Ranpo Kitan Staff Interview With Seiji Kishi, Makoto Uezu And Yuji Higa

I am a blogger with twenty faces yet zero motivation to do actual, classic blogging anymore. So here’s yet another translation to go with!

You probably don’t remember (favorably) or haven’t seen noitaminA’s mystery offering Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace from 2015 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Edogawa Ranpo’s passing but it’s an anime that I, among very few people, am rather fond of. So fond even that I ended up writing an essay on Ranpo Kitan some years back!

I’ve also owned the fanbook for the longest time and since I’m running out of magi-cool things to translate and I figured I might as well translate something more mysterious, so here we are with an interview starring Ranpo Kitan’s director Seiji Kishi, its writer Makoto Uezu and its producer Yuji Higa. I hope you’ll enjoy the (long) read!

The Birthplace Of Ranpo Kitan Was…

I heard that this work originated from a conversation held in Shinjuku Golden Gai.
Makoto Uezu: That was the night when we met up with noitaminA’s producer Mori (Akitoshi).
Yuji Higa: We first started in a liquor cafe with talks about what kind of project the three of us would envision.
Seiji Kishi: I really couldn’t make it through the liquor cafe however… (laughs)
Yuji Higa: So I continiously tried to tell them “Well, then let’s go to the Golden Gai.” (laughs)
Makoto Uezu: In a two story shop, much like the private houses of Golden Gai, inside a private room that seemed it would be completely crammed if three people were to enter, we got into a conversation with the baseline of “On the occassion of looking up reference material for Ranpo, let’s bring forth a few more ideas”. The work that came out when all was said and done was mostly based on what was conversed there.

Around when was that?
Seiji Kishi: Around October 2014.
Yuji Higa: It was October when these talks first came up, then November when everyone was assembled, by December things had been settled and when it was started it was January. (laughs)
Makoto Uezu: Fundamentally, with the start of the year, we entered the production phase. That’s why we refer to it as an anime that aired in July of this year that also started this year. (laughs)
Seiji Kishi: Talks about which kind of anime it would become lasted until October. Whether to make it an anime original or to follow the source material as the baseline, how to handle it being 11 episodes, that’s how first inclinations came to be. Of course, that’s not exactly when things immediately kicked off, but that was certainly the start of the project.

The production schedule was quite a lot shorter than the average.
Makoto Uezu: About half.
Seiji Kishi: It was really troublesome. (laughs)
Yuji Higa: I’m really sorry for that.
Makoto Uezu: Still, we thought that the prospect was really interesting so we decided to give it a go.
Seiji Kishi: Also, with it being an original work, it was easier to gain control of. With an adaptation, this schedule would have been…
Makoto Uezu: We might not have made it in time.
Seiji Kishi: The fact that we were working on an original animation really saved us sometimes. That we just about made it in time made it interesting I think.

