[03/07/2015] Comments from Director Seiji Mizushima and Scriptwriter Sho Aikawa

Original article: 水島精二監督、會川 昇(脚本)よりコメントを頂きました

Seiji Mizushima (Director)

Why were there so many superheroes in our make-believe stories? It’s been almost ten years since I had that conversation with Mr. Aikawa. It was that long ago.

We’re from the same generation and had grown up watching similar programs, but I had never considered that question at all. Come to think of it, as a child I had certainly watched and enjoyed my fair share of shows where superheroes made an appearance.

But why did that era give birth to so many superheroes? That day, we got engrossed in our discussion and talked long into the night.

Before long, Mr. Aikawa came up with a plan for an original project.

A world where superheroes exist in large numbers. A setup where each superhero could be considered a main character.

That world would be extremely realistic. I could sense that it would be compelling.

I want to make this, I thought. Years have passed since then and the idea has changed shape within us, but the core of Concrete Revolutio was always there. We waited for the right opportunity to present itself.

Sho Aikawa (Scriptwriter)

I was born in 1965, so superheroes were always in my television screen. They didn’t discriminate between tokusatsu, anime, jidaigeki or police dramas. At times, they even rivalled singers and athletes in terms of celebrity status.

My young mind could not tell the difference between superheroes and reality. The articles about heroes in the magazines were equal to the events described in the newspapers, so to speak. And when I became engrossed in the role at the park or in kindergarten, I even circumvented the barrier between heroes and myself with perfect ease. Even now, those memories remain branded in my mind.

In that brief period of my life as an elementary schoolchild, my greatest pleasure was riding my bicycle. I did not pedal with a destination in mind. I simply propped my child-sized bicycle on a stand in the corner of the garden and pedalled with all my might. Back then, an endless universe unfolded before my eyes. It wasn’t even a joke or a made-up story. I became a spaceship pilot, rushing around the galaxy. It would be easy to dismiss all of this as a delusion or a dream or as child’s play. But what if it were true? Was there no possibility of that?

Although only three volumes had been translated into Japanese, reading Wild Cards blew my mind. The concept of a shared universe was appealing, but I was gripped by the books’ approach of placing fictional things and likely superheroes in actual history and letting them mix. When I think about it, it had elements and techniques of Japanese chuánqí novels, which I was also really fond of.

Whenever I was exposed to the depictions of “reality” in American comics like The Dark Knight Returns, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Marvels, I found myself pondering more and more how they would work in a Japanese context. Then I found myself studying the Showa era I grew up in. When I was a child, I knew “what was happening” in the news and from adult topics, but I didn’t understand the essence of it. But part of that essence was immortalised through fiction and depicted in “superhero stories” by thoughtful writers, so it reached us even back then. It was certainly a case of being armed with a journal in one hand and a magazine in the other.

If many works of fiction depicting superheroes included reality, then writing about superheroes is simply another way of writing about reality.

Over these past ten-odd years, I’ve grappled with this phantasmagoria alone, but over the past several years I’ve finally obtained comrades who understand what I’m talking about, and we’ve been able to mould it all into one shape.

If this were my last work, I wouldn’t mind. No, this doesn’t mean that I’m going to retire. I mean that I’d be satisfied working on this project until the day I die.

  1. Thanks for the translation, Frog-kun!

    It is interesting how this project has been planned for ten years. Make me wonder what other great anime project that never formed.

  2. Uh, you’re forcing my hand to give the show another chance. Then again, these interviews sometimes read a bit too much like drama composed for marketing. A coin flip will do.

    • That’s the first time anyone has ever described interviews with Japanese anime creators as “drama”. To be completely honest, most of them try to be as safe and uncontroversial as possible, to the extent that they frequently come off as bland.

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