[Interview to commemorate the end of the broadcast] Loss and rebirth of dreams, growth, realism of Okinawa-Director Toshiya Shinohara talks about the thoughts and secret stories of the animation "The Aquatope on White Sand"!

[Interview to commemorate the end of the broadcast] Loss and rebirth of dreams, growth, realism of Okinawa-Director Toshiya Shinohara talks about the thoughts and secret stories of the animation “The Aquatope on White Sand”!
December 26, 2021 13:00
P.A.WORKS’s completely new original animation “The Aquatope on White Sand”, which has been broadcast since July 2021, has reached its final episode the other day.
P.A.WORKS’s completely new original animation “The Aquatope on White Sand”, which has been broadcast since July 2021, has reached its final episode the other day.
The first course (episodes 1-12) is set in “Gamagama Aquarium”, and the second course (episodes 13-24) is set in “Aquarium Tingara” with W heroine. A story centered around a certain Umisakino Kukuru (CV. Miku Ito) and Fuka Miyazawa (CV. Rikako Aida). Not only drawing aquariums and creatures, but also the human patterns of the women who struggle between dreams and reality, the problems surrounding the aquarium, the realistic scenery of Okinawa-the beautiful and deep contents of each person who saw it. I think there was something I thought about.
Therefore, at Akiba Research Institute, we interviewed director Toshiya Shinohara, who worked on “The Aquatope on White Sand”. From the launch of this completely original work to the thoughts put into the work and the secret story of the production, he fully talked about it.
While drawing a job, to be a “youth thing” with the character in the foreground
――Thank you for your hard work for 2 cools. First of all, please tell us how you feel now that you have finished running all 24 episodes.
Shinohara: I’ve run out of spirits (laughs). When I first covered the backyard of the aquarium, I was so chaotic that I thought it would be impossible to reproduce this. In addition, because I finally put out three difficult things, the load on the site became a ridiculous level … I think I was able to run to the end well. Only thanks to the staff. Originally, calorie control is one of the director’s important tasks, but … I skipped it.
――It’s fundamental, but how did this work come about?
Shinohara: First, DMM pictures brought a project “I want to make a” work animation “set in an aquarium” to P.A.WORKS, and it feels like I’m a penguin skier. It’s something you usually say with a penguin penguin (laughs).
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――Even if you say “on the stage in an aquarium,” there are various ways of drawing and drawing.
Shinohara: When trying to make a drama based on work, it is a common practice to draw troubles in human relationships or failures in the work itself. Therefore, I started by interviewing the zookeepers about what kind of work they are doing every day. However, since aquariums are jobs that deal with living things, failures can be life-threatening, so failures at work cannot be drawn so often. We once moved away from “work things” and shifted to “youth things” with the characters in front of us. After all, “nothing” is the best thing for an aquarium.
――Is it decided early on that the first course will be set at “Gamagama Aquarium” and the second course will be set at “Aquarium Tingara”?
Shinohara: That wasn’t decided smoothly either. Creating one aquarium is not only visually difficult, but also difficult to handle without specialized knowledge of living things. If possible, I wanted to do it in one aquarium. However, it is quite difficult to pull 2 ​​courses in 1 course, so it was unavoidable to open 2 buildings, and finally 3 buildings.
――It seems that there were various twists and turns, but is there a story behind the fact that you planned to set it differently at first?
Shinohara: In the first place, it was nice to be able to build our own aquarium, but when you think about it realistically, it’s all about collecting funds (laughs). Eventually, we settled down by turning Tingara into our aquarium. In the second course, we were initially talking about another company taking over Tingara. However, as I proceeded, I felt that this work was not airy … I thought this might be different, so I changed to the current route.
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――However, the taste of the second course is quite different from that of the first course, and it is drawn that ordinary office workers also have it every day.
Shinohara: This is to draw the difference in the environment for work between Gamagami and Tingara. I have little experience as a salaryman, so I focused on how the protagonists look and feel in the story, rather than drawing them realistically. If you felt it was real, I think you had a scenario in place.
――Please tell us if you have any themes for the entire work or each cool, including that.
