Celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year, Toei Animation is producing Pop In Q, a completely original full-length feature film.
Pop In Q is the story of five young girls rife with emotion as they meet and try to graduate from middle school.
The Pop In Q Special Presentation on Anime Japan 2016’s Green Stage
The stage was lit up by the glamorous voice actors set to play the roles of the lead characters: Seto Asami (plays Kominato Isumi), Izawa Shiori (Hioka Aoi), Ozawa Aki (Oomichi Asahi), Tanezaki Atsumi (Tomodate Konatsu), and Kurosawa Tomoyo (Tsukui Saki).
Each of the actors on stage spoke about their characters, and since they have recently read the script, the MC asked them to briefly explain the story.
Kurosawa raised her hand energetically and confidently shouted “Great story!” Izawa replied “It’s about five girls.” Seto called it “refreshing,” and Tanezaki said it’s about “Never giving up. Also, dancing.”
Lastly, Ozawa said the story is “full of dreams.” With that, each of the five actors described the movie, inviting laughter from the crowd.
The rest of the event introduced more of the cast and crew for the movie, the newest trailer, and the latest information, all of which served to spike anticipation in the crowd of fans gathered at the Green stage.
Comments From The Stage
■ About The Characters
Seto: Kominato Isumi
Kominato Isumi is a strong-willed, competitive, and cheerful girl. I can’t tell you everything just yet, but she’s the type who keeps on overcoming her failures. She’s a very bright character.
Izawa: Hioka Aoi
Hioka Aoi is a very ‘cool’ character. She contrasts nicely with Isumi-chan. She looks like she’s aloof or standoffish, and feels like she has some communication issues.
But it’s not like she’s always sulking or anything like that. She’s almost too smart, and her head gets tangled up in all the different things she’s carrying around.
Tanezaki: Tomodate Konatsu
Everyone, call me Kona-chan, ok? Kona-chan is a cheerful but calm and easygoing girl. Of the five girls, she’s the one who makes the mood. I think she’s probably the most ‘girlish’ and most communicative of the group.
Ozawa: Oomichi Asahi
She looks like a mature young girl. She comes from a family line of martial artists, practices aikido, and so she’s a very strong. She’s been brought up very strictly, but she’s rebelling against that just a little bit by wearing a scrunchie, and wants to be a little bit cuter.
Really, she wants to become more of a ‘girl.’
So she’s got some issues, and she looks very mature and quiet, but she has a strong core.
Kurozawa: Tsukui Saki
Tsukui Saki was raised in a dance school, so that’s all she’s good at. She’s a fantastic dancer. She has a couple of communication problems, haha. One of them is that she tends to get throw herself heavily into one thing or another, then gets caught up, and eventually something backfires.
Picture this… a pain in the neck, wild hair, black tights, curves… How’s that visual? Sound good? (laughter)
(MC: Are you trying to emulate that visual today?) I’m getting there! (more laughter)
■ Reactions after the script-reading
Seto: It was nice having the chance to read the script all together. I got a grip on the ages and worldviews involved. We were planning on only reading a couple of scenes, but we got caught up in it and ended up reading it from start to finish. It was also a good opportunity to get a feel for the characters and their positioning throughout the movie.
Izawa: It’s a very different character from what I’m used to playing, so reading the script by myself I thought it would be very difficult. But feeling the emotion as we all read it together, I felt like I started to understand it.
Tanezaki: It was a good chance to really hammer down my character, and to get a feel for what the production staff wanted.
Ozawa: Being able to ask the director questions at every stage helped with the uncertainty I had of dubbing work.
Kurosawa: It’s quite common to perform while watching video. But sitting around in, I guess it was kind of like a circle shape, with other people face-to-face, really reading the script, and being able to exchange words was very big for me.
■ “Pop In Q Radio – Change The World With A Little Humor”(Thoughts after recording the first episode)
Seto: This broadcast was non-stop laughs. There were lots of segments, and little by little information was made public.
