An interview with WIT Studio the company behind the Attack on Titan Anime
Date: 2013 November 2nd Saturday [14:25] | Posted By: Joe
One of the biggest anime titles of the year has been without doubt Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin). The title is due for a UK DVD release soon by Manga Entertainment UK. To prepare everyone for the advancing giants WIT Studio the producers of Attack on Titan were guests at the October 2013 MCM London Comic Con.
We caught up with 3 of the main staff behind the company at the MCM London Comic Con - producer George Wada, Katsuhiko Kitada (character designer on Hal, animation director for Attack On Titan) and Ryotaro Makihara director of feature length anime HAL.
At the MCM London Comic Con it was clear that Attack on Titan is hugely popular right now. There were a large number of Attack on Titan cosplayers present. Mostly Survey Corps. A few Titans were present too.
Please note that Otaku News normally avoids spoilers, this article contains minor spoilers to the first season of the show.
Out of the all the manga you could have adapted, why did you pick Attack on Titan, instead of say Ubel Blatt? Or another established manga title?
We thought that the story would work anywhere in the world, not just in Japan. People inside the wall fighting a threat from outside.
We thought it was fitting the way we had set up WIT Studio, it tallied quite well with the theme of Attack on Titan.
Did you have any difficulties adapting the art style from the manga into anime?
The hardest thing was to turn the gadget, the 3d maneuver gear into animation. We didn't want to disappoint people who had read the manga in terms of the scary titans or the maneuvering gear, but we wanted to come up with something that's even better than they'd imagined.
Were you surprised by the international reception to the show? Did you expect it to be this popular?
We had no idea! Everyone asks us that, but we didn't have a clue.
Are you surprised about how passionate the cosplayers are about the show, to even go to extremes as making 3D maneuver gear that actually fires cables?!
The maneuvering gear is very detailed in the anime as well. Usually for something like that, you'd only get a one page description of setting and design for equipment, but for this you've got five or six pages of design for that piece of equipment. Maybe that's where the cosplayers have got their passion from?
Were there any scenes that were difficult to animate or portray in anime?
The equipment itself has a lot of details and a lot of lines to draw. So in a way it was actually easier to draw the big action scenes than to just draw small movements, because with small movements you've got draw them in detail, but with action scenes you don't necessarily need every detail.
So all the mechanical bits?
Both the equipment and the characters in fact. If it's an action scene you don't have a chance to look everything and all the detail for that long, and so we know there's no point in drawing in all those details because you're not going to notice them. So we cut some of them. For a slower scene you have more of a chance to look at all the details so we have to draw it more carefully.
Who are your favourite characters in the show? And why?
Katsuhiko Kitada: I like the Eren Titan, because his movements are so wild, you can really get excited about animating him.
Ryotaro Makihara: I like Jan (Jean). He's very real, he's very human. I started off by not really liking him, thinking that he only thought of himself, but then he started thinking of others, but still thinking of himself, but that contradiction is very human.
George Wada: I like Mikasa. There's a scene where she fights the female titan. She says I won't give you Eren. That emotion, that feeling she has makes that fight worth so much more as there's so much more at stake and I like that human side of her as well.
When Eren is in titan form, his roar sounds reminiscent of EVA 01 from Evangelion? Why is this?
I don't think we're referencing Evangelion. When Eren isn't human, he's left his humanity behind and he's closer to an animal and that's how his voice sounds and that's maybe why it reminds you of Evangelion.
What next for Attack on Titan?
We would like to continue with it in the future!
Would you like to tell us about HAL? How is it different creating an anime title from scratch without manga as the source material?
It's a chance to make something from scratch. So it takes time to get started, but it's a great way of working with a theme and you really do what you want to do with it. It's not a chance that comes along that often, so it's an honour to be able to do it.
WIT Studio is a subsidiary of IG Port, in the future would you do any more work with Production IG?
Possibly in the future.
What have WIT Studio got lined up for the future? Are there any projects on the horizon?
We want to make a feature length film and we want to carry on working on TV series.
At the MCM London Comic Con, whenever we encountered any Attack on Titan Cosplayers, we asked them if they had any questions for WIT Studio, so we could ask them along with the pre-prepared questions. They all told as to ask the same thing. When is the second series of Attack on Titan coming out?!
We're really glad that they want to see it! We'll tell director Araki.
Also, they asked why the story diverged from the manga? That was the second most popular question.
That was the director's Tetsurou Araki's decision. In order for Attack on Titan to stand as a series of 25 episodes, in order for it to feel complete he added a few areas that were different.
The only other thing they kept mentioning was that they all seemed to love Levi!
(laughs) Japan too!
Thank you for your time! We know fans will be pleased to hear about all these insights.
We would like to thank WIT Studio for giving such a good interview, along with MCM Comic Con, Manga UK and Anime Limited for bringing the guests over and making this interview possible. Thanks again!