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Tetsuo Yajima Interview on XY

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In the recent edition of Animage there was an interview with Tetsuo Yajima, the director of XY, including some storyboards as well.

Here are various interesting tidbits from the recent interview with Yajima:
*The kiss scene is indeed meant to be Serena kissing Satoshi, and his reaction to it is surprised awe, any ambiguity the scene has is so they could get it on TV in the first place.
*Likewise, you're meant to hope and assume the two of them are going to become a couple later.
*The idea to have a romance subplot apparently came from producer Shukichi Kanda, who came up with the idea of portraying things through a female lead's admiration for Satoshi, which then led to the suggestion that they'd have a flashback to a childhood meeting with romantic implications.
*Yajima did not know exactly how long the series would last, only that it would have to end when the next games came out.
*Alan was always meant to be part of the main series. The reason the four Mega specials were made was because it would be difficult to set up his backstory and development in the series itself, so he came up with the idea of giving him his own episodes that could establish his character. The idea to give these episodes a mega evolution theme came later, and was also his idea (so they were not made for the purpose of marketing megas, or in order to test the water for a series with another main character or any other such theory).
*Also, Alan is meant to be an "Anakin Skywalker-type character", someone who turns to the dark side to protect those he loves.
*Satoshi's XY design was primarily Yajima's, and the idea for his sideburns were taken from "a character from the video games named Red, which Satoshi is based on".
*Yajima wanted to make the bond between Satoshi and Gekkouga a major part of the story, but felt it would be difficult to do so if it had to remain a Gekkouga, so he went to Game Freak, and they came up with the idea of a synchro transformation. It was put in Sun/Moon afterwards, but was created during this discussion between anime staff and GF.
*The interviewer notes that Okido didn't appear at all outside of episode 3, and that Okido's lecture segment getting replaced with PokeTV when XY&Z started meant that Okido didn't appear at all throughout all of XY&Z (the interview was conducted before XY&Z47 had aired) and asks if there was a reason for this. Yajima confirms this was a complete oversight, not something intentional. Presumably this goes for other callbacks to older series as well.
*When XY&Z started, Yajima knew that the series had to wrap up everything in only a year, and they did a meeting to basically set up how the events of that year would go. He also specifically says that this is the reason there's minimal filler in XY&Z, there was absolutely no room.
*Yajima wanted to drop the use of stock footage completely, but this wasn't possible to do, so they went with creating stock foreground footage that could have different backgrounds added to it instead.


Credits for the interview translation go to Dephender on Serebii.
 
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Pikachu's Global Adventure
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I do have to give credit to Yajima for realizing and taking design cues from Red for XY Satoshi. The hair sideburns really does compliment him. A pity that Sun and Moon got rid of them. Now we need to see what Ash would look like if he takes design cues from SM Red.

Now we know the full story behind the Ash-Greninja. Suffice to say, while the whole concept is anime-based as it originated from the director's desire to showcase Ash and Greninja's bond, it is nice for GameFreak to come up with a special synchronization bond and how it works. Funny how they didn't seem to realize the potential of giving the Kalos Starters special Mega Evolution until Yajima came about with his story arc.

As for Alain, I do want to the know the full story and reason behind his character. Apparently, the Mega Evolution theme was secondary compare to his character arc. And considering that his story is based on the Team Flare arc, it raises a lot of questions such as whether or not the writers were using unused ideas from N or they wanted to give Team Flare a lot more conflict.

Professor Oak gets the shaft by total accident. That's a bit hilarious in an ironic way. Maybe he should have accompanied Ash to the Kalos Region. Either that or Sycamore was too good of a professor to simply not use (notice how Sycamore appears more frequently than the other Professors aside from Oak).

With all of the constraints that Yajima has to make XY&Z, it's amazing how much he laid out and how much he got accomplished, with the Team Flare climax and especially with Serena romance subplot. Of course, you might know what I thought about that. And I do like his ambition to get rid of stock footage altogether, though it's quite clear he had to compromise a bit, resulting in the removal of stock background (which is better than nothing). I can see why some call him BASE director.

Give thanks to Adamant/Dephender for the translations.
 
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To be clear, the name of the magazine in question is Anime Style, not Animage.

There's also a bit in the interview where Mr. Yajima talks about how difficult it was for them to change Serena's character design mid-series since there was (apparently?) so much merchandise already out using her old design. They eventually got their way, though.
 