So what was devised in Golden Gai was the rough structure then.
Seiji Kishi: The biggest idea was when we were in the midst of talking about how to construct the detective scenes and we reached the point of settling for an Edogawa-esque stage performance.
Makoto Uezu: When I began thinking not in terms of the lines I would add to the detective scenes but in terms of how everything would play out in images in my head, I rushed into a stage play-esque atmosphere, and maneuvered the characters, corpses as well as suspects through it. Since these thoughts were all happening inside my head, that’s how the idea came to be. Since we were conversing in a tight Japanese-style room, we had ideas popping up like the criminal emerging when you open the shoji screen or connecting to another scene when opening the window. (laughs)
Seiji Kishi: Truth to be told, we originally wanted to make it even more stage play-esque, however, that brought forth realistic hurdles, so we kept the creating process more simple. Making the characters look suited for a stage came last in line.
Makoto Uezu: It’s a matter of making the anime’s characters perform as a small theatre group.
Seiji Kishi: It’s not like we could just assemble a big light on a stage, however, we kept broodig over just what interesting things we could do with the characters inside the stage light, so that’s essentially how we really went for the way of a small theatre group.
Makoto Uezu: Everything has to be expressed through humans.
Yuji Higa: And one crafting process and idea turned into ten. Such as a card that has “murder weapon” on it turning into an actual murder weapon.
Makoto Uezu: However, the sound of a handgun fired of, even when in “murder weapon” card form, would still make a gun sound.
Yuji Higa: This might have brought some headaches with it, however, the construction of what was happening on stage was also a necessity.
Makoto Uezu: Connected with that was also the idea behind “Kobayashi-kun can’t see other people” and that’s how, when all was said and done, everything just naturally flowed together.
Seiji Kishi: Kobayashi’s case come up right at the start even, but I also didn’t want to portray any characters on the scene other than the main characters other than as “NPCs” of sorts. Not portraying them was the right choice. Just by portraying them, we would lessen the impact of the scene. With that said, we must still draw them. So it would be best to draw them in ways they couldn’t be understood, and we had talks of applying silhouettes. And when we had talks of how to handle that…
Makoto Uezu: It was better to insert a meaning into it, wasn’t it?
Seiji Kishi: As a result of wanting to avoid impressions such as “They’re just trying to cut corners, aren’t they…” and to insert a deeper meaning into it, we reflected upon the story on a larger scale, and settled the matter of Kobayashi’s outlook on other human beings.

Ranpo Kitan: Seiji Kishi, Makoto Uezu And Yuji Higa On Kobayashi Seeing Extras As Silhouettes

You Only Found Out About The 50 Years Later?!

What was the circumstance that lead to you picking up Edogawa Ranpo for adaptation?
Seiji Kishi: That came from Uezu.
Makoto Uezu: This all originated from producer Mori stating “Let’s meet up to work out a cool mystery anime with this team!” and soon thereafter, we started tossing around ideas. Talks ensued about what kind of mysteries we liked and the authors we favored. I proclaimed that I was fond of Edogawa Ranpo and everyone agreed in unison that that was a good suggestion to make. Everyone had their own visions in their head, so it became a matter of subjects and themes to pick.
Seiji Kishi: While we still hadn’t completely settled the matter back then, our talks had a vibe of an anime original project about them, so there was also to take into consideration how we would proceed. Adapting Ranpo as he was in these times would be a hard feat to accomplish. And that is how we got into the spirit of adapting the powerful worldview of Edogawa Ranpo in the form of a modern anime original project.

Not to mention it has been 50 years since Edogawa Ranpo’s passing.
Yuji Higa: That’s a thought that had never really occured to us.
Seiji Kishi: We only really noticed after the fact.
Makoto Uezu: In that case, the project really came in time. So we really saw the project through with high speed. When we went to the station with it, they thought that we were doing it as part of the 50th anniversary but we hadn’t even noticed that from the get-go.
Seiji Kishi: The speed was quite like a TV station in the first place. Therein also lay the strength of a special timeslot such as noitaminA.
Makoto Uezu: The result is also that we have no schedule chasing us down though. (laughs)

How did you deal with Ranpo’s works and what were your thoughts on that at first?
Makoto Uezu: The decision which stories we would adapt were all entrusted to me. I had envisioned from the very beginning that “The Human Chair” would be the first episode. That’s also because I had written next to it in my proposals “controversial work”. (laughs) Even when facing the station, it was my intent to appeal by saying “I love Ranpo Edogawa.” If not for someone who loved Ranpo Edogawa, that’s not the kind of writing that would ensue, that was the train of thought I was trying to humour them with when we exchanged the proposals or rather, they let me create something akin to a plot. And then I think I got a response along the lines of “Oh, you sure do love him.”, followed by “Well then, let’s give it a go.”