Shinohara: Basically, I’m trying to draw “Kukuru and Fuka’s dream loss and rebirth” through 2 courses. Along that axis, I am studded with various awareness of the problems I have.
What is the relieved line that made me say this?
――It will be more specific, but for example, you have decided whether to stay in the sales department or run for the breeding department to make it difficult at the end. Fuka’s decision is the same, and what kind of decision did you make? Or was there another idea?
Shinohara: Rather than the decision itself, there was a lot of disagreement about what kind of path they would take after this, even at the stage of the script meeting. Fuka’s recent dreams of becoming a keeper have come true, and she’s talked several times about what she wants next.
――Is there any opinion that Kukuru will eventually remain in the sales department?
Shinohara: I was thinking that I would choose the sales department for myself, and I didn’t have any particular hesitation. Originally, I was also doing business things until I was a kid. In the future, when it comes to building her own aquarium, her experience at Tingara should be very useful and I think it’s a necessary process for her to have a broader perspective. ..
――When you hear that, the final episode feels like the first step in building your own aquarium.
Shinohara: If you can see that, it’s a great success.
――I think that the relationship between the two was also a big highlight of Kukuru and Fuka, but was there anything you were conscious of when drawing it?
Shinohara: I’m always careful not to have any discrepancies in her emotional changes. She can only express emotions by stacking, so various calculations are required. She was also aware that she also seemed to have the same weight when viewed through all 24 episodes.
――It was also impressive that one of them became an older sister, the position was reversed, and they supported each other rather than one-sidedly.
Shinohara: I think that is the part that Mr. Kakihara of the series composition was strongly aware of. The lines of Fuka in episodes 11 and 12 and the lines of Kukuru in episode 23 resonate as echoes, don’t they? Mr. Ito, who played the role of Kukuru, and Mr. Aida, who played the role of Fuka, performed a very emotional play, and it was an impressive scene.
――Of course, I think it’s all about drawing those two people, but where would you give a particularly impressive scene?
Shinohara: In the final episode, the place where you mutter “I like the aquarium” is a scene that I was relieved to be able to say at the end after drawing 24 episodes. I thought again that I made it to say this line.
――I knew from the first episode that I like aquariums, but it’s important to say it properly.
Shinohara: That’s right. I like aquariums from the beginning, but when I choose to work as a member of society, I experience a lot of difficult things, and overcoming them, “I like aquariums” has a different strength of “likes”. I’ve grown up.
――If you review it from that perspective, it seems that these two people also look different.
Shinohara: From the point of view of the relationship with society, Fuka has a longer day than Kukuru. As a keeper, I have a long day to go. By complementing each other, both of them become stronger and more supple. But I thought I was hugging a little too much (laughs).
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The power of the cast and staff was great in order to bring out the charm and atmosphere of the character.
――Speaking of characters, I think the acting of the cast members was also wonderful. Please tell us if there are any people or episodes that left an impression on you.
Shinohara: At the beginning of the dubbing, he said something like “The character is 70% solidified, but let’s make the remaining 30% with the actors.” Since it’s an original, everyone is groping at first, but as the number of stories increases, the process of establishing a character image that only the actor can do is very fun.
In the play, the old man (CV. Hiroshi Yanaka) was as expected. I was particularly impressed by the fact that it has both kindness and rigor, and it can be used as an annual ring. My grandfather spoke Uchinaguchi, but Okinawan people are very unique (not from Okinawa), and from our point of view, it feels like a foreign language. It’s very difficult to express a little nuance, and there is also the problem that if you speak natively, you will not receive the meaning itself. I proceeded while consulting with Yuko Gibu, a dialect teacher.
――There are many memorable words, such as the scene of the typhoon in the first course, the words when the “Gamagama Aquarium” closes, and the words when it happens.
Shinohara: That’s right. The line “Believe in the creatures. They are not so sick” in episode 11 was praised by Mr. Fuwa of the Uozu Aquarium who supervised it as a cool line. When I told Mr. Iechu about it before dubbing, he laughed, “Don’t put pressure on me.”
