The Rising Of The Shield Hero anime (Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari) has become one of the most popular series in the Western world during the 2019 winter anime season.
Anime producer Junichiro Tamura recently talked about the Shield Hero anime in a Reddit Ask Me Anything and answered a variety of questions related to the anime industry.
Tamura is a business producer for anime at book publisher Kadokawa, which is well-known for works like KonoSuba, Overlord, and many others. In addition to bringing Shield Bro to the masses, Tamura also worked on Bungo Stray Dogs, Chio’s School Road, and the Prisma Ilya series.
“There are many things a producer may do,” Tamura said. “As a business producer, I first plan what sort of project we may start next. Once [that’s] decided [next] comes forming a committee for the project to gather money for production. The final step would be to control the quality of the production while overseeing all aspects of the project, such as merchandise.”
The producer also explained a little about how The Rising Of The Shield Hero anime was developed.
“I go way back with Kinema Citrus, and we’ve been talking about doing a project together, and it ended up being Shield Hero,” said Tamura. “Crunchyroll tipped us off on the title, which is why they are in committee. The others are whoever is interested among the people we ask.”
When it comes to the Shield Hero characters, a Reddit user asked, “Can you swear to protecc Raphtalia?” The slang “protecc” means the highest level of protection and since this female Shield Hero character is getting to be extremely popular it’s no surprise someone brought her up.
In response, Tamura said, “I will protecc Raphtalia.” He also says Raphtalia is the “best” since “it’d be nice to have someone who I can trust like her around.” Still, Tamura’s favorite character is Naofumi simply because “he never gives up no matter how difficult the situation.”
Tamura’s favorite part of Shield Hero is the story. Multiple Reddit users asked about the process for adapting the story from a light novel like the Shield Hero series. He said that the 40-minute Episode 1 was necessary to create a compelling introduction that didn’t end on a dark note.
As for the length of the first season, he said: “it would be difficult to make a compelling story with just 12 episodes for Shield Hero, so the decision for 2 cours (25 episodes) was from the very beginning.” Otherwise, everyone is involved in making any changes to the story.
“We do make some adjustments for marketability, however never at the cost of changing too much the original story,” he explained. “We would like to not change too much of the original story, but there are things we must cut due to episode duration. In the case we do have to cut content, it is a decision all the staff members are involved in.”
In asking about how Kadokawa chooses projects, the subject of No Game No Life Season 2 came up. While Tamura couldn’t comment since he’s “not involved” he did confirm that sometimes Kadokawa will “produce something because they want to” but it’s “more common” to choose projects based on what they think will be popular.
“First is if the series popular (domestic and overseas). … We are especially concerned about the overseas reactions for this show, so I check MAL and have also begun to check Reddit as well. As far I’ve seen, the reactions domestically have not been too different from overseas fans,” said Tamura, explaining how he gauges interest in a show for determining whether to produce more seasons. “Second would be if it has not been too long after the source material has finished publication or if there is enough content to adapt.”
When it comes to the production of Shield Hero and other anime, the “most difficult part is securing the schedule of talented staff.” Outside of the animation process itself, Tamura says the “biggest time bottlenecks in the creation of an animated series” is forming the anime committee.
Several Reddit users asked about using Kickstarter to crowdfund anime projects.
“I have not thought of crowdfunding a TV anime series yet, but it could be a possibility for a movie or something that is not broadcast on TV,” Tamura said. “I believe crowdfunding is an option for gathering money for projects. However, it may be difficult to gather enough money for a full TV series, but OVAs may be a good format for crowdfunding.”
One question discussed how the anime industry as a whole has grown rapidly thanks to international licensing and other factors. However, it was noted that “the wages of animators, especially in-betweeners, continue to be low enough that some of them cannot afford to live on just animation as their job.”
Tamura was asked, “Why is there such a disparity between the amount of money a show makes and the money paid to animators, and what steps do you think can be taken to improve the living conditions of the people that make this industry possible?”
“While the top animators in the industry can make quite a living, the problem lies in the entry-level positions,” Tamura replied. “Kadokawa is currently trying to think of ways to support these entry-level animators, as they are vital to the future of the anime industry. I am also trying my best to find solutions to this problem.”
Finally, Tamura noted that The Rising Of The Shield Hero anime has been his most popular anime overseas. The producer says that international growth can be a factor in green-lighting future projects.
“In the past it was DVD/Blu-ray sales, but the market is shifting towards overseas streaming and merchandise sales. … I do think international demand has a huge impact on production decisions, and will have even more as we move forward,” he said. “While I do think more content will be created with Western sensibilities, it all comes down to how much of that anime-feel is retained.”
But that doesn’t necessarily mean Western audiences are the only target. Tamura says that the focus is largely on the “Japanese, China, and US markets” because they are the largest right now, but “we would like to start paying more attention to the European, South American, and other Asian markets.”
That’s just a sample of some of the best questions from the Reddit AMA. Let’s just hope it is popular enough for anime committee members Kadokawa, Glovision, and Crunchyroll to greenlight The Rising Of The Shield Hero Season 2. Stay tuned!