Nobuhiro Takenaka is an anime producer at Cygames. He’s previously worked on popular anime such as Yuri on Ice and Made in the Abyss. CFG had the opportunity to chat with Takenaka-san during Anime Expo 2018 about his upcoming project, Zombieland Saga.
Interviewed by William Hong and Vincent Lai
Tell us about your new anime, Zombieland Saga.
It’s an original take on the zombie genre in collaboration with MAPPA, Avex Pictures, and Cygames.
How did all this come together yet?
So originally when the three companies wanted to work together, we wanted to work together on an original anime title. We came up with Yuri on Ice and obviously now that the timing is right, we want to do work again together.
Since Cygames is known for making video games are their plans to turn this franchise into a game series as well?
So obviously Cygames has a history of making anime based on our games, but this is kind of like one of the few times that we’re actually making an original anime. But when we showed it internally to find out if anybody wanting to make a game of it, everybody was like “Oh, we don’t know how to make a game of this game.” But there’s a possibility that some other company might decide to make a game based on it.
In terms of the creative process, has it been interesting working to create a new take on the zombie genre? Like has that process been interesting to work with.
We had a really firm kind of idea from the outset about the kind of anime we wanted to make. So it was a clean cut process, we didn’t have any kind of big stumbling blocks or kind of creative blocks.
Can you give like a brief synopsis of the story or the premise for Zombieland Saga?
Unfortunately I can’t say too much about the story at this time. I think we want the anime to tell the story when it comes out as it were. Although the zombie motif is something everybody is familiar with, we’re really trying hard to make something completely original.
Zombies are very popular in an American pop culture. Was this the audience you had in mind when you guys created Zombieland Saga? Is there a certain demographic you’re reaching out to you like male, female, shonen fans?
We didn’t really make it with a target demographic in mind. It was more that we just wanted to make the kind of anime that we would enjoy. So we made it with our own kind of likes and dislikes in mind. The real kind of underlying theme of the anime is not so much kind of a zombie apocalypse as much as living life fully.
Any plans for other spinoffs like manga or live action movies? Cygames has a lot of cross media properties.
Cygames has a manga division, so we have the resources to do that internally. So there’s a significant chance that it might turn into a manga, but apart from that, we don’t have any other plans at the moment.
So what are your favorite zombie movies?
So in Japan it’s known as Battalion, but I think it’s called Return of the Living Dead here.