Yuri on Ice interview translation - CREA 2017/03 (p34-35)
Second part of the YOI interviews featured on CREA. As for the one with Kubo, more than “interviews” they are like “mini articles” that incorporate what the interviewed people said. The interviews are with Kenji Miyamoto (choreographer), Eiji Abiko & Junpei Tatenaka (figure skating animators), Yuuko Sagiri (original costume designer), Keisuke Tominaga (music producer).
Random note: thanks to this magazine I was finally able to know that Sagiri’s name is “Yuuko”. When I translated her interview on Pash I did lots of research but wasn’t able to find out the pronunciation so I used Yuiko because that was what came out searching for the name alone, but now it’s confirmed that it’s Yuuko so as soon as I have time I’ll edit that interview to fix it. I swear all magazines should be obliged to provide the pronunciation of names, because sometimes it’s really hard to find out how the kanji are pronounced when it’s not famous people with Wikipedia pages and such…
By the way, the issue of Pash coming out today (Feb. 10th) has an article I was really looking forward to (the second part of Kubo’s detailed commentary on each episode), so I’ll probably spend the night translating it when I get home from work. Also because I want to post it before the YOI all night event on Saturday (I’m going to the live viewing).
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The reality as expressed by 5 people who created “Yuri on Ice”
Reality #2: Choreography x Kenji Miyamoto
“The footage taken with the camcorder was the key to create realistic and powerful anime scenes”
Profile: From Hyogo prefecture. After retiring from competitive ice dance in 2006 he started working as a choreographer and commentator. With director Sayo Yamamoto’s “ENDLESS NIGHT” for the first time he was involved in creating figure skating choreographies for an anime.
The choreographies for all characters’ programs were created by choreographer Kenji Miyamoto. He created them integrating the music with the information he received from director Yamamoto and Kubo regarding the characters and their programs. What was different than usual is that the songs for the FS were 4 minutes long instead of 4:30 minutes.
“In the anime characters need less strokes to speed up, so it’s possible to use less ‘transitions’, the movements connecting different techniques. I cut down on those and made the programs more compact.”
Miyamoto was filmed with 4 fixed cameras and 2 portable camcorders as he danced all the programs, then the footage was edited into a multiframe video based on which the animated figure skating scenes were created.
“I believe that the footage taken with the portable camcorder, that filmed me up close, is what made it possible to create realistic and powerful tournament scenes.”
After watching the finished anime, Miyamoto commented that the characters’ monologues during their performances are realistic.
“When you are performing lots of things are whirling around inside your head. In my case it wasn’t words but still pictures, like photographs. I was happy that they expressed the athletes’ feelings.”
Reality #3: Animation x Junpei Tatenaka & Eiji Abiko
“The performances look realistic thanks to Miyamoto-sensei’s choreographies”
Profile: Animators working for the anime production company MAPPA. Specialized in sports and action scenes. They both created animation for director Sayo Yamamoto’s “ENDLESS NIGHT”.
Animation of the figure skating scenes was created by action specialists Junpei Tatenaka and Eiji Abiko. “It’s the first time that we digitally create 2D pictures after deciding the camerawork. It was very difficult because we had to figure out how to do everything”.
Tatenaka, who was already a fan of figure skating, says: “For the moments I believed to be the ‘highlights’ of a performance I would add 1-2 extra stills. This way, I was able to draw out a little what in the live footage only lasted an instant.” They actually made jumps much higher than they are in real life.
“While being aware that real skaters wouldn’t jump that high, I still wanted the scenes to be striking, therefore I was always looking for a good balance between realism and what could be allowed in animation.” (Abiko)
They both agree that Miyamoto’s choreography footage was the most important factor that allowed them to create realistic performance scenes.
“When there was a key point in the music, Miyamoto-sensei would pose with all of his body creating a beautiful line, from his fingertips to the tips of his toes. It was very easy to draw.” (Tatenaka)
Reality #4: Costumes x Yuuko Sagiri
“I think the only difference is that there were no budget restrictions (LOL)”
Profile: Ballroom dancing costume designer working for the ballet & dance supplies maker Chacott. She has designed figure skating costumes for athletes such as Nobunari Oda and Akiko Suzuki.
Yuuko Sagiri, designer of the athletes’ costumes, created the designs giving importance to functionality that would improve a skater’s performance and to elements that would make the character’s personality stand out, just like she does for real costumes. She chose materials, cuttings and decorations that would actually be employed in costumes used for real performances.
“Normally I objectively watch an athlete’s past performances to understand their level and what kind of movements they are skilled at, and this is then reflected in the design. This time I based the design on the characters’ setting materials, the information I received from the director and the choreography footage by Miyamoto-sensei. I think the only difference is that there were no budget restrictions (LOL).”
Regarding Yuuri’s costume, she mentions that she wanted to reflect the fact that he is psychologically weak and gains weight easily.
“I added shining decorations on his chest so that his face would look bright even when he is tense. The cuts on the waist are to make him look slim.”
Actually, she also designed a costume for Yurio’s exhibition. Sagiri said that she created the design thinking of what “Yurio would really want to wear”. We’d definitely like to see him skate with that costume!
Reality #5: Music x Keisuke Tominaga
“I added melody to the beautiful lyrics that is ‘Yuri on Ice’”
Profile: From Kanagawa prefecture. Music producer. He founded PIANO INC. in 2012 and is the current representative director. His main works include the Pocari Sweat 2016 commercial “Kimi no Yume wa, Boku no Yume.”, the TV anime “Zankyou no Terror”, etc.
When creating the music for this show, music producer Keisuke Tominaga constantly asked himself whether it was music you could dance to.
“I would move my hands, feet, my whole body, sometimes even checking the rhythm like a conductor or a dancer. Figure skating has many elements that resemble ballet, so to express the elegant movements of the body I used many tunes in triple time like waltz and bolero.”
Most of the classical and orchestra tracks were created by Taku Matsushiba, while the vocal tracks and modern band songs by Tarou Umebayashi. They worked on the music as a team, always communicating with each other.
“The world created by Kubo-san and director Yamamoto was like realistic and beautiful ‘lyrics’, and I feel that our role was to create a ‘melody’ for those lyrics. In fact, when I joined together Yuuri’s FS song “Yuri on ICE” and Victor’s recorded voice for the first time, the lines sounded just like the words of a song, and I can’t describe how moved I was. I believe that this strong, deep expression that you would not be able to obtain with music alone is what realistically affects the viewers.”
Bonus in case you haven’t seen it already: Sagiri’s design for Yurio’s exhibition program.