Emru Townsend: One thing that everybody talks about with Mind Game is that there's a lot of different styles. There's the rough drawn style, there's the computer animation, and there's some that looks very cartoony—solid lines, very vivid colours. Was it decided at the beginning that it would have all these different styles?
Masaaki Yuasa: From the beginning, I wanted to use different techniques, as you can see. Because of the comic book, it was important to use a rough style and [making it look] spontaneous was important. So I wanted to use different styles, not only one style. It looks spontaneous and rough, but overall it has a structure. It makes sense.
I didn't want [my work] to consist of one technique, or one issue, or one thing. I want to balance everything. Mix it up.
I'd like to ask a few questions about future projects. Number one is Genius Party, which is supposed to be with a collection of different people working on it. What is it about, and what is your contribution about?
The original theme of the project is about energy. But I think that not many of the people are following this theme anymore. There are about ten people, or maybe a few more, and we're making short films. The style of the film is an omnibus, and we're trying to make two complete film lengths. At the end, we'll just shuffle the different short films.
The theme is energy—as in oil or gas, or electricity... in what sense do you mean energy?
You can think of the energy of people, or of those fuels. It's big. It depends on each one of the animators.
When is it supposed to come out?
I'm not sure about this, because my part is almost complete, and I know that a few other animators are also finishing, but I hear that there are other animators who haven't started. So I'm no really sure. So when everything is ready, that's the date it's coming out [laughs].
Who else would you like to collaborate with in the future? Animator, writer, manga artist, anybody. Even a musician. Any kind of artist you'd like to collaborate with.
My main interest is in evolving my technique, so I'm not very interested in working with someone who's a well-known artist or something. For my standard, I just want to change and make it better.
Instead of working with somebody who works really well, I just get some ideas through this kind of person and make something in my style. That's what I prefer. I'm more interested in producing by myself.
What types of themes do you want to explore?
I'm searching for a theme now. I was drawing a lot before, and then this time I was working as a director. So now I want to make something different through the story, not from the drawings. So if the story context is different, you can fascinate people through the story itself.
What do you think of anime's new popularity in North America?
I wasn't sure about this popularity of [Japanese] animation, and I didn't know much about it, but when I came over to join the festival I saw the reactions from the audience, and I feel it's more popular than in Japan. And I feel so happy that people enjoy Japanese animation so much.