ABe and Ueda share thoughts

This is the promotional article from Newtype for Texhnolyze. The pictures are from the original Newtype Japan article, and the article itself is the English translation presented in Newtype USA in their May 2003 issue.

courtesy Anime Planet (currently dead link)

What Ran sees is one of many futures

All it takes to start this story is a single flower

“I had no idea how we were going to put a show like this on TV,” says Yoshitoshi ABe, character concept artist for TEXHNOLYZE, the new anime scheduled to begin airing in Japan this April. The production lineup consisted of ABe himself, Chiaki Konaka doing series organization and scripts and RONDO ROBE (of Pioneer LDC) coming up with the original story concept. This is the same team that was assembled for the production of serial experiments lain. Production on this new title has been underway for some time now. ABe himself continued to work on Haibane Renmei even while developing the settings and concepts for TEXHNOLYZE.

The setting for the show is a vast underground realm where the metropolis of Rukusu is located. The story is about the intense struggles between organizations, and the heroic man determined to survive in the midst of it all. The main character Ichise is a pro fighter who lives in Rukusu.

From the very start of the show, Ichise is caught up in some sort of trouble, as we find him crawling his way through thr squalor of the city’s underground. At some point he gets mixed up in the vile ignominy that surrounds him and sustains some serious injuries.

Ichise is raw and violent, but something about him exudes fragility. For Yoshitoshi ABe, this is a new kind of character, vastly different from his previous work Haibane Renmei. What was his inspiration?

“The planning sheets were already like this, so I thought no one would mind if I kicked it up a notch. That’s the mindset I was in while working on these characters. With TEXHNOLYZE, I had a strong sense of doing things I would never have done for Haibane Renmei. In fact, I sometimes found it hard to switch between doing illustrations for Haibane Renmei and TEXHNOLYZE. This is probably because I was in my own little world, and whatever is inside me that I use to build up characters – be it technique or imagination – had to shift from Haibane Renmei to TEXHNOLYZE. That’s why it wasn’t hard for me to work on the latter at all. I didn’t have any trouble making the shift. I mean, after doing such a cheerful work, you just naturally want to work on something a bit darker. Plus, I only drew girls in Haibane Renmei. It was fun for me to draw boys and men again.”

The young girl Ran, who’s endowed with the gift of precognition, plays a big role in propelling the story forward. Her vision of one man’s future led her to Rukusu, where she drifted through the streets until running into Ichise. Their meeting is only the beginning.

Ichise lost his way after artificial body parts were buried inside of him against his will, and Ran’s strength is a beacon for him, directing him onto a new path. And for Ran, Ichise represents hope. She saw a future she never cared to see, and watching Ichise struggle to overcome the horrors she’d witnessed in visions was certain proof that the bleak future could be changed. She’d seen only one of many possible futures.

These two need each other, and though they may be impelled by different reasons, they must eventually meet, for their meeting is where our story begins…

Producer Yasuyuki Ueda

Even the producer in charge says not to expect much…

There are many reasons to begin production on a work, but Yasuyuki Ueda’s experience this time was a bit different. He was in a train station one day when he saw a stair lift. He thought that if by some chance that stair lift should break such that he could no longer use it to bypass the stairs, he would probably cry. In other words, he was a weakling. That thought got him started on production for TEXHNOLYZE.

“The reason for making this title is not about exploring violence, and it’s most definitely not about stirring up the kettle of discrimination. I did it to show what I think a truly heroic man is. The show is rife with violent scenes, so I doubt it will gather much acceptance from the masses, but I don’t care. I’m not afraid of taboo subjects. i believe in working from my own sense of ethics. I think if you pay attention to what the show is saying then you’ll get a sense of that. So that’s what I mean when I say not to expect much. I mean for all of you viewers to watch it without getting on your high horse. I’d also find it interesting if non-Japanese fans could get a feel for the sensibilities of the show, which are admittedly very Japanese.”

With Madhouse and Yoshitoshi ABe carrying the standard and an elite group of creators led by director Hiroshi Hamazaki, we think there’s plenty to get worked up about. We’ll go ahead and expect all we want.