Cardfight Coalition

[Arc-V] An Interview with Arc-V’s Producers

This is from V Jump’s website, and is basically an overview of how Arc-V got made, along with some possibly interesting trivia.


Uchida: So I heard on Bang Bang that the animated TV series “Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V” (※1) has finally started airing!

Kasai: Nice to meet you both! First off, Mr. Sanematsu and Ms. Hirayama, tell us what jobs related to the “Yu-Gi-Oh!” animated franchise you’ve had so far.

Sanematsu: Hi! It’s nice to meet you both today, as well. I’ve been a Producer from “GX” (※2), “5D’s” (※3), to “Zexal” (※4), chiefly involved in drumming up the plans for those series. I’ve also been involved in drumming up the plans for “Arc-V”, which just recently started.

Hirayama: I participated as an Assistant Producer for “5D’s”. I learned the ABCs of making an animated series with Mr. Sanematsu’s tutelage, and now I’m making my début as a Producer with “Arc-V”.

Uchida: Mr. Sanematsu, you’re a General Producer, while Ms. Hirayama is a Producer. How do the jobs between you two differ?

Sanematsu: While we both plan the series together, I also handle consulting with other parties. Ms. Hirayama handles coordinating and managing the TV show’s production staff, if I remember correctly?

Kasai: Coming up with the plans for the show is both of your jobs, but what does that exactly mean?

Sanematsu: We talk personally with Takahashi-Sensei, the original author of the series, hammering out themes and ideas for each new series. After those are decided, we ask the Director and the Writers to put that onto paper, so to speak, while we look for Sponsors willing to fund the program.

Hirayama: After production of the show actually starts, our main jobs are approving story and script ideas run by us, checking on the storyboards, and observing the editing and post-recording of the show.

Uchida: I see. I’m so jealous that you both get to meet Takahashi-Sensei!

Sanematsu: Yes, it’s quite fun planning out the next series with Takashashi-Sensei. We’ve fleshed out many of the ideas Takahashi-Sensei has come up with.

Kasai: What kind of ideas has he come up with before?

Sanematsu: When we did it for 5D’s, there was “It would be boring if the show did the same-old, same-old Duels just standing about that the others did up until now, so why not have them fight while riding on Bikes?”, which lead us to coming up with Riding Duels. (The Japanese term for Turbo Duels)

Hirayama: With “Zexal”, he suggested “Why not have 2 protagonists that are two sides of the same coin, like in the original Yu-Gi-Oh!”, which lead us to ultimately inventing the tag-team of Yuma and Astral.

Sanematsu: A “Yu-Gi-Oh!” series usually lasts about 3 Years, so when a new show begins, we’re usually thinking about the next one. Planning for the next one usually takes about, oh, a year to a year-and-a-half.

Uchida: Eh!? That much!? Do you come up with the name and design of the main character together?

Sanematsu: Yes. Until a certain point, the main protagonists had their hairstyles based on Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Kasai: Really!?

Hirayama: Yugi’s hair is Paper-themed, Juudai’s was Rock-themed, and Yusei’s was Scissor-themed.

Uchida: Wow! I didn’t know that at all!

Sanematsu: After the hero’s design is finished, we come up with a name and the chief themes of the story, and we ask Takahashi-Sensei to draw them. Because the main heroes all have 遊 (Yuu) in them, we come up combinations that sound go, and keep those within reach.

Kasai: Do you also decide the character’s, Surname early on?

Hirayama: No, the character’s last name is one of the last things we come up with. We write a lot of surnames on the blackboards in our conference room. They’re usually based on how cool they sound, along with how easy it is for people to read, and then talk with the staff about which one fits the most.

Uchida: I see. So it takes a long time to create a new character.

Kasai: Also, tell us what you take particular care with when making the “Yu-Gi-Oh!” cartoons.

Sanematsu: That would be “Making sure the audience sees the Duel from beginning to end. Don’t omit the Duel. Show the entire Duel”. Like a real-life Duel, you begin evaluating your opponent from the start of the first turn. Because, we put the feelings into these moves, when the turn-around happens at the end, there will be a ton of excitement as those watching go “Oooh!” and “Aaah!”. By avoiding skipping things, we give a good sense of the game and story, allowing those watching to understand what’s so fun and interesting about “Yu-Gi-Oh!”.

Hirayama: In order to let them understand the structure of a Duel and how cards work, we try and encourage our Voice Actors to play the Official Card Game. If you understand how the game works, your lines will have more weight to them. The staff often holds tournaments together!

Sanematsu: “In order to clear away my grudge of all the usual times I’ve lost, I absolutely won’t lose!” is something I’ve said with vigour (laugh). Please forgive me for that much.

Kasai: Now I would like to hear, in detail, the story of the new animated TV series “Arc-V”, which started airing in April.

Uchida: This time around, there’s a new kind of battle called “Action Duels”, and an new element called “Pendulum Summoning”, what are these?

