The director of Cowboy Bebop did a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) live for 40 minutes yesterday.
As you can imagine – he covered a LOT of different questions from anime fans on Reddit. And there’s a lot to cover that I thought I’d share with you.
Cowboy Bebop is a classic in its own right, so it goes without saying why this is worth sharing.
Reddit AMA Questions for Shinichiro Watanabe:
#1 What is your favorite guilty pleasure or hobby you enjoy outside of work?
“I enjoy going to the record shops, discovering and buying new vinyls, that’s my hobby.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
#2 What was your relationship with the late music producer Nujabes and what was he like?
“I was a fan of Nujabes, so I approached him to produce the music for Samurai Champloo. He was very happy that the series was well-received internationally, so we were saying that we should work together again. He passed away before this could become true, so it is a great shame for such a loss.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
#3 After Carole & Tuesday, what type of series/film would you like to work on next?
“Right now, I am planning so we don’t know what exactly it’s going to be.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
Hi, huge fan of Cowboy Bebop and Space Dandy
What i really like about these shows is how much variety they contain in their 26 episodes, do you like shows with more variety where the creative team can do different stuff in each episode or do you prefer to have one story plot and focus on that?
What are the differences in planning the two different types of shows?
“In the production stages, I tend to get bored, therefore I would prefer something that is more complex with a lot of varieties.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
#5 As the creator of Space Dandy, I MUST know. Are you an *ss man or a Boob guy?
“It’s curves, it’s all about the curves.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
#6 Music seems to play a part in most of your anime. What genres do you listen to usually?
“Any genre really, I listen to all the genres.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
#7 Do you consider Cowboy Bebop to be your best work?
“I aspire to be somebody who sees their recent work as their best ever work made.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
#8 While your western influences are well known, are there other cultures that inspire your work?
“Yes, most likely. For example, I like Taiwanese films, and I also do like South American culture as well. For example, Brazilian music. I also like African music of course. So yes, you could say I have been influenced by other cultures too.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
#9 Hello!!! My question for you is; What can one do to be as cool as Spike in everyday life?
“I think you should get a dog.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
#10 What are your views on the upcoming Netflix live adaptation of Cowboy Bepop?
“I haven’t seen any of the footage, so I don’t know what it will be like. The rights to the film are held by Sunrise, so it’s not really up to me. If those are unhappy with the live adaption, they should take it up with Sunrise for me!” – Shinichiro Watanabe
#11 Was making space dandy as enjoyable as it is to watch?
“Yes, in terms of making it, Space Dandy was the one that I enjoyed the most. Most of the stars who were part of the production team of Space Dandy still say ‘Let’s make another episode!’ and that is very rare for an anime production to say that.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
Big fan big fan. Two questions:
What has been your most difficult production to date?
And do you how did you perceive working on an adaption of preexisting source material, I.e. Sakamichi no Aporon as opposed to an original work like the recent Carol and Tuesday?
“In the case of Manga adaption, it all depends whether or not if I find that original Manga interesting or not. If the original is good and interesting, I will try and keep the essence as much as possible. Sakamichi was a good manga, and so I tried to keep the originality of it. In terms of my original works, there is no complexity like that, I just create whatever I want to create.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
#13 Hi, I’m your biggest fan. What is your favorite book and why?
“There are so many, but I like Ernest Hemingway very much.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
All of your works have had unforgettable sountracks, with some of them having music as the main theme of the story and other one even having a music genre in its title.
Knowing that music is a big inspiration in your works, what’s your favorite type of music and how much of your own influence do your show’s original soundtrack have in them?
“Two-and-a-half. Carole & Tuesday as well as Kids on the Slope, and part of Macross Plus, which actually had the “virtual AI-powered musicians” theme 25 years ago already, as well as some of the grounded/gritty sci-fi bits from Cowboy Bebop – and another great soundtrack from Yoko Kanno. “Samurai Champloo” also metaphorically stands for “Samurai Mixtape”, so that’s another one.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
#15 What is something that you experienced while working on Bebop that isn’t possible to do in modern day anime?
“At that time, I was a newly started Director, so if that was now, they probably wouldn’t give the chance to somebody who is newly starting with that kind of big budget, so the whole thing might not have existed if it was now.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
Why do you choose to have Western influences in the anime you make?
Was there an experience you had in the West that made you like the culture/environment?
“I didn’t spend any time in the West but most of the films and music that I watched were from the West so it was quite natural for me. This was because when I was younger, the quality of Japanese films and music wasn’t that great, which led me to focus on international work. There are exceptions of course, and there are Japanese films that I have been influenced. For example, Zatōichi.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
#17 Do you have any advice for westerners that would like to work in the anime industry some day?
“The Anime industry is becoming increasingly more digitalised, it is possible to take part in Japanese Anime without living in Japan. I would love more people to be part of it.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
#18 If there was one thing you could have back from your childhood, what would it be?
“I wouldn’t say I had a great childhood so I don’t think there would be something that I would bring back from my childhood.
There is an episode in Carole & Tuesday of a girl who would always put a Christmas stocking by her bed, waiting for Santa Claus to come but he would never come and every year she would receive any presents. That was based on my childhood.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
What has been your biggest challenge throughout your career? Either for a single work or for your career overall.
“The most difficult time in career was when I was preparing for a film for theatrical release, and the storyboard was almost half done, and that project came to a halt. That was a film about angels, and I actually thought that angels have given up on me. So if you ever see any films involving angels, by, please see this as a revival of this project.” – Shinichiro Watanabe
You and Yoko Kanno are a fantastic team. What does the artistic collaboration between you look like?
Do you work pretty closely, or more independently?
“Musicians tend to not come to the production sites as the studio and animation studios are both separate sites so we tend to not work on same sites. But during the process when we collaborate, we are in close contact either on the phone or email so we are connected.” – Shniichiro Watanabe
View the FULL Reddit AMA here:Shinichiro Watanabe AMA Reddit