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Ghost Hound 9/9 Event Report: Mitsuhisa Ishikawa Talk Session

The challenge to create
Production I.G's 20th Anniversary Project

On Sunday, September 9, 2007, an advance viewing of the first two episodes of Ghost Hound was held at Space FS Shiodome in Tokyo. The following is a report of the talk session with Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, the president and CEO of Production I.G, that took place after the screening.

Today, we've asked Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, President and CEO of Production I.G, to join us representing the staff of Ghost Hound. Ishikawa-san, could you please introduce yourself?
Thank you. It is our honor to be back here today. We were fortunate to hold an advance screening of our film, Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters, here before, so this place brings us luck. Hope you will enjoy this session.

I understand that Shirow-san has joined forces to contribute the original story for Ghost Hound.
That's correct. We've worked with Shirow-san since 1995 when Mamoru Oshii adapted his story in the film Ghost in the Shell, and since then Kenji Kamiyama directed the TV series and the recent Solid State Society. I.G is also acting as an agent for the live-action rights of the original Ghost in the Shell comic. So we have worked together along the whole GITS line. To tell you the truth, when I had a meeting with Shirow-san after the completion of S.A.C. 2nd Gig, he proposed that we should make an anime together where animators could be left to do the wildest things. So we'd asked Shirow-san to join us in creating the original story for this project. I think this is a more natural way of putting it. In fact, Shirow's early concept for Ghost Hound dates back to 20 years ago, and we co-developed the story for this new series.

This is also Production I.G's 20th anniversary work.
This is indeed our milestone twentieth year, but our concept is not to look back. We devote our full passion and potential of the staff to current works and ahead. We try to be a forward-looking creator's group. So at this momentous occasion, we hoped to strengthen our ties with Shirow Masamune. And that naturally brought us to this anime.

I'd like to move on to the work itself. Our image of works by Shirow Masamune is closer to the world of Ghost in the Shell. But Ghost Hound takes place in a town in the remote mountains.
You have a point there. Shirow-san contributed a plot based on his original concept and the character designs. And Chiaki J. Konaka, who is responsible for the script and the entire series composition, expanded it. The story takes place in a mountain village modeled after a real place in northern Kyushu. Of course, this specific locale was not part of Shirow-san's original idea, nor he suggested to set the story of the anime in Kyushu countryside.

But after conducting a research around his original story, our staff came up with northern Kyushu. This is similar to how we decided on the setting when we did Ghost in the Shell. Director Oshii did not restrict the location to a Japanese city, but opted for Hong Kong and a broader Asian taste instead. That was the outcome of a process of expanding Shirow-san's concept, the original storyline and the character designs. For this work, after the same process, we somehow aimed to the opposite, confining ourselves to a village, or rather, a town in a very specific region of Japan.


Ghost Hound takes place in a remote town in northern Kyushu. The main characters in Shirow Masamune's original story are senior high school students, but they were changed to younger junior high students. This successfully brought forward the atmosphere of a boys' out-of-age story to the anime. The first portion of the story will mainly tell how the boys embark on an adventure, somehow resembling the film, Stand by Me.

When we think of works by Shirow Masamune, we tend to think of adult oriented stories. But Ghost Hound is a story centered upon very young boys.
Yes, actually, the main characters in Shirow-san's original story were senior high school students. But between Director Ryutaro Nakamura and Konaka-san, they decided to use even purer and naive characters and set the age of the three protagonists between 13 and 14-year-old. And also Mariko Oka drew a really cute Miyako for us. They represent characters we didn't carry up until now, so I hope you'll like them. Under this aspect, I could say that this is a new challenge for Production I.G.

By the way, the story takes place not in the past nor the future, but today. The date the main character Taro puts on his cassette tape is September 2007. The story revolves around a very familiar situation to us.
We realized this when we worked on Ghost in the Shell. Shirow-san and the staff all felt they had to properly render the present in order to create a convincing image of the future. This can be said for rendering the past as well.

But when you think of Konaka-san, you automatically have the image of Serial Experiment Lain. So in that sense, this anime deals with a genre at his best. He goes on to show us the way he looks at Shirow Masamune's works from his point of view. So you can sense the trend right from the beginning of episode one.

Production I.G is known for its skills in CG. What can we expect from Ghost Hound?
This time, I think we achieved the smoothest possible integration of 3D and 2D. Shirow Masamune highly values Japanese animators' capacity to express and "move pictures." The idea he had in mind while he worked on this project was "to produce an animation that would make the most of the animators' potential to express." So he pays attention to the 2D animation as well.


The character design by Mariko Oka is another big asset of Ghost Hound. With pictures different from Shirow Masamune's zest and Production I.G's flavor, the anime has a vast potential.

The transposition of Shirow Masamune's work into animation must be a challenging endeavor.
Shirow Masamune-san is really very generous toward people, but at the same time, he is a very self-disciplined person. He is also extremely severe about the adaptations of his work. I am sure the staff members that worked on projects based on his stories agree with me that when you meet with him to discuss things, you inevitably get nervous. This happens to me, too.

That's because his expectations are very high. But I believe the past works we've done became the foundation for the trustful relationship out studio has with him, and eventually brought us this chance to collaborate on Ghost Hound.

© 2007 Production I.G · Shirow Masamune / GHOST HOUND Production Committee