Ranpo Kitan: Seiji Kishi, Makoto Uezu And Yuji Higa On The Goth Loli Teacher's Cutting Marks On Her Wrists

“School” And “Club” Were Director Kishi’s Keywords

As for the character of Akechi, him being a student at school sure was surprising.
Makoto Uezu: I think it was Higa-san who proposed we should try to turn Akechi into a student.
Yuji Higa: “A sempai role would be good.”, that’s what my suggestion boiled down to.
Makoto Uezu: The idea was based on Kobayashi-kun, wasn’t it?
Seiji Kishi: First of all, the lack of a situation at school would come to trouble us. That’s how we came to that idea.
Yuji Higa: When we mused over how to handle Kobayashi as a protagonist in school and Akechi being an adult detective, we realized it would be better to tell the story with him as a sempai in school.
Makoto Uezu: That was also yet another idea that was first developed in the private room. (laughs)
Yuji Higa: The director just kept making statements over how a school would make for a great stage.
Makoto Uezu: I think that’s also a part that our audience would like to hear about. Kishi-san, why were you so fixated on the school part?
Seiji Kishi: This might not just be limited to anime but also apply to Japanese entertainment in general, but there really are many cases where your work won’t elicit a big response unless there is no place included that can commonly be referred to as a school. Nowadays and also during Edogawa Ranpo’s heyday too, there are cases that involve school, so no matter what, I wanted to include a school setting.
Yuji Higa: With kids these days, apart from school settings, it’s all just fantasy series.
Seiji Kishi: Hypothetically speaking, if I were to suggest making a detective story following the lives of some thirty-year old geezers, the very moment I uttered that thought for an anime proposal, I would draw harsh scorn from everyone. Now that in itself could still make for interesting entertainment, but it would also come with the frightening prospect of it finding no reception at all. As to avoid that, there’s no way we can’t provide a suiting framework in the making of an anime. I think that ever since around the 70s, Japan’s anime and manga stories have ceaselessly and endlessly had that kind of air about them.
Makoto Uezu: It’s just a school, so most viewers will have about roughly the same gist of it and it’s a place that therefore elicits the same general sense of feelings, which is why Kishi-san told us he wanted to start the show with a school setting no matter what, and that’s how, in the context of “The Human Chair”, the first victim came to be the class teacher. (laughs)
Yuji Higa: Explaining an environment that you yourself are already familiar with is easier after all and comparing it to your own might result in a shared feeling of “School is boring” so warping it into something like that might make it exciting, I think that’s what probably applies here.
Makoto Uezu: And as for those who have already graduated school, there is no doubt that they don’t discard their memories either. As for school, there are probably many such cases.
Yuji Higa: Hashiba and Kobayashi are members of the boys’ detective club, however, for this work, we settled on a middle school. And once we had established middle school as the groundwork, we debated on what Akechi would become, and we figured that having Akechi do both detective work and be called a sempai would be a new idea, so that’s how we arrived at the respective outcome.
