Pretty Rhythm All Star Selection Anime Official Guide Book: Hishida Masakazu, Iuchi Shuji, Tsubota Fumi interview

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Previous translations (These past weeks I reread my older translations a bit. IIRC the only thing I corrected is in Itou Kanae’s interview, I didn’t get at first that she says she was told Akaii Meganee is an AI. Not sure if it was about Pretty Rhythm’s Akaii Meganee or PriPara’s Akaii Meganee though, as the one in Pretty Rhythm doesn’t feel like an AI. While it’s true she never gets out of Prism World, she makes her own decisions like purposely avoiding telling Shou and Yun Su things about Symphonia designs in DMF, or getting angry at Momo for forgetting things in RL)

My one month late Eid present for everyone. I finished translating this some weeks ago, but I’m really busy these days so I didn’t have the time to finish proofreading and editing till now.

(It took me 10h40minutes to translate this interview. Plus 7h30 of editing,proofreading, googling information and watching episodes again to better remember what they’re talking about and take screenshots. It’s 8 pages and around 13 700 characters. I did a quick comparison with an example: Madan no Ou volume 13 got an average of 297 characters per page and is around 480 pages without counting the illustrations and titles. This means it has around 142 560 characters. Meaning it’d take me 104 hours to translate it all. Let’s say 70 hours because it won’t be as complicated as translating a dialogue between 3 people. I don’t feel like getting money by picking a new LN that’s popular and ask donations to translate it, but even if I wanted to, it’d still take me too much time. I still have a long way to go. I’m not saying all this to complain btw, the main reason I do these translations is for myself.)You should read Madan no Ou it’s very good.

This time Iuchi san is here too compared to the interview in the Rainbow Live Guidebook. So it’s a dialogue with 4 people if you count the interviewer. I had to reformulate a lot so it makes sense in English, as the Japanese way of speaking is different. And I needed to be careful to keep the original nuances, and to not make confusing sentences.

I wouldn’t have this problem if I just summarized things instead of translating the dialogue itself, but I think it’s much more fun reading a dialogue. And it has it’s advantages too, when they have fun chatting, I can just show it directly, instead of writing things like “then, when they talked about Rinne at this point, they laughed because xx said that, and xx answered that, and xx also said that”

I tried putting colors, thinking it may be easier to read that way. If it isn’t, I’m genuinely sorry. Copypaste it on word and remove formatting. I won’t spend time removing the colors now that I’ve added them. (I edited in colors in some of the old interviews posts too)
I put red for Tsubota Fumi because she’s the one who wrote most of Bell, and purple for Iuchi Shuji because he’s the one who wrote most of Ito and Kouji.

The big titles are the titles of each part of the interview. Those are in every interviews, but I usually don’t include them because they just paraphrase what they say. Here, I included them to indicate they will change subjects. Unlike other interviews, they change topics without the interviewer prompting them.

Staff presentation: (I’ve never been good with staff titles and such so sorry if I got something wrong. I checked multiple times so it should be alright though.)

Hishida Masakazu is Pretty Rhythm’s director.

Iuchi Shuji worked as scriptwriter on all three seasons, and on series composition in DMF and RL. Meaning he wrote the core of the story/scripts with the director, Akao Deko and Tsubota Fumi. Akao Deko was the main series compositor above Iuchi Shuji on Aurora Dream and Dear My Future. But for Rainbow Live, she only wrote the songs’ lyrics, and Tsubota Fumi did series composition with him instead.

Tsubota Fumi worked as scriptwriter on Aurora Dream and Dear My Future and as series composition on Rainbow Live. Tsubota Fumi used to be in a theater troupe, writing theater pieces before starting to work as an anime script writer. It’s thanks to her they got the idea to make Grateful Symphonia into a theater piece, and she wrote all the scripts of Dear My Future from episode 47 to 51. She still works on theater pieces, drama and live action shows from time to time.

I also included the small storyboard excerpts present in the interview, the photos of the trio, and the same episode screenshots as the ones in the interview,+ a few more. I tried to put them in the same locations as in the book too.

My own comments are under parenthesis.

Part 1: Rainbow Live ended

Interviewer: I’m sorry to start this interview by talking about one of the final episodes of RL, but Rinne’s farewell in episode 50 was impressive. It was also amazing how the way Rinne says that sentence from her song, synchronizing with the scene.

Hishida: Iuchi san is the one who suggested from the start that we should end the show with the characters separating from Rinne, and then I kept told him « then let’s use a sentence from Gift ».

Tsubota: It’s impressive how the song really fits the theme of the story.

Hishida:When Mieno Hitomi san made the lyrics and I listened to the song I thought we’d definitely use it in that final scene.

(Mieno Hitomi=Akao Deko)

Interviewer: Iuchi san, how did you feel when writing the script of that episode?

Iuchi: Well finales are the kind of episodes where you just bring out into motion what the director had in his head, it’s not like I added in any ideas of mine. This work is the director’s. However, I wish we discussed a bit more before about what to do with Rinne.

Interviewer: You mean you were still discussing about it while working on the episode ?

Iuchi:That’s right. Both me and Director agreed on the separation, but we wanted to end it in a different way, and it was complicated to do a compromise using both of our ideas. So I ended up doing just as the director said, I think it was for the best.

Hishida: What was your idea about?

Iuchi:Well, if we start talking about it, instead of being a discussion on episode 50, it’ll instead turn into a discussion on Rinne as a whole. Ultimately,  just what kind of girl Rinne was…

Hishida: Well It’s true that ever since working on episode 1, a fragment of what Rinne was supposed to be was still unclear in our minds.

Iuchi: She had too many elements, so I thought we should at least try to remove one, even if it’s just one, to simplify it.

Hishida: At one point you even went as far as to say “Rinne isn’t needed”.

Iuchi: Maybe she can do Prism Shows ? Maybe she comes from the future ? There was no way we could explain all this in the 18 minutes of episode 1, so that’s why I said back then “Rinne isn’t needed”.

