Interview: TWIN ENGINE Discusses Vinland Saga Season 2, The Ancient Magus Bride, and Studio Colorido

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Founded in 2014 by former Noitamina producer Koji Yamamoto, TWIN ENGINE has had a hand in some notable titles including Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, the 2019 version of Dororo, Penguin Highway, and the upcoming Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku adaptation. The company, as Yamamoto himself described to us, is a planning and holding company with various studios under their umbrella, with Penguin Highway and A Whisker Away’s Studio Colorido being one of their main studios. We had the opportunity to speak with Yamamoto, TWIN ENGINE producer Naokado Fujiyama, and A Whisker Away co-director Tomotaka Shibayama about TWIN ENGINE’s current projects, including the second season of VINLAND SAGA, as well as developments like Colorido’s partnership with Netflix.


Naokado Fujiyama (left), Tomotaka Shibayama (center), Koji Yamamoto (right)

Studio Colorido entered a multi-year partnership with Netflix and Drifting Home is coming out later this year. Could you talk about the partnership and what we could see in the upcoming future? 

Yamamoto: On Netflix, we see a lot of content, like anime adaptations based on manga. We do a lot of that here at TWIN ENGINE. For Studio Colorido, we have a lot of different writers and artists that have joined our team and wanted to make original series.

But the caveat for originals is that there’s a lot of risks involved and so we require a long-term plan to succeed. By partnering with Netflix and having a long-term plan, I thought this was a very good way to sort of get ourselves out there. 

 

Image Source: Netflix

Original anime projects can be challenging and require a lot of creative involvement. How do you come up with different ideas for each anime film? 

Yamamoto: The common theme we have with these anime is focused on fantasy worlds that come from ordinary daily worlds. With A Whisker Away and Drifting Home, you’re jumping into this fantasy world that’s coming from the real world. That’s the central main theme we’re going for with these series. 

 

Many overseas fans are not aware of TWIN ENGINE. Could you share a little bit about the production company and your day to day obligations?

Yamamoto: Basically, TWIN ENGINE is a planning and holding company. We invest money, sell content, and make advertisements. We have different studios under TWIN ENGINE and Studio Colorido is one of the main studios to produce and make anime and content. 

Tomotaka Shibayama: The unique part of Studio Colorido is that production companies typically don’t have a lot of interactions with the advertising and publishing companies. We’re actually in very close contact with TWIN ENGINE all the time. That gives us a sort of this unique strength to collaborate and make good anime and products. 

 

You have a new studio called Kafka that was recently founded and is taking over production for the series The Ancient Magus Bride. How did the project and decision become a reality? Could you talk a little bit about the studio?

Yamamoto: With Studio Kafka, we were focused on getting The Ancient Magus Bride. Some people from WIT STUDIO became independent and joined the project management and production of the Studio Kafka. The people involved became independent and were already working on The Ancient Magus Bride. From the very beginning, the studio was formed and we were set out to work on this project.

 

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Now that Kafka has worked on The Ancient Magus Bride, what direction will the studio take in terms of upcoming projects, artistic ways, and other aspects? 

Naokado Fujiyama: We worked on three OAD episodes for The Ancient Magus Bride and have one unannounced project we’re working on right now. In terms of the direction, we focused on making every cut and scene very refined and published.

We want not just flashy action and scenes, but we want the audience to see each and every cut and appreciate all the details and everything that went into making the screen and the structure of it. We believe that is an excellent way to make the entire series bloom into something extraordinary. That’s the direction we’re taking with the studio.

 

VINLAND SAGA Season 2 has been announced with many of its key staff returning at a different studio. It’s very rare to see that and the first season was a huge success overseas at the Anime Trending Awards. Could you talk about how VINLAND SAGA Season 2 came to fruition and what we could expect from the upcoming sequel?

Fujiyama: We chose to switch studios from WIT Studio to MAPPA this time. I think that’s where a lot of people were surprised. 

But by switching the studio to MAPPA, new and wonderful staff members have joined the team, and they are working together with the staff from season 1 to create season 2. We are working hard to produce season 2 that will be enjoyable for everyone, so please look forward to it. 

 

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Thank you for the insight. Overseas, there is a tendency to be fixated on what studio is credited as the animation production for an anime series. When it was also announced VINLAND SAGA’s core creative team was returning at a different studio, it was a pleasant surprise. 

Fujiyama: When we released the trailer for season 2, we released it in a way to show continuity from season 1, and I hope that is something fans would appreciate and a positive aspect. We’re very excited to bring Vinland Saga Season 2.

 

What did the production structure look like for VINLAND SAGA Season 2?

Fujiyama: TWIN ENGINE basically provided capital, but we also have the editor in chief of the original story and producer from Kodansha and anime producers from MAPPA who transferred from WIT Studio. The new member structure is formed to deliver the best season 2 to the fans. 

 

Any final comments to final as we look forward to what’s to come from TWIN ENGINE?

Fujiyama: As we said, season 2 of VINLAND SAGA is coming in January 2023. We’re hoping we can make something every greater than season 1. We’re very excited about that. For The Ancient Magus Bride, the OAD episodes are now available for our international fans. Please check it out. 

Yamamoto: In case anyone is confused, TWIN ENGINE is a holding and planning company and we have various studios, including Studio Colorido and Studio Kafka. Please look forward to the great work coming from those studios.

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