Translation by the wonderful melodymix . Highlights are that Shishou decided to jump whole hog into the movie after finding out that it was going to have a "back to the beginning" theme and that Ichigo and Rukia were going to be the main characters, he defines the IchiRuki relationship as more than nakama but not lovers and utterly unique, and he says this movie is the closest to the original work.
Finally the movie has reached its 3rd. They say what ever happens twice, there is always the third time (a famous saying in Japan). Sensei, were you expecting this third movie to come out?
Of course I thought there will be another one (laughs) and like how the fan’s number 1 most popular character Hitsugaya was the main character of the second movie I was looking forward to know who is the main character and what sort of story the next one is going to be.
Like your previous work, in this year’s movie we heard you were involved since the early stage.
Around March I think it all started when the director Abe and the movie staffs came to me. From that time director Abe wanted a “Back to the beginning” theme and wished the main characters Ichigo and Rukia to be the focus of the story. On top of that he wanted to portray something that linked to the first chapter of Bleach, the original appearance of Bleach… For me, I was very happy to know that the movie was heading that direction and said “That’s good, let’s go with that!” And from there on I joined in the production and put together the story and the setting after discussing it with everyone.
We heard the scenario was completed after a lot of hardship?
The subject matter of the story is something I can agree with but there are still parts that made me worried until the end. Especially the speech in the last scene, I discussed and decided it with the director at the recording studio (laughs)
To tell you the truth there are still bits I wanted to develop but if I do that who knows how long the film would be (laughs)
Even the subtitle was given from you?
From the 2nd movie the subtitle was brought up by me. From the time when I first heard that the memory of Rukia will disappear an image came into my mind that Rukia’s memory of Ichigo and the gotei 13 will be disappearing. From there the meaning of “Disappearing into black” became the subtitle “Fade to black”.
You even came up with the Japanese subtitle “Calling Out Your Name”
After coming up with the English subtitle "Fade to Black” they asked me to come up with the Japanese subtitle (laughs) So after carefully digesting the scenario I searched for some scenes that can be the key word or words that I can use, and found that in the plot, someone calling out someone’s name, especially in this story where Ichigo calling out Rukia’s name was a strong expression that even though no one else remembers you I do, and I found out it had an important meaning behind it. So that’s how I came up with the subtitle “Calling Out Your name”
You were also in charge of deciding the original characters?
Yes. Like the character Kusaka Soujirou in the previous movie, in the first discussion we briefly decided the big sister and the little brother’s character was decided that during their childhood times they lived with Rukia and because of their power they managed to steal Rukia’s memory. Not only that but even though they are now siblings we were thinking about making them twins at first. If you think about it now the character we have now and the planning stage was very different.
How did you decide the setting of the 2 characters?
From my first impression that I felt, I drew their looks as I had an image of fire for the big sister and an image of water for the little brother. The first image that popped up into my mind was a character that has different eyes compared to other characters. Like a bird the black part of the eyes being big is a trait and because they were so attached to Rukia and had an image of “wWe will die without Rukia” I had an image of a baby bird in my mind and drew them. I remember I drew them pretty quickly.
Any other settings that you decided on?
Weapon and names. The weapon which is a sickle the little brother is using was taken from my suggestion. For their names the script writer Takahashi Natsuko-san asked me “While deciding the looks for the sister and brother please think of a name for them” and I agreed with “okay”.
You seen to make a fuss about names but did you have any difficulty coming up with their names?
Yes. Because the name of the sister and brother is an important point for the story I struggled a lot. For me usually when I am creating a character their looks and name just comes to me at the same time. And because of that I never struggled to come up with a name however, this sister and brother’s character was not created by me (he only gave them their name and looks) and on top of that since Rukia was going to name them I wondered what sort of name would she come up with… and the condition had to be the sibling’s name had to match each other so I thought instead of having a complicated name I thought its better to have a straight name. And naming them after daily happenings was what Rukia would have done and to give a soft impression I thought it was best to write their name in hiragana. After getting asked to come up with their name I thought about it for the next few months and finally decided 10 days before the voicing (laughs). It was all in the last moment but I think I came up with a name that suits them.
Is there a reason behind the names?