Hishida:Rinne is a character who first appeared in the game, and we didn’t get a lot of setting info about her from the game staff, so we were troubled about what to do with her.

Part2: The last episode’s first draft was completely different from the episode itself

Tsubota: Iuchi san, one day when we were drinking together, you told us a lot about your idea for the ending.

Hishida: Yeah that’s right. It was something about Naru actually being a Prism Messenger.

Iuchi: I said that ?

Tsubota:You were super excited about it.There would be a scene in the morning, where Poemu(Naru mom) would call her daughter to wake her up, saying “Naru~”, she would open the door to her room, and a girl looking like Rinne would get out of it saying “ohayo”. And Bell would have turned into a shy reserved girl and…

Iuchi: That wasn’t me! Didn’t you make this up yourself?

Tsubota:Noooo it was Iuchi san. Unless I had an auditory hallucination lol. The idea I brought up is that Rinne would come back as a transfer student at the end.

Iuchi: That was me. I’m the one who said it should end with Rinne coming back as a transfer student.

Tsubota: What? Then, it means I was the one who suggested this idea? Like, a long time later, as if a cycle of reincarnation happened,  Naru became a Prism Messenger, and all the characters got reincarnated with their personalities reversed?  And that the story repeats itself again from the start?

Hishida: No, the one who said the Naru was actually a Prism World Messenger thing was Iuchi san.

Iuchi: I’m telling you that’s wrong…….. Aaah… well, I might have said it.

*Everyone laughs*

Hishida: See, it was Iuchi san. You told us that after thinking seriously about it, you thought it wasn’t a good idea and gave up on it.

Tsubota:Yes, you said it’s not a good thing because it would mean everything that happened in the show was for naught.

Hishida: Thinking about it that way, we did a good job for wrapping up the show nicely. We decided on the 18minutes and 30 seconds of episode 50 after thinking through a lot of things. Also, there’s something I’ve been asked about a lot. When Naru falls and can’t dance anymore, it seems that she manages to get back up because everyone appears in her mind and because of everyone encouraging her. But that’s not it. It’s because her heart can feel something like the god of prism shows’ power or something like that, that’s why she could stand back up.

Interviewer: That’s why she says « it’s always near you »

Hishida: Yes. It’s just that if we explained it in detail, it would become something similar to religious talk.

Tsubota:This is the theme through aaaall the seasons. “The prism sparkle is always at your side”. Juné says something like it too. “It’s something you can’t see you so you must believe in it, that power is won by strong ones”

(Omi/Aira mom used to say “The prism sparkle is always at your side” to Sonata too.)

Hishida: To avoid the religious connotations, we tried to explain it differently, and it turned out like this.

Interviewer: I was also surprised about Juné’s story.

Hishida: Iuchi san is the one who first thought up that Juné should be from another world, from the Prism World just like Rinne. But then we thought “it’s too far fetched so let’s not do it”, but in the end we decided to do it. We were saved by this setting. Because with this, Juné ends up being the knot tying up the stories of the 7 other girls together.

Tsubota: She’s Kaguya hime right.

Interviewer: She even looses her memories too!

Hishida: That’s right. We debated a lot about whether she’d loose her memories or not in the end. For Iuchi san it was probably something like that character called Shouryushi from Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru, a show he directed in the past. After Shouryushi turns back into himself after being the Tiger King, he lost his memories from his time as the Tiger King, and Shouryushi has both pros and cons coming from this situation.

Iuchi: There was few pros and many cons.

Hishida: That’s why we talked a lot about whether we should make it so Rinne chan would loose all their memories when going back.

Iuchi: You mean Juné instead of Rinne. Juné is a woman who went this far, so a form of punishment would be needed against her.

Hishida: Iuchi san is a Juné denier after all. You said stuff like “I’d never forgive that kind of evil woman”.

Tsubota: And stuff like “She’s the woman who went crazy because of love and almost destroyed the world !”. It was difficult for her to become human. This may have been the biggest punishment.

Iuchi: It was a punishment but at the same time for Juné it was happiness.

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Part 3: The backstory of Naru and Bell’s relationship

Iuchi: Why did Naru chan turn out that way ?

Hishida: You say that, but she’s probably the character I poured the most affection in.

Tsubota: More than Aurora Dream’s Aira ?

Hishida: Actually I put more affection in Rizumu than Aira. I’d say Aira decides by herself to become everyone’s champion,.. but Naru, she’s awful.

Tsubota: Awful ?!

Hishida:I mean, she sucks at Prism Shows, she doesn’t take the initiative to train, she has no desire to win. Basically, she only has enough motivation to at least make the shop’s customers happy. She’s like that until the end. It was kind of a theme I set inside myself: how to make a girl like Naru grow. But in the end I understood that the only way to make her grow up is to make her cry.

Interviewer: But Naru did say things like  « I want to become someone like Bell san who can entertain everyone » ? I think she does have motivation to change.

Hishida: That was just sugar coated lines lol.

Tsubota: I think Aira, and then Mia in Dear My Future had a lot of lines like that as well. I think that by the end of all 3 seasons, we were struggling to put in as less forced sounding sugar coated lines as possible.

Hishida: Because I made Naru into a girl that isn’t the kind to use sugar coated lines, a lot of people said she’s too plain compared to other heroines in little girls anime. But I think she’s more realistic that way.

Tsubota: Yes. Naru is fine that way.

Hishida: When doing Aira, I think we made her say too much suger coated lines and it felt bad at some points.

Tsubota: Was it really that bad?

Hishida: Yeah, like when she says ” I’ve accepted everyone’s feelings ! ” (AD episode 50 before starting her Prism Show)

*Everyone laughing*

Interviewer: She also said something about jumping for Asechi Kyouko’s sake.

Hishida: Yes. But at a time like that, real athletes would succumb to anxiety. When they sleep, they’d tell themselves that maybe their rivals are training right now, so they would suddenly get up in the middle of the night and do sit-ups. That’s what Takei So, who used to do Decathlons, said. That’s why we gave Bell a realistic feeling similar to that. She always tries to surpass herself. I think this is how a real champion is like.
(Takei So is a former Japanese athlete who is now a talento)

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Interviewer: That’s why she could do such an amazing final jump in episode 48.

