The Record of Ragnarok anime series is now streaming on Netflix worldwide. We had the special chance to chat with character designer Masaki Sato before the anime debuted. He has done character design for Slam Dunk TV anime series and key animation in various Dragon Ball Z movies.
How did you get involved with Record of Ragnarok? What was your first impression of the series?
Sato-san: Graphinica offered me the job when they were helping me on a keyframe, finishing, photography, and editing for another title I was directing and producing on.
My first impression was that it was the most challenging title I’ve ever worked on.
You’ve handled character designs for several anime involving muscular characters (Slam Dunk, Fist of the North Star: Legend of Raoh: Chapter of Fierce Fight) before. Did your prior experience influence or help with your work for Record of Ragnarok?
I had to draw different muscle types in the anime from athletes, bodybuilders, and even muscles of God so my past experience was put to full use.
What sort of impression did you and the director want to deliver with the characters through their designs, especially considering that the cast includes figures like Valkyries and gods in addition to human characters?
I abandoned my usual techniques and tried expressing body movements and muscular mechanisms in a new way to fit this unique world setting.
Were any tweaks made to the manga’s character designs when adapting them for the anime? What was the most challenging part of the process?
Differentiating humans and Gods.
There were so many Gods in the anime so I had a hard time trying to make them stand out from each other.
Adam had a noticeably different character design compared to his manga counterpart. What was the creative reason behind that?
I decreased the outlines to enhance the impact of his looks themselves. (So that people’s eyes are drawn to the leaf!)
Although it wasn’t shown in the fight scenes, there are actually other ways of showing his muscle movements.
Was there any communication or feedback about the character designs with the author?
Of course, I had several conversations with them to decide what direction to take and, from then, I applied for my work.
Who was your favorite character to design and why?
It would be Brunhilde. There are not many female characters in the anime I worked on in the past. I struggled a lot because she is the main protagonist of the show but she became my favorite because of all the effort.
Has your approach to designing characters changed over the years with Record of Ragnarok?
I always try to change my approach to work and make sure to update my ways.
As anime fans around the world watch the series, is there anything they should pay attention to?
“What will happen to that leaf during the fight!?” Haha!
Any final comments to Record of Ragnarok fans across the world?
This title became a global hit because of those fans who took an initial interest.
I hope you can keep on supporting us and convince others to watch the show too.
Special thanks to Sato-san for his time and Warner Bros. Japan for the opportunity.
ⒸAzychika, Shinya Umemura, Takumi Fukui/Coamix,RagnarokProject