Re:Creators Bonus Episode: The Talent behind the Scenes

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!

Quick Summary

In the Re:Creators Bonus episode “ENTER THE WORLD OF Re:CREATORS,” we find out the writer’s past credits include an action-packed, gritty anime series. The director’s pedigree is even more impressive! We find out some of what makes Re:Creators’ soundtrack so powerful and distinctive. Finally, we meet the voice actors for Souta MizushinoSelesia Upitiria, and Meteora Österreich. The latter makes a hilarious comment about Meteora’s hair!

What’s In This Post

Quick Episode Summary
What I Liked in this Episode
Thoughts about the Episode
Related Posts

What I Liked

Just as Mizushino is the POV character for the series, his voice actor, Yamashita, is the POV for the bonus episode. Fun with symmetry! Capture from the Amazon Strike stream.

I should warn you up front: I love behind the scenes episodes about creative works, so my reactions to this week’s episode are likely to be more exuberant than usual.

I had to smile at the symmetry of Daiki Yamashita, Mizushino’s voice actor, acting as the point of view (POV) character for this episode (0:50) — just as Mizushino does for the series!

Yamashita mentions that regarding Re:Creators, he and others in the cast “felt a special allure of which we have never experienced before” (1:20). I have the same feeling. I’m not making a claim that this is the greatest anime ever, or that it’s the most this or that — only that it feels different to me than other shows. Maybe it’s because of where I am in my writing career, or maybe it’s just something intrinsic about the show. But this show and its soundtrack have captured my imagination like no other series.

The story that Rei Hiroe wrote to describe Re:Creators was 250,000 characters long (3:22). Is that a Japanese way of measuring a manuscript’s length? I think a Japanese character holds more meaning than a single English character, so I can’t tell if that’s a lot of words or not. Would that be the same as about 50,000 words? If so, that’s a novel!

Seeing a character’s design evolve is fascinating. Check out Mirokuji’s shirt! Matsubara looks a lot more grumpy. Marine, though, looks like her usual beaming self!
Capture from the Amazon Strike stream.

I love seeing character sketches in general. I particularly love to see developments or evolutions in a character’s design. The sketch we see for Yuuya Mirokuji (3:43) seems to have been an earlier version. At least, his shirt’s different. And the pencil sketch of Marine in that same shot really catches her wide-eyed adorableness! I was surprised that Hiroe created all of these character himself (3:47)! I shouldn’t be surprised given what he accomplished with Black Lagoon, but that seems like a lot of work for one individual on a series!

I think my favorite part of this episode was the discussion with Hiroyuki Sawano, the composer (starting around 5:20). I actually had to start watching it a couple of times because the song in the background was Layers (lyrics are here) from the soundtrack, and it kept distracting me! On a soundtrack packed with musical goodness, Layers stands out. If you haven’t heard the soundtrack, you can hear Layers in the background of episode 6 (around 18:20) when Alicetelia February launches her attack on Selesia and Meteora. I mean, how can you not love a song that starts with the lines “I will lay down my sword; my rebellion is yours?” How evocative is that?

Sawano joked that because Hiroe and Aoki had worked with him before, he was surprised that they wanted to work with him again! Humor aside, his music is one of the things that makes Re:Creators so distinctive. Check out Mirokuji’s shirt! Matsubara looks a lot more grumpy. Marine, though, looks like her usual beaming self!
Capture from the Amazon Strike stream.

I loved Sawano’s self-deprecating sense of humor. He talked about going to dinner with Hiroe and director Ei Aoki (5:50). He joked that he was surprised that they wanted to work with him again because “after  they worked with me once, they would have had enough of me” (6:08).

Sawano’s goal of making the series “more interesting as a work of entertainment through music” (7:10) was pretty much what I expected from a professional. But what I thought was particularly cool was his idea to use “a lyrical song for the battle song” (7:27) — like Layers. For me, that trait as much as any other contributes to Re:Creators’ distinctiveness. As soon as you hear Layers start, you know a) it’s Re:Creators and b) it’s about to get real!

