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12 Days of Anime (2015) – Day 2 – Speaking with Hiromi Katou, Character Design for Needless, at Sakuracon
Hiromi Katou is a gifted and experienced talent, having a successful career in the anime industry through a variety of roles. Among his notable accomplishments, he was the character designs for Guilty Crown, Kobato., and Hakkenden, the animation directors for Beck, Gunslinger Stratos, and Fantasia Doll, and a key animator for Death Note, Azumanga Daioh, Shingeki no Kyojin, and many more. However, his most distinguished achievement, to me at least, is that he was the character design for Needless, which you might guess from previous posts is my favorite anime. I was extremely fortunate that Hiromi Katou was invited as a guest for Sakuracon this year and made sure to visit his Q&A panel, so that I could ask him some questions regarding Needless. So, for Day 2 of my 12 Days of Anime, I’ll recall my time with Hiromi Katou and the answers he provided about his experience with Needless.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the setting is my favorite aspect of anime. To me, it is the most significant attribute of an anime because the setting is the foundation for which the stories and characters are shaped and constructed, the ground from which they grow and progress. It is what provides the story and the characters with the appropriate tools, direction, and limitations for which we, as an audience, are able to watch, appreciate, and enjoy. And the setting is more than just a pretty backdrop, but one that defines the culture, society, technology, clothing, architecture, geography, climate, diet, and lives of the characters we love. As a result, I absolutely adore any anime with a captivating, distinctive, and inspired setting because of how it influences the story and the characters. And that brings me to Death Parade and the Quindecim, arguably my favorite setting in all of anime for 2015.
This might seem like an odd topic for a 12 Days of Anime post, but it’s a topic worth discussing given how it continues to grow on me every year and with every new anime. In fact, it’s routine for me now, something constant and universal that occurs every time I watch an anime. And it’s a subject that can be entrusted quite easily by the number 123,714. So, what exactly does 123,714 mean?
I first stumbled across JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure many, many years ago, in the mid-2000s, when I kept coming across references to Jotaro, Dio, and Stardust Crusaders around the internet. At the time, I did limited research into the series, but quickly discovered the appeal and charm of the franchise. It was at that time that I watched bits and pieces of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure OVA (1993), including what became my favorite moment in the series thus far: the “fight” with D’Arby the Gambler.