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Otakon2011: "Angel ScandyS" Press Conference

On Friday afternoon, Otakon played host to a press conference focused on the upcoming anime series Angel ScandyS, said to be “…a comedy about three normal girls, three demons, and three angels, trying to become idols.” The catalyst for the plot is the death of the Principal of the prestigious Lilliard Music School, who passes away and leaves an unscrupulous man as chairman of the board as a result. As a result, the deceased principal cannot rest in peace and refuses to go to heaven or hell, leaving the denizens of both places in a quandary. A way out presents itself when the principal offers his soul to whichever side does the most to reclaim the school from his successor, so three individuals from heaven and hell go to Earth to enroll in Lilliard.

The conference was held by director Noboru Ishiguro, the founder and chairman of the animation studio Artland and director of such titles as Space Battleship Yamato, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, The Superdimension Fortress Macross, and Megazone 23. Ishiguro was joined by three voice actress involved in the show: Orine Fukushima, Momoka Ohara, and Chiaki Shimogama.

Ishiguro began with a joking comment about how with Legend of the Galactic Heroes he was working with a cast that was 90% male, whereas this time he gets to work with lots of women. He went on to state that the series features characters based on voice actresses voicing them, further remarking that with this project he wanted to give young talent a shot. Ishiguro also highlighted how the production style of most anime was to adapt comics to animation, whereas Angel ScandyS is a series built from scratch.

The panel proceeded to introduce the characters being played by each of the actresses. Momoka Ohara is cast as Grill, one of the devils, an active tomboy willing to help others in need but also possessing a fiery temper. The second character introduced was Chiaki Shimogama’s Tsuzumi Usui, described as a poor girl that has to work hard just to attend Lilliard. Shimogama commented that so far she’s usually been cast as preschool children, but with this character she’ll get to be someone her own age. Meanwhile Orine Fukushima, a veteran in the industry and the CEO of her own talent firm, plays the character of Gabriella, described as the head mistress of the angels. Though Gabriella is a caretaker she was described as not perfect, as she will sometimes transform to a 14-year-old “younger and hyper” version of herself when she wants to unwind and be silly.

Ishiguro commented that Angel ScandyS was originally meant to be announced at this year’s Tokyo International Anime Fair, which didn’t happen due to Japan’s tsunami disaster at the time. He expressed his view that the the tsunami changed the mood of Japanese society, causing it to lose “bright, uplooking feelings.” With that in mind, they wanted to create something to help make the world more cheerful. In regard to the production of the show Ishiguro remarked that the animation is currently lagging behind the music, quipping that at this point it would be faster to turn the series into a stage show.

After the presentation, the panel entered a Q&A session. In response to a request to elaborate on how the characters were being developed from the personalities of the voice actresses, Ishiguro commented that the girls had dinner together and met with the creative staff. Based on that interaction, the writers decide on what traits to take inspiration from. Another questioner expressed surprise that the show was not taking the manga-to-anime route, asking how this was done. Ishiguro responded that one can’t forsee what will happen in a new experiment, though he also stated his belief that with the show fans could get to know characters in a “3D”, face-to-face way. Ishiguro further remarked that he did not consider the manga-to-anime approach to be a good influence on the industry, declaring that anime should be created originally rather than just serving as a marketing tool for publishers. In response to an inquiry on the role of the human characters, it was said that the characters would all be equal rivals to one another. Ishiguro commented that many possibilities were being considered for the script, also suggesting that the characters might not make distinctions between their respective races.

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