4. The Future of Fanworks
Although the majority of the works by Fanworks has been short animations, you also released the feature-length film “Sumikko Gurashi The Movie: The Pop-up Book and the Secret Child” in 2019, and it became a huge hit earning about 1.5 billion yen at the box office despite its medium-sized release. Is it possible that the scale of your future works will grow bigger and bigger in the future?
We are definitely planning more movie projects like Sumikko Gurashi, but at the same time working on other things as well, such as the 15-second animation series for TIKTOK we created last year. Also, there are several plans for a TV series in progress. Since the development of the internet industry has been remarkable, the society today is generally in the direction towards “establishing a world of networks”, but I would like to understand the position of each media, and continue to explore ways to make animations adequate for different platforms. I am in fact interested in the possibilities of all media forms, probably because I used to work in an advertising agency. Both having people watch our works in a theater and distributing them directly to the whole wide world on the internet have their own merit. I'd like to create animations customized for the characteristics of each media.
Occasions for releasing animations are becoming more and more diverse every day, so you need to be flexible in order to respond to the change.
Yes, that's right. It is difficult to decide the most appropriate length of a work for today’s society. Is it 15 seconds, an hour, 5 minutes or 30 minutes? We cannot possibly answer. Or maybe we shouldn't be too certain about the answer. I don’t think branding a company with, for example, the policy of only making one-minute videos believing that is the best length is the right way, because that could take away the flexibility we want. Every person has their own taste and way of feeling things, and that's true for each client and each media. Therefore, we have no choice but to do it in various forms. Although we do a lot of short animations, I feel like setting that as our selling point is kind of self-deprecating.
Fanworks is different from other animation production companies in many ways. What kind of people would you like to work with when taking on those various tasks?
I myself think I'm doing the right thing, but what I do may be a little bit different from what other Japanese companies think is right, and I kind of do that on purpose. There are those who want to do creative jobs, those who are interested in sales promotion, and those who want to do planning and public relations...the kind of work people want to do varies from person to person, and I would basically like to let them do what they prefer. That is why we are not only involved in anime productions, but also do some other things such as production investments, and we even function as a managing company to organize production committees. We are involved in the animation industry as a whole from a variety of perspectives, so we are able to offer different work styles. In short, if you are a straightforward and consistent person, you will be fine working in our company. If there's something you want to do, something you're good at and the company has a need for it, that's all that matters, so I hope to receive applications from various people.
How would you want Fanworks to be in the future where things are likely to change dramatically?