From its sheer size to its plethora of high-profile guests, ACen has blown away all of my expectations.
I’ve had my fair share of convention experience in the past, usually to great success. However, my time at ACen this year far exceeded any con experience I’ve had before. As such, I wanted to share some of my favorite experiences from ACen 2019.
Towards the start of the year, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime dominated discussion. Hence, giving them their own panel was a huge draw for me this year. Among the ACen 2019 guests were assistant director Atsushi Nakayama, Animation Director and Character Designer Ryouma Ebata, and J-Pop artist TRUE, who performed the second ending theme for the series.
The group answered a series of questions submitted prior to the panel.
Why did you get into the anime industry?
Nakayama stated that anime from his youth such as Star of the Giants and Mister Ajikko served as inspirations. In particular, he cited the peculiar taste in direction of these series as what grabbed his attention.
Ebata, on the other hand, said that he had watched a behind the scenes program on Studio Ghibli. The program gave him the idea that being an animator might be cool, and so he chose to pursue that path.
As for TRUE, she admitted that she had started in a different genre, but discovered that doing work for anime would give her longer career longevity.
What are some big challenges that you’ve faced in this industry?
Nakamura was surprisingly positive, stating that he had not faced any extreme hurdles as of yet. Ebata, meanwhile, lamented the need to make compromises and deliver an imperfect work. TRUE, as a music artist, stated that set goals don’t really exist in her line of work. Instead, the challenge comes from having to feel your way through and finding something that works.
Did the manga adaptation play a role in how the anime looked, or did you stick strictly to the light novel designs?
Nakamura stated that he liked the original designs a lot. However, the world of ReSlime is vast and has a lot of ground that needs to be covered. As such, they took inspiration from both sources to draw out the best designs possible. Ebata also mentioned that it’s not good to deviate in theory. However, a slight de-evolution in style occurred in the anime, though he declined to give more specifics.
What was your favorite episode of the series?
Nakamura picked episode 13, “The Great Clash.” In particular, he cited Gabiru’s battle with the Orc general and how much he liked the key animation work of Takashi Tomioka in that scene. Ebata favored the first episode, “The Storm Dragon, Veldora.” He greatly enjoyed the reincarnation scene and how the Great Sage character was utilized.
Around this time, Miho Okazaki, the voice of Rimuru, also joined the panel. As for her favorite episode, she picked episode 8, “Inherited Will,” and said that the scene where Rimuru absorbs Shizu proved quite moving.
Who is your favorite character?
Nakamura’s pick was Shion, Rimuru’s ogre secretary. The “looks capable but causes lots of trouble” trope appealed to him quite a bit, especially with her “cooking.” Ebata’s answer was a bit…simpler: “Rimuru’s slime form, because it’s the easiest to draw.” As for Okazaki, she has a particular fondness for Gobuta.
Is there a difference between US and Japanese fans in that regard?
Both Nakamura and Ebata expressed shock at how popular the show was in the US. Nakamura added that he hadn’t even been to a closed event in Japan as big as ACen and speculated that it might even be more popular in the US. Ebata, meanwhile, simply offered his gratitude for such a strong turnout.
Overall, a rather enlightening panel, as were many others that we’ll be covering soon from ACen 2019.