In Memory of Screenwriter Takeshi Shudo (Shin Bungeiza)

On October 29th 2010 at 4:03 AM (JST), precisely 7 years ago, it was announced that Takeshi Shudo had passed away. He was the screenwriter of franchises such as GoShogun, Minky Momo, and some obscure little thing called Pokémon among others. A remembrance event was held at the Shin Bungeiza movie theater in Ikebukuro on June 25th 2011. This is a translation of a fan’s write-up of this event. She is a self-described older lady that has been an anime fan since the original airing of Space Warrior Baldios, for which Takeshi Shudo also did screenwriting. She runs a fan site specifically dedicated to Baldios, and goes by the alias Pajata.

Unless noted otherwise, any outgoing links in this article lead to untranslated Japanese resources. When full names are not referenced, the original article uses last names. In this translation full names are written in English order, last names referenced by the event guests are replaced with the corresponding first name, and last names referenced by write-up author Pajata are left as last names. I have added extra context notes not contained in the original article which can be found at the end.

Shin Bungeiza Anime Style Selection Vol 16
I went to the remembrance event for screenwriter Takeshi Shudo.

This was the remembrance event for Takeshi Shudo, who passed away in October 2010.
“In Memory of Screenwriter Takeshi Shudo”
I arrived at Shin Bungeiza at the event’s starting time, June 25th 2011 (Saturday) 10:30PM.

Originally this event was scheduled to take place on March 2011, but due to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, the event got postponed.

I didn’t take any notes so all of this is written from memory.
There are probably many discrepancies with what was actually said at the panel.
Please think of this as an experience viewed through Pajata-tinted lenses.


Timetable

  • Sengoku Majin GoShogun all episode previews screening
  • Panel with Kunihiko Yuyama, Mami Koyama, Nozomu Takahashi, Yuuichiro Oguro
  • Sengoku Majin GoShogun Movie Special screening
  • Magical Princess Minky Momo: La Ronde in my Dream screening
  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes: My Conquest is the Sea of Stars screening
  • Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back screening

Up to the last minute I didn’t know if I’d make it in time to get an entrance ticket that day.
A few days ago the advance tickets were sold out.
I was pretty anxious but I was able to purchase ticket 143.
Upon entering, I also received a specially compiled remembrance anthology (Not for sale. 31 pages. In Memory of Takeshi Shudo All Night Executive Committee Publication).
The GoShogun previews screening made me feel super nostalgic.

The previews got progressively sillier but as I kept watching, by the last preview I realized that it had concluded seriously (via Sabarath’s narration).

Next was the main event: the panel.
It started with each panelist introducing themselves and describing their relationship with Shudo.


Nozomu Takahashi

  • I was in charge of Takeshi’s novels for Animage.
  • We had a shared feeling of wanting to inform later generations of Takeshi’s work, and organized this event for this purpose.

Yuuichiro Oguro

  • Since the decline of Yamato and Gundam in the mid-80s, Takeshi was a writer of remarkable creativity that pushed the anime world further.

Kunihiko Yuyama

  • I have fond memories of studying films with Takeshi at this very venue, Ikebukuro Bungeiza. I’m honored that this event is hosted here.

Mami Koyama

  • I have worked with Takeshi since Isabelle of Paris. Until then, there were many actresses that were merely cute like the modern-day AKB48 idols. Those actresses were sought only for their cuteness factor. Isabelle of Paris is a drama series concerning the sociable main character Isabelle, who is a strong, self-sufficient woman. I learned a lot from this role and my versatility as an actor widened. Takeshi is one of the individuals that has influenced me the most.

Afterwards, at first one by one each person recounted their individual experiences with Shudo but different panelists would chime in from time to time. It eventually became a discussion among the guests. Hence, as best as I can remember I have listed their respective remarks in bullet point form.


Kunihiko Yuyama

  • The first job I had working with Takeshi was a fairly old work called Baldios. Getting cut off at the first half of the two part story was earth-shattering. (I think he’s talking about Prelude for Destruction) [1]
    The first time I was in charge of both storyboards and episode direction for one of Takeshi’s scripts was for the second half of a two part story. (I think he’s talking about Resurrected Demon) [2]
    Although that was the first time I adapted Takeshi’s script into storyboards, I really felt that there was a unique tempo that no other screenwriter had.