In response to the question “What should I do from now on?” In the final episode, the line that answered “Please make the correct answer with your own power” really echoed. .. After all, I want Fuka to think for herself and make her own decision, and she wants her to take responsibility as long as she makes her own decision. I think that only by doing so can we move forward. So, I think this last grandfather’s line was a good line that viewers could overlap with themselves.
――What is your impression of U35 (Umiko), the original character designer who colored such characters nicely?
I asked U35 Shinohara, of course, because she likes painting, but the characteristics of the characters she draws, such as “summer feeling” and “transparency”, were very important. It is also important whether there is a flower and a product. It’s difficult to define an item, and it’s just something I feel, but it’s like a sense of cleanliness. I’m really glad to ask U35.
――Furthermore, I’ve been working with Yuko Kakihara, who is part of the series, so I feel like I’m fully aware of the goodness.
Shinohara: Mr. Kakihara is a person who can write various works, so I think that one of the drawers happened to be very compatible with me. You can write serious things with humor, and you’re good at grasping characters. She is a person who can read and write a script that has a very wide image, and I totally trust her.
――Not only the goodness of the characters and the script, but also the realism of the creatures and the beauty of nature were impressive. Is it possible to enter the story because it is solid?
Shinohara: As long as the aquarium is the stage, it would be ruined if the depiction of living things is stale (laughs). So I asked him to do his best there. Most of the fish in the aquarium are the work of the 3D team, and the depiction of marine mammals such as penguins is thanks to the drawing staff led by Mr. Makino and Mr. Sumigitsu. All of these are the results of considering how much lines and coloring can be omitted to make them look real, so I’m glad you can say that.
I often try to put emotions on the background, so the weight of the background inevitably increases. While valuing the atmosphere that I experienced in location scouting, I thought about how to make use of it in the play. The background picture drawn by art director Kurumi is very good, especially when the light source is turned down, so how do you create that situation? I think that Cinematographer Namiki was also very powerful in terms of beautifully combining the materials on one screen.
–Did you have any specific consciousness in drawing the background?
Shinohara: Okinawa is subtropical, so I wanted to make a difference between temperate and subtropical zones. The sea is also very beautiful, but besides that, I wanted to express the Okinawan character such as the erosion topography of limestone and the difference in vegetation.
That deputy director and the anime director have something in common! ??
――By the way, how much did Director Shinohara originally like the aquarium?
Shinohara: I like penguins, so when I have a penguin deficiency, I go to the aquarium. That said, I only go once or twice a year, and it’s not like an aquarium freak or not at all. It feels halfway (laughs).
――I wonder if the aquarium also has an aspect of a place of relaxation, just as the local children were hanging out in the play.
Shinohara: I think some people feel that way. Some people may seek healing from jellyfish, and others may like the wonders of living things. In psychology, it seems that fish are sometimes regarded as a symbol of the unconscious, but it is not surprising that some people face the inside while facing the fish.
――So, did the things you “seen” at the “Gamagama Aquarium” in the first course come from that?
Shinohara: I wasn’t so conscious of it, but it wouldn’t be interesting to describe the utility of the aquarium as it is, so I took the method of expanding the reality and showing it with fantasy.
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――In addition, is there anything else you can say now, such as the fact that there was such a setting or the source of the idea?
Shinohara: With the back setting, I was thinking about my grandfather’s upbringing and Umiyan’s children. Also, the director and Marina are Nisei II and III. I’m also worried about the whereabouts of Udon’s father. There are many things that have nothing to do with the main story, such as the fact that the members of the production committee stopped me with all my might when I was thinking of trying to reward the love of Kaoru a little in the final episode.
The deputy director (Tetsuji Suwa) was agile and made various settings to follow the work of Kukuru behind the scenes, but in the end he did not show it at all.
――I didn’t talk about the past and thoughts of the deputy director, but you will learn about Gakukuru through a conversation with the director.
Deputy Director Shinohara is a person who thinks “it doesn’t matter how he is seen by others,” so he never says it himself. The deputy director’s method may be similar to that of the director. In fact, he keeps putting more load on the site, saying, “You can do it so far.” Of course, some people will follow me, but I can’t do this! Some people say. But that is unavoidable due to the nature of work. The fact that you can’t do anything if you don’t like being hated is similar to the work of the deputy director.