We get to meet Selesia and Meteora’s voice actors (11:07), and I just have to say that I was delighted to see that Inori Minase, the actor who plays Meteora, was wearing an outfit that looked a lot like the adorable green jumpsuit that Meteora wore in episode 15. Overall, Minase reminded me a lot of Meteora, in a good way — calm and intelligent with a surprising wry sense of humor. Like when she says that Meteora’s hairstyle “is a really nice mushroom shape… Intellectual, but it’s also cute” (15:47). I could just hear Meteora saying something like that.

Minase (on the right) wore an outfit that reminded me of Meteora’s in episode 16. Their senses of humor were similar, too! Capture from the Amazon Strike stream.

All three actors commented on how strange it was to have so few other actors around in the first couple of episodes because there were only the three main characters (plus Altair, who they didn’t mention) (16:22). This is one of those details I never really thought about. I guess if I were an actor, having other actors to play off of would elevate my game. In this case, it seemed to at least be more fun for all concerned, at least according to the actors in this episode (16:34).

Another aspect I didn’t think much about was the difference between acting in an anime based on a manga (or other previously published source material) and an anime like Re:Creators, which is an original work. It keeps even the actors guessing about what’s coming next (17:12). That seemed to delight Minase.

Thoughts

This was apparently designed to be shown before the series started. The release date on Amazon Strike is March 31, 2017, and the host mentioned that the premiere was next week in a couple of spots.

Komatsu, Selesia’s voice actor, spoke of being excited to get to know the characters and see what was going to happen. What a coincidence — me too! Capture from the Amazon Strike stream.

Did you watch Rei Hiroe’s Black Lagoon anime series? I never had a chance to finish it, but I liked the action and characters in the episodes I did see. He came up with the original story for Re:CREATORS, and it carries on that legacy of gritty action.

The director, Ei Aoki, most recently directed Aldnoah.Zero seasons 1 and 2. But he has a ton of experience in the industry, like being a director for Fate/Zero and other diverse series like Ga-Rei-Zero (a series I don’t see discussed enough — I thoroughly enjoyed it) and Girls Bravo (which I enjoyed despite its misleading promotions).

This episode brings up both their names very early (beginning at 0:14!), and I thought this was appropriate given how meta the series is. Hiroe and Aoki might as well be standing beside the rest of Team Aki Kikuchihara!

I’ve been trying to figure out why this series feels so different to me — so immediate and vital. I think I’ve come up with a viable theory: This series isn’t artistically the product of a bureaucracy. Some executive in suite far-removed from the creative process isn’t calling the shots.* It’s the product of Hiroe’s original vision as expressed through Aoki’s directing talent (with a lot of help from visual artists and actors, of course!). Re:Creators feels like it represents the vision of a single artist. Given that art is a form of communication, and given that art’s most effective when it communicates a specific perspective, I wonder if that’s why I respond so strongly to this series?

Yamashita spoke of “the allure of the world of Re:CREATORS.” Just what is it that makes this series to attractive? A singularity of vision?
Capture from the Amazon Strike stream.

If the plot’s simply checking off boxes like Star Trek: Into Darkness (main character’s mentor needs to die by such and such point in the plot? Check!), then there’s nothing really to communicate. It’s just a potentially fun experience, like a roller coaster ride (or Into Darkness — great special effects!). But intellectually and emotionally, there’s nothing there. Put those same quality constructs of plot and character with a vision representing a specific perspective? A perspective enticing us to consider universal questions like who we are in relation to our creators? That’s called literature. I’ve said before that anime can rise to the level of literature (like Gate’s episode The Dragon’s Nest). I think this show’s teetering right on the edge of that achievement.

Is the show affecting you in a similar way? Or do you think I’ve lost my mind? Let me know in the comments!

* Which is, I’m afraid, what seems to be happening to Star Trek: Discovery. I wrote about this on my writing site; please check it out and let me know what you think!

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