Hishida: Yes. Tsubata san wrote a really unbelievable scenario !! lol. I told her “you mean you want us to make all of that long jump into CG!? It’s impossible”. But by reusing older assets, and making new ones that were needed, we somehow managed to do it.

Interviewer: The jump’s scenario is really amazing.

Hishida: It was like Grateful Symphonia: Bell version. Tsubota said “I want to make it all into CG!” or something.

Tsubota: Yes, I showed it to them and said “please make it into CG up to this point ” lol.

Hishida: It was the kind of scenario sheet the storyboarder and the episode’s director fights with.

Tsubota: But that’s because, Bell wouldn’t have been able to beat Juné unless she put her life on the line. It’s the only way to beat Juné, who doesn’t have a life herself.

Hishida: There’s drama born with how Bell’s objective Juné, is represented with the mountain.

Iuchi: Also, at first didn’t you put in something about Bell turning into a old woman or something?

Tsubota: Yes. I wanted to turn her into an old lady. In the first draft of the scenario I wrote, instead of a mountain, I wrote she’d climb some kind of judgment tower on horseback. It would have a spiral staircase, and the stairs and parts behind her would collapse as she climbs. Then, at the moment she’d reach the top of the tower and think about raising her flag, she’d suddenly turn around to the camera and you’d notice her hair has turned white and she turned into an old woman, and she’d fall to the ground. But, that Bell who turned into an old woman, would smile very happily, showing she’s satisfied. She wouldn’t cry, and put up the flag with a bang! And scream “The oath of an eternal Valkyrie! “ and a rose field would bloom and spread.

Hishida: But it was the end of the show, we were in a very difficult position, there was no way we could have made so much new CG at the time.

Tsubota: But we managed to do it in the end!

Hishida:This episode has the longest CG cut in the history of Pretty Rhythm.

Tsubota: Yeah almost all of part B is CG.

Hishida: Whose fault do you think it is !

Tsubota:You’re the one who told me at first “let’s think up new jumps! New jumps!”

Hishida: Yeah. These two jumps you thought off are nice.

Interviewer: There’s also how the lyrics matches with the monologue. Like the “saikou saikyou” thing.

Hishida: That was very hard. At the start we had to make the song go for like 10minutes.

Tsubota: Yes yes. I remember getting a call from Hishida san in the middle of the night, telling me ”What did you do!”, and I said “eh? What are you talking about?” and he told me “Even with looping the song 2 times it won’t be enough to cover the whole scene. I don’t care anymore!!” and he hung up.

*Everyone laughing*

Interviewer: You called her just to complain ? lol.

Hishida: That’s right. But the way everything matches would be such a great development, we tried our best to do it.

Tsubota: Then when we finally finished you cried. You were happy right.

Hishida: No matter how many times I rewatch it I end up crying.

Part 4: The meaning of “friends”

Iuchi: If Naru was one of those who stands on the path to become king and confronts it, what would have happened is that even if at the beginning she used to hate training, in the end she would have managed to beat both Bell and Juné.

Hishida: Advancing towards a goal without hesitation, being able to solve everything, the kind of person who can do this are the ones who are the main character in shows. But I definitely didn’t want a main character like that, so that’s why Naru turned the way she is. I also didn’t want to do feign ignorance and put in lines like “everyone’s friends with each other!”. That’s a lie, nothing but lies! The little girls who grow up watching anime where they say that will definitely have a hard time and suffer in the future, so this is not good.

Iuchi: Whaaaat are you talking about. Having to keep repeating stuff like that at all costs is what anime is all about.

Hishida: You think so !?

Iuchi: Friends are important.

Hishida: Yes, friends are important but…

Tsubota: Iuchi san, you don’t have any friends right lol.

Hishida: That’s true for all three of us lol.

Iuchi: I can say that friends are important precisely because I have none.

Tsubota: Ah, I understand what you mean.

Hishida: But, we need to transmit to kids the knowledge they’ll need to live when they’re adults.

Iuchi: But that’s different from telling them that friends aren’t necessary, right?

Hishida: No I mean, the unnecessary ones are the ones who only pretend to be your friends.

Tsubota: I think Naru shows this well. In episode 25, she says “I like Bell san”, but doesn’t lie and adds “but of course, I definitely don’t like you as much as how much Wakana san and Otoha san like you”. She says something surprisingly smart lol, she feels realistic.

Hishida: Right ?

Tsubota: Yeah. If you think about it normally, Bell would say  « but then that means we aren’t friends » and would start crying again, that’s what I thought would happen.

Hishida: Normal friends will only stick with you after calculating the profit and loss of doing so, and see it’ll be beneficial for them.

Tsubota: You’re exxagerating…

Hishida: No I mean, that’s even what I wrote on the cover of the first episode’s storyboard. “As time passes, the true friends you made during your youth will become your lifetime’s treasure”. I still meet from time to time with friends I made back in middle school.

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Tsubota: That’s certainly a treasure yes.

Hishida:I wanted to do a story about seven persons gathering and creating a miracle.

Tsubota: And there’s seven girls to show the theme that « no matter the girl’s upbringing or lifestyle, if you become honest, you can become happy » It’s not like everyone can be like An after all.

Hishida: In a normal anime, An would be the main character. She’s a honor student, she’s always honest, she only thinks of going forward. In comparison, the way Wakana continues to jeer at people, is more Pretty Rhythm-like.

Tsubota: I wonder why Wakana did that so much ?

Hishida: You’re the one who wrote it!

*Everyone laughing*

Hishida : In a normal anime, there would have been the kind of development where An would take Wakana and Bell’s hands and tell them ”Let’s make up, and try our best! »

Tsubota: We were careful so this kind of development doesn’t happen.

Hishida: Because Iuchi san doesn’t like those kind of stories, probably.

