We got the chance to do a very special interview with Takamitsu Inoue, the key producer of the Blue Exoricist anime. Naturally we wanted to get his thoughts on the success of the show and find out why he thinks someone should watch the anime, even if they’ve read the manga. Here’s what he said!
Q: What would you say are the main benefits of watching the Blue Exorcist anime even though you’ve read the manga?
Inoue: The manga focuses on the characters growing up and becoming Exorcists, but we wanted to focus more on their daily lives. This was a request from the director, Okamura. So we added anime original episodes like Episodes 6 and 19. I hope seeing the excitement of their daily lives make the characters more endearing to fans.
Q: What is the greatest challenge transforming the Blue Exorcist manga into an anime?
Inoue: Mangaka Kazue Kato Sensei’s illustrations have very complex colors and details. It’s impossible to replicate it in an anime. But we wanted to stay true to the original style as much as possible. Also, there aren’t many color references for some backgrounds like classrooms and hallways of True Cross Academy. And the backgrounds are quite detailed so the art director had to work much harder than normal.
Q: How closely did you work with the creator of the manga, Kazue Kato? Beyond the story, how else did she contribute to the anime?
Inoue: I’m not exaggerating when I say— we couldn’t have made this anime a success without her. She helped with original character designs, packaging illustrations, and scenario checks all while being a busy mangaka. We worked with her from the first episode to the last, and I consider her part of the anime production team. We’d like to thank her and her editor Rin-san for allowing us to work so closely.
Q: Music is such and important part of the anime experience, and the music in Blue Exorcist is really interesting, almost experimental at times. How do you decide what kind of music will accompany each scene?
Inoue: The sound director, Wakabayashisan was the one who chose the music. It was interesting because he would sometimes use mellow music in a scene where I would expect something energetic, which gave the scene more impact. The music gave the visuals more life and made the voice-dubbing sessions more exciting.
Q: How soon after airing Blue Exorcist did you know you had a hit on your hands? And what do you think about this anime resonated so strongly with fans around the world?
Inoue: Before the anime aired, we had a premiere screening for episode one and two. I heard laughter in episode one, and crying in episode two. There were around 300 people, but everybody was glued to the screen. When I saw that, I was certain this series would grab people. When the anime aired, I was surprised to hear the manga became so popular that it sold out at bookstores. The main character Rin Okumura is a bit goofy but honest, and always comes through when needed. I hope this series gains more fans that love him as much as I do.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to the U.S. fans of the Blue Exorcist anime?
Inoue: Thank you! I would like to shake all their hands and personally thank them. Also I’m wondering, who their favorite characters and favorite scenes are. Although the anime has ended, the manga is still going so please keep supporting Rin and Yukio!
Q: Thank you very much for your time!
He is the producer of Blue Exorcist and has produced other hit anime such as SHIKI and Higepiyo.