You must have a strong mentality to have dealt with that (laughs).
At the same time "Sorcerous Stabber Orphen*" was on the air, and I had started work on the movie version of "Revolutionary Girl Utena**" (laughs). I'm amazed I made it.
*The first season aired from October 1998 to March 1999, and the second season from October 1999 to March 2000.
**The film was released in Toei theaters on August 14, 1999.
It's like "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" (a documentary film based on the film shot by his wife Eleanor on the set of Francis Ford Coppola's film "Apocalypse Now").
I can see why Anno said I should talk to you.
It was so bad.
I thought I was going to break down (laughs).
How did you manage it?
Well, I don't know...
It's my job to make things work.
What is the best episode in your opinion, including various aspects?
Hmm... I would say episode 6.
I think it was the first episode with an opening.
Why didn't you have an opening until episode 6 to begin with?
To begin with, it took a long time to finish the songs. So, we couldn't finish the drawings (laughs).
But it was finished before episode 6.
Anno decided that it would be appropriate to add the opening from episode 6, since it would become a "boyfriend-girlfriend" story from this point on.
I didn't like the content of the story that much, but when the opening was added, I felt that the story was finally complete.
It was a very emotional episode.
(Note: The opening was included in the first episode when it was made into a software version, but was changed back to the TV on-air version at Anno's request this time).
There has been a commercial for the theme song CD since the first episode, but the anime doesn't have an opening (grin smile).
I heard that Otsuki was scolded for that by Fujii Fumiya***.
***The opening song was produced by Fujii Fumiya, who was a close friend of Anno.
Looking back, how has the experience of working on "Kare Kano" affected you?
As soon as the production started, both Anno and Masayuki started tracing the original manga, saying, "Of course the drawings in the original manga are the best, so let's trace them" (a technique of using the original manga as the original animation drawings).
Actually, the concept was similar to that from the very first episode. Even the opening.
We tried to make the best use of the original drawings as much as possible.
The idea that "the original artwork is always the best," 20 years later, also led me to "Back Street Girls," which I was working on last year (2018).
In the case of a normal anime based on a manga, we have to rewrite the original still pictures and make them into something else in order to make them work in the anime.
So, originally, tracing the original manga is not an option.
The moment we traced the original manga, it would be a different drawing from the character chart****.
However, Anno's decision to use the original manga's artwork because he wanted the best expressions here was a real eye-opener for me as a creator.
****Various settings of the characters.
In the sense of "just like the original manga," the expression of looking at the pictures vertically was also fresh.
Later, people started to read manga by scrolling vertically on their smartphones.
(Vertical picture angles were also born in live-action).
By the way, Anno gave me the mysterious line, "From now on, vertical Vista is the key" (laughs).
I didn't know what he was referring to at the time, but I think he was trying to say that we don't have to stick to the concept of the frame.
"Kare Kano" is full of things…
That are connected to the present.