Makoto Uezu: As for me, I very suddenly envisioned an Akechi Kogorou from my adult point of view, that was when I first drafted my proposals. However, when I suggested to make Akechi a high school student too, I deemed that a very fresh idea and it was a huge success. That was also when I gave birth to the idea that Akechi, despite being a high school student, had special permission to be allowed to not attend it, and constructed that while saying “At long last, this sure has become quite the amazing shounen manga-esque protagonist!”. Still, that was still at the very early stages. (laughs)
Yuji Higa: There was also a proposition to make him an upperclassman.
Makoto Uezu: At first, Kishi-san suggested we make him attend the same middle school. However, that would be hard to write. After all, to establish that the famous Akechi Kogorou was special, a distance from the other characters was needed, so we let him attend another school for talented students.
Yuji Higa: We also were in talks of whether he should be visited at school or if it wasn’t better to have a place where he would reside that would be easy to reach.
Seiji Kishi: This resulted in a place that was half Akechi’s bureau and half a club place or at the very least felt like it.
Makoto Uezu: That is of utmost importance. Kishi-san, you should also explain that. I am creating a lot of anime with Kishi-san but then was told “Anyway, generating the vibes of a club is really important.”
Seiji Kishi: Well, it’s true after all. (laughs)
Makoto Uezu: Akechi’s office is a club box. A base for everyone to congregate at after school is over. That is something that everyone loves. Kishi-san refers to it as “club-esque feeling” though.
Seiji Kishi: It’s as I’ve stated before, it’s something that the audience yearns for, so no matter what, I had to create a fun place inside school that everyone joins in on.
Makoto Uezu: “Where there is a school, there is a club” it is then.
Seiji Kishi: Something that is yearned for no matter what is a fun place when it comes to clubs. I deem it necessary to create an atmosphere through a place that draws in the heart of each and every single one, to have fun with friends at and share with your comrades.
Makoto Uezu: I cannot help but think that in the minds of the resident Japanese nowadays, the period of their life that they have the most joy is roughly designated as the school, clubs and school festivals after all. This isn’t about whether that’s either good or bad, it’s just the analysis to make.
Seiji Kishi: Once again, there are also many people who didn’t have that, so for these people, to have that kind of supplement in their lives is important to them.
Makoto Uezu: It is my earnest desire to provide these people who did not get to enjoy the Spring of their lives with an enjoyable outlook on such.
Seiji Kishi: There are also a lot of viewers who look at such parts with the thought of “If I could have had that, this is how it would have turned out…” and they begin to compensate for their lost youth.
Makoto Uezu: While it is said that Japanese late-night animation is geared towards adults, there are also a lot of students watching it and I think therein lies some meaning. That is something that has been expressed countless of times ever since Urusei Yatsura however.
Seiji Kishi: It’s only that we’ve turned the characters into people of the modern age that was a bigger change, anything else about them from the source material we have mostly left intact. At any rate, there are parts that we shouldn’t ever remove.

