Translation: “Weaving the future, together with you”

An interview with Director Aoki Ei (Newtype May, 2015)

I’ve been thinking of fully translating those end-of-show interviews since I first summarised them in May, but am only starting to get round to it now. The Animedia one is a lot longer, but it should show up in the next week or two. On the other hand, I’m not sure whether I will end up fully translating the seiyuu ones after all…too many other things I want to watch or read! But I’ll see how it goes.

This translation does have a significant change from the summary – something that I thought was about characters like Slaine was probably more about how viewers see such characters. The grammar is kind of ambiguous, but I now think that the latter interpretation makes more sense. Additionally, having seen some of the Western films that Aoki refers to, I thought about pointing out a few scene comparisons, one of which I seem to recall Aoki himself making in another interview somewhere. But I’ll refrain and suggest only that you watch those movies and see if you can pick out some of the more specific ways in which they influenced what Aoki and co. did.

Disclaimer: As usual, this translation is entirely my own work, so any mistakes and awkward turns of phrases are mine (although I would very much appreciate it if anyone who spots a problem leaves me a comment so that I can correct it).

You are welcome to link to this or quote parts of it, but please don’t copy and paste substantial amounts elsewhere.

And without further ado…

Purity leads to loss, and the two fall to Earth…

In the end, Inaho and Slaine were unable to avoid fighting against each other…

The image of Inaho and Slaine becoming shooting stars and falling to Earth, and that last shot of the birds, were both in the ending that I had in mind right from the start. However, one of the other ideas I had was that the two of them would go out of control, to the extent that no one could continue following them. Isolated from those around them, they’d fight and fall to Earth and live quietly in some corner of the world, their ideals denied by everyone else. In that image of falling down to Earth as shooting stars, there’s a sense of being reborn.

Why did that change into the current ending?

Someone told me that it was way too dark (chuckles). They felt that it could work if we were talking about a film, but thought that it’d be too stressful for a TV series. So compared to the ideas I had at the start, the character storylines have a little more salvation in them.

I’ve heard that Slaine following the ‘picaresque romance’ idea of trying to gain power was something that you were particularly keen on.

The skeletal framework of Slaine’s story is as it was in Urobuchi (Gen)’s original plan. The image I had in my mind was of “The Godfather” or “Scarface.” The protagonist of “Carlito’s Way” is also similar: they’re characters that are never able to obtain what they are trying to get their hands on, they’re ‘bad’, but you’re drawn to the sorrowful nature of their stories. Slaine’s actions are wrong in the eyes of the world, and he’s regarded as a villain. However, it’s because of his inexperience that his pure and kind nature sent him down this misguided path. That’s the kind of story that I was trying to tell.

If you’ve seen “The Godfather” trilogy, you’ll know exactly what Aoki is talking about…

And how about Inaho?

In the second cour, we foregrounded how Asseylum is the driving force behind him, which I think made sense for him as a protagonist. But you know, even though he’d risked his life to save this person whom he thought of as a part of himself, she turned around and asked him to save Slaine. If you think about it, that’s kind of sad, too (chuckles). Furthermore, even though they were reunited briefly, it was the AI that conversed with Asseylum — all Inaho has is a recording of that meeting, not an actual memory of his own. It’s something that Takayama, who’s quite a romantic, would write.

So would you say that this is a story about unrequited love?

You could look at it that way. However, I’m quite fond of characters like Asseylum, who struggle with the divide between their public and private lives. Throwing away their own self so as to live in public — that’s quite admirable in its own way. When I first read Urobuchi’s plot outline, this storyline brought me back to the final scene in “Roman Holiday.” The bird in a cage experiences freedom for one day, but then returns to the cage on its own accord…

If you’ve seen this film, then you might understand
the phrase that showed up in one of the fansubs…

And that’s another connection with the ‘bird’ image. To finish off, can you tell us how you feel now that the series has ended?

