During the first ever Madman Anime Festival, we were lucky enough to get the chance to sit down with Shingo Natsume the director of the mega hit anime series One Punch Man. We discuss his work on the series and thoughts on Yusuke Murata’s original artwork in his adaptation manga as well as talking about the ins and outs of directing an anime series. Read on for our full interview with Shingo Natsume.
SnapThirty: Given One Punch Man’s status as a fan favourite, what sort of pressures were involved in its adaptation?
Natsume: As you can imagine with the quality of Murata’s art style it was hard to imagine how it would be in animation, however Kubota-san the character designer for the series did a really good job and was able to achieve the same quality of design. Also the animators were really great people. We were lucky to have such skilled and passionate people that were able to reflect the animation really well.
SnapThirty: How much discussion went into creating the signature style of explosive and frenetic action of One Punch Man?
Natsume: We actually didn’t have a whole lot discussion because we pretty much let the animators play. Luckily for me I had been working with many of these people prior. So I thought this scene would be good for this or that person with their art style and we all had this feel and the flow of things that worked really well. It was also pretty good because the people I was working with were in a similar sort of age group as myself and we were all on the same sort of page so not a lot of discussion needed to happen. It is all a bit of mutual feeling and thinking because as a fun fact the entire team is really all about the same age and generation with the same thing in mind.
SnapThirty: From a production standpoint, how was it to see it progress through all of these different stages? For the fans the animation itself became one of the major talking points because no one expected a weekly television series to look as good as it does.
Natsume: That’s actually a really hard question to answer. As a director I see all these different elements in a rush and you don’t really get time to slow down and really look at it at each step. However we get to watch it at the end all put together and I think this is a great thing seeing how the scene looks in the end. As a director this is pretty much all you see, the same as the audience really.
SnapThirty: Would you say that your past in Key Animation gives you an edge when it comes to directing?
Natsume: I did think that a lot actually because I can imagine the environments and what discussion points need to be discussed so I guess it has been really helpful. I personally really like doing animation so its easy for me to imagine what kind of scenes and what means are needed to make it happen so in that regard I had a lot of fun.
SnapThirty: Personally is there a particular series that you have worked on that stands out in your career? Whether for the series itself or for the experience surrounding it?
Natsume: Unfortunately the is no series in particular that I’m fond of more than any other. As for experiences I have been very lucky to work with directors such as the ones who have worked on Doraemon and Crayon Shin-Chan. Over time these directors have become mentors to me which I am really lucky to have had. Unfortunately now that I am a director also I probably will never be able to work with them again. However now I hope that I can be like a mentor for someone else such as a junior in the business.
SnapThirty: Thank you for you time.
Special thanks to Madman Entertainment and Double Jump for arranging the interview and a big thanks to Natsume for taking the time to speak with us.