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An interview With Anime Director Shinichiro Watanabe

Date: Saturday 27th July 2013 [16:38] | Posted By: Joe

It's not every day you meet an anime director, yet alone one from one of the most highly regarded anime series of all time. Thanks to good folks at Anime Limited we were able to catch up with Shinichiro Watanabe, who is best known as the director of Cowboy Bebop. He has also directed the hip-hop samurai mash-up Samurai Champloo and more recently the jazz anime Kids on the Slope.

We caught up with Shinichiro Watanabe at the May 2013 London MCM Comic Con. He was in town to promote the new release of Cowboy Bebop on Blu-ray along with the DVD and Blu-ray release of Kids on the Slope.
Full Story
With a lot of your work music is an important element. Macross Plus features Sharon Apple and Pop Idol Music. Cowboy Bebop features lots of music and each episode. Samurai Champloo is infused with hip-hop and Kids on the Slope is all about Jazz. Would you say you're as much as a curator of good music as an anime director?

Yes, I think so! As a director if you're working with music you don't like it doesn't put you in the right mood so I always try to find the music that matches the work best. I'm always looking for new styles of music and new music to match to the work.

A lot of your work includes music collaborations with Yoko Kanno, what's she like to work with?

I really respect her work and she really understands what I'm trying to do, so it's very easy to work with her. Some people for example you need to go into a lot of detail when you explain to them the kind of thing you're trying to create. With Yoko I just say a few words and she understands what I'm saying, so it's really easy to work with her.

Are there any musicians you'd like to work with?

Lots! For the next TV series I want to collaborate with a lot of different artists and have it be like a compilation or an omnibus. I think there will be more than 10 artists involved.

Are you musical yourself?

I used to play the synthesiser, but I was useless. So now I just listen!

You've covered anime in alternate pasts, real life situations and futuristic Sci-fi. Is there any other genre / area of fiction you'd like to cover next?

There are lots of genres I'd like to work in, in the future. But one of the genres I'd most like to have a go at is a real western. A strange western!

Shinichiro Watanabe

Were you ever surprised by the reception of your work?

When I made the first TV series of Cowboy Bebop I never even imaged that people would be watching it around the world. I had no idea that people around the world would be watching this thing that I created in this little town in Japan. So I was surprised by that in itself.

In the Animatrix one of the segments you directed A Detective Story felt a lot like a cross over between the Matrix and Cowboy Bebop. Will you ever revisit the Cowboy Bebop universe?

I've always like the noir style, the sort of hardboiled style. I'd like to go back to that kind of style.

We keep hearing rumours about a live action Cowboy Bebop movie being made in Hollywood every so often. Will this ever get made?

The project is still alive, but Hollywood has so many projects on the go and only a small portion of them actually get made. So I don't know if this one will make it through to production.

What anime production will you be working on next?

I'm working on a new TV series that will air this winter. It's a Sci-Fi comedy. My first comedy series! In Cowboy Bebop and . Samurai Champloo you occasionally get these comic elements in the story, so you can imagine that, but throughout the whole series.

Have you got any message for your viewers in the UK?

This is my first visit to the UK, but I've been wanting to come for ages. I only arrived yesterday, so I haven't had a chance to see anything yet. I'm looking forward to enjoying my time here. I want to thank everyone for all their support.

Is there anything you want to do while you're in the UK?

Lots of things! I'd like to see some gigs, go to some clubs, go to the David Bowie exhibition.


Otaku News would like to thank Shinichiro Watanabe, Anime Limited and the London MCM Comic Con for making this interview possible.

After the interview we talked about he's latest collaboration with Yoko Kanno, Piano.

Cowboy Bebop the Collectors Edition Part 1 is out in the UK on Blu-ray on Monday 29th July 2013.

Cowboy Bebop The Collectors Edition Part 2 is out in the UK on Blu-ray on Monday 23rd September 2013.

Kids on the Slope is out now in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray.

Otaku News

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