After a long month of anticipation and speculation, March 15th — or saikou for my good colleagues — has finally rolled around, bringing with it a stream in which we were promised information regarding the staff involved with the recently announced SideM anime. Said promise was delivered upon in hasty fashion, so let’s take a look at who’s been gathered to carry out this no doubt heavy task:
Direction: Harada Takahiro, Kuroki Miyuki
Character Designs: Tanaka Yuusuke, Iizuka Haruko
Chief Animation Directors: Tanaka Yuusuke, Yoshikawa Maho
You’ll notice immediately that every position (including Series Composition (シリーズ構成, Series Kousei): A key role given to the main writer of the series. They meet with the director (who technically still outranks them) and sometimes producers during preproduction to draft the concept of the series, come up with major events and decide to how pace it all. Not to be confused with individual scriptwriters (脚本, Kyakuhon) who generally have very little room for expression and only develop existing drafts – though of course, series composers do write scripts themselves. not listed here) has been doubled up on, which serves as more of a warning sign than anything else. A-1 and horrible scheduling are no strangers, but let’s avoid focusing on negative what ifs for now when we can talk about the positive things we do know, such as the staff themselves.
One concern coming into this was the idea of SideM getting throwaway staff due to a multitude of reasons, but fortunately that isn’t the case; all but one of the key staff — Yoshikawa Maho, who ironically worked on Xenoglossia — have been involved with the series since 2011’s Animas. Miyuki Kuroki taking up a directorial position comes as no surprise; she was my #1 prediction not only due to her well documented love of Jupiter, but her recent venture as sub-director in Occultic;Nine felt like a stepping stone being used to prepare her for bigger things. What’s most interesting is that she seems to be taking some very clear influence from none other than Masashi Ishihama — look no further than her ED for O;9 — so it’s entirely possible that we’ll see this shine through during sections she’s in charge of. Harada Takahiro isn’t quite an A-game player within the series, but he’s proven time and time again to be a highly reliable and consistent episode director over the years. Neither are on the level of their predecessors Atsushi Nishigori and Noriko Takao, but that’s a high bar very few in the industry can clear in the first place. Some other candidates being thrown around were former KyoAni Hiroko Utsumi and Shouko Nakamura of Doukyuusei fame; no doubt either would have lead to fantastic results, but I’m satisfied knowing the show will be in the hands of people with years worth of experience and love for the series.
As for character designs, Tanaka Yuusuke is another experienced and trustworthy individual amongst the imas team. Not only has he had a hand in the series’ most impressive dance scenes, but he’s also plenty used to correcting the work of his buds thanks to his position as Chief Animation Director (総作画監督, Sou Sakuga Kantoku): Often an overall credit that tends to be in the hands of the character designer, though as of late messy projects with multiple Chief ADs have increased in number; moreso than the regular animation directors, their job is to ensure the characters look like they're supposed to. Consistency is their goal, which they will enforce as much as they want (and can). on Vividred Operation, the show which reunited a majority of the team for the first time since the 2011 series ended. Being entrusted as the main designer also feels appropriate considering he designed all the sub-characters for Cinderella Girls — likely a task Iizuka Haruko will be taking up this time around. The announcement doesn’t specify him as the main designer, but it’s safe to say he is considering he’s also listed as Chief Animation Director (総作画監督, Sou Sakuga Kantoku): Often an overall credit that tends to be in the hands of the character designer, though as of late messy projects with multiple Chief ADs have increased in number; moreso than the regular animation directors, their job is to ensure the characters look like they're supposed to. Consistency is their goal, which they will enforce as much as they want (and can). while Haruko isn’t.
All that said and done, is this the best staff possible for SideM? Not quite, especially when we’ve just seen the work the imas team’s top players put out for Million Live‘s 4th anniversary PV, but it’s worth being excited about nonetheless. As I said earlier, these are people whose experience with the franchise is rivaled only by their love of it. Little can go wrong when you’ve assembled a team of skilled people passionate about what they’re working on, and there’s even an interesting element being thrown into the mix in the form of Shouta Umehara — whom Kevin gave some insight into earlier today. If you found yourself concerned about the fate of SideM, then I’m pleased to tell you that there’s no need to worry. It’s in good hands.
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