On Jan. 3, 2015, Tomohiko Itou, the director of the anime Sword Art Online and Sword Art Online II, and cosplayer and gravure idol (Wikipedia) Hikaru Aoyama were interviewed together. In the interview, the director looked back on the year of 2014 and commented on the current state of anime, with a few words on Sword Art Online II and its future.
I have translated some of Itou’s parts of the interview for your interest.
Note: Hikaru Aoyama has received training in a school for voice acting, so she is supposed to be knowledgeable about the anime industry.
Q: So, first off. The second season of Sword Art Online has ended, and you’ve worked hard. Director Itou, what anime did you watch in 2014?
Itou: I didn’t really watch anime. However I did see “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure”. Also, I’m a fan of Director Hiroshi Hamasaki, so I saw “Terra Formars”.
Q: “Terra Formars” uses a lot of heavy dark censors. This technique has sparked a lot of conversation on the internet.
Itou: I think everyone’s blowing it a bit out of proportion. In any case, the problem lies with the TV station’s own discretion. If the work was broadcasted on Japanese TV at midnight, then there probably wouldn’t be any censors. Isn’t this channel also broadcasting “Parasyte”?
Q: There are also lots of people in the anime industry who care a lot about online reviews.
Itou: No matter if the reviews are good or bad, the production studio cares a lot about them. There are some people who go straight to those websites after work. I think we should reduce our usage of the internet.
Q: Director Itou has quit using Twitter, huh.
Itou: The time using Twitter could be better used for work. Twitter will only bring me lots of distractions. At least, the production studio workers shouldn’t look at Twitter. Also, if you want to promote your work on an anime news site, that kind of motivation is wrong, isn’t it?
Topic: On the crisis in the anime industry nowadays
Itou: I’ve complained before about the increasing number of anime. However, there’s still a lot of them now. There are also rumors that they won’t decrease before 2016. I feel that this industry doesn’t have a future, and I’ve considered quitting anime. Nowadays there are more full-3D works. And despite the increasing number of job opportunities relating to the anime industry, those are only for voice actors. People, why do you all want to become voice actors?
(Skipped a large part about the VA industry)
Q: Lastly, please tell us about your own 3 biggest news from 2014.
Itou: Well first, I got married in May. Next, the second season of “Sword Art Online” finished successfully. Also, in order to attend an event called “Geekopolis”, I had the opportunity to visit Paris. That was an event with elements of fantasy, science fiction and cyberpunk, but I don’t know why there was actually a category called “JAPAN” there too (laughs). There were only two people from Japan there: two guys from Aniplex who came along with me. So, I was very relaxed. In events in America, there are a lot of overweight people, while French people are slender. Even if they cosplayed “Game of Thrones”, it would be very appropriate. The event was very lively, it was great.
Q: About “Sword Art Online”, if you were invited to produce a continuation, what would it be like?
Itou: Ah, how do I say this. If were to continue producing a story that the ending of which won’t be in sight, it would be quite difficult. My impressions of this work are already the same as the characters in the work. About that, I’m going through with other plans right now.