INTERVIEW: Sasaki and Peeps Producer Kosuke Arai on the Fantasy Anime’s Appeal

©2024 Buncololi,Kantoku/KADOKAWA/Sasaki and Peeps

Sasaki and Peeps features a wild arrangement of genres and themes within anime with swords versus sorcery, psychic battles, and even magical girls. Anime Trending had the exclusive opportunity to interview Sasaki and Peeps Producer Kosuke Arai at Anime NYC 2023. Aside from covering the basics of how Sasaki and Peeps came to be, he provided some interesting trivia about how he envisioned the series with multiple intersecting worlds and why he was keen to recast Aoi Yuki as Peeps in the anime.

Could you talk about how this anime project started?  

Kosuke Arai: Three years ago, I read the unpublished, original novel in its written form from the editor. The editor brought me this draft and said, “This is going to be a spectacular anime! Please move this content forward into an animation.” Within a month, I developed the proposal and was ready to get it going.

Could you talk about the process behind gathering the creative staff and the team for Sasaki and Peeps? How was Silver Link involved with the animation production?

There was a lot of work I had done already with Silver Link’s previous content, for example, BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense. When I first read the work, I said, “You know, I think Silver Link would be perfect for this!” So I brought on the director, Minatomirai, and really started talking about the content very early on. Since then, there’s been a number of different offers because the content is so spectacular! I’m really glad I got a head start on this because otherwise, I might not be here right now talking about the series.

What was your impression of the Sasaki and Peeps light novel series?

One of the things that I was really intrigued by is the previous work by the author, Buncololi, called Tanaka: Nenrei Equal Kanojo Inaireki no Mahoutsukai. Now, he’s working on Sasaki and Peeps, which also features a last name in the title! It’s really interesting how that seems to be a theme.

Central to the plot is this interaction and banter between Sasaki and  Peeps, and it’s actually quite challenging to create a story with just two main characters. However, this story is done beautifully. Even with a long monologue by one of them, the animation really does a spectacular job at bringing the banter to life and moving the story along.

©2024 Buncololi,Kantoku/KADOKAWA/Sasaki and Peeps

This is a followup question: what do you find most appealing about the light novel in the series?

The appealing point is that we’ve got everything: we’ve got the parallel world, the real world, magical girls, and everything you can think of! We’ve really brought them into this content, and it works. It really creates a milieu of different elements that have been popular into one content, and it all works beautifully.

As you mentioned, the series has a lot of different elements coming together. In this case, there’s the sorcery, the swords, and the magical girls. Oftentimes, the series are focused on one aspect. So in this case, could you talk about how each component is portrayed in the anime?

In an animation series, every episode has a focus. Every episode has a thesis episode that features an element. Although we have everything in the series, there’s a way to tell an individual story for every element per episode, and that’s something all of the stakeholders — the director, the producer, and everyone — are involved and very aware to not make it just become everything at once.

The show has a very impressive lineup with Tomokazu Sugita, Aoi Yuki, Rie Takahashi, and Akari Kito. Could you talk a little bit about the audition process and how cast members were selected?

Sugita-san and Yuki-san were originally cast from the promotion video that was associated with the light novel, and so they’re continuing their roles. And because they’re both such spectacular actors, it was an easy decision to ask them to continue. The rest of the amazing cast — including those that you listed here, as well as Miyu Tomita who was just recently announced — were chosen by audition.

Yuki-san used to have a Java sparrow herself, so she is spectacular at bringing to life the sound of a bird chirping. That’s something that I really want the audience to notice and appreciate.

©2024 Buncololi,Kantoku/KADOKAWA/Sasaki and Peeps

For fans not familiar with Sasaki and Peeps, how would you describe the show and the premise?

There’s a lot of parallel world and different world content right now. What hasn’t been done before is the ability to cross over between worlds. The characters go back and forth between different worlds, and there’s a lot of interaction with all these different elements. That mixture of the real and the Isekai is something that makes the content unique and special.

The series is something that I’ve watched over and over, and I’m influenced by it. I feel like when you look at the real world, there are things that unintentionally become perceived as negative, even though that wasn’t the intent at all. And so, that’s something that I feel like could have happened and would happen, and fans can see how that might turn into something that happens through the series.

Wonderful, thank you. Could you please share some final comments to fans as they look forward to the premiere of the anime?

Kadokawa has had a lot of success producing huge content, like Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-, OSHI NO KO】, or OVERLORD. I believe Sasaki and Peeps is a series that can live up to the hype and become as big and as popular as some of these works. Please continue to watch us, please cheer us on, and please follow us!

Thank you very much!

Sasaki and Peeps aired on January 5, 2024 during the Winter 2024 season.  

A fan of shows with lots of talking. Non-anime hobbies include trains and trading card games.
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