Tomonori Kogawa is a famous animator who brought us many of Sunrise’s popular mecha anime in the 1980s with director Yoshiyuki Tomino, such as Space Runaway Ideon (Densetsu Kyojin Ideon), Xabungle (Sentou Meka Xabungle), and Aura Battler Dunbine (Seisenshi Dunbine). From his outstanding sketching skills and observant eyes, he has created many unique characters and drawing methods. He is a superb animator who has influenced not just the animators in his studio Bibo, but also the hundreds of young creators who are working today. Kogawa is to release an art collection titled ‘Kogawa Tomonori Sunrise Sakuhin Gashuu (Tomonori Kogawa Sunrise Anime Art Collection)’ on 30 June 2017. This book will include numerous illustrations drawn by Kogawa, mainly focusing on the three above anime, and will be the first book to feature Kogawa as an individual.
In commemoration of this release, our friends at the website Anime!Anime! conducted an interview with Kogawa. Also at the interview was Makoto Kushida, the editor-in-chief of the book’s publisher Ichijinsha,, and the two spoke about various topics. Check out what kinds of creative thoughts the great animator has, along with his strong sense of curiosity!
[Interview/Composition: Youhei Hosokawa]
Kogawa Tomonori Sunrise Sakuhin Gashuu (Tomonori Kogawa Sunrise Anime Art Collection) Special Website
Why was it decided that this art collection would get published?
‘I’ve gotten similar offers about two times in these past two years. I also got many offers decades ago, but it never actually happened, so this time, Ichijinsha was kind enough to give it a try.’
Makoto Kushida, the chief editor of Ichijinsha’s magazine Febri
‘In the past, when I was trying to publish the book “Seisenshi Dunbine Nostalgia –Do you remember the tale of Byston Well?”, I got the chance to work with Yoshiyuki Tomino and Kogawa. The book was published in 2000, and we’ve been in touch since then, so now I finally got the chance to make an offer about an art collection.’
I see. It was finally realized. By the way, this new book is an art collection of illustrations, but I’m sure you have drawn tons of original drawings for anime. Have you gotten any offers to release an art collection of original drawings?
‘No, not really. There’s only about 20~30% of my drawings left. In the past, we had always thrown away the drawings and cels for anime. I’ve drawn many illustrations too, but there are only few preserved to this day. In fact, the illustration of Cham Huau in this new art collection, which was first used as a cover for the magazine The Television, was something that Ryoetsu Sato (the first chief editor of Monthly Newtype) had found and brought to us.’
Did you have a hard time finding illustrations to include in this art collection?
‘The illustrations ended up being the ones I had myself, and some data from Sunrise.’
‘Some of them were really big, with the size BO (1030mm x 1456mm). This is an unusually huge size for an illustration. Nowadays, we usually convert the drawings into digital data, so we brought this huge illustration to Dai Nippon Printing, and took a photo of it with the latest hundred-million pixel camera. This process took quite some time.’
Were the colors for those drawings reproduced in high-quality?
‘Yes, the staff members had planned it out thoroughly and chose the best colors.’
‘The printing director worked very hard for us, so I think the reproduction level is quite high.’
‘The skin colors are very difficult to deal with online. It gets easily affected by the nearby colors such as red and blue. When I’m coloring my illustrations, I just color it following my feelings and senses, so when I saw the printed version with some changes in color, I felt “Oh, it looks nice like that.” [laugh]’