Tomonori Sudo Interview @ Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel Premiere
On November 3, Aniplex held the North American premiere for the first film in a three part trilogy, Fate/stay night [Heaven's Feel] THE MOVIE I. presage flower at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Heaven's Feel is the third and final route of the original Fate/Stay night visual novel released in 2004. Learn a little about the history and the creation process of the film as we briefly chat with Director Tomonori Sudo (Sudou).
T-ONO: How does it feel to be back in Los Angeles for a major movie release?
Sudo: Two years ago when I came here for Anime Expo, I was here as the Character Designer for Unlimited Blade Works (UBW). While I was here, I was able to meet the fans for the first time. Seeing their reactions was new and interesting for me. Now that I am back as the Director for Heaven’s Feel, I am looking forward to seeing their reactions to the film.
T-ONO: Have you had the opportunity to see the fans lined up outside?
Sudo: Right now the line is probably a lot longer than when I first saw it. When I originally heard there were that many seats in this theater, I was very surprised. I am glad so many people came here to see Heaven’s Feel.
T-ONO: You’ve had a very prolific career so far, often working as a character designer, an animation director, and also as a director on the same project. Can you tell us a little bit about what it’s like balancing the different roles?
Sudo: At the beginning when I was a character designer, essentially I took orders from the director and animation director for direction on how to draw the characters. As an animation director when it comes to Type-Moon works, I am continuously handed materials and key animation for review. As a Type-Moon fan, I ask myself at a particular scene how will the be character portrayed; what will the character’s expression be? I will try to fix those character expressions so when they appear on screen, they will match. As a director, I am the last person to review the material. Most of the time I trust the screen and animation directors to do their best assembling everything together into multiple layers. When I see the semi-final product, I will try to fix stuff to make sure that character expressions are correct. I am using my experience as an animation director to perform my duty as a director.
T-ONO: Since working on various titles such as Kara No Kyoukai and Fate/Zero, what have you learned while working on those projects that you were able to apply to Heaven’s Feel?
Sudo: When it comes to Type-Moon works, I have been working with them for a very long time and not just me personally but, the animation studio Ufotable. Ever since we worked on Fate/Zero, we already established many of the necessary preparations to make Heaven’s Feel. Starting from there, we already had multiple channels of communication with the staff to make sure that they can do the best that they can. Also, because we had experience working on the previous titles, we were able to identity different areas we could improve on, such as maybe we can do better with this type of facial expression. We are constantly trying to improve ourselves and our work so please look forward to our films with Heaven’s Feel.
T-ONO: Were there any types of pressure that you felt leading the project as this is the first time Heaven’s Feel has been adapted as an animation?
Sudo: Being a long time Type-Moon fan, I played through all three routes for Fate/stay night and my favorite route is Heaven’s Feel. In addition, Sakura is my favorite heroine.
It’s been awhile since Ufotable got the offer to make Heaven’s Feel. When we found out that we were making Heaven’s Feel, I volunteered myself to be the director. I compiled a plan together with the staff and showed it to the original author, Kinoko Nasu from Type-Moon to make sure this is how I want to do Heaven’s Feel. Obviously there are some difficulty adapting certain parts, but for me, It’s a long time dream and I have the opportunity to express it.
T-ONO: We noticed from the trailer the animation looks smoother than what we have seen in the past. Can you tell us a little bit about how this was achieved?
Sudo: With the UBW TV series, we were able to achieve a high quality level of animation with a lot of impressive action scenes. So for Heaven’s Feel, I actually asked the director of UBW, Takahiro Miura to do the storyboarding for the action sequences. Miura-san presented us with storyboards that were even better than UBW. Everyone on the animation team followed Miura’s example and came together to work even harder, such as creating more detailed backgrounds, and made sure that they were able to achieve better animation together.
T-ONO: Finally a message for the fans who will be watching this movie in the US?
Sudo: Everyone has waited for Heaven’s Feel for a long time, even in America, and finally we are able to release Heaven’s Feel. Heaven’s Feel is the last route out of all three. With Fate/stay night we have the Saber route and now we have the Sakura route. We finally get to express what is really hidden, the secrets behind the entire story of Fate/stay night. Fans can look forward to finally finding out the true hidden secret.