Ranpo Kitan: Seiji Kishi, Makoto Uezu And Yuji Higa On The Demon Of Laplace

The Story Is Unreasonable, Hence The Twists!

How did you proceed to create the characters?
Makoto Uezu: First of all, the station told us “Make a mystery.” Then I proposed to make it Edogawa Ranpo-related. And then Kishi-san told us to value the aspect of school, that is the order in which everything was entangled in. We had no time to spare so we knew from the get go that we had to limit the number of characters appearing. I at first wrote Kobayashi-kun and Hashiba-kun in my proposal but as the episode numbers went on, so did the amount of characters I had in mind. After all, it’s a boys’ detective club. However, Kishi-san told me that that wasn’t necessary. With just the three of them, things would be interesting enough and he would be willing to witness their adventures.
Seiji Kishi: That’s right. Just the three of them were plenty.
Makoto Uezu: Sure enough, he was right, we had no time and interweaving a mere three characters proved to be the correct decision to make. I found myself drawn towards the most classic approach, such as deeming it necessary to feature about seven characters for the boys’ detective club and making Akechi Kogorou an adult.
Yuji Higa: Still, having someone on the team who knows Ranpo in and out made all the difference. Because that is where the director inserted all his ideas into.
Makoto Uezu: Speaking of the director, he was just plain unreasonable. (laughs) What I suggested was just incredibly straight. And by making all his unreasonable requests, Kishi-san gave us chemical reactions, such as if it wouldn’t be an interesting idea to make Akechi a high school student.
Seiji Kishi: There was also a phase when we were considering to adapt Ranpo’s books as they were but when I was asked if we shouldn’t just set it up in modern times, doubts were raised. These stories have been repeatedly adapted for decades so we wondered if we should do something special for an anime adaptation. So I figured I might as well propose something a bit offbase from the norm and to use at least even a single cue for that. As a result, we tried many different forms of expression and I believe that in the fact alone that we made Ranpo Kitan lies some meaning.
Makoto Uezu: It sure was an exciting half of a year. I think we got a lot of chemical reactions out of that. Since it was a matter of giving ideas that had been settled green light with the thrill of having no opportunities to go back and do things over, I believe that the work itself also profitted from that kind of “cliffhanger feeling”. (laughs)
Seiji Kishi: Not only was the production cycle very brief, we also had the goal of concluding the story within 11 episodes. From the very beginning, we had no choice but to settle for decisions immediately. However, since we were so short on time, if we said something and messed up as a consequence, we also wouldn’t finish our work in time. That proved to be quite troublesome.
Makoto Uezu: It was exhausting. Since Kishi-san prioritized taking his time with establishing the setting at all, originating from the question of what kind of conclusion we should construct also came the matter that we had to start thinking about that halfway into the episodes. That is why, with “The Strange Tale of Panorama Island”, without diving too deeply into the island, we went to Akechi’s backstory, with Kishi-san especially strongly insisting “We have to do Akechi’s backstory, does anyone even still care about strangers’ cases by now?”
Seiji Kishi: At the end of the day, it was a big deal to prepare everything to make it in time. I saw everything coming to a conclusion in the last episode with a talk with Namikoshi, so if we did that and suddenly started telling the backstory at that point of time, even if I told people “Well, it’s the last episode”, that wouldn’t really convince anyone. That is why a build-up to flesh out the character was badly necessary.

