(This interview also came out shortly after the second episode aired.)
– That shocking opening was an anime original development different from the original novel.
Inagaki: Because the original work has a very unique world setting. In order to insure that the characters’ actions and words are convincing, I believed that people must know the basic worldview. Why are they fighting, and why are there TSFs? For instance, if you watch a World War II film, you can’t feel the weight of it unless you understand the state of the world at that time. Instead of having the war as a background detail, we needed to see just what the characters are experiencing at the core.
– We also got to see Yui’s more personal side, rather than her military side.
Inagaki: In the original novel, Yui was portrayed as a mature soldier from the very beginning. In our original episodes, We focused on Yui from the past. It’s like, having gained the experience from the battles shown in the first two episodes, Yui becomes a more proper soldier, and sees things at a higher level than Yuuya and the others. Without this impression, when Yuuya and Yui argue, they just sound like they’re throwing insults at each other (laughs). As a result, you can’t see what they’re actually trying to say. In a sense, Yui has the same kind of mental issues as Yuuya, so we chose to establish the character’s backbone by portraying her first.
– Since we’ve seen the real battlefield, we can understand Yui’s frustration with Yuuya and the others.
Inagaki: Unless we understand her backbone, she comes across not as a “tsundere” but just a “tsun”. So that people can acknowledge her as the heroine, we took great care to show her personality.
– How were you thinking to approach the fans who learned of Total Eclipse through the anime?
Inagaki: Ideally, both longtime fans and new anime fans should be able to enjoy this. We are aiming to create something that new fans can understand easily, such as including these original developments. Starting with episode 3, we will be following the original novels, but I think we’ve made something where even first-time viewers can follow the flow of the story. The original novels included a lot of logic surrounding the larger world, but this is a 20-minute episodic animation, so we’ve made the human drama the foundation.
– The character designs seem to be even more mature than the novels.
Inagaki: That is because this is fundamentally a story about life and death. In this world setting, we still use guns and other weapons that exist in real life as well, so rather than the more anime-type deformed character style, I think a more realistic approach would fit better. I wanted something that doesn’t appeal only to this era, but matches the reality of the drama.
– The first two episodes also had anime-original characters.
Inagaki: As far as their design goes, we on the anime side were the ones who created their settings. As an aside, one of the characters was intentionally made to resemble Cryska’s mood, so that it would foreshadow the rivalry between her and Yui.
– There are a lot of points to pay attention to visually as well.
Inagaki: For instance, look at the photographic processing for the pilot suits. We went through a lot of trial and error, and it sure was a lot of trouble (laughs). Also, I’d like to be able to respond to the fans’ hopes regarding the mecha portrayals. Regarding the TSFs, I’ve mainly asked for the image of “something with a lot of weight moving”, and although in a sense this is the complete opposite of that, I also want to show that exhilarating feeling. As a Tactical Surface Fighter is supposed to be based on our own tactical fighters, we can’t lose that sense of exhilaration. I would like to be able to include both of these contradictory portrayals.
– The long-awaited appearance of the BETA is also something to watch for.
Inagaki: The test footage looked so lifelike it was actually a little disgusting to look at (laughs). This time, the BETA will be drawn in CG, but the samples were even more shocking than I had imagined. I come from an animator background, so I can imagine how a picture will turn out, but with enough effort CG could actually be mistaken for the real world. I think we’ll have to adjust things so it will be suitable for broadcast (laughs).
– Starting with episode 3, the stage will move to Yukon Base, and the story will start to move.
Inagaki: Although this is a work with appealing points like TSFs and the BETA, the main focus is the ensemble love drama. Please keep an eye on the drama of the various characters. Yui and Yuuya’s collision is the start of the story, and from episode 4 on the gears will start to turn, and as we reach the turning point the show will become even more interesting. I think that this point will be easy to understand and easy to enjoy for both fans of the original and new anime fans.