This Sunday, there will be a panel at SDCC for Gamera: Rebirth that has director Hiroyuki Seshita and kaiju designer Kan Takahama talking about the anime and hopefully showing some new photos and a new trailer. On July 2nd, the tokusatsu website SciFi Japan got to sit down and interview Seshita talking about Gamera: Rebirth and comparing his experience on the Polygon Godzilla trilogy movies and it got posted just this past week. It gives a lot of incite on the thought process of making the anime and I honestly think you should check out the article yourself, but I want to highlight the main points here.
Just to note, the article had to be interpreted through a translator. So the interview that is conducted may sound weird at some parts.
At the beginning of the interview, SciFi Japan asks about what it was like to adapt Gamera into an anime. The response from Seshita goes right into Godzilla very quickly to get a background of how he got to do Gamera. The article reads as followed, "The director mentioned he was in charge of the Godzilla anime. He became involved with that first, along with Gen Urobuchi and Kobun Shizuno. They basically got together as a three person team and decided to make the Godzilla anime together. And the plan was to make a never-before-seen Godzilla, which is why they made it in an anime form. But they wanted to make it like a battle thing, almost pro wrestling. Like something that hadn't really been seen before with kaiju.
So they gave that idea to Toho Animation, the ones that are in charge of the Godzilla franchise, and they wanted to do it as a challenge because the director was actually a big fan of kaiju ever since he was a little kid. So he always had this image of this cool kaiju pro-wrestling fighting that you don't get to see that much nowadays. And making the Godzilla anime was very interesting, but he wasn't really able to carry out the vision he had of doing that really pure battle scene, close-up combat kind of anime.
When he got the offer from Kadokawa to make Gamera: Rebirth he said, 'if it's not just a hard science fiction anime, but I can make like an actual, pure, pro-wrestling style combat anime, then yes.' And Kadokawa accepted."
Later in the interview, he does get asked if there was anything he learned from making Godzilla that he applied to making Gamera: Rebirth and he responded that there wasn't anything he learned from making Godzilla that was applied to Gamera other than the differences between the two studios. Toho had everything pre-planned and pre-organized for Godzilla. Toho had an idea for Godzilla that didn't give Seshita much wiggle room for any creativity. Whereas with Kadokawa, Seshita had a lot more creative freedom with Gamera and was allowed to do anything he wanted even though Gamera has a much smaller budget than Godzilla. He does go on to say later in the interview that he is still in good relations with Toho and he has qualms with them.
The next question actually takes Western audiences into consideration versus doing a kaiju adaptation for Japanese audiences. This one could have been controversial if it was not answered right and knowing how Seshita reacted to kaiju fans after the Godzilla movies flopped. So it seems like even he knew he had to tread carefully here. Seshita responded like this, "We had a bit of trouble answering this question because Kadokawa, the production company for Gamera: Rebirth, wasn't looking out for the international audience this time around. So he was actually scolded by the production company not to especially do that.
Basically the main thing that they are focusing on with this adaptation, it's not the audience territory, but basically within the Gamera lore. There are two very specific eras in which the movies were made; the Heisei era and the Showa era Gamera. And fans, when we announced the reboot production, were mostly curious about which it would be; a reboot of the Showa era or of the Heisei version. And that is actually still a secret. So we cannot tell you which one it is going to be, but we can say the director mainly watched the Showa one growing up.
And his main idea to make Gamera: Rebirth was how to bring those past era Gameras into the modern world, which is now the Reiwa era. How to adapt those older versions of Gamera into the modern era. So that was the main point they were trying to recreate rather than focusing on territories."
Basically, Kadokawa wanted Seshita to break out of the mindset of which fans the anime should cater to and focus solely on how to bring Gamera into the current era. This actually does pose a problem with Godzilla even now. We have two eras of Godzilla running back-to-back, the Reiwa era and the Monsterverse series. For Godzilla, it seems like the two are split to cater only to a specific audience depending on territory. In Gamera's case, Kadokawa does not want that. They just want to deliver Gamera that caters to everybody based on how Seshita answered this question. This actually brings us to another question about bringing Gamera to new fans.
In his answer, he seems to suggest that old fans recognize Gamera through live action and that today live action wouldn't be enough nor have the budget to recreate Gamera in live action. Also, Anime is everywhere now as it is being used to reach out to audiences worldwide and there is a lot of untapped potential to generate new fans through anime.
"So for people who know Gamera, I guess they mostly enjoy it as a live action franchise of movies. However, nowadays anime is a very popular genre that the Japanese media is using to reach a worldwide audience. And so, although he loves Gamera live action and would love to work on the Gamera movies as well, he thinks it's really meaningful to bring them back to life in a different format and in that way be able to the new generation of people… commemorate its spirit for the older fans as well as bring that to new fans who can enjoy it and relive that period. And although many of the more deep fans of Gamera will for sure say they want to do it with the suits and they want to do it like the old Gamera style, he wants to do it that way, too.
So basically, in this day and age, it would be actually very difficult to recreate a Gamera in the old style with the suits just because of the budget that it would require in this modern era in show business. And he does really want to do that. But, again, bringing back the older characters from the Gamera franchise into this new era is kind of the main goal with Gamera: Rebirth. I guess that's why it's called Gamera: Rebirth."
When it comes to live action, it is very hard to finance a movie nowadays. However, there is one thing that is mentioned before SciFi Japan moves on to the next question that is quite surprising and the interviewer does make note of this to international fans.
"But he did mention one very important thing that we do want the international audience to note is that, if the anime is a big hit after it comes out, maybe there might be a new live action Gamera series because then we would be able to finance that. So we do want fans all over the world to watch it. Everything depends on this one doing well. He actually already has in his mind enough ideas to make at least ten different movies."
Usually, I would be more enthusiastic about the idea of if I want to see more of something then we should support it. Considering this Hiroyuki Seshita, however, I am more on the wait and see side of the fence. We have already been burned by his Godzilla movies and we don't know how this will turn out. If it actually turns out decent then I will be all for seeing what he can come up with for Gamera. Despite the quality of the CG (and he is very much aware of the criticisms and he still chooses CG animation over traditional animation), Gamera: Rebirth actually looks pretty fun, so far, and I hope the show delivers a fun kaiju anime.
If you want to read more of the interview, you can click here to read more.
I want to know of your thoughts on the interview. Does this ease some of your worries towards Gamera: Rebirth? Do you think the anime will do well enough to get new movies? Leave a comment in the comments section of your thoughts on SciFi Japan's interview with Hiroyuki Seshita. Make sure to follow me on Facebook, Minds, MeWe, Gab, and TRUTH Social to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.