Yoshitaka Amano Returns with a New Anime Series! Interview with ‘Gibiate Project’ Producer Ryo Aoki
Ryo Aoki had an ambitious plan: bring together some of the most talented figures in anime, manga, video games, and music to create an anime unlike any other. He succeeded in assembling an all-star team and his dream anime, the Gibiate Project, is now in development. This impressive talent pool includes legendary illustrator Yoshitaka Amano (Final Fantasy, Vampire Hunter D), renowned video game composer Yuzo Koshiro (Streets of Rage, Ys, Shenmue), and manga artist Naoki Serizawa (Biohazard/Resident Evil) with musical contributions from the Yoshida Brothers.
Gibiate is the first anime Amano has worked on in nearly a decade and is described as “the ultimate survival action” series:
The Year is 2030 Japan. A Virus outbreak has covered the earth. Once infected, patients become monsters and changes the form depending on age, sex and nationality. The virus is called “Gibier” (wild game for many varieties). A Edo era time traveling Samurai and Shinobi appear in the post apocalyptic ruins. Helping a doctor who has dedicated his career for researching the cure for “Gibier”, hordes of Gibier after them, outlaws who attack the travelers for food – everywhere you turn, danger is upon them!
The Gibiate Project was officially unveiled during the Anime Expo 2019 Closing Ceremony. Afterward, we had the opportunity to chat with Aoki-san about this exciting new franchise.
Can you tell us about the origins of the Gibiate Project?
The producer in charge of the project, the story, as well the person who came up with the idea in the first place, is me, Ryo Aoki. I wanted to create an animated story and work with some of the all-star creators from the industry to obtain not only anime fans but also other people who don’t usually watch anime.
Gibiate Project is described as a global IP development group, but the Gibiate anime has a distinct Japanese theme since it takes place in Japan and features samurai and ninja characters. Do you believe this setting will appeal to an international audience?
The Last Samurai was a big Hollywood movie and ninjas are also a well-known profession in the world. I think it’s going to be the first work made by a team of Japanese all-star creators, so this setting has a certain meaning, which also focuses on the Japanese identity in general. On the other hand, the story is supposed to be set in the modern age, not the past. Building the story from that, we’ve been making it so that the viewers can achieve a sense of immersion between in the animated world.
The project has brought together legendary figures in the video game industry such as Yoshitaka Amano and Yuzo Koshiro. Is this meant to appeal to gamers?
It’s not so much that we were aiming at gamers, but the works made by Mr. Amano hadn’t turned into an anime for a while and Mr. Koshiro had never made anime music before. I simply wanted to watch an anime that they worked on. Mr. Amano and Mr. Koshiro, who have had great careers, had never made an anime together, so I also wanted them to work together.
Was it a challenge translating Amano’s distinct art style into animation?
In term of this, staff members are still struggling with it. (laughs)
They’ve been having a lot of difficulty dealing with not only the art style of Mr. Amano, but also the monsters designed by Mr. Serizawa.
Naoki Serizawa is best known for his work on the Resident Evil manga. Is the production team a big fan of the series and zombie related works?
That is certainly a part of it, but when it comes to survival action, works related to zombies are currently popular, so we took that synergy into consideration more than we usually would. We also think one character designer doesn’t always have to draw both humans and monsters.
How did the Yoshida Brothers become involved with the Gibiate Project?
How we bring “Wa”(Japanese culture) into the opening song was the key point since “Wa” is the theme of this anime. When we thought about suitable musicians involved in traditional Japanese musical instruments, we felt the Yoshida Brothers, who are active on the world stage, would be best. I get along well with the Yoshida Brothers, so we made it possible easily.
The concept sounds like it could translate into a video game. Will Gibiate be a cross media franchise?
Of course, we’re thinking of a cross media franchise but first we have to make an animation work that will be successful in the long run. The content of the anime will translate easily into a game, but we haven’t started to negotiate with game companies yet. If there is a good opportunity, please feel free to bring it to us.
When the Gibiate anime premieres in 2020, will it be a simulcast?
The premiere will be only at the Anime Expo in 2020.
When will we receive more information about Gibiate?
This is going to be the first Japanese animation made by not only Mr. Amano but also by legends from each industry that will try to reach out to the world. Please witness the movement created by real Japanese all-star animators including all of the creators and the voice actors and actresses that we will announce later.