There is a scene with Rukia where there is a flashback of the sibling during their childhood times. A water lily that is wet by the morning dew opens up. So I researched the flower meaning of this water lily and it was “As long as you are here my pain would soften” and I thought this matched very well with the atmosphere in the movie so I created a little episode for it. At the start I discussed it with the director whether we should add this episode in the movie but he said “Considering the time, it’s impossible” (laughs)
So in the end both their names became different from water lily. I wish you too confirm both their names in the movie. This is a preview but me and the novelist of the Bleach movies Matsubara Makoto-san got excited after she said she wants to use that scene in her novel so I believe in the novel you are able to check some scenes that aren’t in the movie. Other than that in the novel version there are scenes that follow the movie like the details to why Urahara Kisuke decided to wear the captain’s uniform.
You were watching the voicing from the start to the very end?
This was my first time to witness the voicing from the start to finish. I try not to speak much during the recording but when the director or the music director needed help I gave them advices. The brother’s voice actor, Kamiya-san had difficulty with the intonation so I did help him with that.
You are putting a lot of effort into it
I was also part of deciding the original character of the second movie, Kusaka Soujirou however with him there were too many cross-over with the original manga there were many restrictions. But compared to that in this year’s episode, because the story took place before Rukia met Renji the existence of the siblings gave me a stimulating inspiration. And because of that I wanted to know how these two would open up a story and I was at the voicing studio until they finished. I had fun watching them.
Please tell us the highlight of the movie in your opinion
With the battle it is not Ichigo vs. Gotei 13 but Ichigo vs. Rukia. In the first scenario the last boss was not decided yet and someone raised the question “Then what will we do about the last boss?” and we thought if Ichigo forgot about Rukia we thought “We want to see Ichigo and Rukia!”. We then started the discussion from there. In this battle there is actually a scene that links with the very first chapter of the comic and in my opinion I feel as though that is the most important scene in the movie. It links to what director said “back to the beginning” .
Because you were involved in this movie were there any bits you drew thinking about the theme “Back to the Beginning”?
In my own thought I did not come up with the idea of drawing the scene where Rukia gives Ichigo her power like the very first chapter. So returning that scene in the movie gave me a strong impact and thought it was very interesting. On top of that because of this story I recognized once again that Ichigo and Rukia’s relationship is something special.
What do you think the bond is that these two have with each other?
It’s not friendship but it’s not an amorous feeling either. With these 2’s relationship, I think there is no other relationship like them in other works where despite both standing in a very close position with each other it is not romance (laughs)
But in this year’s movie there is a scene where Ichigo says Rukia is his “Precious nakama” and I think that explains the of their relationship well.
To you what sort of existence is a movie compared to manga and tv anime?
I think a movie is something that is not in the manga and we can do something special about it. I want the tv anime to be much devoted to the manga as possible, and so I check them out to see if it feels personally wrong or if it would be something I would want to draw in my original work. But with the movie it crosses the loop of the manga and I sum it up and help with respect to the plot that the production team comes up with. I think that point is the number one difference between the manga and the anime compared to the movie.
You went and watched the movie at the private screening but what sort of feelings do you have for that?
I had fun (laughs) because it is my work it feels completed but on the other hands it means that you can’t create something stronger than that. In some bits while I was drawing it made me think “Would this sort of situation really happen?” but even so I was the one who thought and came up with the plot so even if I am surprised it does not feel fresh. Even if the author like me is involved in the production the drawings are done by other people, the voicings are done by the seiyuus, so when the movie is completed I always savour the feeling of surprise. They move like this, their voices are like this, with emotional excitement I always say my feed backs and I am always looking forward to that.
Finally at last, got any message to the fans?
In this year’s movie the theme of “Back to the beginning” is shown in the movie. Compared to the other movies I believe this one is the one which has the closest link to the original work, and giving a link to the first chapter was not seen in the anime or the original manga and I think that is something very special. I think a fan that loves the original manga would love the work. I think I made a movie where even if you touched Bleach first by watching this movie you would end up wanting to read the original manga. Please enjoy it!
oh, and http://www.debbiechan.com/ is updated with most of the art entries of the previous contest on board.