Ranpo Kitan: Seiji Kishi, Makoto Uezu And Yuji Higa On Panorama Island

The Mysterious Twenty Faces Expressed As A Phenomenon

I wonder if the relationship between Namikoshi and Akechi was always supposed to be like that.
Seiji Kishi: It wasn’t to a full degree but the overall gist of it was the same.
Yuji Higa: For Twenty Faces to become a phenomenon, that was the work of Akechi and his friend. While the overall trigger to that was the death of this nameless friend, we still had no plans for bringing him back to life. We wanted to for Akechi to act out his revenge for his deceased friend who had given birth to said phenomenon, to be a hero constantly chasing the invisible fiend that was Twenty Faces.
Makoto Uezu: I think there was a plan to originally not even have Twenty Faces show up.
Yuji Higa: It was kind of like while Twenty Faces did exist, it was none other than Akechi himself giving chase to it who would turn out to be Twenty Faces.
Makoto Uezu: I believe the idea was from the very onset to have Twenty Faces appear more and more but have the original already be dead.
Yuji Higa: For nothing but his friendship, Akechi would continue to erase all presence of the very thing his dead friend had created. I deemed it a cool idea to have Akechi, someone not interested in other people, regret his life solely because of the feeling of friendship.
Makoto Uezu: As we were digging into Akechi, Namikoshi’s story turned into something that needed telling.
Yuji Higa: As we were facing the question of why Namikoshi had decided to create Twenty Faces, we got into talks of not solving this case but have Namikoshi live instead.
Makoto Uezu: The ideas came to us as if struck by lightning. We wrote all the episode numbers on a white board, discussing about what to do in which episode. At first I thought about a two episodes omnibus format, deeming it a good idea. I figured it to be necessary to do two-parters just like with “The Human Chair” but Kishi-san disliked the omnibus format.
Seiji Kishi: Rather than that, I wanted to create a work with a consistent theme.
Makoto Uezu: I recall Kishi-san stating “I don’t want to go with an ombinus format but rather tell a continuing story.” The result would be for Akechi to face off against an actually existing Twenty Faces in the last episode. And that is how the rough structure of Akechi’s and Namikoshi’s backstory came to be. There were two genius middle school students devising the formula to set up crimes that was “Twenty Faces”. There is a note where that is written down. That is the “Demon of Laplace”. Giving birth to a butterfly effect that can calculate everything in the world and make it possible to see all that exists through mere mathmatics, that truly is the Demon of Laplace and that is how we came to insert “Laplace” as a subheading.
Yuji Higa: I have a feeling that it was in November when we had that subheading pop up in name only yet. To begin with, Twenty Faces appearing in Uezu’s proposal as a phenomenon had quite the impact. It was no longer about a Twenty Faces who could turn into anyone. In our Ranpo, it was a phenomenon where everyone could become Twenty Faces instead…
Makoto Uezu: Twenty Faces underwent a lot of transformative changes in the process until we ended up with what we currently have.
Yuji Higa: There was a big impact to that and we broadened it to the point where the conversation came up if the phenomenon itself wasn’t the Demon of Laplace. As it was a system that was created by someone, we added it to the subheading. It’s very much as if it’s a subheading born from Twenty Faces itself.
Makoto Uezu: It’s true that it was part of the initial proposal for Twenty Faces to be a phenomenon. In the episode where Kagami descended into the darkness, when, for the second half, I faced the prospect of “Now there’s no way around Twenty Faces appearing” and it all tied together to a story told through one single cour, everyone in the meeting was really surprised and got quite excited.