  • After that was GoShogun. I am considered to be the director but that’s a stretch. There were exactly three episode directors [3] so that was the dynamic with which it came about… and next was Momo. It was after this point I began to talk regularly with Takeshi.

  • A lot of time passed since Momo until Pokémon but this franchise was something with cute pictures and a journey that’s not serious. However, there were moments with deep underlying themes, and so I thought that this aligned well with Takeshi’s prior work. I requested that he be the project’s chief writer. I gave it a shot and much of the game’s staff had seen Momo, so those circumstances helped.
    His condition worsened and he eventually resigned from the position but I would plead with him “just one more time” and challenge him. For various reasons, in the end it didn’t work out. This sort of thing happened about 3 times over these past 2 to 3 years.

  • I hear that the five members of GoShogun were modeled after actual people. (Continuing the story about Koyama’s studio recording for GoShogun)
    The illustrations weren’t ready in time so we later matched them to the movements of the actors’ mouths. Overall it was fine doing it just once but it was unnatural due to things like the timing of breaths taken in between lines.
    There were also times when we re-recorded lines.

  • In the script for the final episode of GoShogun, for the last scene “the ultimate beauty of space” was written. No one would understand what that meant if they were told something like that. When I asked Takeshi about it he just told me “do it properly” and so I was left with that kind of a feeling.

  • We’re people that like to get together and wail noisily. So for the singing scene in the last episode the staff got together and sung. That time was really fun for everyone. This was evident upon hearing Takeshi’s loud voice.
    (ref. The Art of Creative Writing. Why not screenplay? Entry #58: The end, last episode, and extension of “Minky Momo”)

  • He would tell me that we’d have a work meeting in his hotel room. But instead of talking about work we would end up talking entirely about movies. He was someone who was always curious about what others were making.

  • There was an episode director named Shohei Ishida. (Shohei Ishida served as the episode director for Baldios for episode 25 ⟨The Gattler assassination plan (written by Takeshi Shudo)⟩ and episode 30 ⟨The day the earth became barren⟩)
    Like Takeshi, he passed away at a train station. His grave is located at Itou in Izu.
    Takeshi and I drove to visit Shohei’s grave but I can’t remember what we talked about over there.
    It was a pretty long drive to Itou, and despite just being us two together I can’t remember anything about it.
    In the middle of the trip, at an gas station or something like that we went to to a drive-in restaurant along the sea. All I can remember was that the food tasted great.
    (ref. The Art of Creative Writing. Why not screenplay? Entry #101: “Run, Dream Train” of “Ocean Momo”) [4]

  • (Continuing from Koyama saying “Takeshi would succumb to loneliness”)
    Indeed. In some aspects, he was someone that respected and held women in high esteem.

  • After LedaLeda 2 was in the planning stages but due to various circumstances the project vanished. [5] It would have been a story of several girls fighting with illustrations by Mutsumi. So if it did end up being made I think it would have been a success but alas.
    (At Shudo’s blog Takeshi Shudo’s box of messy documents, he published the plot and unreleased script for Leda 2)

  • I do not think there is anyone, nor do I think there will be anyone, that can replace Takeshi. Anime cannot be made just by one person, and so collectively we will continue to create anime. Takeshi in the heavens, please watch over us.

Mami Koyama

  • Takeshi’s scripts would make the actors cry or put lightly, there were a lot of retakes. Nowadays you can take a DVD and the script home, practice, and then record. However back then recording was done on analog tape so you couldn’t do this. The day of the recording it would go “Test, take 1, take 2, and then the actual performance” (my memory is a bit fuzzy regarding this part, so perhaps this is not quite what she said)
    Furthermore, we didn’t even have the completed pictures to work from. All we would have are some red and green lines that were drawn, and we would just have to know that “the red lines are character B.”
    (I think she’s talking about how back then oftentimes they would have to record using sendori) [6]
    I had to practice matching the timing to these rough pictures and then go straight into the actual performance. I’d be told “Mami, hold on” and then on the spot the lines would quickly get changed. [7]

  • The episode previews for GoShogun would get written at the recording studio. Takeshi had sharp ears, so he would hear our pointless chatter at the studio and actually use it in the episode previews. In the episode previews screening earlier today, there were parts where the content seemed weird to me. I think those parts come from the aforementioned pointless chatter.