Ozawa: The highlight of the program is the overall high quality of every single segment.
■ Pop In Q Special Preview Trailer
Seto: I’m sure you will realize it as soon as you watch the trailer, but there’s an accent there. The whole movie is all in the Tosa dialect (of Japanese), so it is super difficult. It’s replete with words and phrases being used nowadays by young kids in the Kochi prefecture. I’ve never done a character with a regional dialect before, so it will be fun.
Izawa: The art is really beautiful, I think. This was my first time seeing it in color. It’s amazing!
Tanezaki: I realized that I make a lot of the same gestures as Kona-chan. They feel very hesitant. And I thought that all the characters resemble the cast members who play them.
Ozawa: It’s exciting, isn’t it?
Kurosawa: Those communication difficulties really come out, don’t they? (laughter) But it was very cute. I think if I was a guy I’d hit on my character. I love the visuals. Just watching it makes me happy. She’s cute, but also cool.
■ Message For Fans Awaiting The Official Release
Kurosawa: As are making this movie, we have to overcome many things. We also want to take a splendid trip to discover a new part of ourselves. So by all means, please join us on this journey.
Ozawa: There’s still a while to go before the release next winter, so we’re looking forward to the Machi Asobi event and the radio programs, where we will be telling you more about how fantastic this movie will be. We want to work hard for this, so I’m very excited. This movie is all about breaking through your inner walls. The story is really heartwarming, so I’m looking forward to watching it with my friends. We’re going to do our best to let you all know how exciting this movie is, so stick with us, please!
Tanezaki: I watched the preview trailer recently, and I’m getting all welled up. It’s gonna be fantastic! It reminds me a lot of myself as a third year middle schooler and third year high schooler, and the many turning points I had to go through. I’m going to bring all those feelings and memories to the forefront while making this movie.
I can’t wait to get into the studio with everyone. The release is still a ways away, so I hope you will all have high expectations and listen to the radio program as you wait for us to complete the movie.
Izawa: I’m honored that Toei Animation has entrusted us with this project on their 60th anniversary. This movie is going to be enjoyable for boys and girls, kids and adults, everyone alike. Keep your expectations high!
Seto: A story is beginning here. We haven’t yet begun recording, but starting with the script reading, we the cast and staff are all very hyped up. I hope after watching the trailer you can all be as excited for this as we are. The release is not until next winter, but until then please keep listening to the radio program as we release more information.
Until that moment, we had all been facing different directions.
On that day, we had to attend our middle school graduation ceremonies.
But we weren’t all happy and cheerful about it. How could we be?
Everyone has doubts, complexes, fears about the future, about parting with your friends.
You want to run away, but you can’t.
So you have to suffer through it.
You want to change yourself, but you can’t.
You want to get through it, but that seems impossible.
You start to wonder what the point is of graduating.
Is it really necessary?
We can’t graduate!
Like that, five middle school girls who have never seen nor met one another, must each face their own graduation ceremony.
Suddenly, a twist of fate brings the five of them together, and a new chapter of their lives begins to unfold.
Planner/Production: Matsui Toshiyuki
Producer: Kanemaru Yutaka
Director: Miyahara Naoki (Dragonball Z, Pretty Cure All Stars DX: 3D Theatre)
Character Concept: Kuroboshi Kohaku (Kino’s Journey series, World Conquest Zvezda Plot)
Character Design/Art Director: Uragami Takayuki (Doraemon: Nobita’s Secret Gadget Museum, Colorful)
Concept: Toudou Izumi
Script: Arai Shuko
Background Artist: Sakamoto Nobuto
Art Director: Onishi Jou
Music: Mizutani Hiromi, Katayama Shuri
Cast: The Pop In Family
Pokon: Tanoue Marika
Daren: Hondo Kaede
Lucia: Ishihara Kaori
Rupee: Arai Satomi
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