This was a series that required a lot of energy to make, but I’m glad that we were able to animate all that mecha action right through to the end. Furthermore, even though it was somewhat unexpected and unplanned for, I’m happy that so many female fans really got behind the characters. The amount of effort that Matsumoto Masako put in as our character designer and main key animation supervisor was really inspiring for the rest of us, me in particular. Whilst it’ll be a process of trial and error, I hope that we can turn TROYCA into a good studio. Thank you all so very much for choosing to follow this show out of the many offerings that you had in front of you.

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

5 Responses to Translation: “Weaving the future, together with you”

  1. Pingback: For the record: Matare yo! | HOT CHOCOLATE IN A BOWL

  2. After reading this translated interview, honestly, I’m going to say I’m really disappointed. In the end all this is saying is that the heavy influence from those classic films mentioned have led Aoki to making such a depressing ending for the series (a fact which most people I see commenting agree with). Urobuchi himself said during a discussion for Suisei no Gargantia that it wasn’t his plot/scenario/his own fault that the ending went like that.

    He said the original plot should have been that during EP13 Slaine would take Asseylum away, but in the ending Inaho and Asseylum would be together and become lovers. The twist in the ending would be that Slaine (who I assume would escape from the UEF prison) would then escape and try to kidnap her again (thus an open twist reminiscent of a fairy tale).

    IMO, Urobuchi’s original plot as he said it suited how things went during the 2nd cour better. Mazuurek’s character development was thrown aside and away all for the introduction of Klancain who appeared for like 2 episodes only for that silly “caged bird escapes but goes back to the cage” ending which ruined all the things both MC and MAC built up against each other. The ending left all of them scarred, the Earth included.

    Slaine felt a little saved after finding out it was the princess who told Inaho to save him so it can be a good thing for a main antagonist character. But Inaho was just thrown away like a tool instead of being rewarded for all he has done (he’s the MC for god’s sake, a teenage boy who lost his eye and nearly his life so many times for an end to all the fighting and that one girl he finally learned how to love, only for her to be swooped away by some silly political marriage plot twist). Asseylum herself gained the peace she wanted, but god knows what’s next seeing as her husband is the Versian loyalist son of the very guy who gave Slaine his scars (and in part his motivations during the 2nd cour for a better world).

    Honestly, for all that inspiration the direction this series had, it still failed to actually get its own self straight on the finish line because it got too bound to those influences. More often than not, a show meant to be a tale of two boys fighting for the hand of the girl they like is really best enjoyed with a proper end and not with a third boy who came out of nowhere to do NTR instead. Even detective stories flop when the plot suddenly introduces a villain out of nowhere that renders the whole investigation useless and a waste of time during the very climactic ending.

    Even that very idea of Aoki’s where the two boys would live alone in some remote place on Earth unaccepted by others is silly as they would surely just end up killing one-another, leaving the survivor forever changed. It could turn out like one wanted equality in a side where there is none while the other wanted friendship between races in a side where the people are bound by hate, which is exactly as the anime showed, but it wouldn’t make for an ending for that series. It would make a good “open ending” for a prequel though since it’s what exactly happened during the generation when the Heaven’s Fall thing happened in history.


    • karice says:

      Hi, and thanks for dropping by and commenting. I’m afraid my reply is going to be short, however, because it doesn’t look like you’re up-to-date on what everyone should be aware of with regards to Urobuchi and AZ. Please have a look at this post, where I do mention the Gargantia event. Urobuchi was referring only to the ending of S1 with that comment, not to the ending of the entire series.

      Also, if Aoki had really followed those classic films, Slaine’s story would have been much darker. I won’t say anything else about what Aoki et al probably wanted viewers to get from the story (I’ve written about it elsewhere, but Aoki himself has indicated that he wants everyone to think about it for themselves). Well, except that AZ was most definitely not a romance, so, to me, focusing on the charge of ‘NTR’ means completely missing what the show was actually about. If a romance is what you were expecting, then I’m not really surprised that you were disappointed. Perhaps this simply wasn’t a show for you?


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