(This interview came out shortly after the sixth episode aired.)
– How did you feel when you started Total Eclipse?
Ono: The Muv-Luv series is a world setting on an enormous scale, and this is the first anime series made from it. Yuuya is a character in Total Eclipse, but he shoulders the expectations of this entire world, so I felt a lot of pressure. I prepared for it by reading up on the original work and the world setting.
– What did you feel when you first saw actual footage from the series?
Ono: It was powerful. I was especially surprised at the weight of the TSFs. Recent robot anime seem to focus on “speedy movements”, but these were clearly heavy. They felt like real “weapons of war”. More than anything else, the weapons just feel vivid. The sound of gunfire, the light of lasers, the sensation of swords colliding . . . they all convey a sense of pain. There’s a reality there that arouses your sympathy. I think that’s the charm of TSFs.
– The use of military jargon everywhere is another charm point.
Ono: It’s tough using specialized language to argue with Yui (laughs). Particularly talking while in the cockpit, there’s a lot of messages and alerts to give, so it’s hard to put emotion into them. I hope some of that irritation gets conveyed. Also, I’d like people to pay attention to the operators’ lines. Hearing their long string of status reports is one of the true pleasures of SF anime. Completely different from the kinds of lines you put emotion into, they are the special highlight of SF.
– In episode 3, Yuuya finally appears, and the story begins to move.
Ono: Yuuya just feels very young. Yoshimune-san once told me “Yuuya is a lot like me when I was younger”, and that really stayed with me. When you’re young, you’re very brash, conceited, and you can’t see what’s around you. I hope I can bring out the embarrassing parts and the self-loathing parts that are a part of every young man.
– Yuuya’s growth is a major axis for the show.
Ono: He can’t seem to break out of his shell, and that can frustrate him. But in a way he also has a magnetic personality. He always has people close to him who can offer advice or have his back. Even in Alaska, he makes friends quickly. He’s young, green, and can’t see what’s around him, but he has a human feel to him and he can attract the people close to him. That’s a fun part of him to play.
– Episode 5 seems to foreshadow Yuuya’s growth.
Ono: He began to see himself in the Shiranui Second, and he was able to accept his Japanese blood just a little bit, showing some mental growth. On the other hand, I think it was also a scene where Yui showed off how amazing she is. She wanted Yuuya to see something in the midst of battle, so she chose to fight him on her own – she wouldn’t do that unless she can see the big picture. What Yuuya learned from the battle was that “I have to get stronger” – he can’t catch up to Yui, who sees the battle on a much larger scale. He’s still got a long way to go (laughs).
– Yuuya also seems concerned with the Scarlet Twins.
Ono: Those two are still very much a mystery, but we can slowly start to see his association with Inia. I think Inia is a type of person that Yuuya didn’t have around him. She’s the type of person who goes beyond military and work, and approaches him with raw feelings. It’s not romantic in nature, but perhaps he felt the warmth of another person.
– The series is now approaching its 7th episode, so tell us what to expect coming up.
Ono: Although the highlight of SF robot anime is the mecha battles, episode 7 features the show’s other draw, the appeal of the girls. You can pay special attention to the process of Yuuya and Yui’s hearts growing closer. Yuuya is pretty thick, and Yui has the bashfulness of a good old-fashioned Japanese woman. Their feelings run along parallel lines, never getting closer, so please enjoy their frustration (laughs).