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Interview with Darker than Black director and creator Tensai Okamura from presepe.jp 
1st-Apr-2007 01:06 am
Dtb normal
Very loosely translated from ttp://www.presepe.jp/m44/sp/id/fqfANnHR_UY%253D

Slightly interesting bit from the blurb before the actual comments:

"Hei encounters many kinds of people in the story. A female researcher running away from her life, a blind girl, and a middle-aged man who believes only in money after having lost his ability to love. While each of them embraces the darkness in their own hearts, they are nonetheless struggling, and living. Through dealing with all these people, gradually a change starts taking place in Hei as he develops feelings of sympathy for his targets, feelings of guilt, and feelings of distrust towards The Organisation.
Eventually the bonds between Hei and the people around him slowly firm up, forming a loose pseudo-family around him."

Interview with director Tensai Okamura
Accessed April 01 2007

Summary: A bit about why the director made certain decisions.

--The title "DARKER THAN BLACK -Kuro no Keiyakusha-", when translated directly means "darker than black" (nb: they're talking about the English), but could you tell us why you decided to give it this title?

Okamura: It somehow ended up that the "Kuro no Keiyakusha" part would be included somehow or another. I actually wanted to have the title to be (Hei's) codename "BK201", but I got told "it's too weak as a title" and so it instead ended up having "DARKER THAN BLACK" which was the idea of Takeda-san from MBS*.
I actually said that "I don't really like having English text and a colour nobody really understands" but the moment I came out with this it turned into "Oh, this is good", so (laughs). I can agree with it (laughs).

*Seiji Takeda, executive producer at MBS (Mainichi Broadcasting Station), behind many MBS anime including SEED, Code Geass, Blood+, FMA, Ayakashi Ayashi etc.

--How did "Darker than Black" come about?

Okamura: I kind of wanted to do a story with modern Tokyo as the setting at least once, and I also thought about doing something with spies in it so this story got created.
More than, say, 007 and Hollywood blockbuster-esque spy battles, I did have this thing about wanting to do realistic spy battles.

--The main character is a spy but his outside appearance is that of a Chinese university student?

Okamura: Rather than a spy, he's more of an assassin. Even as a student the bit about him being Chinese is just an official title, but what nationality or race he really is is a mystery.
As for Hei as a person, I wanted it so that his exterior face is that of a nice young man of good character, someone with that unpolished/rugged feel. The story might be containing many stories where he tricks certain people who've got a secret and are trying to escape with it, and extorts information from these people.
In the process, however, he manages to interact with these people he's cheating and starts wavering with the thought of "Does this guy really deserve to be killed".

--Please tell us about this character "Yin". What relation does she have to Hei?

Okamura: The details of exactly what changes Yin might go through, I'm afraid, can't be released yet. Right now she's a character with no personality, but the stories about her will probably be about how she somehow or another manages to start returning to being human.

--About Iwahara Yuji-san who's doing his first job as original character designer for an anime here, tell us about the charm of his characters.

Okamura: Previously he had drawn this manga for a game called Koudelka (nb: Iwahara did the designs for the original game too), and when I read it for the first time I was left with the impression that this person's drawings are pretty interesting. It's like manga, but the characters can be animated realistically and I thought they were extremely suited as characters for an anime, so I thought someday I'd like to work with him.

--Please tell us your intentions behind making this have a bi-episodic structure.

Okamura: Please think of it as a 1-hour drama spread over two episodes. If you're forced to finish one story in 30 minutes the episode finishes before you're really able to delve into the character, so I made it into a bi-episodic structure. There's hilarious stories and detective tales and so on, so each episode can end up being about completely different things.

--Tell us about Kanno Yoko-san who's in charge of the music.

Okamura: I actually had requested something like folk music from the 70s, but she produced was quite like fusion music. It was pretty awesome how while weaving in romantic tunes and more hard beats with more muddled sort of stuff she managed to really expand the worldview of this anime. I think she brought out this sense of something like "darkness with an element of transparency" really well this time around.

--It appears a lot of time was spent going location-hunting since Tokyo is the backdrop for the anime, so what sort of places did you visit?

Okamura: We ended up in all sorts of places. Episode 1 and 2 spans from Shinjuku to Ookubo (nb: which is in Shinjuku?). Although quite a bit of courage was needed to photograph the police station (laughs).

--Please tell us what detective shows or films you were influenced by.

Okamura: The movie I've been most interested in recently (?) would have to be Munich*. With regards to "Darker than Black" though, I was influenced by stories from way back to around the 70s, stories of wild youths such as in Kizudarake no Tenshi** and Kogarashi Monjirou***.

*By Steven Spielberg. Only released in Japan on the 4th of February.
**A late-night Japanese TV drama that aired from 1974 to 1975 on NTV. It follows the life of Osamu Kogure and Akira Inui as they rebelled against authorities or solved problems and so on, with a sort of theme each episode.
***Originally a novel by Saho Sasazawa that was adapetd into an action-oriented film in 1972 as well as a TV drama in the same year. It's about Monjirou who roams around after leaving his family at the age of 10.

--Any final message you may have?

Okamura: I think you'll be able to see pretty big-boned* drama unfold here, which is something you don't see very much recently. Also, there's the appealingly evil part of the double-faced Hei as well as the side of him that is worried about it - if you could see it while feeling a bit of empathy for Hei then I would be most pleased!

*He literally says "骨の太い". I don't know whether this euphemism is intended to be translated directly.

Comments and corrections are welcome.
This interview may be posted anywhere in any form without need for credit.
15th-May-2007 12:25 am (UTC)
Thanks for the translation! I recently got into this series, so it's great to be able to read some background info on the show. ^_^
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