Fans' Questions for Director Tatsuo Sato

Fans' Questions for Director Tatsuo Sato Nadesico Complete Collection

Director Tatsuo Sato brought his unique mix of action, humor and heart to several science-fiction anime sagas over the years, from Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars and Stellvia to current favorites Bodacious Space Pirates and Lagrange – The Flower of Rin-ne, and of course, Martian Successor Nadesico. In honor of the Nadesico Complete Collection's release, he very graciously took some time out to answer YOUR questions about one of his most beloved works.

Q. One of the key points of Nadesico is an old-fashioned anime that still has the power to draw people in and inspire them. What real-life shows, if any, have this quality for you?

Director Sato: Probably because this show has one, consistent world. Even when the designs and direction get old, as long as the show has one, solid "world," it will always remain strong. A good example would be The Castle of Cagliostro Lupin III.

Q. Nadesico is a show with a pretty large ensemble of characters. Are there any characters you would have liked to develop further? (Which characters and why?)

Director Sato: That would be Yurika - a super elite tactician with an extremely cheerful and positive personality. I really like that contrast of her character and wished that I could develop her more.

Q. Who is your favorite character and why?

Director Sato: Akito Tenkawa. I see myself in him, when he struggles with many different challenges, and I could totally identify with him.

Q. Was Nadesico's more cheerful approach to traditional mecha sci-fi meant to be a response to other series' darker takes on the subject? What factors influenced your creative choices?

Director Sato: War being the theme of the show, while incorporating various parodies, made me worry that I may not be able to relay a message, but only make the show more serious, so I thought of basing it on the classic comedy series M*A*S*H. In the scene where Gekigangar – whom we all thought was just a part of many parodies – starts attacking, after Episode 13, I needed to make sure that it was funny enough so that it would be a good "nightmare" for Akito.

Q. The ending of the Nadesico TV series and the ending of the movie have very different circumstances, tones and implications. In retrospect, which of these endings do you think the fans should interpret as being the most appropriate or representative when we consider Nadesico as an overall property or story?

Director Sato: Both were crucial in the establishment of Nadesico. The main purpose of the feature was to "preserve (relive?) the contents of the Nadesico franchise for the future."

Q. Were there any takeaway points or messages from your experience with Nadesico (in directing, in the show itself, etc.) that you applied to later anime in your career?

Director Sato: If you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you can do it under any conditions. This is exactly how I felt when I completed Nadesico... and I believe it is very important if you want to work as a director.

Q. How do you feel about Martian Successor Nadesico years after its initial release?

Director Sato: I feel like it was just yesterday, but I also have a nostalgic feeling about it already.

Q. If you were to pick up the story of the Nadesico crew 14 years after their last on-screen appearance, how would you handle it (while keeping it within your target audience demographic), and what would you want the film to say?

Director Sato: It would be Yurika going after Akito and maybe add some back stories on the Boson Jump route development. The message would be something along the line of "a space circumstance is a personal circumstance."

Q. What is your reaction to how much love Nadesico has received outside of Japan over the many years since it first appeared?

Director Sato: I feel very thankful for all the overseas fans. And I'm also realizing that the message is universal.

Q. Is there any message you'd like to send to the English- speaking fans of your work?

Director Sato: Please keep loving Yurika, Akito, and Ruri!!

A very special thank you to Director Sato for answering our questions and to Maki Terashima-Furuta, of Production I.G., for helping to make this interview possible!

Also a special thank you to the following fans for submitting such thoughtful questions: Ben L., Buckaroo B., Chris C., Daniel Z., I Charvill., Juan G., Marlon G., Nnameka M., and Ray M.

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