Shueisha has made available on its website a special interview with Keisuke Seshimo, animation producer at MAPPA where he answered some questions about the behind the scenes of the production of Chainsaw Man. Check out the full interview with Seshimo below:
MAPPA wants the public to enjoy Chainsaw Man
Why did MAPPA decide to finance 100% of the production costs instead of using the production committee system where several companies finance the production costs?
Seshimo: We had the idea of making a better animated version of Chainsaw Man in mind. We discussed what would be the best type of structure, and we thought that if we financed 100% of the project, we would have more freedom in terms of business and expression. That doesn’t mean the production committee system doesn’t give creative freedom. Much of the work is being carried out under a comprehensive team.
Our goal is to visualize and present Chainsaw Man in the best possible light for the audience to get the most out of it. To achieve this goal, we thought it would be better to just pursue creating interesting content with Shueisha and our company, rather than creating content with multiple leaders and a mix of different ideas.
Chainsaw Man and its 12 endings
Was the fact that twelve artists perform the anime’s ending theme weekly only possible thanks to the company’s own funding?
Seshimo: Yes, when we published the presentation video in June 2021, we were contacted by several record companies. While various options for the theme song were being decided upon, director Nakayama informed us that he wanted to make an ending close to the content of each episode if we were going to do it anyway, and when we were thinking about what to do, MAPPA said ”If we use always this same sequence, we can change the end of each episode.”
But then we thought that the ending sequence of each episode would have to be altered to make it interesting, so naturally there were conversations about whether there was enough space on the site. So we discussed it with the director and the team working on site, and they said, ‘Let’s do this.’
Ryu Nakayama as director of Chainsaw Man
Why did you offer the direction of the project to Nakayama?
Seshimo: I wanted to work with a new team, with the creators I care most about, to create the work entrusted to me. First of all, we producers also thought about which way would be best for the visualization of any work. Then develop the image of the address and expression, or be good at it.
We thought we’d do the same thing with Chainsaw Man, but since the original work was a different color than Jump’s previous work, we thought it would be more interesting if it was directed by someone new and unconventional rather than someone with an established directing formula. and expression.
That’s when director Nakayama came to mind. Since I started working in the industry, I knew that director Nakayama was an excellent animator. I was very impressed with the animation and direction work on some of the shorts that were being produced, and I wanted to work with him one day, so I offered that this was the right time to do it.
Choice of voice actors not based on their image
Protagonist Denji is played by new voice actor Kikunosuke Toya in his first leading role in a television animation. As with the choice of director Nakayama, did you want someone without a set formula to play the role?
Seshimo: We decided on the cast members not based on the image of the voices of the existing characters, but thinking about the voices of Denji as Denji and Makima as Makima. For that reason, we spent a fair amount of time in auditions, and the voice actors went through various selection processes, including tape and stand-up auditions. It was then decided that Toya-san would be Denji, Kusunoki-san would be Makima, Fayrouz-san would be Power and Sakata-san would be Aki.
I think you mentioned when you announced the cast that you cast people with voices that were close to the voice quality of the character. What points did you notice during the auditions?
Seshimo: We pay attention to the type of vocalizations they usually use to speak. Before the audition, the voice actors always come to the booth with the crew to say, ”Thank you so much for your time today”. I remember the tension that ran through the cabin members when Toya-san and Sakata-san said, ”Please, I’m in your care”, knowing that someone with potential had entered the cabin.
Tatsuki Fujimoto and the Chainsaw Man anime
Did author Tatsuki Fujimoto give any suggestions?
Seshimo: There are many occasions when we communicate, but among them all, the following is my favorite: ”My intention is first: I want to see good designs. I will do my best to get it. If I have to sign any documents, I will do it here and now”. I think it was probably a joke, but it struck me as a very undisciplined opinion by Mr. Fujimoto. This is also why we ask Mr Fujimoto for input at all times when deciding on the design and casting of each character, checking storyboards, visual expressions, etc.
What was Mr. Fujimoto’s reaction when he saw the production process?
Seshimo: He didn’t say as much as you might think, so we haven’t received any detailed comments or requests. However, when he would check out material in the process of being finalized at the time of recording and sound, his face would sometimes relax at the sight of a character performing or moving particularly well. He laughs and has fun, and that makes me happy as a producer.
As the person in charge of the project, I wanted to be able to adjust it as closely as possible to the intentions of Mr. Fujimoto, who created Chainsaw Man from scratch, and to the vision of Mr. Hayashi, the editor of the work. That’s why it’s a motivation for us who work on the animation production that the original author, Fujimoto-sensei, is happy.
Source: Shueisha Official Website