meimi (nyonyo) wrote in penguindrum,

Magnet transcript

Did a quick transcript of the program from the previous post. I was only interested in the Ikuhara interview section so I just started at the point he first appears without the whole recap section.

There are two parts where I can't make out what he says at all, if anyone else was able to catch it please correct me.

[beginning at 5:42 with Ikuhara in the studio]

IKUHARA: We still have more left to do today. We'll be recording an audio drama after this. I'll just be happy if I can get it done before the last train leaves tonight. (giggles)

NARRATION: We were able to speak with Director Ikuhara as he was working on production of the final episode.

IKUHARA: Thanks for having me.

NARRATION: And so we enter the animated world of the genius director, Ikuhara Kunihiko…

NARRATION: What were you trying to portray in this work?

IKUHARA: Lately…well, I'm not sure where it started, but there are a lot of projects looking back on Japan's [???]. Lately Japan's not doing well, so there's a nuance of wanting to recapture that past era where "everything was shining brightly, back then…"

That nuance of these past few years has been what's piqued my interest, more than anything else. I wanted to collaborate with younger people on a work concerning that.

NARRATION: A continuing recession. An uneasy society where you can't see a future. The great earthquake that hit northern Japan this year.

Director Ikuhara decided to portray the precious quality of normal passing days.

IKUHARA: A love for the familiar day-after-day... That was something I paid attention to. Of course there are things you just expect to always be around, aren't they?

People know, logically, that they won't last forever. But of course, after really having it sink in that: "This won't last forever. This may actually all disappear. That could really happen."

I wanted to ask what kind of reaction that would provoke within myself.

NARRATION: The everyday scenes that you expect as the norm are portrayed in detail.

TAKAKURAS: "Let's eat!"

NARRATION: The image of meals.

HIMARI: "This tamagoyaki is so delicious, Sho-chan!"

NARRATION: The harmony of a family. Days passing by with a settled-in feel to them.

IKUHARA: The value of happiness… The value of things important to people… Those things change with the times, I think.

To use an easy example: "It's not all about money, it's about love." There was a time when that idea was very appealing. But now, especially this year, Japan is going through difficult times. So as a result of the age we're in, the feeling of "happiness" inside everyone's hearts is changing along with the times.

HIMARI: "Kan-chan, Sho-chan, we're so happy, aren't we?"

NARRATION: Director Ikuhara asks what "happiness" is in this day and age.

KANBA: "That's what you'd call happiness."

NARRATION: A typical quirk of Director Ikuhara's work are the comical characters. But a big charm to his work are the strange expressions characters use. "Mawaru Penguindrum" has many lines where their meaning isn't clear immediately.

The Princess' line here…

PURIKURI: "I am not your sister. I have come from the destination of your fate."

NARRATION: The catchphrase of the high school girl who chases after the protagonist…

MASAKO: "I have to crush you quickly!"

NARRATION: And this catchphrase…

PURIKURI: "Let's initiate the survival strategy."

NARRATION: The penguin logos and the mysterious numbers shown in the background. Passerby are portrayed as pictograms. The imagery is more than just stylish, but pointing to a deeper meaning. The surreal suddenly erupting from everyday scenes. The flashback sequences also happen abruptly. Time and space intertwine a complex way that's thought-provoking.

On the internet, many people try to guess the meaning behind Director Ikuhara's surreal imagery.

NET POSTING: "The 'Penguindrum' title is a word play on 'pictogram.'" (ピングドラム/ピクトグラム)

NET POSTING: "'Let's initiate the survival strategy' probably has a simple meaning like 'survive by using tools and knowledge.'"

NARRATION: Director Ikuhara's surreal imagery can be seen in his past works as well. In his masterpiece, Shoujo Kakumei Utena, the characters are immersed in the Ikuhara world. The protagonist is a beautiful girl who dresses as a boy. In the school, there's a "Rose Bride" and many mysterious characters. The school where the story is set is full of strange things. Moving blackboards, massive amounts of roses that fall from the sky, a sword that mysteriously appears from a girl student's chest.

NARRATION: Why do Director Ikuhara's tastes run towards the obtuse?

IKUHARA: It's strange, isn't it? [???] Occasionally someone talks about it to me or asks me about it, but I'm really not thinking that much about it. After the fact I'll be able to say, "It was that kind of show, wasn't it?" But while I'm making it, it's generally a case of "it just happened to turn out that way."

People who make visuals... I don't mean just with animation, but photography or live action filming as well...they focus on the things they enjoy seeing, the things that delight them. They turn the camera towards their subject with that thought in mind.

So the end result of my working with the aim of making things with that pure sort of feeling is: "Oh, it just turned out like that."

NARRATION: Director Ikuhara, who says he's purely focusing on a part of the world… In "Mawaru Penguindrum," the frequent scenes set on the subway become something mysterious when put in the hands of this director.

Director Ikuhara feels a sense of possibility in the freedom of expression found in the world of animation.

IKUHARA: do I put this… "Everyone sort of understands it implicitly, but we don't talk about it."... That sort of subject matter, the things you generally don't fixate on… There are things you can only talk about because they're in animated form. I get that feeling. There are so many things people see but pretend not to see. do I say this... In dramas or whatever, there's certain territory you absolutely never touch upon. But in animation, in a media where expression is the priority, you're able to focus on those things you wouldn't expect in other media. It's much easier to focus on them in animation than in normal media formats, I think.

KANBA: What are you saying? You'll get better! I'll make you better!

NARRATION: At last we approach the final episode of "Mawaru Penguindrum." What theme does Director Ikuhara want to communicate at the end of the story?

IKUHARA: The theme is...well, there is a theme. But I feel like, "Please watch it to find out!"

There are two themes though. My own personal theme, and the theme of the work itself.

But, that's a secret.

Tags: interviews and staff commentary
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