――I got the feeling that such a part also condensed the real world. The tone is pretty tight though.
Shinohara: The reason why it’s so tight is that I drew it as a subjectivity. Well, at the beginning, I was cheeky.
――I would like to ask you about the title “The Aquatope on White Sand,” which can be said to be the origin of such a work. “White sand” and “Aquatope” will appear in the latter half of the second course, but what kind of feelings do you have in the title?
Shinohara: I’m always worried about the title. This time around, I feel like I’ve decided “I’m okay with this” just before the announcement. “Aquatope” is a coined word, but I overlaid the word “biotope”, which expresses “a feeling of life,” with the image of a teaser visual in which wind flowers float when it is difficult to get into the water. It’s like an “oasis in the water”. “White Sand Dome” will appear near the final episode, but this is guided by the title and decides the facility name.
――That’s right. Recently, when words related to the title appeared in the play, there was a reaction with “Title collection” on SNS etc., so I was interested in watching it.
Shinohara: Of course I am aware of it. The name of the research facility was changed to Aquatope, but if you want to give it a name, it would be better if there was a link with the title.
――Speaking of research facilities, it was also impressive to mention environmental issues and marine pollution. Did you think about that from the beginning?
Shinohara: No, at first I didn’t intend to put it in. Such hard things inevitably require long descriptive lines. It often hinders the flow of the drama, which is shunned by viewers. However, there is no doubt that it is better to include it considering the path of Fuka. Fortunately, the members of the committee pushed me back, saying, “If you’re setting the stage in an aquarium, it’s okay to have a little bit,” so I dared to put it in. The reality is more diverse, and I’ve only touched on a few of them this time. However, just as the aquarium is the entrance to aquatic life, I thought it would be great if this work could be the entrance.
――The same is true for “loss and rebirth of dreams,” and there are many parts that are different from the image that I first received from the key visuals. I thought it was a more heartwarming or fluffy story.
Shinohara: The key visual is intentionally created with a concept that does not clearly show the contents of the main story. Do you say that you have a range of imagination? At the planning stage, I had an idea of ​​a fluffy image. It’s a series of short stories in which different guests come to the aquarium, see illusions, find some answers to their problems, and go home. However, I wish I could show it for 2 cools all the time …
I didn’t want to draw this work without knowing the reality of Okinawa
──Finally, I would like to ask you one thing that you were interested in. In the third episode, when Dr. Takeshita broke water and was driving a car to the hospital, an unexploded ordnance was found and the road was closed. Was there a consciousness that not only did you want to draw a happy daily life, but you also wanted to draw a realistic Okinawa, and you had to take a firm history into account?
Shinohara: I’m glad you noticed that. Speaking of unexploded ordnance, we had to create a story of “a situation where the road is crowded on the way to transport a pregnant woman, Dr. Takeshita, to the maternity hospital.” She wondered if she should do road construction or traffic regulation at the marathon event … but the traffic jam is not interesting and the marathon event is unnatural in the midsummer of the subtropical zone. .. When she was thinking about it, she happened to read an article about unexploded ordnance disposal in Okinawa. The homepage of Okinawa Prefecture contains all the data from the return to the mainland to 2016, and even recently, more than 500 unexploded ordnance cases are processed annually. This is a big deal.
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――I think there are pros and cons to including such things, but I feel that drawing the reality of Okinawa in the early stages also led to the convincing power of the work.
Shinohara: I would appreciate it if you could say that.
――The last question was from the editor of Akiba Research Institute, but when you think about it again, you can see the viewpoints and perspectives of each viewer, as if there were differences in the viewpoints and feelings between the editorial department and yourself. It was a work.
Shinohara: I intend to make it with great care. When you look at it over the years, you can see it from a different perspective. I always try to make it with a wide frontage but reach deep. If there was something that touched the chords of those who saw it even a little, I think it would have been good to make it by itself.
――It seems to be very interesting to review it again as you get older. Thank you for today
(Interview / text / Kenichi Chiba)



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