Tsubota: Yeah you can see that in Dear My Future too, in episode 46 focusing on Mia and Hye In’s rivalry. Iuchi san wrote that episode’s script. He wrote a surprising story. Hye In says “It’s difficult to be friends and rivals at the same time”. Then Mia answers “Then should we stop being rivals? Or … should we stop being friends?”

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Iuchi: Yeah, in a sense, I’ve been writing things with that kind of theme for a long time.

Hishida: If all if this didn’t happen, Grateful Symphonia wouldn’t have happened either.

Tsubota: Yes yes.

Hishida: This really saved us. Talking about episode 46 makes me remember how complicated Dear My Future was.

Interviewer: What do you mean ?

Hishida: We couldn’t find a good idea for the ending, on what the 9 main characters should do together. Switching the focus on how Mia and Hye In are childhood friends, friends and rivals, is what made us start thinking about doing Grateful Symphonia. Before then, we only thought about about the 9 of them doing their best together, and doing their best together as Japan and South Korea. Things weren’t advancing.

Interviewer: You couldn’t think up of a real closure.

Hishida: Yes. This is also thanks to Tsubota san and how she raised Hye In into a character that’s the antipodes of Mia. If it wasn’t the case, It’s possible the story would have ended with just everyone joining hands and going “waaaai” instead of all that rival thing.

Interviewer: There was also a line saying « If it’s only providing effort, then anyone can do it » (And then right after she says that Mia headbutts her)

(Episode 21 around 5minutes in)

Hishida: That was an antithesis aimed at Mia. Because Mia was a girl who goes straight to the goal without hesitation. And we don’t like these kind of characters. You need to hit those guys with a hammer, break them, so then they can grow again.

Tsubota: This took a lot of time to do with Mia, because Mia was strong. She’s bright and always march forward telling herself things will work out. Hye In constantly worries about every little thing, telling herself she can’t do it. Like, if the two of them would walk to the same point, Mia would push Hye In aside and get there first lol.

Hishida: If episodes 45-47 didn’t happen, we wouldn’t have been able to push through. We had a rough idea of what we wanted to do for the ending, but it was hollow, it didn’t have the most important part: a theme. That was dangerous. If we kept going like that, the show would have just ended with nothing as a final story after a whole year.

Tsubota: Just like the viewers, the three of us don’t know whether Mia or Hye In won in the end, but I think Hye In won.

Hishida: Yes.

Tsubota: Inside myself I think « Itou Kanae san was Number One » lol. (She says Number One in english)

Hishida: Itou Kanae san who voices Hye In used to voice Rizumu in the 1st arcade game, she’s one of the persons who contributed the most to Pretty Rhythm. We had this in mind when asking her to voice Kaname and Hye In. We also asked her to voice younger Sonata during the flashbacks to keep her genetic connection with Rizumu.

Tsubota: When writing episode 47, I thought that I’d give her an amount of lines no one would ever get more, and made Hye In speak for tons of pages.

Hishida: The scene where she tries to persuade Mia who’s on the container right.

Tsubota:  There’s 9 people in the scene, so even if Hye In’s lines are really long, we could hide it by showing the other character’s faces while she talks. This made for a good memory.

Hishida: We couldn’t have made everything that’s from that point onwards if Tsubota san wasn’t there. (She’s the one who wrote all of Grateful Symphonia)

Part 5: Similarities between the characters and the writers

Tsubota: Ito looks a look like Iuchi san.

Hishida: I think Kouji is just like him too.

Interviewer: What do they have in common ?

Hishida: It’s hard to tell what Kouji thinks, so you could think he’s smart. But then he can also make really stupid songs lol. Back when I joined Sunrise, I started working under Iuchi san on Chou Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru. But, the problem is, Iuchi san doesn’t talk. He’d just keep eating sweets and making a scary face constantly.

(PR Director got in sunrise in 1997.  Chou Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru was the third season of Wataru. The first season was in 1988.The second season and OVAs were soon after, but for some reason the last season was almost ten years later in 1997. Iuchi san was the director for all the seasons.)

Hishida: So, one day, without getting scared, I went to see him saying  « Director, I have a question please », and I saw he was in the middle of drawing this little girl character in the show called Himiko, during a scene where she keeps saying “Outside range! Outside range〜!!” and I thought ”this person does such a scary face while he draws a character like that!” and ever since then I have this image of him. Kouji is the exact same, he wrote a song where the lyrics goes ”itadaki〜ma〜su〜 “

*All laughing*

(I haven’t seen Wataru yet, so I had to google things, the character he’s talking about is called 忍部ヒミコShinobibe Himiko. It’s a pun because she’s a shinobi. Also she’s voiced by Hayashibara Megumi)

Tsubota: I think Ito chan is more similar to Iuchi san. They try to do everything alone and won’t talk about things lol.

Hishida: Also, they both say stuff like « I like being alone ».

Tsubota: They’re both strict and cold toward people they care about, but are super nice toward people they don’t care about.

Iuchi: But in the end, no one can live alone, you understand that right ?

Tsubota : He’s asking if we understand lol. Iuchi san did you understand it? Through Pretty Rhythm?

Iuchi: Yeah I actually did during these past 3 years lol. « Ah, people can’t live all alone » I thought.

Tsubota: Iuchi san you went beyond the rainbow. There’s paradise there. Good for yooouu!

Iuchi: Starting now I’ll treasure my friends. Also you yourself have a character similar to you. … It’s Bell, right.

Tsubota:Uuuun… I think it would be Wakana.

Hishida: You’re Bell and Wakana summed up together, with only taking their evil parts.

Tsubota: Aaaah that may be true. I’m similar to Wakana in how I’ll say « I’ll get a crushing victory for sure » but actually think « I don’t want to fail, I’m scared ». I’m similar to Hye In too. (IIRC those Wakana lines are in episode 12)

Hishida: Hey, remember episode 24, with how Bell cries and screams on the pedestrian bridge? One day I saw Tsubota san do the exact same thing. She’s Real Bell.

