Anime Expo 2010: Toonzone Interviews Character Designer Toshihiro Kawamoto
For nearly twenty years, Toshihiro Kawamoto has been a leading character designer, storyboard artist, and animation director in Japan. Kawamoto has served as a designer and animator for such fantastic shows as Cowboy Bebop, Wolf’s Rain, Golden Boy, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083, and Ghost Slayers Ayashi. Currently, Kawamoto serves as the chief animator for the new series, Heroman. Early during the 2010 Anime Expo, I spoke via an interpreter with Kawamoto-san, a Guests of Honor for the convention, for an interview:
TOONZONE NEWS: When did you first start designing characters for anime?
TOSHIHIRO KAWAMOTO: My first character designing was for Gundam 0083 when I was 26 years old.
TZN: What made you want to work and draw in the anime industry?
TOSHIHIRO KAWAMOTO: I entered anime because I was inspired by [Hayao] Miyazaki’s Nausicaa and Macross. I was inspired so I wanted to do the same thing, so I entered animation.
TZN: Were the works of Miyazaki and Macross your favorite shows when you were growing up?
TOSHIHIRO KAWAMOTO: When I entered the anime industry, I was into the Gundams, Macross, and Space Battleship Yamato. I tried to have my career into my favorite job.
TZN: Cowboy Bebop is awesome and it’s very popular here in America. Were you ever surprised by how popular Cowboy Bebop became in the United States and all over the world?
TOSHIHIRO KAWAMOTO: I was surprised too that Cowboy Bebop became popular all over the world and that everyone loves it.
TZN: One of my favorite anime shows you worked on was Golden Boy. How did you like working on that OVA series?
TOSHIHIRO KAWAMOTO: My producer for the Golden Boy series asked if I wanted to make the character designs for the series, which I did. So I did and I made the characters all good. I didn’t know much about Golden Boy. I just wanted to work with the producer. And when I started to create it and read the manga, I was shocked about the narration that Golden Boy was like this in the manga, a little different from the OVA series.
TZN: Who was your favorite Cowboy Bebop character to draw?
TOSHIHIRO KAWAMOTO: My favorite Cowboy Bebop character was the dog, Ein. I like to draw the dogs so that was my character to draw.
TZN: I remember hearing that the design reference for Ein was based on your own dog. Is that true?
TOSHIHIRO KAWAMOTO: During Cowboy Bebop, I didn’t own a Welsh Corgi, but my friend did. My friend’s corgi was the reference for the design. But when I started all the other series with the dogs, I had gotten0 my own corgi. During when the series was out, the corgi’s design changed to my own corgi that I owned and not my friend’s.
TZN: It’s great to see you come to the Anime Expo and in the US making these appearances. Have you ever traveled here before?
TK: I’ve traveled to some parts of America, but it’s my first time in LA.
TZN: Is it true that anime composer Yoko Kanno can fall asleep anywhere?
TOSHIHIRO KAWAMOTO: The first time I saw her was ten years ago when she was sleeping anywhere. By seeing that, I think she will be able to sleep anywhere. After that, I don’t know.
TZN: What is your current or next project?
TOSHIHIRO KAWAMOTO: Right now, I’m working on Heroman. For [studio]Bones, we are making some original anime series, but I can’t tell you about that right now.
Toonzone News would like to thank Kawamoto-san for so graciously granting us this interview.