This giant Owari on Seraph panel was a joint effort between Funimation and WIT Studio. It honestly baffles me how much this anime series is getting promoted, but I was curious to see what else they might say about the anime and future installments. Present WIT staff included Joji Wada, Ayumi Yamada, and Masashi Koizuka.
*Any transcription below is provided first through a translator’s words, then paraphrased as needed by me.*
Q: What inspired the concept of the cursed gear?
Koizuka: Basically, this work features a combo of western and Japanese cultures, including research of curses between West and East. They mixed the concepts using the culture of vampires, and that’s how we arrived at the cursed gear.
Q: Which do you think is stronger, the gear of Yuu or Guren?
K: The strongest are the ones that Guren and Yuu have. The rank of the weapons is very clear.
Q: We talked a bit of the different styles. There are the humans in the Japanese Imperial style. Is there a reason for that?
K: Military clothing and gear looks cool, and that’s one reason. And then from there, it was choosing colors and bringing out the details of the Japanese army style.
Yamada: As you can from this illustration, light green is a key color of their branding and costume design. I think it’s cool they chose to make that glow for the Funimation box art.
Q: We talked about the humans having dark clothing and the vampires having white, flow-y clothes. It’s hard to figure out who really are the bad guys with the colors flipped. Who really are the bad guys, and why do you think so?
K: So, in Seraph we make no assumptions that humans are good and vampires are bad. Humans are the protagonists so we see their viewpoint, but they also have many faults. The vampires are displayed as disinterested, while humans are shown as quite selfish.
Q: Usually a single episode in anime is built on multiple chapters. How do you determine how many chapters to include?
K: There’s no clear decision on how many are included in each episode in Seraph; we decided we would take volumes 1-4 of the manga into 1-12 of the anime. Based on the exciting and important parts of the manga volumes, we decide each morning what to include. There’s no clear decision on the number of chapters.
Q: The character Shinya arrives in an interesting-looking car. Is there a real world inspiration for the car, or is it from imagination?
K: The first thing we decided is that the car he would arrive in would be a sports car. In the production process, we had a few for inspiration, and chose one.
Q: I’m interested in the symbolic trumpet of Yuu’s dream and how that plays a part in the origin between East and West.
K: There’s a myth or legend, the seven trumpeters if you know it, that’s referenced in Seraph. That discussion took place during the creation of this episode and anime, and that’s why the trumpet appeared at that point in the story.
Q: There’s stunning background art. What’s the process and inspiration in creating that, particularly the post-apocalyptic scenes?
K: The director put a lot of attention into the backgrounds. It starts with the idea that Yuu has chosen to live on in this world. First of all, our idea to express this was that hand drawn would best. In Japan, there are staff focused on digital creation, and those focused on hand drawing. We worked with the hand drawing staff. We had many discussions with them and that’s how we arrived in this direction we ended up with.
Q: The way the industry is now, have you felt you had to push out episodes that were unfinished and full of mistakes? If so, do you feel if the industry were more flexible it would be better?
Y: Quite frankly there are a lot of episodes with that happening. It is not an “if,” but a “when.” There will come a time when you know the episode won’t have everything it needs. At that time, I focus on my core values, driving me to stay late and work hard.
Q: Are there a lot of changes between the broadcast to the final product?
K: Yes, there are changes. The areas where the staff says they want to fix, they do.
Q: Personality-wise, who’s your favorite vampire?
Y: Lacus. Do you know him? He’s very cute.
Q: What is software you use to create this anime?
K: We use a lot of different ones. Each section, each department, has their own tools. Even individuals have their own they prefer.
Q: I love all the episodes of this anime. Will there be more?
Y: That all depends on your support, but I’d like to say there will be a lot, lot more.
Q: Who is your favorite girl? Let me rephrase: why is Shinoa the best girl?
K: So Shinoa is your favorite, huh. I do think she’s the heroine of this anime. I love her. But I also love Mikaela as well. Both Shinoa and Mikaela like Yuu. We really enjoyed that triangle when creating this anime.
Q: Who decides the color schemes and background colors?
K: The art director makes the final decision. But first, they decide the timing. Based on that timing and the time of day, the art staff thinks of the backgrounds. Morning, noon, evening, like that.
Q: Who are each of your favorite characters?
K: Shinoa. She’s so cute.
Y: I like Krul. Her chest is small, and the gap between her young look and her inside queen. That gap is fascinating.
Q: Yamada, who do you like better with Yuu, Mika or Shinoa?
Y: Mika. Mikaela.
Q: I love the music in this series. How do you get music, particularly in battle scenes, to go with the scenes?
K: We have to combine the music, sound effects, and voices. For this, we have a dedicated sound director, who makes most of the decisions on the sound environment. We create the visuals, then communicate what we’re trying to convey to the sound director, and he tries to answer that vision.
Q: With the steps you showed us with the different parts of production, with the budget of each episode, how is it assigned to the steps? Is it the same for each episode, or does it change based on what you’re doing?
Wada: First of all, there is an entire project budget. There are certain episodes where we’re invested, and we then decide how to budget per episode. At WIT, we like to think compared to others, we invest a lot into post-production, the screenplay, the storyboards, everything up to the release. The more you cheer us on, the bigger our budget becomes. That’s really the relationship.
Q: If Yuu had to choose between Shinoa and Yoichi, who do you think it would be? If Shinoa and Mika got into a fight, who would win?
K: Firstly, Yuu is in the position to choose everyone. He is who he is because in any situation, he would choose everyone. Yuu and Yoichi are characters who would never let anyone fall behind. Regarding Shinoa and Mika, Mika would certainly win.
Q: Who was the intended audience? Did you intentionally aim for a fujoshi audience? Was that a happy accident?
K: It would be a lie that we weren’t at least aware of that in some way. But the manga was originally shounen, boys. The data in Japan shows that there are more boys that are readers of manga. But in anime, more of the viewers are female.
Q: Are you thinking of doing anything with the novels about Mika? About his time as a vampire?
Y: There was a novel released recently where Mika was the protagonist. That is all contingent on your support. I can’t promise there are any plans of anime where he’s the protagonist. But, anything is possible.
Q: What inspired you to make Seraph?
W: A lot of that stems from WIT’s heritage. We made Attack. Our next project, we wanted to target the teen audience, with a dark atmosphere and teen drama.
Q: You’ve said multiple times that it all depends on us helping support. How do we go about doing that?
Funimation: We own the rights to Seraph in the US. You can support by becoming a subscriber of Funimation. You can buy and pre-order the DVD release. Buy official merchandise. That’s how fans in America can support it. Buy the official releases and services.
W: Keep supporting on Twitter or on any social media. Seraph and WIT have their own hashtags. People in Japan will see what you’re talking about.
At the very end, they did an audience-wide Rock, Paper, Scissors competition for some special prizes! It’s the first time I’ve done this, and I was amazed at how quickly people were chopped out of the running. It was nice to see people being honest about losing.