Tsubota: I’m going to hit you !

Iuchi: You do cry a lot.

Tsubota: It’s because I got bullied a lot by these two, and they worked me to death. They told me stuff like « stop making anime ! », « go back to the world of drama ! ». One day, I was riding the Chuo train line while talking to Hishida san on the phone, and I started crying, like « ueeee ! ». After that, they would always tease me saying that I sounded just like Bell in that bridge scene in episode 24.

Hishida: At that time, you were also working on another job simultaneously.

Tsubota:I was really tired physically too…

Hishida: You were almost forced into a situation where you wouldn’t have been able to continue working on Pretty Rhythm anymore, and I was working on those Bell episodes around that time, that’s why I remember it vividly.

Tsubota:I told you on the phone « I can’t keep up anymore, I’m going to quit. Iuchi san told me it’s okay if I quit”.

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Hishida: I probably answered something like « ついてこい!/stick with us! » like Hiro in episode 25.

Tsubota: I am grateful to Hishida san lol. There’s also Tome Kato san, who’s part of SynSophia and who’s working on the games, he came over running to me like Wakana does to Bell in 25 and told me “don’t quit!!”. I caused trouble because I wanted to quit Tatsunoko.

Iuchi: But in the end some people were there to stop you right ?

Tsubota:Yeeees.

Part 6: The behind the scenes reason why new characters appeared one after another

Interviewer: Are there parts of a series you’re unsatisfied with?

Hishida: For Rainbow live, no. I think I would’ve died if I kept working on it. There was a lot of characters and a lot of material resources to do with each of them.

Iuchi: That’s because you kept increasing the characters and backstories!

*Everyone laughing*

Iuchi: For example you’d suddenly make and link together the backstories of characters who didn’t have one yet.

Hishida: Who are you talking about?

Tsubota: Isn’t it Jin?

Iuchi: It’s the same for Kou too, and Coo. When his real identity was revealed I was like ”Eeeh!? Who is this?” You didn’t tell me about it beforehand.

Hishida: Ahh that’s right. I wonder why didn’t I tell you? What where you doing at that time Iuchi san?

Tsubota&Iuchi: Had a fracture and was on leave lol.

Hishida: Ah that’s right!

Interviewer: When did you decide on Coo’s backstory ?

Hishida: When we were working on episode 27 to 31, around that time. When we started working on the 3rd cour, Tsubota san suggested we need to tell about the inner workings of Edel Rose. We decided to introduce Jin in episode 29 and wrote the script for it. But then we thought it would be too long to wait until then, so we put his introduction in episode 27 instead, and also decided to include him in the 3rd opening. Come to think of it, before this interview, Iuchi san and I were speaking a bit, and he said he thinks the male characters in Rainbow Live are weird and too deep. Especially Hiro. He asked me why did he turn out like that. Episode 6’s script was written by Murakami Momoko san, but at that point there was nothing pointing out he’d have a deep backstory. Episode 8 and 10’s scripts were written by Iuchi san and…

Iuchi: He doesn’t only give a feeling that you don’t know whether he’s a good person or a bad person, it’s more than that.

Hishida: I have seen a lot of anime aimed toward girls and I barely ever saw a weird, complicated male character like that in them. In the end, Kurokawa Rei and Norizuki Jin are characters that were brought up to existence to explain why Hiro is like that.

Iuchi: I don’t think we had to make Hiro that deep. The fact that he is a boy who aims to be an idol, and will use any means necessary to attain that goal, would have been enough. Even with just that, it would have still showed how people can betray and deceive each other because of their goals. But yet for some reason we ended up even bringing up his mother. We give too much depth to the male characters! The series was supposed to be a girls anime.

Hishida: Well with a setting like this I think we had no choice but to make it deep like that.

Iuchi: « Don’t dig too deeply needlessly into the background settings ». I wrote this on a memo 25 years ago when working on Wataru.

*Everyone laughing*

Hishida: But if we made Hiro become nice and get along with everyone in an half baked way, without digging this far into his back story, people would have said “I can’t forgive Hiro for what he’s done”.

Iuchi: Isn’t that fine. The more evil someone is the merrier it is when they reform.

Hishida: That would mean reforming him in a half baked way and forgiving him, there’s something wrong there.

Iuchi: It’s not wrong. It would have been a good balance with Bell too as she was a bit ill natured too at a certain point.

Hishida: That would just mean to make Hiro into a bad person because Bell is one.

Iuchi: She was ill-natured, but would you call that kind of personality bad ?

Hishida: She used to be a good girl. To explain how she became like that, we had to explain how Edel Rose was hell. And to explain that we needed to introduce Norizuki Jin. So then we had to introduce Kurokawa Rei too.

Iuchi: Wasn’t it because of Bell san’s parents ? Isn’t it a family problem ?

Tsubota: Yes there was that as well.

Iuchi: We should have just left it at that and sticked with the family route. Things turned out like that because we made her into someone who fights an organization.(Edel Rose)

Tsubota: Still, wouldn’t it also be Jin’s fault as well ?

Hishida: Edel Rose’s background was completely blank too.

Tsubota: Also, I don’t think it’s Iuchi’s san’s fault that Hiro turned weird, but totally Hishida san’s fault.

Hishida: Nononono.

Iuchi: Things became like this because you drew Hiro with such a weird face in episode 13.

Hishida: I’m not the one who drew it.

Iuchi:You asked someone to do it, it’s the same thing.

Tsubota:Also, Hiro’s “HAAau!!! Aaa…” lol. Didn’t you write this in the scenario?

Hishida: It’s not in the scenario.

Tsubota: But in the storyboard, « HAAau !!!Aaa…”  is written lol.

prad4-guidebook-hiro-haaau-storyboard-excerpts

Hishida: 〜The seiyuu san really acted it faithfully〜

Tsubota: That’s one of the thing to blame. Also, in episode 18, that jump’s name is to blame too.

