Could you tell us about your background?
worked as an animator for ten years, since I was 20, but have recently
over to directing - when I turned 30 I felt more like following
the path of director than animator. Since I started directing, I have
been with this studio [Studio 4°C].
MATRIX: For those who are
not familiar with your work, what would you tell them to seek out?
MORIMOTO-SAN: I directed
the first episode of Memories in 1995, and Noiseman Sound Insect in 1997.
I’ve also directed several music clips and TV commercials.
MATRIX: Being able to do both
direct and animate, does it help or make your job harder?
MORIMOTO-SAN: It’s difficult for me to do both directing and animating sometimes.
Often it feels better to not draw and have other animators do it, but
since I can do both I still find myself doing both on some productions.
I can’t say I prefer illustrating over directing; both have the same
appeal to me.
At times I feel like there are two of me - director and animator - and
there are personality conflicts between the two. I’ll focus in as
an animator on a project, then the director in me will surface, or the
and the animator in me will interfere with the director side. It’s
hard to harmonize the two, especially on this production [BEYOND].
MATRIX: Is this a difficult
MORIMOTO-SAN: It’s taking more time to finish than I expected, because I am not
as fast a director as some other directors. I’m working
on the key animation right now.
MATRIX: What was the inspiration
for the design of BEYOND?
MORIMOTO-SAN: There are two
approaches that I’m applying in this production. With one I’m
trying to keep the style I developed when I was young. We’ve filmed
some of the scenes in that style, and have been referring to footage
so the animation feels more realistic, and we can keep the character
movement very smooth. We filmed one of the main female characters so
we could reference that footage. My main role on this film is as the
Director, but I am helping with the key animations part of it. Of course,
are many key animators, and many
are designing the characters, I’m just helping out.
MATRIX: Do you use computers
for your animation?
MORIMOTO-SAN: I haven’t
used computers very much on this production. The only parts we've created
on the computer are the parts that no one would use them for. I haven’t
applied any new computer techniques to this production because I haven’t
seen any need. The
scene of the rats being exterminated might be
one of the scenes where computers are used, that and maybe one other
The story is simple enough that there are not many scenes where computer
animation should be used.
MATRIX: How many people are
working on BEYOND?
MORIMOTO-SAN: There are ten
key animators, and on computer graphics there are three
people. Counting everyone, there might be as many as thirty people involved,
people doing backgrounds and other things.
MATRIX: Your studio here in
Tokyo is a bit tight for space; how much time do you spend here?
MORIMOTO-SAN: Maybe 16 hours
a day, I spend most of the day here at the studio. I have to be
here this many hours because it’s getting busier and busier, towards
the end of the production.
MATRIX: What was your reaction
when you were asked to work on THE ANIMATRIX?
MORIMOTO-SAN: I was very happy.
First of all, I liked the motion picture very much, especially aspects
of the different world and time and space, and that there is a reality
from what we see. So I got very excited, but at the same time
I wondered, since THE MATRIX film is so perfect, how am I going to make
it work in an animation?
scenario (the first part), took a long time. Since my story was totally
original, once I finished writing
I had other people read it so they could give me
their opinion on the scenario. That led to more ideas, so I rewrote
it again and again and again. That was the hard part. There were many
elements I really wanted to animate from the original scenario that were
not approved, but now I am happy as some of those ideas are being kept.
quality and originality of the film is quite high, although it is a little
different from my original idea.
MATRIX: Describe how
this process was different than your experience working on [Katsuhiro
MORIMOTO-SAN: When I was working
on Memories, Otomo-san and I worked together; and as questions came up
always near; it made the production much
MATRIX: Is the animation
community here in Japan tight knit?
MORIMOTO-SAN: Whenever a new
production comes up, and the style that is going to be used is decided,
the people who are interested and have the same taste get together. Communication
is always very smooth in this community because everyone has the same
and attitude about the film. Right now everyone is enjoying getting involved
in making THE ANIMATRIX.
MATRIX: Are you looking forward
to THE MATRIX RELOADED and REVOLUTIONS?
MORIMOTO-SAN: Of course!
MATRIX: I thought so! Thank