  • (Regarding sendori)
    It was impossible to infer what kind of facial expression a character make or what kind of distance was there between two characters. There were also no backgrounds, so all I could do is think “hmm would it go something like this?” and perform. There was no other way, so (aimed towards Yuyama) I’d say “I’ll leave the rest to you.”

  • In preparation for today I read the roman album [8] for The Time Étranger.  Inside there was a proposal on which the following was written: “The End of GoShogun Proposal  Takeshi Shudo  Mami Koyama”
    It was only the proposal for the setting of the story and never got produced. The robot GoShogun would not actually appear, and it was going to be a story of the five members of the team.
    (She talked in more detail about the setting for the story but I’ve forgotten it)

  • I wrote the screenplay for Yokoso [9] for one episode only. I received positive feedback on the essay I wrote but I declined having it adapted into an episode. Afterwards, while I was staying in New York and they went to the trouble of making an international call and begged “please…” so I sent them only the plot details.
    When I came back to Japan and took a look it was completely different from what I had written. I asked Takeshi, “what the heck is this!!” He replied “well.. some things came up with the sponsors and such…”
    (At this point Takahashi asked her “Wow was the content really that dire?”)
    I’m telling you, there really wasn’t anything that extreme about it. It raised concerns about environmental issues so I wonder if it was that…
    Actually though, it really wasn’t THAT bad.
    (ref. The Art of Creative Writing. Why not screenplay? Entry #80: “Yokoso” writhing in agony) [10]

  • (After being asked by Takahashi regarding the details of how it was decided that she would sing the theme song to Momo)
    That was a request from Victor. [11]
    At that time it had not yet been decided who would play the character of Momo. I thought, “I wonder who it’s going to be?” I was going to sing the theme song so I figured they wouldn’t let me do it. But then Takeshi said, “If Mami is going to sing the song then why not let her play the role.”

  • Lately I’ve gotten a lot of narration work but if there’s a chance I’d really like to do some work in anime again. The actor’s zeal in me really wants to read aloud some lines again. Takeshi in the heavens, please guide me.

Nozomu Takahashi

  • The Time Étranger is Remy’s story. The titular robot does not appear. After the TV series, GoShogun has been presented in various other forms through novels but indeed the robot does not appear. They are stories of those five individuals. Takeshi specifically had the skill to take those characters born out of a TV series and develop them magnificently in a medium different from film or novels.

  • The reception to The Time Étranger was positive so planning began for the next title. Takeshi attended the planning meeting but in the end it did not come to fruition.
    Takeshi tried to convey the ideas and images that were in his head at the meeting but they were too vague and no one at the meeting could really comprehend what he was saying.
    (Yuyama had also attended that planning meeting and continued this discussion about the next title (but I can’t remember exactly what he said))

  • I heard the next title was going to be called Mirror’s GoShogun but this remained unwritten.

  • (Continuing from Koyama’s story about the planning of The End of GoShogun)
    The content of novel called The End of GoShogun is completely different from that plan.

  • (Aimed towards Koyama)
    Remy is kinda like Mami isn’t she.
    That came to mind as I was observing her talk up close here. Like earlier when she got angry (the moment in the discussion when Koyama was talking about how Shudo changed her script completely and she called him in protest), it was so much like how Remy would get angry.

  • Since Takeshi was an author with a connection to Odawara, several of Takeshi’s scripts and drafts are on public display at the Odawara Literature Museum. [12]
    (ref. Takeshi Shudo’s box of messy documents: It’s been a while. I’ll be healthier from now on.)
    He donated all of his scripts, drafts, and other work to the Odawara Library. [13] Anyone can see these documents if they go through the proper procedures at the facility. Although his passing was untimely, this is how Takeshi has left his work behind. Looking at it now I think it’s wonderful that he left it behind this way.
    (ref. Download Catalogue of the donated documents of Mr. Takeshi Shudo)

Yuuichiro Oguro

  • (Continuing from Takahashi’s story about Mirror’s GoShogun)
    It was decided that it was going to be announced at Anime Style. [14] The project had reached the point where the plot had been completed.
    I asked Takeshi, “so how is the project going?”
    He replied along the lines of “some work suddenly came up….” many times and the project remained stagnant.

