turn out like they expected.
Kikuchi: but here, we had to put this silhouette out here.
Nakajima: I really did get the wrong impression.
22:28 And the ending sequence:
Nakajima: And hearing “DYRL?” here…brought tears to my eyes.
Kawamori: It really works, doesn’t it? I’m glad we tried it, because if we’d gone with the flow, it’d have ended up being really similar to the first Macross ending…
Nakajima: So it was just something that just happened to be there?
Kawamori: Yup, there just happened to be this long cut (of a valkyrie floating in the sky – see above), about 5 seconds long. So we decided to have it repeat throughout the ending.
Kikuchi: it was a really fresh idea.
Kawamori: It was something we thought of just at that point.
Nakajima: It really is cool, having “DYRL?” and this floating valkyrie.
Kawamori: With it just floating on forever, huh?
Nakajima: Really makes you forget all the things you wanted to talk about.
Nakajima: But this really is an incredibly important episode for Ranka, isn’t it?
Kawamori & Kikuchi: Definitely.
Kawamori: It’s the last one where she’s just really happy. Although they’re alright until halfway through the next episode.