Iuchi:Zettai Aidoru☆愛•N•G

Hishida:Why ? That was good !

Tsubota: I feel it’s at that point that the boat’s helm went into a weird direction. It’s not just one person’s fault. It’s the result of adding up what everyone did little by little.

(In the Rainbow Live guidebook interview, they said they’d alternate each week who has to think up the new jumps’ names, and that it was Iuchi san was thought up the name Zettai Aidoru Ai N G. I think she means it’s director’s fault as in  he’s the one with the final say and he approved it.)

Part7: Is it good to want to write every single thing about the characters?

Tsubota: What I want to know is why Kouji turned like that.

Iuchi: Because his father died.

Tsubota: I, I see…

Hishida:A background like « his father died» is pretty serious.

Iuchi:To say it bluntly, I don’t like lukewarm things.

Hishida:I told you so. (as in he said before that Iuchi san says the same things as Ito, like “I don’t like lukewarm things”)

Iuchi: I’ve been doing this job where people assemble and do business meetings for decades now, and I always thought ”What’s going on? Since when did anime makers became soooo lukewarm?… Are people satisfied with making things like this? Why are you guys so obsessed with profit and loss?” But there’s a lot of resistance against this kind of thinking. This kind of series needs some poison in it or it won’t turn out good. I’ve been saying this since the start of the first season.

Hishida: Since the era back when we were working at Sunrise, Iuchi san would always repeat « We’re making a drama » like an incantation. I think I may have been influenced by this as well. When I started working on Rainbow Live, I thought it would be my very last chance to bring out the front part of the drama, so I asked Iuchi san to write the scripts with me. At all costs I wanted to make a story that would have an heavy impact.

Iuchi: I don’t think this necessarily means that children won’t understand the story, because maybe not even adults can understand all of the story. But I think anyone watching will definitely feel something. We had one year, we thought we shouldn’t waste it, and that we definitely had to make an enjoyable series.

Hishida: We managed to do it….. I think…

Iuchi: I wanted to put in at least one character like that: a girl who falls in love and forms a couple with someone, and that her parents and that someone’s parents actually have a connection.

Hishida: After the 3rd cour where most of the characters’ development is done, I also wanted to put in an interesting story with Hiro and Kouji about how they both don’t have fathers anymore. But in the end, they aren’t the main characters. The main characters are the 7 girls.

Interviewer: You couldn’t include it.

Hishida: But those 7 aren’t the only characters, there’s Juné, there’s Kouji, Kazuki and Hiro, there’s the story about Jin’s generation. There’s no way you could detail the story of every single character in only one year.

prad4-guidebook-iuchi-shuji-series-composition-photo

Iuchi:As! I! Said!, there’s No! Need!! To detail every single thing about all the characters. Sometimes there’s things you need to put aside, and just leave it to the imagination of the fans.

Hishida: Yeah but there’s things totally unresolved at the end of the show.

Iuchi: You’re too nice and too kind. This guy wants everyone to have their happiness.

Hishida: Ah, I may be similar to the Happy Naru manager lol.

Interviewer: One of those unresolved things at the end is Jin being unhappy.

Hishida: Jin is actually happy now. Until now, he only did things because of his father. Jin’s father was a great person in the Prism Show industry, so Jin became Prism King, and got a great position in Edel Rose. All of this just felt like a mandatory mission to Jin. But right now he finally got away from that and managed to choose for himself his own goals.

Tsubota: Jin was resisting his urges all this time, he always just wanted to put on that mask.

*Roar of laughter from everyone*

Hishida: When you’re a 25 years old man, and you father tells you “you’re fired from your position as chairman”, it’s like if your life ended. Most would get angry and say ”don’t screw with me!” and would want to hit their father. The fact that Jin, now in a sense is able to do that, can be seen as a sort of success story.

Iuchi: I remember you said Jin would jump from the tower and commit suicide.

Tsubota: Yeah you said Jin’s happiness would be he’d jump from Edel Rose’s building while screaming something like “5th jump ! 6th jump! I am the Prism Kin-” *gucha*.

Hishida: There’s no way we could have done that !

Tsubota: I wanted to do iiiit. Is that what you meant when you said the show ended with some things unresolved ?

*Everyone laughing*

Hishida: Still, I think we made all the series in a way so anyone who did something bad definitely got punished.

Tsubota: Wakana didn’t get hit by any punishment though ?

Hishida:She didn’t challenge things, and thus kept receiving her punishment.
(I think he means how she didn’t want to try doing 3 jumps, or how when she was a kid in the prism show club with wakana and kazuki,she didn’t tell her parents she didn’t want to move, and when they were about to move to Singapore she didn’t say it either again until a certain point.)

Tsubota: Ah that’s right.

Interviewer: What about Kou ? He committed adultery.

Hishida: He did〜. There was probably some circumstances though.

Tsubota:Wasn’t Maria’s death the punishment ?

Hishida:Aaah, that’s right. She fell on stage in a similar way as Juné, and died. Kou says “Maria” when seeing Juné fall because it was the exact same scene. If she fell, she would have surely got injured or worse. Hijiri ran to catch Juné because if she fell down she would have died the same way his mother did.

Tsubota: That’s surely it.

Part 8: The behind the scenes reasons for the surprising developments in Aurora Dream.

Hishida: One thing I always regretted is something in Aurora Dream episode 49. I wonder why I didn’t make it so all of Kaname’s Prism Show is a replica of Sonata’s. We had the CG model, and the motion,  but I didn’t order them to do it. At Dance 3, I should have put in Sonata’s dance… Even now I still groan about it in my sleep.

prad-13-sonata-about-to-aurora-risingprad-49-kaname-about-to-aurora-rising

(Sonata pic is from episode 13. Kaname pic is episode 49)

(I think when working on the CG, they cut the CG Prism Shows into multiple parts, based on the number of times the scenes shows something else than the CG prism show. For example, they show someone starting a CG Prism Show, so it’s Dance 1, then a shot of someone talking in the audience, then they show more of the CG Prism Show, so this is Dance2, etc..)
(I’m not sure what Sonata data he’s talking about because I don’t remember any scene where they show Sonata actually skating in CG. Whenever they show it, it’s always just the preparation just before she jumps the Aurora Rising, as seen above in episode 13. I don’t think they ever showed something else. Or maybe that’s exactly what he means: they had unused CG data of Sonata skating, and they should have shown it there and made it overlap with Kaname)

Iuchi: Why did you want to do that ?