  • Precisely a month before he passed away, an all-night event just like this one was hosted at this same venue Bungeiza. Takeshi had come to this event.
    (Shin Bungeiza Anime Style Selection Vol 11    Mai Mai Miracle and Sunao Katabuchi’s Footprints   2010/09/25)
    From the stage I caught glimpses of a face that looked just like Takeshi’s but the complexion looked off so I thought it I was probably mistaken. During the break, I went outside and he waved at me. I thought “ah-ha, it was Takeshi after all.” He went “shhh” (he made the gesture of putting his index finger to his mouth).
    I realized that he wanted me to keep this a secret so I kept it that way, and called him the next day.
    He said, “I was interested in director Katabuchi so I went.” Just when I thought “well if he’s healthy enough to come to the all night event then that’s a relief” . . .

At the end, Hiroshi Watanabe got up from the attendee seats and was called up to the to the stage (“I’ve been invited to the hotel conference too!” He got on the stage with a smile). A fierce rock-paper-scissors tournament occurred for an EP record of the Minky Momo theme song and a CD, both signed by Koyama. It ended with these presents being given to three people. Then we had an intermission before the screening of the four films.

In the passageways there were original manuscripts and related signed articles on display.

There were also posters on which the guests signed and left a message.
Attendees were also allowed to write a message if they wanted.

Red text: Thank you for Minky Momo
Sign below poster: Attendees, please leave a message.

So I also left a message.
(After the event I heard this poster was sent to his family)

Sorry for the fuzzy picture.
Handwritten text: Thank you for writing Baldios!

There was also this!!

Text: Baldios was also great. Thank you.

Oh ☆! This must be from the author of the Unaired Baldios Manga, Ryuuhi Misaki. [15]

Baldios stories haven’t really (or rather, have barely) come out but Shudo’s accomplishments in Baldios were great.


And like this, I’ve now reached the second time I’ve written about a memorial event since Haneda’s passing in 2007. [16] I shuddered at the thought of how many more times I might do something like this.

These last couple of years, I have heard of the passing of many of these kinds of people. The people who created the entertainment that would excite me back in the day. Those people whom I adored.

When Shiozawa [17] and Haneda passed away, the shock was so great that I screamed, “why!!” At that time the feeling of anger was stronger (perhaps because I was younger then). As things proceed like this, rather than some kind of resignation, I feel beaten down by the reality of the inevitable passing of these people. It hurts. Shudo is the god that created my beloved Baldios. Even if he were to appear frail, I arbitrarily thought that through some special means somehow or other he’d always be healthy!

The mood at the venue was really great. It was warm and heartrending, and the stories from all the guests about Shudo were wonderful. There were also Remy cosplayers at the venue ☆ (two of them!! One in the red fighter suit and another in The Time Étranger jumpsuit).
For all these people to gather and talk about Shudo, the absence of the man himself imparted a strange feeling. Although those thoughts were on my mind, I still laughed at the panel, had dumb conversations with the friends I went with, and hung out with them sleepily until morning. (My hips hurt -> all-nighters are rough on an old body)

Mostly the same group of people attended the wake. It’s not like I am that familiar with his work outside of Baldios and I don’t consider myself to be a super huge fan, but I still wanted to go no matter what.

After burning the incense, we all went to the trouble to get together so we proceeded to drink merrily, eat, and chat. Depending on how you look at it, doing these things in mourning dress may be considered extremely imprudent behavior. However, once you become an adult, gathering in large numbers becomes pretty difficult. “Thank you for giving us this time for fun Shudo!” I thought, as I drank at a pace faster than usual.

