I’ve made numerous references in the past to a certain Taniguchi Goro interview from an Animerica magazine back in 2003 (the magazine is now long discontinued) and it would be easier to have it easily on-hand. It’s a highly informative article in a number of ways, but especially in how it links together Infinite Ryvius and s-CRY-ed, and gives food for thought about how Code Geass could be third in the series of spiritual sequels, so I really wanted to share it with anyone who might enjoy it. Plus, it will let you look even closer at s-CRY-ed than you probably imagined, and give you more insight to Goro’s brilliance!
I will first mention that the article begins with a brief page ‘explaining’ s-CRY-ed and it’s creators, and they are really trying to push that the whole dudes-with-superpowers setup is ‘a lot like X-men.’ If you’ve seen the show, you know that this is a pretty damn surface-deep comparison. But it nonetheless pervades the interview. The interviewers are Urian Brown and Patrick Macias (who writes the blog An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla and has apparently written some books – I’ve heard the name, but never read any of his stuff. He should get that trackback, so he can tell me if I should take this down.)
Animerica: What does the name s.CRY.ed mean and why is it spelled that way?
Goro: s.CRY.ed is basically a combination of one English word and Japanese. The first lower-case “s” is a representation of the Japanese word “su” which means something in it’s natural form and not artificial. “Cry” as we know comes from the English, and the last “ed” represents a person. With all the combined, we wanted to express the idea of how people react or interact when they are in their most natural state. We came up with this word when the project was in its early phase of production. It was just a kind of name that was given to be temporary, but we ended up using it for the title.
Animerica: What are some of the inspirations behind s.CRY.ed?
Goro: This is kind of complicated, but I initially came up with the idea for s.CRY.ed while I was still working on Infinite Ryvius, which was broadcast in 1999, the end of the 20th century. One of the main themes in Ryvius that we wanted to explore was the various ways in which people communicate with each other. But for s.CRY.ed, the idea we came up with was what would happen if people were already set in their ways, instead of exploring ways to communicate with others. It was a more individualistic, personal way of thinking. I figured that people would be able to assert themselves from the beginning, that this that this would be an interesting way to open the 21st century, instead of exploring ideas about how people adapt to a situation there they have to communicate. But this idea also comes with different risks to one’s way of life. So s.CRY.ed is kind of a branching off of ideas from Infinite Ryvius.
Animerica: The superpowered characters in s.CRY.ed are a bit like American superheroes. Have you read many American comics?
Goro: [LAUGHS] I’m amused by this question. Sure I’ve read the standard American superhero comics like Spider-Man, Batman, and whatnot. But if that’s what you saw in the characters in s.CRY.ed, it wasn’t intended deliberately that way… although it is possible that there could be a sub-conscious influence. I was an assistant director on a lot of robot shows and mecha projects, and I think a lot of my techniques come from that.
Animerica: In s.CRY.ed people who get superpowers are persecuted for them. In most stories about superpowers, the characters are celebrated for their abilities. Was this an intentional twist to turn this idea around?
Goro: I guess it ties into my answer to your second question. It is not that we wanted to depict people with superpowers in an ironic light, but rather the idea of the whole story is to see if individuals were placed in a setting where they need to assert themselves regardless of whether their abilities are accepted or praised by society. A lot of this can be seen in male occupations and trades. Some individuals want to think that they are better than the next person. And some people are willing to do something that is not necessarily accepted by society.
Animerica: there is a lot of intense human drama in s.CRY.ed as well as action. Were you satisfied with the balance between the two in the final product?
Goro: Its a difficult question because I’m not capable of viewing my own work objectively. But I can say that everything that I have personally intended is represented in the final product.
Animerica: The organization that hunts down the superpowered characters is called HOLY and their uniforms look like religious robes. Are you trying to make a statement about religion?
Goro: It has nothing to do with religion. They’re just uniforms. The design cane from a number of research materials we were looking at that were then merged together. The whole purpose of the uniform is simply to be able to distinguish the members of HOLY. It is more like a prison outfit than anything else.
Animerica: What are you working on now and what are your current projects?
Goro: There are a number of projects I’m working on now. The newest one will be broadcast in Japan this fall. But because of my contract, I’m not allowed to give many details. However, I can say that it is based on a Japanese manga series and that it takes place in outer space. [DB: Planetes, obviously.]
Animerica: Are you yourself a fan of any particular anime works?
Goro: There are two artists that I’m fond of. Mamoru Oshii is one. I like his work on Urusei Yatsura, Patlabor, and Ghost in the Shell best. The other is Hayao Miyazaki, and I’m most fond of his early works, especially Lupin III and Castle in the Sky.
Animerica: What are your impressions of working at studio Sunrise?
Goro: Sunrise is a studio that wants to create a solid body of high-quality work rather than just trying to sustain business. That’s the sense I get from everyone who works there, so it’s a good environment to work in.
Animerica: How does it feel to be on the verge of having your work introduced to a larger audience?
Goro: My general attitude is that I’d like as large an audience as possible, so I’m very excited that s.CRY.ed and Infinite Ryvius are going to be released in the U.S. I want everyone in the States to be looking forward to not only these two shows, but also to more of my works to come.
I love this interview because of how Goro ties Ryvius and Scryed together. We can think of Ryvius as the building of a society – people who are thrown together and must learn how to communicate and come together to understand one another and function as a society. Scryed has the established society, but the conflict of the individual who is not ‘socially accepted’ and how they will have to deal with their individual issues within the society. I have felt compelled to tie Code Geass into this partly because it is the third work totally directed and written by Goro and, I feel, ‘his baby’ along with the others, although even Goro himself has said that R2 went in some directions he didn’t intend and wasn’t perfectly his vision like the other shows were.
But look at what we have in Code Geass – rather than the clash of individuals against society, I see it as the clash of a society against a society. It is what happens when not just individuals are put down, but a legion is put down, and that’s why it’s a powerful thought to see the ‘Zero army’ from R2 taking one giant collective stand, as one anonymous mass joined together against the oppressive society. I think that if Code Geass has met it’s full potential, it could have been the perfect third installment to Goro’s continued exploration of society’s inner-workings, but even as it is I love to think of this ‘spiritual trilogy’ as a sort of epic Taniguchi Goro master-series. Fucking brilliant man.