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I think it's safe to assume that if there is a time skip and we get to see an adult Ash, Serena will be his wife.
They truly put great effort on this series.
Thank you for this awesome adventure!
 
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Who would prevent a full screen kiss from airing on TV in Japan? I can't imagine it being TV Tokyo as they air much 'worse' stuff aimed at children.
 
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Who would prevent a full screen kiss from airing on TV in Japan? I can't imagine it being TV Tokyo as they air much 'worse' stuff aimed at children.
I think that they're trying to be careful since in some countries, it's frowned upon to show kissing in kids' TV. It doesn't make sense since we had seen kissing being shown before in the past.
 
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I'm kind of bummed that they weren't allowed an episode or two for Ash to be in Pallet Town with his older mon.
 
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I'm really glad that XY is over. I appreciate serious story telling when the subject matter is actually interesting. Suffice to say that wasn't ever the case with this series, and it irks me that Yajima is so pleased with himself.
 
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That was a very interesting read. It clears up a few things about XY, which many people had speculated and guessed.

I'm still a bit sad that XY is over, but it was still a nice ride. Sure, it may have had many flaws and issues, but every series has its own high and low points.

Thank you, anime directors, for making me interested again in the series for all those three years. Until the day in which the anime will spark my interest in it again.
 
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I'm watching Pokemon from my childhood I love it alot but now I like to request the director to make a new series in which Serena and ash has a love story Serena loves ash alot but now after 5 years Serena should meet ash and this time ash should propose her ash should take care of Serena too as he take care of Pokemon please this is my humble request
It is an viewer request please any how just pass my comment to the director and request him please
 
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I appreciate the interview as well as the transplantation in this post, however I'm a bit bummed there was no commentary on Showcases and what exactly was the inspiration/vision behind them.
 
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*Likewise, you're meant to hope and assume the two of them are going to become a couple later.
---
*Yajima wanted to make the bond between Satoshi and Gekkouga a major part of the story,
---
*Yajima wanted to drop the use of stock footage completely, but this wasn't possible to do, so they went with creating stock foreground footage that could have different backgrounds added to it instead.
haha
 
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*Yajima wanted to drop the use of stock footage completely, but this wasn't possible to do, so they went with creating stock foreground footage that could have different backgrounds added to it instead.
Could someone clarify for me what is meant by that?

Ash's Pignite | Bianca's Pignite

Getting rid of using the same poses and footages for good, and creating new drawings for every single scene instead? But since it was impossible [rather say considered waste of time and money], they stocked footages and used them with different background? If I got it right, I don't see why it is mention-worthy, though. Hasn't it always been like that anyway?
 
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Could someone clarify for me what is meant by that?
Before, Pokémon Battles look this:


Stock Footage. Complete with plain action backgrounds and dash lines. Occasionally, it will switch back to the actual battlefield, but the stock backgrounds allow the animators to simply splice the same footage over and over in an episode without fear of continuity errors.

Compare that to XY:


There is still stock footage, but it's just the animation. Stock animation. The background is taken from the anime battlefield. Take a look here at the Bunnelby vs Pikachu rematch and compare with the above:


Yajima intended to make Pokémon battles completely organic. No battle uses the same animation or background. It's like Origins battles, but on a daily basis rather than OVA four episodes. But that proved to be unfeasible, so they went with a compromise. That's why XY battles are much more dynamic than any kind of Pokémon battles beforehand. One has to look at Bunnelby vs Heliolisk to know what Yajima aimed for.

EDIT:
Getting rid of using the same poses and footages for good, and creating new drawings for every single scene instead? But since it was impossible [rather say considered waste of time and money], they stocked footages and used them with different background? If I got it right, I don't see why it is mention-worthy, though. Hasn't it always been like that anyway?
It's mention worthy because everyone had notice the background changes. And subtle change can make impressions all the more different. And it was quite clear that Yajima was still pushing for unique battles even when he had to compromise with stock footage. This is why you see dynamic camera work and unique animation for major battles such Ash-Greninja vs Mega Abomasnow, Bunnelby vs Heliolisk, and Olympia Double Battle.

It was quite clear that XY was aiming for something that has never been done before in the anime. It was more action-packed, and Ash was the ace of the series. As such, the changes in the anime battles are noteworthy to at least acknowledge.
 
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