- Q: Kill La Kill is finally announced. What was your initial concept like?
- N: It started when Imaishi drew a Women's Team (onna gumi) at a bar.
- Q: "Women's Team"?
- N: We were first considering a gender bent version of the manga "Men's Team" (Otoko Gumi). I submitted an idea where there'd be girls wearing uniforms that have powers, fighting each other.
- I: So I drew a pic of Women's Team then and there, and I began to think it'd be rather fun while drawing a character with handcuffs (lol).
- N: In all these school clubs, the members would have uniforms with different powers. And we thought we'd do a battle manga-thing where the main character beats those rivals one by one. The theme for TTGL was to depict "a man's growth and maturation", but this time we went for the concept of a battle manga-thing, the likes of those from WSJ's Golden Age.
- Q: So it took a while from production to the announcement.
- I: When we were doing Panty and Stocking, we'd planned for a work that can be made immediately, but it ended up being dragged out in light of the TTGL feature film. We thought we can get to this (KLK) soon as well, but … making an original work does take time. Significant time needs to be invested in conceiving and developing each character' personalities/sentiments.
- N: In the meantime, Imaishi even made a whole company
- I: Hahaha, and also directing the special effects for BRS's CG…
- N: And I was doing Forze, too.
- Q: Forze was centered around an academy like KLK, correct?
- N: That's right. Actually KLK came first. When we were talking about having a high-school girl's battle show, they told us that they wanted Forze's MC to be a high schooler too, and we were like "Oh no, they've overlapped." KLK's motif is on a high school in the Meiji era; and Forze is an American high school. I made this distinction within myself, and I couldn't disclose it to anybody for a long time, until now (lel).
- Q: So while it took time, did the script-writing progress well?
- N: Not at all. After we'd decided on a 2-cour series, I submitted the script for Episodes 1-4 … and Imaishi said "THIS ISN'T THE KIND OF WORK I WANT TO DO!" and ripped it apart.
- Q: This sounds familiar. Did that happen during TTGL, too?
- N: During the show (leo). Six years ago, Imaishi ripped up the finished script for Episode 1 while screaming "The drill in my heart won't spin with shit like this!"
- I: Did I really say that? It's like my words are getting blown out of proportion (lel)
- N: This time, it ended up with "I can't wear sailor uniforms with this kind of story!" while ripping up 4 episodes' worth of script.
- I: EHH~? Does that mean I have to wear a sailor uniform if I OK'd the script?
- Q: Hahaha. So there was a big turnaround in direction.
- N: TTGL had one draft denied, but this time it was 4. The acceptance rate fell! (lel)
- I: I'm sorry. Haven't got used to it, have you (lel
- N: But no question, the script is very interesting.
- Q: So with this major directional change, what were the effects on the story?
- N: Initially we were making a battle-manga type show, but it changed to character drama. The battle-show planned for a complete story ended up becoming a work where regular characters' development/drama will be thoroughly explored. The work coincidentally became much more interesting from there.
- I: The heroine (Ryuuko Matoi)'s personality changed, too.
- N: Ryuuko was initially a completed character. But after the changes in script, she became the type of character where one would get involved in incidents by circumstance, and we made it so the viewer and the heroine would discover what's happening in this world at the same time. Ryuuko therefore became a character with much more vitality.
- I: We thought we'd go all out with the best elements from shonen manga. We decided to make this work one where the audience can feel strongly about the main character with a diversity of emotions.
- Q: Did the whole series' structure change as well?
- N: It's still changing here and there.
- I: And that makes it vastly different from TTGL. TTGL didn't change very much from the first planned structure. But KLK is going beyond that.
- N: With KLK, the whole staff (with me included) submit ideas, like "Hey, this would be cool", and the series' layout keeps changing. It's really a live production. If anything, it's quite similar to the experience I had when I was producing weekly manga. With weekly manga, you keep developing/making things in the direction the characters are moving, so it's really fun. KLK gave me that vibe.
- Q: How did you undertake the script writing?
- I: Just a few people. Actually, Nakashima wrote most of the 2-cour script. The Nakashima concentration in this script is very high!
- N: Actually, we wanted to have the "battles with special powers" thing for the whole story so we considered having a lot of writers to provide some quality variety. But then, the character drama started getting intense, so … "then I'll write the next script, .. and the one after that, and after that too". Before we knew it, I'd done most of the writing. It was like TWENTY-FOUR.
- I: It was a pleasant surprise to have had Nakajima write almost all of the episodes' script.
- N: Forze had just finished, so I was able to really concentrate on the writing. Right now, I can finish a whole script in a week; it's like a weekly KLK manga. You can fully enjoy the Imaishi-Nakajima combo.
- Q: What sort of action do you want to do this time?
- I: Hand-to-hand combat (or basically fighters literally throwing themselves at each other). We only had three episodes of that in TTGL. I've always wanted to do an all-out battle between characters with Nakajima at the helm (writing).
- N: Yes, it's like the Yoko vs. Adiane fight (from the TTGL film) for the whole thing.
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