Studio 2 Part 02: Of Cats, Dogs and Sake
Kise works at his desk surrounded by heaps of reference material. In the bookshelves, there are various photo books: titles include, Tokyo Trial, Animals, and another one I can't mention the exact title here.
Q: Do you use all these for your work?
Huh? That's my private collection.
You must be kidding. Ah-hah, you have "Chonmaru Book" (Korean conversation textbook.)
I bought it after I went to Korea to work at Sunwoo Entertainment for Van Helsing Animated. This was supposed to be a two-week assignment, but it took longer than expected and I stayed for two months. I used to converse with a dictionary in my hand and I kept on saying "Opsoyo! Opsoyo! (i.e. it's not in the dictionary.)" Korean animators used to take me out for drinks. Almost every night. And all I could say was "Opsoyo!" "Opsoyo!" You know, you can communicate even by just repeating what others say. Gradually, to my translator's surprise, I found myself figuring out most of what they were talking about by sensing the nuance.
I'm not surprised. You are renowned for knowing most of the heavy drinkers in the Kokubunji area.
When I'm drunk, I would go about and totally put down the person I am drinking with. But I don't like fighting, so I would cover up my earlier comments by finishing off with "But I like you as you are..."
That's funny! By the way, how did you like Korea?
The animation industry in Korea is far more business-like than in Japan. I told all about this to Eiji Mizutani from the 3D team, who joined me in Korea afterward. He got upset and said, "Don't ruin my land of dreams!" Hah, ha-ha.
I've heard you've known Mr. Ishikawa for a long time. What was he like way back then?
He hasn't changed a bit. Ages ago, his family started to take English conversation lessons. Once he said, "You should take lessons too!" and gave me some lesson vouchers for a language school. I went to perhaps two classes, then quit. Ishikawa and his family were successful students. (tearful) Maybe he was already foreseeing the necessity of English for business.
You are called a board member "to be supervised by the board".
Ishikawa comes to me with questions such as "What do you think of this project?" You know, I might have a good nose for new projects. (Note 1) I remember suggesting we should do the feature film Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death and Rebirth. I ended up being the animation supervisor for that film (lol). I don't think I'm good at predicting things about myself.
What do you think of anime today?
I think the scripts are weak. (Note 2) It might be that the current anime production environment makes it hard to train good scriptwriters. This might be due to the fact that many kids who want to be writers tend to go into live-action films. I only see scripts after they are made into storyboards, but I do realize the importance of a good text.
By the way, people say, "Director Oshii loves dogs" and "Kise-san loves cats."
Yep, I picked up a stray cat and kept it in our Studio 2 while I was working on Innocence, because I didn't have time to go home.
You mean a cat in the studio?
One day, Oshii-san came to our studio. He picked up the cat and started talking, "You are such a cute pussy!" When I asked if he had anything to discuss with me, he simply replied, "Nope!" He sure sounded like he didn't care for me. (lol) Right now, I'm away from home most of the time, so the cat is like a stray in my house. When I'm home, the cat gets frightened and hides under the desk. I tell the cat, I'm the master!
What is it like to be in Studio 2?
Most of the staff are girls now. It's like the Shogun's inner quarters. I might get out and start "Studio 2 +" (lol) somewhere, perhaps in a storage room. "Oops, you found me!" Sort of like playing hide and seek, you know.
There are lots of reports such as spotting Kise sleeping on the floor with his feet stretched out under the desk in the morning. Studio 2 is like a collective of individuals rather than a structured organization.
One can't help crediting Kise's love for sake, people and cats for holding these individuals together.
Notes by Kise
Note 1: I think this was the only time I did make a good bet.
Note 2: Those who can't write are the ones...