Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair Event Report

2016/9/18 - The “Uchouten Kazoku (The Eccentric Family)” special event, “Uchouten Kazoku Kendo-Chourai Stage” was held at “Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair (aka KyoMAF) 2016” in Kyoto’s Miyako Messe.

Unfortunately, it was rainy that day, but thousands visited from near and far, and the stage hall was packed with fans. In fact, there were so much people, the seats were full and others were standing to view the stage.

The event began at 10 a.m. with the comic interaction of Kurejiro (Kinkaku) and Kuresaburo (Ginkaku), the idiot brothers of the Ebisugawa family, the rivals of the Shimogamo family. The two used lots of yojijukugo (Japanese four-letter word sayings) and unchanged behavior towards the Shimogamo family to quickly bring the hall the world of Uchouten Kazoku (The Eccentric Family).

After the introduction from Kinkaku and Ginkaku, the moderator, Tomoko Mishima, appeared on stage. With a round of applause, the voice of Yasaburo Shimogamo, Takahiro Sakurai, and voice of Benten, Mamiko Noto, appeared on stage.

With a special footage prepared just for this day, the two main cast members talked about when they worked on season 1.

Sakurai: "I remember it all like it was just yesterday. For ‘Uchouten Kazoku,’ I auditioned for Yaichiro, Yajiro, and Yasaburo's roles. Yasaburo is the narrator of the story and isn't too much like a protagonist. He's always unsteady, but that's one of the aesthetic beauties of Yasaburo. I think that is the cool part of Yasaburo. I've never lived in Kyoto, so I really enjoyed imagining the culture and climate of Kyoto as I acted."

Noto: "Benten is a character that confuses everyone. At first, I felt that it was difficulty in the way she caused disruption so innocently, but as I came to understand her loneliness and childishness, it was very easy to act as her. After that, I had fun acting with the thought, 'Everyone, be troubled.' Perhaps I have similar parts inside myself."

Noto: "Every time we met for recordings, we said, 'This is a great series.' and 'It's a series that brings comfort.' At other recordings, we often brought up 'Uchouten Kazoku,' and I felt that this series is very dear to everyone."

Sakurai: "At some point, the image of the character and the cast overlapped, they all look similar to their characters. Noto-san is a very femme-fatale person so... (laughing)."

Noto: "In that case, Sakurai-san's Yasaburo is exactly like yourself."

As Sakurai and Noto talked about their memories of the series, additional guests appeared on to the stage.

"Uchouten Kazoku" author, Tomihiko Morimi, director of the animated television series "Uchouten Kazoku", Masayuki Yoshihara, producer & CEO of P,A.WORKS, Kenji Horikawa, and Lantis' music producer, Shigeru Saito, came on to the stage.

Horikawa made an announcement, "The Blu-ray box set for season 1 has been decided!" (*Editor Memo: In Japan, the Blu-ray box set has not been sold yet.) Horikawa later said, "I was very nervous to be entrusted with the announcement," and the audience gave a round of applause.

When the guests were asked about their favorite scenes, Sakurai mentioned, "I would love to see a digest version with Benten. I love to look back at the scene where she is grabbing a hold of the whale, because it's very mystical."

Noto: "There are many touching scenes, but I like Yasaburo as the school girl. The scene where he interacts with Yashiro is adorable."

Horikawa: "Morimi-Sensei's story world has deep drama but also touches us with warm, fuzzy feelings. Every time I watch this, it heals me, so I want everyone to enjoy this world once again."

As everyone talked about Season 1, Misaki asked, "So is there another important announcement?" and Sakurai asked the audience, "Does everyone love 'Uchouten Kazoku'?" to which the audience returned with a roar of applause. "I'm so nervous, my tail is about to pop out." And then, Sakurai made the announcement:

"'Uchouten Kazoku' is getting a Season 2!"

The audience responded with applause and cheers, and the applause felt like it would never stop.

From there, they talked about the Season 2. If the Season 2 will be based on the second novel of the series "Uchouten Kazoku: The Return of the Junior," Morimi mentioned, "Actually, when the anime was being broadcasted, people who were involved expected me to finish the second book to boost the sales... but I didn’t even come close. At the wrap-up party of the animated series, I was asked, 'How is the second book coming along?' and I was put on a terrible spot. (laughing) It took a while after that for the second book to be completed, but at that point, I let go of the hopes that it would be made into animation. When I received word of this announcement, I was truly happy."

Yoshihara: "There will be new characters, so there are many ideas involving them."

Horikawa: "We really wanted to make Season 2. When Morimi-Sensei gave us the go for the series, he told us kind words, 'Don't stress yourselves.’ But when I read the comment later sent, it said, 'masterpiece greater than the first season.' We will do our best to fulfill that expectation."

When the guests were asked about the recording and music for Season 2, Noto answered, "When I heard Yasaburo talking, I felt that 'We're Back!!' We just begun recording, but we have the cast from Season 1 returning and additional characters, so it's very exciting."

Saito: "As for the soundtrack, we will be creating new music that pays respect to the ambience of Season 1. We've already finished the meeting for the soundtrack, and we are currently in production."

Each guest gave a summary of the current progress of Season 2 and created even more excitement for future announcements.

To wrap up the event, the guests made finishing statements.

Sakurai: "It is wonderful that we are able to make this fantastic announcement in Kyoto. With so much cheers and applause, I felt everyone's love for 'Uchouten Kazoku.' Let's all enjoy Season 2."

Noto: "I am really happy to share this moment, the announcement of Season 2, with everyone. I'm personally looking forward to how Morimi-Sensei's 'The Return of the Junior' will be made into animation."

Saito: "I heard that Horikawa-san wanted to create Season 1 of 'Uchouten Kazoku' when P.A.WORKS grows into a studio that can fulfill Director Yoshihara's expectations. I believe that Season 2 has that strong feeling as well. This isn't just another season 2; it will be the fruition of Director Yoshihara’s, Horikawa-san’s, and the staff's strong passion. Please look forward to it."

Horikawa: "I would like to thank all those who supported the creation of Season 2, who gave us the opportunity, and to all the fans who supported us for the past 3 years since Season 1. Those messages 'We're looking forward to Season 2' are what gave us the final push to come through with this."

Yoshihara: "We will do our best to visualize Morimi-san's wonders. We will work to fulfill everyone's expectations."

Morimi: "When I was writing the second book, I struggled to create something that could go beyond the first book. I feel bad to stress Director Yoshihara, but I would love to see Season 2 go beyond the first one. Also, I am glad that I am finally able to write about this on my blog. I hope that everyone will look forward to it!"

Finally, the stage ended with both the guests and audience chanting together the line:
"An interesting thing is a good thing!"