Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Interview with Kaneko from Megami Magazine November 2015

I didn't pick this up until recently, but it was actually released just prior to the final episode of GX. Since it was shorter than the Newtype interview I let it take priority, but I'll finish the other TL in another week or so.  Anyway, there's some interesting insight into the characters here. Enjoy.


What “emotions” did you consider during the creation of Symphogear GX?

When I created the structure of the series the first thing I asked myself was “what are Hibiki and the others going to fight against?” I had thought about them being overwhelmed by a powerful enemy, but at this point Hibiki had already concluded that “my power is not something used to fight, but to save people” and so first it became necessary for her to have “a reason to fight.” As a basis for that I considered making use of the family circumstances that burden her, in particular her father who she was separated from. Desperate to flee from a harsh situation Hibiki’s father left his family behind and disappeared, and that incident has always cast a gloomy shadow over her heart. Although the story continued from season 1 and 2, there was still a need to bring it to some sort of conclusion. In order to achieve that I wanted to resolve a number of the issues that had been presented thus far, and among those I most wanted to do something about Hibiki’s situation in-between all the fighting. To that end I came up with Carol, the character who would serve as both a contrast and an enemy to Hibiki.

And we can see that Carol and Hibiki’s relationships with their fathers are the exact opposite of each other.

That’s right. Hibiki has continued to keep complicated feelings towards her father, who ran away from hardship and thereby severed their relationship. Meanwhile, Carol continued to love her father who did not run from the hardship he faced and lost his life as a result. In the end both of them were cut off from their respective fathers, but also still hold deep feelings towards them. If we take two characters who have these strong feelings and connect them on a rail headed towards each other, then there’s no choice but for them to clash head-on. So I wanted the focal point of the story to be what answer each of them finds within that struggle.

Considering her past, it wouldn’t be odd for Hibiki’s heart to become corrupted similar to Carol’s, so what keeps her so earnest? 

Carol saw too much of the darkness that lies in people’s hearts and thus her own heart became corrupted, but Hibiki had a relationship with friends who relied on one another. Because each of them has experienced being saved by the people around them, Hibiki and the others are still trying to save Carol despite her plans to break the world apart.

What is something you wanted to do during the creation of “GX”?

The unique qualities of Symphogear’s composition, including the intensity and energy that it gives off, were all made to order the same as before. However, this time when production was just starting the chief animation director Mr. Satoru Fujimoto told me while we were out drinking, “Mr. Kaneko, everyone in production will follow your lead. So it’ll be okay if you just do more of what you want!” It’s thanks to those words and all of the reliable staff that I was able to go at it using everything I wanted to do. Perhaps as a result of this we ended up playing with words even more than before and creating a lot of these “weird phrases” that you don’t see anywhere else (laughs). For example, in season 1 we took the word “imperial wrath” and separated it to make a new phrase in a line that involved an “inverse scale.”* Maybe that sickness of mine caught on, but some of the weird lyrics written by our music producer Mr. Agematsu also really left an impression on me.

*(TL note: In Japanese the word for “imperial wrath” (gekirin) is comprised of two individual kanji meaning: “inverse” and “scale” respectively. This is referring to a line Fine speaks towards the end of season 1 when she amasses the Noise to form a dragon-like monster and says “You’ve touched the inverse scale of the dragon and incurred its wrath, clearly you must be prepared for the consequences!”)

So from here on, what sort of challenges would you like to take on outside of creating anime?

Well this has been a dream of mine for awhile now, I’ve got this small but well thought out idea for an original RPG filled with a retro flavor. I want to make it while ignoring any news from players, and just pack it full of things that I like. It’s something that definitely would not get through at any meetings of a typical game company. At the moment I don’t really have enough free time in my schedule to make it happen, but one day I hope to make that dream come true.

With the final episode coming up, please leave us a closing message.

The biggest theme that I most wanted to create with GX was “a story of fixing that which is broken.” In episode 12 Hibiki and the girls unlocked their X-Drive forms to oppose Carol, but in the final episode they will use that power to do more than just fight. Please watch until the end to find out what choices Carol and Hibiki have made. 

Kaneko’s comments from other parts of the article

The problem Hibiki faces

Akira may seem like a terrible father, but the reality is that he’s just a cowardly, weak, ordinary human. His excessively thoughtless and cheerful personality is an essential part of him, the same as Hibiki before she became a hero. So because of that, it’s possible that at the eleventh hour, he might change to become stronger just like Hibiki does.

Carol and Elfnein’s memories

Carol’s father was burned at the stake as a result of the value system upheld by a village of ignorant people. As a result, Carol came to hate “ignorance” and thereby attempted to obtain “all knowledge” through the disassembly of the world. However, Elfnein realized what exactly their father wanted to tell them as an alchemist. She realized the pinnacle of alchemy was reached by “knowing all things and through that knowledge, bringing harmony to the world.” In other words, he desired for Carol to “forgive the world and find harmony.”

The issues that Maria, Kirika and Shirabe surpassed

After all the time they spent together, and with no blood relatives, Maria, Kirika and Shirabe regarded each other as family. When they were first made a part of S.O.N.G. they hesitated about how they should interact with their new friends. However, at this point they have forged bonds that make them close enough to all be considered “family.”

The feelings that sprouted within Chris

Previously Chris had been saved by her senpai, Tsubasa, so this time she tried her best to become a suitable senpai herself, but pushed too hard. However, when those feelings became one with the feelings of Shirabe and Kirika, who “wanted to support their senpai as kohai,” the 3 of them developed a much deeper bond.

That which Tsubasa regained

Yatsuhiro named his daughter “Tsubasa” (meaning “wings”) out of a wish that she “would not be bound by the expectations of the Kazanari family to become a sentinel that protects Japan, but rather be able to fly freely instead.” He is an awkward person so his feelings do not get conveyed well, but he truly loves Tsubasa as a daughter and she also considers Yatsuhiro precious to her as a real father. 

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