Hirayama: To start with, “Action Duels” are [Duels] where the field is even bigger than before, and you fight while riding on monsters.

Sanematsu: Instead of standing in one sport, you move around the field, with the point of enjoying the action. We decided to go for fun Duels this time around that were even flashier and more enjoyable to watch. And there’s Pendulum Summoning, an amazing technique that lets a player summon a ton of monsters, so they can turn the fight around.

Hirayama: It’s a new system that’s also been added to the Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Card Game, but we got ourselves fired up trying to think how to properly show off how intense and exciting it could be for the animated series. The scene where the two Pendulum Monsters float up into the air, forming a gateway and summoning all their friends is quite a sight! Ah, in fact, the Godfather of “Pendulum Summoning” is Mr. Aikawa from the VJ editorial department.

Uchida: Co… come again~!? If I do get some kind of achievement like that, it’ll become even harder for me to become the editor-in-chief!

Kasai: (Ignore) So the Dueling scenes this time around have been designed to be really enjoyable to watch. There’s also the new hero, Sakaki Yuya, who wants to become an Entertainment Duelist who makes people smile.

Sanematsu: Our goal of making Dueling scenes this time that can entertain the people watching on TV, is also Yuya’s goal.

Uchida: Yuya learns about Action Duels at “You Show Duel School” from a friend of his father, who is also the father of the heroine Yuzu. Where did the idea to go a Dueling cram school come from?

Hirayama: We did a School setting once before. We thought about where the kids would go once school was over, and we ended up going with cram school. I think there’s a lot of kids watching the show who also attend Cram School, so they should easily be able to relate to him.

Kasai: Could you tell us if there’s any characters you like best among the cast?
Sanematsu: I’d say mine is the hero of the story, Yuya. Usually, the hero is someone everyone loves the best, but Yuya is different form those sort of heroes, as you’re not expected to like him the same way as the normal run-of-the-mill hero.

Uchida: Eh!? Please tell us more!

Sanematsu: He’s a gentle child who is usually very quiet, unlike most heroes. He doesn’t use ‘だぜ!’ (a very brazen young male way of speaking) when he speaks. Instead of providing leadership for those around him, or reading the atmosphere, he’s a boy who gets involved with others. Those watching will be able to say to themselves “He’s just like me”, that he’s a boy without a lot of confidence, just like them, wondering how he will grow and change. I want those watching to see how he grows, and cheer him on as he does.

Hirayama: I myself am very sympathetic with Yuya’s weaker side and his sense of humanity, both good and bad. I love the entire cast as far as favorite characters go, but I really want to cheer Yuya on.

Kasai: I see. After asking you both, the show’s strong points seem even clearer! I’ll be able to enjoy watching the series even more now!

Uchida: I really want to ask you two, involved with producing cartoons, when are you the happiest working?

Sanematsu: When I get on a train and listen to a boy on the other end talking to his mother about “Yu-Gi-Oh!”. I loved cartoons about robots when I was a kid, and I enjoy seeing and hearing kids feel the same way about shows I make. When I see others entranced by them, that’s when I feel happy.

Hirayama: When I’m at events and I hear people say “This was a good job you guys did”, is when I feel my emotions swell up inside. While I do make the show with the people at home watching in mind, when I get to see people’s smiling faces at events, I’m able to understand their actual feelings, which in turn gives me strength.

Uchida: Well, finally, please give us comments and advice about “Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V”!

Hirayama: With highly entertaining Action Duels and the like, this is a show that has a lot of enjoyable elements! It still has the same charms that only “Yu-Gi-Oh!” has, including its heart-pounding Duels, but we also made sure to make a show that’s still good if you’re a new viewer that’s never watched before. Since I think this is a show that everyone can find something to enjoy about it, please look forward to watching each and every week!

Sanematsu: At any rate, please watch the show! I would like for you to throughly enjoy the world of this brand new “Yu-Gi-Oh!” series.

Uchida・Kasai: Thank you very much!

※1… The latest “Yu-Gi-Oh!” animated TV series, which started airing in April 2014. Pay attention to the Action Duels where [Duelists] run around the field with monsters!
※2… The animated TV Series “Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters GX”, which aired from October 2004 to March 2008. Yuuki Juudai and his friends were all big characters in this story set at the school called “Duel Academia”.
※3… The animated TV Series “Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds”, which ran from April 2008 to March 2011. Set in a future Domino City, it featured the cool protagonist, Fudou Yusei, who Dueled riding on a D-Wheel.
※4… The animated TV Series “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal”, which aired from April 2011 to March 2014 (though it was retitled in October 2012 to “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Second”.) It featured Tsukumo Yuma, a young boy with pluck and fortitude, who tag-teamed regularly with Astral, a mysterious being entity from another reality. They fought side by side to collect the 99 Number Cards.



NeoArkadia is the 2nd number of "The Organization" and a primary article writer. They are also an administrator for the forum Neo Ark Cradle. You can also follow them at @neoarkadia24 on Twitter.

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