Hishida: There’s a scene where Sonata is watching Kaname’s Prism Show and she thinks about her past and a flashback starts right? I think it would have been great if Kaname’s figure overlapped with Sonata’s, and that it would made Sonata think about the past,  triggering the flashback scene.

Interviewer: Speaking of Sonata, I was surprised that her past is brought up as early as episode 13.

Hishida:It’s first brought up in episode 6, and when episode 6 aired we were in the final stages of deciding what would be inside episode 13. Iuchi san is the one who wanted to put in heavy developments in it.

Iuchi: Well that was the setting we decided on from the start anyway. Rizumu’s mother disappeared. She’s been abandoned by her mother you know ? There’s no way you can talk about this with a light atmosphere.

Tsubota:True.

Hishida: In the original arcade game’s story, Rizumu’s mom died in a car traffic accident. When we were working on the anime’s setting, we thought that it’s too sad, so we should change it to her mother being alive. But in the end the setting we decided on may be even more cruel.

Iuchi: I’m not the one who decided that you know ?

Hishida: Right. At that time, Iuchi san said he’d leave to us all the heavy themed settings and backstories. But instead he wrote some other things.

Tsubota: Yes. For example Iuchi san is the one who wrote in the script there should be Jun as a student behind Kei in one of the flashbacks.

prad-13-jun-sonata-flashback-3prad-13-jun-sonata-flashback-2prad-13-jun-sonata-flashback-1prad-ryuutaro-and-agency-man-speaking-about-how-he-got-married-in-secret-and-had-a-child

(Episode 13. Speaking of this episode, there’s a scene where Ryutaro speaks with someone, probably his agent, berating him about how he got married in secret and even had a child. I often say how I like Prism Stars are different than idols and aren’t in that stupid system of forbidding love relationships, and I often take Ryuutaro and Sonata as example. I totally forgot about this scene, so Ryuutaro and Sonata is actually a bad example. I’m not sure anymore if there’s actual proof in the show, but I still think Sonata actually told people she got married though, and that it didn’t bother anyone. And that this scene concerns Ryuutaro alone, as he was indeed an idol, and then stopped because he wasn’t popular according to his words. He probably stopped because of getting married as well.)

Hishida: I didn’t know why he put that in, but I just left it in anyway.

Tsubota: I didn’t know why either, I just though “ah, they may be related in some way”.

Hishida:I always wondered why he decided to do this.

Iuchi: Aaaah ! That was because one day when I was alone with you, I told you while 30% 40% joking  « Asechi is actually Kei’s daughter” . and you were like «EEEH for real! ». And I thought it was fun you were this surprised〜.

*Everyone laughing*

Iuchi: If I just laughed and said I was joking things wouldn’t have turned like that.

Hishida: Well, after you told me about it, I was like ”so then this means I should do this, and add that …” etc. I tried really hard to rearrange everything to make it fit.

Iuchi: I should have told you sooner.

Hishida: Results wise, this is the plot point that defined all the story and series.
(If Kyouko wasn’t Kei’s daughter, AD’s second half and all of DMF’s plot wouldn’t exist)

Tsubota: Two years worth of story !

Iuchi:It really was just a joke… But at least it had an impact right?

prad4-guidebook-tsubota-fumi-series-composition-photo

Tsubota: Yes. Also Iuchi san likes to do this. He’d say something like that to surprise us, then when you talk to him about it again later, he goes “I don’t know what you’re talking about” lol.

Hishida: Things become really troublesome after you do stuff like that Iuchi saaaan!

Iuchi: Just retrofit the settings to make it fit.

Interviewer: The fact that Asechi used to be a Prism Star was also added later on. (They said in a previous interview they weren’t planning to do that at the very beginning)

Hishida: This is also something Iuchi san decided.

Iuchi: Because she was Kei’s daughter, so she should obviously be a Prism Star as well. So she should also have a connection with Sonata, and the two should be rivals.

Tsubota: I think it was the right thing to do.

Last part: Let’s review the series.

Interviewer: How were these 3 years?

Hishida: I was director for 3 years continuously, but Iuchi san actually already did the same thing. Iuchi san was continuously the director of Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru(15 april 1988->31 march 1989) then Madou Ou Granzort(7 April 1989->2 March 1990) and then Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru 2(9 March 1990-> 8 March 1991). After doing it myself, I think I understand a bit now the hardships he must have gone through. I probably wouldn’t have been able to make this if not for emptying the drawers containing all the things I’ve accumulated through my life. I need to go look for the drawers inside my heart and fill them again.

Interviewer: Iuchi san, is there anything in particular you thought about, or want to point out, after working with these two for 3 years? 

Iuchi: I don’t think there is. I was under their care lol.

Hishida:How would you rate me… as a director ?

Iuchi: We were both raised at Sunrise, so for a lot of things you did, I would have done the same. It’s because of the foundations Tomino Yoshiyuki put there. If you work under this person as director, your personality develops into the same one as us both.

*Everyone laughing*

(I don’t know if it’s actually true he said that, but I once read that Fukui Harutoshi said he considers himself Tomino’s best disciple. Fukui is the one who wrote Gundam Unicorn, which I didn’t find good at all, so I disagree with him. There’s people much better than him, including Pretty Rhythm’s director.)

Iuchi: Saying things like “It’s fine if you do this part yourself”. The staff will struggle. I think you definitely will reflect about this someday.