Ranpo Kitan: Seiji Kishi, Makoto Uezu And Yuji Higa On Twenty Faces

“Friend” Is, At Present Especially, A World-Wide Theme

Makoto Uezu: Kishi-san, when creating anime, it has that one keyword, “friend”. I don’t like the protagonist having to face forward for a friend. For what purpose is it that Akechi undergoes detective investigations that he stakes his life on? We were able to envision many setups for that but none actually fit. The question was raised as for what reason Akechi would do detective work for his friend, so when the following day, I had written down that it was because of Laplace, I thought of the story of a true friend in bygone days.
Seiji Kishi: While the keyword that emerged was “friend”, it’s something that’s applied quite often. The term “comrade” also often gets thrown around, however, in recent years, it’s also become a word that’s received a lot of emphasis so I was urging to fit it into the story as a theme.
Makoto Uezu: Even when you watch foreign movies such as “The Fast and the Furious”, there are a lot of lines that feel like they could be from “One Piece”. (laughs)
Seiji Kishi: “Mission Impossible” had that too.
Makoto Uezu: Tom Cruise staked his life for his friend after all.
Yuji Higa: I’m thinking about the prospect of losing a best friend you’d known for the longest time in today’s society. Because you yourself have someone you used to refer to as a “best friend” who is no longer part of your life, it becomes a source for desire. That’s why I don’t want to watch a movie revolving around the ideal heroine or ideal lover but the ideal best friend.
Seiji Kishi: There are also works that revolve around friends or comrades as a theme.
Makoto Uezu: As a matter of fact, when it comes to the creation of anime, it’s been a theme for the longest time.
Seiji Kishi: I don’t know in which period this change occured, but it looks like it’s finally taking over the world. (laughs) Well, if that’s the case, you just can’t ignore it any longer.
Makoto Uezu: Maybe it’s just that the more the world corrupts the more you seek out friendship. (laughs)
Yuji Higa: The team sure feels like something I’d want to be part of. I want to become part of the boys’ detective club and become friends with Hashiba and Kobayashi. It’s not that I want to become either Kobayashi or Hashiba, I want to join them.
Makoto Uezu: That’s what I said at first, isn’t it? That it would elicit the feeling of “This boys’ detective club sure is nice…”
Seiji Kishi: It’s about being made to admire the relationship of these three.
Makoto Uezu: That’s why we have made them constantly wuss around Akechi’s office. (laughs)
Seiji Kishi: There’s also that we brought in adults with Nakamura and Kagami, evoking a bit more of an adult atmosphere than with the club, and I think that in itself evokes a particular feeling for the better.
Yuji Higa: Still, adults relying on kids, that’s something that just feels good.
Makoto Uezu: I thought about this the other day, maybe it’s just that we hate both teachers and adults. That’s not something that’s just limited to Ranpo Kitan. (laughs)
Yuji Higa: I love them. (laughs)
Makoto Uezu: Well, it’s more like, I like kids winning against adults. While we’re already well enough old men, there is something awakened inside us that is very clearly infantile. And if I pander to that, I can construct interesting stories, that’s what I think.
Yuji Higa: I love it when children beat adults.
Makoto Uezu: This has also been said when I was making “Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio”. In the source material, the adults live their lifes by fulfilling their work, however, in the anime adaptation, they were arranged to be completely useless. As long as Seiji Kishi himself is in charge of the directing, it’s a given that children triumph over adults.
Seiji Kishi: Well, at the end of the day, young boys are the protagonists of this story so if we don’t make them succeed, the story can’t progress properly. That is a staple across all times and places in this world.
Yuji Higa: It would be troublesome if the audience had no hero to insert themselves into.
Makoto Uezu: That is something that’s in everyone’s minds, but with Kishi-san’s works especially, that aspect is reinforced and comes to life. That children beat adults.
Seiji Kishi: When all is said and done, I put in a lot of shared passion in my creation. When I think about creating a hit with regardless what kind of content, I aim for putting in shared passion, so at the end of the day, what I insert into a work is what everyone thinks. If you’re not equipped with even the bare minimum, you can’t fight your fight. If the gist is to make an interesting work that doesn’t need to concern itself with that kind of thinking or sales, we can kind of make whatever. (laughs)
Yuji Higa: Like with the first episode, where the protagonist gets all warped by adults. (laughs)
Seiji Kishi: Isn’t it fine that way? I love that kind of stuff.
Yuji Higa: And when I thought whether to escalate from there, as he’s still warped, he just keeps spiraling down. (laughs)
Makoto Uezu: I also wanted to write something like that. But I got stopped in my tracks. I have absolutely no feelings of shared passion. So I wanted to confront that part of mine. When Kobayashi-kun jumps down in the last episode, that was part of my resistance.
Seiji Kishi: You gotta do that kind of stuff to make things interesting after all.
Makoto Uezu: Which is why I think we got chemical reactions out of that, that being the essence of “Ranpo Kitan”. It’s Kishi-san’s aim to enforce shared passion.
Yuji Higa: For a director, it’s important to especially consider the feelings of the audience.
Makoto Uezu: I only consider my own feelings. (laughs)
Yuji Higa: I only state the ideas that I myself like. (laughs) I love watching anime, which is why I want to create what I want to watch, and I hold a position where everyone else is fulfilling my wish.
Makoto Uezu: Still, Hida-san is an idea guy. When I said that I wanted to draw inspiration from stage plays, the one who thought about it in even more concrete terms was Hida-san.