When a famous person passes away, typically it’s not someone with whom we feel close. It’s not like we’d particularly feel sad, right?
We feel shock and sadness upon hearing of someone’s passing because we liked that particular person. In my own way, I liked Shudo (he was the kind of person who in some way or another conveyed himself through his writing). So I do feel some sadness due to this but more than that it’s because I have consumed so much of his work.
That’s why in the end,
“Thank you”
“Thank you for writing Baldios
All I can say is this.






But… as far as the “memorial” is concerned please forgive me.

(July 2011)

Source: http://baldios.iinaa.net/see-you-syudou.html

Notes:

  1. The last episode of the TV run of Baldios is the first half of a two part story, the title of which translates to Prelude for Destruction. In the originally planned episode ordering this would have been episodes 32 (episode 31 in the TV broadcast) and 33. The second half was included on a DVD release afterwards.

  2. The first episode of Baldios for which Kunihiko Yuyama did any work is episode 21, the second half of the two part story Resurrected Demon. He did both the storyboards and episode direction for this episode. His only other involvement with the series would be doing the storyboards for episode 23, and the unaired episodes 31 (originally planned order) and 33.

  3. According to the Japanese wikipedia article for GoShogun, there were actually five episode directors including Kunihiko Yuyama himself. The others were Junji Nishimura, Jutaro Oba, Makoto Nagao, and Inui Kuniyoshi. To be fair, Inui Kuniyoshi only worked on a single episode, which was episode 4. It is hard for me to verify the actual reading of this person’s first name (I went with the most common reading) as this single episode credit is the only credit in anime or commercial media in general that I can find. I checked the end credits of episode 4 myself and indeed this person is credited with episode direction. Anyway, excluding this person and Yuyama himself the arithmetic works out.

  4. There were two Minky Momo TV series. One that started in 1982 and another that started 1991. To distinguish the two, sometimes the former is referred to as Sky Momo (空モモ) and the latter is referred to as Ocean Momo (海モモ). The referenced column entry is about episode 53 of the latter series, “Run, Dream Train”. In the entry Shudo explains the hidden agenda he had for making that episode, which was that it was an attempt to mourn the passing of Shohei Ishida through anime. To prevent worrying the rest of the production staff needlessly, he kept this a secret from all except director Kunihiko Yuyama and animation director / character designer Hiroshi Watanabe.

  5. This is in reference to a planned sequel for Leda: The Fantastic Adventure of Yohko. It seems according to this story the sequel would have had the same character designer and chief animator.

  6. For those of you that pay attention to the anime industry it comes as no surprise that missing deadlines has been a problem for a long time. If they didn’t have the animation ready for the voice actors by the scheduled recording date, then they would instead use sendori, which literally translates to line photograhpy. This Japanese article from director Tensai Okamura boils down the process as taking the uncolored genga and douga frames and using those for the photography to convey the timing necessary for recording. He notes that there are many ways to do this but outlines a more detailed step by step in his article.

  7. In Shudo’s column The Art of Creative Writing. Why not screenplay? Entry #34: In preparation for “Sengoku Majin GoShogun”, he writes about a time when he was younger and more hot-blooded. He was outraged that his script was modified for an episode of Golden Warrior Gold Lightan and demanded to speak to the episode director to find out why. That story ends in the episode director apparently dodging his arrival and the producer inviting him to have a drink. He noticed that the whisky bottle that was presented to him had “apology drink” written on it. When he asked about it, he found it hilarious and his anger dissipated immediately. The producer and him had a good time chatting about movies while drinking, and became good friends afterwards. After this story he writes about his plan to ensure that his scripts would not be altered to his dislike as the chief writer. Sengoku Majin GoShogun was his test to see if he could get away with it. He went out of his way to go to the recording studio for every episode, which some sound directors would consider overstepping his bounds. Thanks to getting the cooperation of the producers and the sound director, Noriyoshi Matsuura, he was able to revert changes made to his scripts at the recording studio or tweak the scripts to incorporate more of an ad-libbed flavor. Actually, Matsuura happily humored his requests at the recording studio. Shudo notes that the fact that the recording had to be performed before illustrations were complete unexpectedly ended up being beneficial as it helped enable this ad-libbing.