(Not 100% sure what he means at that point. Here’s the whole original paragraph in Japanese
Iuchi:育ちが、サンライズってところが一緒だから、似てる部分はある。これはおおもとの富野由悠季がね、あの人の監督姿を見ちやってると、こういう性格になっちやう。これが自分でやってるぶんにはいいんだよ。スタッフは苦労するよ。これは反省しますよ。絶対いつかすると思う。)

Tsubota: You think you will?

Hishida: Maybe…

Iuchi: If you don’t, you won’t grow anymore.

Hishida:I once read a manga called Human Crossing, and how it tells that in life, there will definitely be a time where you’ll be oppressed. And it said that when that time comes, just do things as much as you can. I’m probably in that time of my life right now.

Tsubota:When will you reflect ?

Hishida: It said to not look back too much on things. Just go as far as you can.

Iuchi: That’s what it said yes.

Tsubota: Was it the same for you Iuchi san?

Hishida: Probably. That’s maybe why he told me about Human Crossing.

Tsubota: How about Tsubota? You got something to recommend me? (She called herself with her name.)

Iuchi: I already told you to write the kanjis for humility(謙虚) 100 times a day.

Tsubota:I’m not modest ?

Iuchi: Until now, I’ve always worked as a writer in the anime field, so I never met someone working in the live action field. Then after I started working with you, I thought “It’s that kind of people who write live action huh”.

Interviewer: What do you mean by “that kind of people”?

Iuchi: People who have a strong evil side. “That’s what’s needed in the live action field” I thought.

Tsubota: I don’t have a strong evil side!

Iuchi:Also, there’s how you fake crying.

Tsubota:I’m not faking it! When I cry I really actually cry a lot!

Iuchi:Or also how you feign illness.

Tsubota: I don’t do that!

Hishida: Meetings in the animation field go like this: there’s the director and the series composer(s) together, and they give orders to the scriptwriters and others they decided to assign on the episode. There’s no discussion where everyone gives out their opinion. The staff just take all their orders from the top and abides to them. In 90% of the time, it’s that kind of system. So, the kind of meetings we did for Pretty Rhythm, where you exchange ideas and talk back to each other is very rare. Maybe Tsubota san has an extreme case of talking back though.

Tsubota: Hey what do you mean !

Hishida: In a sense this woman may be the person who symbolizes Pretty Rhythm the most.

Iuchi: You could sum up Tsubota’s 3 years of working on Pretty Rhythm with that line from Rainbow Live * Iuchi san picks a copy of the Rainbow Live Guidebook and points to a page with a picture of Wakana in Rainbow Live episode 4*

prad3-4-wakana-smile-seems-i-found-a-nice-way-to-kill-time

Tsubota *says the line said in the scene pointed out*: “I found a nice way to kill time” (Said by Wakana in RL episode 4)

*very loud laugh from everyone*

Tsubota:Aaaaah yeah….There’s no way that’s right !

Interviewer:To conclude, a short final word from each of you please.

Hishida: I’m going back to Prism World.

Tsubota: That was a really short final word.

Hishida:I don’t have any regrets. « Let’s leave »

Tsubota: Is that alright ? Eeeh, how long was it again… three years huh…

Iuchi: Three years lol.

Tsubota:It was a good way to kill ti- There’s no way I can say that!

*Everyone laughing*

Tsubota: Before I was called to work on Aurora Dream, Gokujou!! Meccha Mote Iinchou, which I was working on, had just ended. And I had zero work at all. I thought “aaah this is the end” and was depressed enough to the point of wanting to go to Ise Jinguu. When I thought I’l be forced to stop scriptwriting, Akao Deko san called me.

Iuchi: Isn’t Ise Jinguu’s shrine for good marriage?

Tsubota: That’s Izumo Daisha  lol !
(I didn’t google much and don’t know much about this. Apparently Ise Jinguu is the most important Shinto shrine in Japan and the inner part is dedicated to Amaterasu.
The deity worshiped at Izumo Daisha shrine is known as the one for good marriages, and a lot of important people do their marriages there)

Tsubota:I am filled with gratitude regarding this series. I hope this is a work that will contninue to be loved from now on, it would make me happy.

Interviewer: Unlike you, seems like there’s someone who just want to forget about it.

Hishida:Wrong wrong, I don’t want to forget, I just want to return to Prism World.

Interviewer: You’re going to loose all your memories you know ?

Hishida: Maybe not, Maybe I’ll still say « Happy Naru »

Tsubota: I wonder what would be the only sentence Hishida san would remember.

Hishida:It would be “It’ll probably be fine!”(「当分いいわ—つ!」)

*Everyone laughing*

Iuchi: ”It’ll probably be fine” huh. It was very fun. We thought we’d do a “little girl anime made by a showa era ojisan” and we did. Did you like it? lol. Also I think it’s a good thing for balance to have women in the staff.  I definitely wouldn’t have been able to write a character like Bell.

Hishida: If you could cut Tsubota san in three, it would become Bell Wakana and Otoha.

Tsubota:I have some Otoha in me ?

Hishida:Yes yes.How you become all nice to keep up appearances when in front of people.

Iuchi:Yes, when she’s in front of people she becomes as nice as some mama selling snacks somewhere.

Tsubota:Give me 3 years, and I’ll make a « Snack Pretty Rhythm ». Or a « Bar Edel Rose »

*Everyone laughing*

Hishida: You’ll do a cocktail called Aurora Rising right ?

prad3-17-beru-please-let-me-stand-on-this-stage

Tsubota:I wiiiill ! Ah, I probably feel just like that scene in episode 17. When Bell says “Please let me stand on this stage”, that’s how I feel about these past three years. I only noticed recently that I really didn’t want all this to end.

Iuchi:It was really fun.

Tsubota: Thank you for these 3 years. Hishida san take care of yourself okay.

Hishida: It was a really long three years.

Iuchi:Really? I thought it was short. It ended in the blink of an eye.

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4 Responses to Pretty Rhythm All Star Selection Anime Official Guide Book: Hishida Masakazu, Iuchi Shuji, Tsubota Fumi interview

  1. Rahaf says:

    Do u celebrate eid?

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