We had the great honor of sitting down with director and creator Okamoto herself as she talked about her experience with the new series.
This is not your first time cooperating with us. What initially attracted you to this story? 2024
When the project first started, we just wanted to do a pilot episode , but after getting some suggestions from others, we decided to aim for a series. After crowdfunding the project, the pilot episode actually became part of the series. Now our goal is to make everything bigger.
The crowdfunding campaign is doing really well. Fans really love this project. What do you think attracted fans to this story? 2024
This is just my personal opinion, but I think it’s because the characters are so charismatic. I put a lot of energy into the characters. The story isn’t just story-driven, it’s more like it’s built around the characters and their interactions. I absolutely focused on that and built the story around it.
Even from the first episode, I was blown away by the camaraderie between the main character and his new friend. I’m amazed that you can inject so much personality and humor into the robotic arm. How do you do this? What is the hardest thing? 2024
Alma becomes as charming as he is because the animation crew loves him so much. They put a lot of effort into his movements and expressions. Also, the voice actor who voices Alma is Tomokazu Sugita , who breathes life into Alma.
On the subject of Alma, it must be very challenging to animate expressions when you basically only have one hinge and one eyeball. In your production meetings, what kinds of things did you talk about? 2024
Generally speaking, I will do the drawing first. I sketched it by hand and then painted the CG traces on it. Then we add another layer for more nuance and more detail. Then there is another 2D layer on top of it. That’s probably why it feels so alive and full of character.
During the action scenes, the fight choreography is unbelievable. It’s clear that a lot of thought goes into every move in every game. What inspired you when designing your fighting moves? 2024
I get a lot of inspiration from shonen manga. In shonen manga, the way they portray action scenes is by presenting the main visuals they want you to see. I have key moments in my head, and then I build around them and think about how the action should play out.
It’s funny what you said, because action scenes in manga can sometimes be very minimalistic when you only see the main action points. In this series, the opposite is true. It’s very minimalist. Every angle, every movement is considered. Is there a reason you want to take those extra steps and show every detail of these battles? It must take more time and effort. 2024
The entire series is heavily character based. I designed everything around the characters, so I didn’t necessarily think too much about the action scenes themselves. But if I put a character in a fight scene, then I have to think more about what they’re going to do in that situation. The story is about humans and mechs, so everything revolves around that. When the animators are working on these scenes, I go over them very carefully and make corrections or suggestions about what certain characters are going to do, even if they are in the background. I think about what they’re going to do in that scene, or how they’re going to fight, or how they’re going to defend themselves. Basically everything comes back to the characters. I’ve got them all planned out in my head.
You seem to really enjoy every aspect of the production. What are your favorite parts and which parts would you like to delegate to others? 2024
I started out as an independent animator and director, doing everything myself. But I love working with the team now because it opens up so many other perspectives. This involves story and animation, keeping everything separate and being able to see other people’s points of view. Something happens that I never thought possible, but it fits the story well. I’m still very committed, but I also enjoy working with the team.
Is there a learning curve from indie to large scale production? 2024
Previously, I was in charge of everything, so the final product was my own. Like high or low quality, hardly that important since it’s % my own work. But when I start working with other people, I can sometimes be challenged because if someone else’s work doesn’t match what I think, even if it’s high quality, I can’t accept it. It’s different now. I really enjoy working with other people. As I said before, collaborations can lead to ideas that would not have arisen before.
I have to say, I think you are so cool! You know, anime has always been a boys club. Do you have any advice for other young women aspiring to be creators?
At TriF Studio, there are actually a lot of female animators. Some of the best animators are actually women, although we’ve noticed differences between men and women. Of course, if we have to point out the differences. Women tend to be more stoic and serious and always meet deadlines. These people don’t always meet deadlines, but that’s because they are very focused on their work and want to make their drawings as perfect as possible. It ends up taking more time. So it’s an interesting balance. The women are very hardworking and meet deadlines, but sometimes the quality can be a bit off. Men are more focused on perfecting everything so they can turn in a good work, but they may miss deadlines. My advice is to try to find a balance. Art is a very creative process, so it’s important to be yourself and put yourself into your work. If you are too serious, you can be less serious. Don’t think too much about things, just have fun.