  8. Information as to what a roman album is can be found in English here.

  9. This is in reference to the TV series Idol Angel Yokoso Yoko, written by Takeshi Shudo.

  10. In the referenced column entry, Takeshi Shudo writes about the difficulties of balancing the commercial interests from various sponsors of Idol Angel Yokoso Yoko. He had been receiving a lot of pressure to get rid of the character Saki because she was a popular character that had no commercial toy merchandising tie-ins. The toy sponsors basically viewed her as nothing but a nuisance and wanted him to “kill off” (i.e. write her out) the character. He kept battling the pressures of the sponsors and continued to write his scripts as he pleased. He briefly mentions that he rewrote parts of Koyama’s screenplay to re-purpose it as a Christmas episode. This was episode 38, The day the Earth ran out of oxygen. According to Japanese wikipedia for Yokoso, due to Saki being kept in the show for so long and the production staff ignoring the desires of the sponsors, said sponsors pulled out and bombarded Ashi Productions with complaints and damages claims. Shudo was apparently unaware of how much trouble it brought Ashi Productions. Consequently, the originally planned 52 episode TV series was cut off after episode 43.

  11. She is referring to Victor Musical Industries, Inc. which since April 1993 has become Victor Entertainment, Inc. It’s a record label.

  12. The original link in the article leads to this dead link. Based on the original URL, I believe the page has been moved to the link I inserted instead in the translation text.

  13. At the end of the entries in Shudo’s column The Art of Creative Writing. Why not screenplay? he would also write a brief update on what he had been up to recently in his everyday life. In Entry #21: How did the man who hated writing learn to take hold of the pencil? Part 5, he wrote in his everyday life update that he had changed his living and working quarters from Odawara to Shibuya. Although he says there was a variety of reasons why he did so, he says perhaps the biggest reason was to organize the insane piles of work stuff that accumulated in his house while he was there. He then says thankfully the Odawara City Library proposed that they take all of his work documents as a donation. This was convenient, as he was at a loss as to how to deal with all of the stuff he’d written because he figured it would have been bad if he threw those documents away and someone took them to sell. The proposal from the library was a real lifesaver for him. By the way, I took a look at the spreadsheet (in Japanese) of their archive, and it’s as if entirety of this man’s work is being preserved at that library. It is staggeringly comprehensive. Not only does it contain the screenplay he wrote but also raw drafts, project proposals, audio recording scripts, novels, magazines, VHS tapes, LDs, beta tapes, CDs, anime settei (reference sheets), storyboards, manga, doujinshi, calendars, posters, movie pamphlets, and just about anything else connected to his work. According to the column entry, Shudo even donated cels (well, based on the spreadsheet this amounts to 2 Minky Momo cels and 2 GoShogun cels) of his work he just had in his possession, of which he wasn’t even sure why he had them at all.

  14. Yuuichiro Oguro is the chief editor of the once physical magazine and now online site Anime Stylewhich hosts columns from members of the anime industry. There is a ton of cool info in these creator columns that has never been translated. This includes Takeshi Shudo’s column The Art of Creative Writing. Why not screenplay? which is referenced several times in this write-up. My translation of Entry #71: Freely written, “The Time Étranger” can be found here.

  15. The original broadcast of Space Warrior Baldios ran for 31 episodes. However, 34 episodes were produced. Episodes 32-34 were bundled with the DVD release of the series. It turns out that the scripts and storyboards had actually been completed for 5 more episodes, and were released publicly via the appendices of anime magazines. Ryuuhi Misaki (岬龍飛) is a member of the doujinshi group Kyoutou Sanseisha (共闘三世社), and author of the unofficial manga adaptation of episodes 35 to 39 based on those scripts and storyboards. When completed, individual chapters were sold at the summer and winter Comiket. On his blog post he writes “actually, Kyoutou Sanseisha was a doujinshi group established specifically to produce comic versions of the unaired episodes 35-39 of Badios.”

  16. Kentaro Haneda was in charge of the music for Space Warrior Baldios. He passed away on June 2nd 2007. Four days after his passing, Pajata put up an article on her site to commemorate his work in Baldios.

  17. The legendary voice actor Kaneto Shiozawa, who passed away on May 10th 2000.

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