One of the hottest shows this season is Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba with animation production by ufotable. We had the special opportunity to interview producer Yuma Takahashi from Aniplex.
Thank you so much for your time to talk about Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. How is your time at Anime Expo?
This is my third time at Anime Expo. Every year, I am greatly moved and feel the passion and love from fans. I always go back to Japan feeling motivated and feeling like it is a great event.
As the producer of many notable works such as Cells at Work! And the host for various Fate events, how is it working on Demon Slayers: Kimetsu no Yaiba?
Regardless of the series I’m working on, it is always the same stance as a producer, which is to deliver what the creators made to the world. Of course, we always work closely with the creators, but it is the same stance and delivering the best work.
Producers are tasked a wide range of activities. What are your day to day responsibilities for Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba?
As the Aniplex producer, I am involved in both the business and creative side of the show. From the business side, whether it is in Japan or the world, I think every day about how to get fans excited and my aim is for the project’s success.
From the creative side, you could say I have easy work because ufotable does such an amazing job and wonderful work. (laugh) If I were to say what my role as the producer is on the creative side, it is to say, “you guys [ufotable] are doing an amazing job!”
The anime retains a lot of facial expressions and components from the manga. For instance, Tanjiro’s monologue is a key aspect of the show. How does that contribute to the production of the anime series?
Whether it be Fate or Garden of Sinners, ufotable’s aim is to make the experience with the anime as consistent as possible to the original work – whether a game or other material. Our goal is to always making the best Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba anime series. And one of the great things in the original work is how Gotoge-san captures facial expressions and the superb story writing, so ufotable’s aim is to maintain that level of excellence.
Nezuko is beloved by fans but can’t talk in the series which makes it a challenge for character development. What was the process behind bringing her to life?
Right from the start in episode 1, Nezuko is a demon and therefore can’t talk. But one of the advantages of anime is that we can express intricate changes in facial expression and also bring to life Nezuko’s “mmm mmm” sound. Through those advantages, we wanted to give more depth to these characters in the anime.
With Nezuko, you see her love for Tanjiro and the sibling’s bond or when she is angry at the enemies. There are certain things anime can beautifully capture, especially with Nezuko and her range of emotions, and I hope that through the anime we can convey these wide range of emotions that she has.
With the second-cour coming summer season, what should fans and viewers expect while watching the show?
Up next is a brand-new mission for everyone, which is Mt. Natagumo. This new mission’s battle for Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu and Inosuke is probably the most challenging adversary they will face and it will prove to be a life or death battles.
The reason behind why it will be a difficult mission is because the demon they encounter is one of the most powerful enemies so far. Please look forward to one of the most exciting and dramatic battle scenes and fans can look forward to the most exciting episode they will see YET.
Any final comments to fans online?
While working in Japan, I am aware that fans from around the world love the show so much and I couldn’t be happier with the international fans’ response to the series.
From ufotable to the cast and staff, all these people are working very hard to make the best Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. It’ll keep getting more and more exciting, so please look forward to it each week.
Special thanks to Aniplex of America for the fantastic opportunity. Demon Slayers: Kimetsu no Yaibai is now streaming on Hulu, Crunchyroll and FunimationNow.
©Koyoharu Gotoge / SHUEISHA, Aniplex, ufotable