Keiichi Sigsawa is the author behind many works including Kino’s Journey, Allison, Lilia & Treiza, and Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online. His debut novel, Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World– was originally adapted into an anime series back in 2003. Coming Fall 2017, a new anime series for Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- the Animated Series, co-produced by Crunchyroll, will begin streaming October 6. Noobles and Zafkiele sat down with Mr. Sigsawa at Crunchyroll Expo 2017.
First off, congratulations on the upcoming TV anime adaption of Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World-! How does it feel to have your work animated into a series again after so many years?
Sigsawa: I’m very happy, excited, and I’m probably the most excited out of everyone!
From my understanding, the new anime series will be an alternative version of the 2003 series. What will fans expect to see this coming October?
Just think of it as a completely new and different series. It has no ties to the old series.
Kino’s Journey is a very philosophical series, and the pacing can be different compared to other manga and anime. Do you have anything you want viewers to know when the watch the upcoming anime?
I hope that people can watch it fairly casually and not worry too much about the philosophical parts of it! I hope for it to be very episodic and people can come in at any point and enjoy the series.
The first anime was also pretty well done. I don’t think there was too many loopholes or mysteries left over, so when you watch the anime series. We’re not planning to do the exact same stories as last time. Enjoy it as if it’s a brand new anime!
By episodic, would the upcoming anime series have episodes that could be standalone? Any idea on how many episodes we’ll get?
In terms of being episodic, it’s completely fine to be able to watch from any point and shuffle them around and you’d still be able to understand. Of course, you may be confused with new characters introduced from a previous episode but each story is self contained.
Episode count? Unfortunately, I can’t say quite yet!
Kino, at first glance, does not look like a female. As indicated in the anime and light novel, it is not revealed until later in the series. What was the thought process behind making Kino a female?
When I was writing the first story for Kino’s Journey, I didn’t intend for it to be ambiguous. The story just ended up that way. I personally just enjoy characters like that.
The new design of Kino makes her more feminine. Why is that?
For the anime series in 2003, a lot of the influences came from the director himself. Back then, it was more a new thing to have a girl look like a boy. For 2017, fans are now more aware of Kino’s journey. When I received the character designs for the new series, I didn’t really mind the new designs of Kino looking more feminine.
Where do you draw inspiration for Kino and her personality?
The story for Kino came first, and then the character came after. Not too much thought went into Kino, rather, the character was placed into a developed story.
We learn that Kino’s companion throughout the series is a bike. If you don’t mind, what was your reasoning for picking a bike for a partner rather than a small pet or a support character for example?
Not too much thought went into that either! I want a character that goes on a journey so why not a bike? Since Kino goes on journeys on her bike, why not have her bike talk!
You have also written many other works including Allison, Lillia to Trezise and Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online. Allison received an anime series as well. Do you hope to have your other works become anime series?
I was initially a big fan of SAO, especially Gun Gale Online and I originally asked to write the spin off. When Gun Gale Online was in anime production, I was able to do a gun check for the second season to make sure all the guns were correctly represented.
Of course, I want my other works to be animated. Though, Alice was animated but it was censored heavily. I wish for Alice to get a new adaptation with my own vision.
If I recall, you’re a big fan of guns and bikes. Do you mind talking about your hobby? Lastly, do you plan to write more manga about bikes and guns?
I’m a big fan of guns and motorcycles. If someone were to ask, my biggest three hoddies in no particular order is manga/anime, biking, and guns. However, recently I’ve been asking my other author friends about their hobbies and I’ve been getting into boating, scuba diving, and other things like that.
Being a manga author, do you read any manga yourself?
The manga Attack on Titan! I’m a big fan of the manga. I like the story and it’s a very good study tool because the story development is well done. As an author myself, it’s a useful tool.
Would we see any inspiration from Attack on Titan in Kino’s Journey?
It won’t be in the anime, since all I do is check the anime production but expect it in my future works! I hope I can influence other story tellers as well through the inspiration of Attack on Titan and create an endless loop of inspiration.
What would you like to see come out of the upcoming anime series of Kino’s Journey?
I definitely want a second season, and maybe a movie version. It depends on how well it’s received by the audience.
Do you have any final statement to fans?
I would first like to say thank you to the fans of the first series. The aspect of Kino is the same as the old series but it has been modernized and looks nicer! To new fans, sit back and relax. Enjoy the series!
Special thanks to Crunchyroll for the opportunity
Interview conducted and article written by Noobles and Mark (Zafkiele)