Ranpo Kitan: Seiji Kishi, Makoto Uezu And Yuji Higa On Namikoshi And Friendship

If You Could Make A Part 2

What are your thoughts on Ranpo’s source material?
Seiji Kishi: As for this anime project, the one who undoubtedly is the biggest fan of Edogawa Ranpo is Uezu. I also know of him and have read his works, however, not to the degree of digging into him as an author. In that sense, it kind of saved us that we had Uezu by our side.
Makoto Uezu: When it comes to Kobayashi-kun’s way of thinking, it wasn’t a matter of which of Ranpo’s works to pick from, but rather to adapt the mood in general that Ranpo’s works emit. I believe that it was Ranpo’s way of thinking that I held inside me that gave birth to the young man that is this work’s Kobayashi-kun. I think it comes into place that he starts seeing the vanity of this world and says something along the lines of “Even if I’m alive, there’s not much of a point.” around the story of “Watcher in the Attic”. As for myself, I don’t really have much of awareness of where I made what kind of choice, I just extracted the lines I wrote from the Edogawa Ranpo I tried to recreate from my memories and when I was about to finish, Kobayashi-kun, by the point of “Watcher in the Attic”, had said something very similar and I was surprised by the match we had.
Seiji Kishi: With Kobayashi-kun I also placed an overwhelming focus on him in terms of directing.
Makoto Uezu: From the standpoint of a scriptwriter, Kobayashi-kun was a character that I really, really wanted to write.
Seiji Kishi: He sure was portrayed as a cutting-edge kind of protagonist.
Makoto Uezu: It’s almost like he was born. As of now, if you were to ask me for the freshest kind of protagonist I could think of, it would be the young man that is Kobayashi.
Seiji Kishi: I threw everything that makes the image of a protagonist that the audience can accept and matches our times into Kobayashi-kun.
Makoto Uezu: Don’t go irresponsibly saying positive things, Kobayashi-kun.
Seiji Kishi: To elaborate further, it’s not particularly limited to animation, it’s probably the kind of character writing that can be thrown into any kind of genre. Even if you change the age or add to the body size, with the personality being fundamentally like this, you will be able to emphasize. He’s more doll-like than human-like…
Yuji Higa: There’s a line in episode six from him that I favor a lot. “You already did throw it away once though…”
Makoto Uezu: The episode where the baby gets thrown away.
Yuji Higa: He sure is capable of saying things that you can think but aren’t supposed to say.
Makoto Uezu: I want to write more featuring Kobayashi-kun. I wrote him for the sequel drama CD but I wonder if I didn’t make him too human-like and have reflected on that in the past. Let’s please give that story a try if we ever get a sequel confirmed. Kishi-san, what do you think?
Seiji Kishi: I think we would just continue moving forward the story with the three of them just like before. It might be more convenient to just write short stories rather than a big story arc.
Makoto Uezu: I’m sure that would do. I want to write some delightful omnibus stories.
Seiji Kishi: I hope that the existence of someone like Nakomishi who used to be part of an overarching plot will play a good role somewhere.
Makoto Uezu: Is Namikoshi even still alive? That is something even I am asking myself. (laughs)
Seiji Kishi: We will leave that for the audience to decide. If entertainment just readily gave away answers, it wouldn’t be any fun. (laughs)
Makoto Uezu: Still, with his corpse not having been found, it makes you think if there wasn’t a suited feint in place. It’s not like Namikoshi’s followers have dispersed either, so the phenomenon still continues. By putting on the mask of anonymity through Twenty Faces, Akechi and Namikoshi have created a world in which bold crimes are made possible.
Seiji Kishi: Even though the phenomenon has calmed down in the epilogue, there was still a butterfly flying around.
Makoto Uezu: It’s rooted at an invisible level. To have it just barely rooted in society, that was what Namikoshi was airming for.
Yuji Higa: Talking from the perspective of the producer, I want to see a “Winter Ranpo”. A white Ranpo wherein these characters, dressed in coats and scarves, reside in a snowy Shinjuku as the stage. Also including Kobayashi-kun wearing a furisode, a Ranpo Kitan: Winter Edition so to speak.
Seiji Kishi: If we do that, we will have them graduate at the end.
Makoto Uezu: “Ranpo Kitan: Sotsugyou” it is then. With Hashiba-kun appearing at the wedding ceremony, yelling “Don’t get married!” (laughs)
Seiji Kishi: So that’s the kind of “graduation” you’re refering to. (laughs)
Yuji Higa: This one was a Summer story, wasn’t it. After all, I love Winter mistery stories. Wearing coats and scarves, the breath turning white, drinking hot drinks, that makes for quite the image, doesn’t it?
Seiji Kishi: If we go with a graduation ending Part 2, then, in Part 3, they must enter the same high school. (laughs)
Makoto Uezu: With the concept already estabished, producer, quickly announce Part 2!

We look forward to Part 2. Thank you very much for your time.

Well, I guess it’s safe to say that there most likely won’t be much of a sequel but just like how Namikoshi’s will lives on, so did this show inside the hearts of a few or otherwise I wouldn’t have translated this interview.

And isn’t that what all of this is about?

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