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Gio's Note: Not much is known about this interview, but it was part of the content translating for the Utena Encyclopedia release of episode 1. A video of the interview was later uncovered on Youtube, and can be viewed here. It would appear the interview was an extra on the Japanese LDs. The original translation was done by Yasayuki Sato. The formatting he used is preserved.

Talking about Shoujo Kakumei Utena
Title:  Ikuhara Kunihiko
Title:  Director/Creator Ikuhara Kunihiko

Interview with Ikuhara for the Japanese LD

Ikuhara:  Utena is someone I wish I could be.
Ikuhara:  I want to be a fool. I want to be ignorant. I want to be naive.
Ikuhara:  Anthy is, to me, the embodiment of reality.
Ikuhara:  I can't reveal the motivation.
Ikuhara:  But to give you a little hint, it will be something fun.
Ikuhara:  I don't know if the character Anthy herself actually has any "venom."
Ikuhara:  I portray her as having "venom" in her, yet at the same time I won't portray her as ever having "malice."
Ikuhara:  Speaking for myself, I must say that she is an uncommon character.
Ikuhara:  I don't think there has never been anyone quite like her in animation.
Ikuhara:  As for Seazer's choruses, I've liked them ever since I heard them at Tenjou Sajiki (a theatrical troupe) as a teenager.
Ikuhara:  If you ask me, it was odd that everyone reacted in surprise.
Ikuhara:  Some people even said that they laughed, thinking it was supposed to be a gag.
Ikuhara:  I thought about what that meant, since they seemed so natural to my sensibilities.
Ikuhara:  I think they probably laughed at those Japanese words, which sound like a potpourri of fossilized words.
Ikuhara:  Which means, I think they had a fixed idea that choruses are normally not like this.
Ikuhara:  Plus, I thought it might be that we didn't like the Japanese language any more.
Ikuhara:  We intended to make episodes 1 and 2 pretty straightforward.
Ikuhara:  Having said that, I told them I wanted to discover a new value of fun,
Ikuhara:  but still, I think we made episodes 1 and 2 quite straightforward.
Ikuhara:  I was still trying to reach the greatest common denominator of understanding.
Ikuhara:  But many people told me it was unintelligible right from episode 1,
Ikuhara:  and yet I had meant it to be the biggest crowd-pleaser I could make.
Ikuhara:  I couldn't make it any more so than I already had.
Ikuhara:  I don't know whether it's what they wanted of me, though.
Ikuhara:  I think from now on we are moving away from the atmosphere of episodes 1 and 2.
Ikuhara:  You see, I don't want to make works that they will only say are "good."
Ikuhara:  Of course, if they say it's good, then that means their reaction was good. I can appreciate that.
Ikuhara:  But rather than that, though you might call this a trainee monk's sense of value...
Ikuhara:  I want to pursue a value of fun for its own sake.
Ikuhara:  Since many staffers are working together, someone says "This is good, isn't it?"
Ikuhara:  "What's so good about it?" And we go back and forth like that.
Ikuhara:  ...Hollywood movies we saw long ago, animation we watched as teenagers,
Ikuhara:  manga we thought were so good...
Ikuhara:, what A knows... and what B knows... and what C knows... we keep refining what is good using our common language...
Ikuhara:  Then, we notice it's turned out to be a parody. It's turning into an imitation.
Ikuhara:  So, I wanted to avoid such imitations to the best of my ability.
Ikuhara:  I feel each of the characters is my alter ego.
Ikuhara:  The Shadow Play Girls are my friends.
Ikuhara:  Those girls come from Planet Kashira.
Ikuhara:  And they often talk to me via radio waves... almost every day.
Ikuhara:  I think my generation, as well as the younger generation, lacks imagination.
Ikuhara:  You know that a great many students commit suicide.
Ikuhara:  I think they're unable to imagine a happy future.
Ikuhara:  To put it more bluntly, they look at their mothers and fathers, who should be
Ikuhara:  motivating them for their future, and they can't imagine they will grow up to be happy.
Ikuhara:  The grownups they communicate with are their parents, their teachers and the like.
Ikuhara:  But looking at them, they can never be convinced that their future will be happy.
Ikuhara:  I don't think that's because of their parents, but because of their lack of imagination.
Ikuhara:  That may apply to me, too, though. I'm not so sure if I can portray this very well toward the audience, but...
Ikuhara:  Through this, you may be able to imagine a happy future,
Ikuhara:  or through this, you might be able to go on living happily. Or...
Ikuhara:  These are the sorts of things I wish to portray.
Ikuhara:  To put it nicely, this is why Utena is naive and foolish. She speaks of her Prince and the like, at her age.
Ikuhara:  To our sensibilities, we think of that as stupid.
Ikuhara:  I want to show that this sensibility of ours,
Ikuhara:  that leads us to think of that as stupid, is itself absurd.

Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) is © Kunihiko Ikuhara, Chiho Saito, Shogakukan and bePapas/TV Tokyo and/or their respective copyright holders. The US release of the Revolutionary Girl Utena series and movie was © Central Park Media and now belongs to Right Stuf. The US release of the Utena manga is © VIZ. The various sources used in this site are noted where their content is presented. Don't sue us, seriously. Blood. Stone.