Toshio Suzuki and Mamoru Oshii Conversation Fan Translation: Suzuki Toshio no Ghibli Asemamire – Episode 45: Ponyo vs The Sky CrawlersSaturday, July 11th, 2009
Last year, I was sitting in a lecture hall in Kyoto Seika university, I believe at a guest lecture Takekuma Kentaro was giving, when the speaker mentioned a radio show that featured anime director Mamoru Oshii grilling Ghibli producer Suzuki Toshio on Ponyo. I forgot about it for a bit, until all the buzz about the US release of Ponyo started heating up. I soon discovered that the radio show this conversation took place on, Suzuki Toshio no Ghibli Asemamire was available for free online! The episode in question is the August 2008 broadcast, “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea vs The Sky Crawlers.’ An mp3 was available for download on the site from here (next to 2008/8/12), and I also discovered a unofficial transcript of the conversation on this blog, so I used these resources to create an unauthorized fan translation of this radio show. If you can, I suggest listening to the radio show alongside the transcript in order to hear more of the emotion in their voices, but that is obviously optional. A dvd of over 40 hours of the radio show is also available for purchase.
The often-heated but always-friendly conversation touches a number of subjects, from Ponyo and The Sky Crawlers, to the state of the Japanese animation industry and the fate of hand-drawn animation. I hope you find it as interesting as I found it, and as usual, please don’t hesitate to contact me through comments or email with any corrections, suggestions, or questions. Also, if you are a rights holder of any of the materials that I have translated and would like the material taken down, again, please contact me through the email address found on the sidebar.
Suzuki: Have you seen [the new] Indiana Jones?
S: You should see it. Basically, it’s present-day Harrison Ford playing Indiana Jones, and about his grown-up son that he had when he was messing around with women in the past, right? So, I was wondering, why is it that everyone’s making movies these days about parents and children? Look, Miya-san is doing it, you’re doing it… If I wanted to sound like a critic, I’d look at you three and say that what’s interesting is that your movies are in the sky and in the ocean… They’re in unexplored territory.
O: That’s right.
S: So then, what’s here and now doesn’t matter to you. That’s what I found interesting. Don’t you think?
O: That’s standard, patented Suzuki Toshio sophistry of the highest order.
All: (Bursts out laughing)
O: Tell me what you personally found interesting, okay?
S: I was just thinking. It was a thought.
O: A thought? Isn’t it obvious that someone getting older is going to make stories about parents and children?
S: Yes, that’s exactly it! Miya-san is 67, right? And Spielberg is 62, 63?
O: Around 63.
S: Right? And Oshii-san, you’re 58?
Staff: So that one gets a rise out of him! (laughter)
S: So, all of you are working with the same theme, you see? The details between each film might be different, of course. But still, it surprised me. And what I was thinking was, whether your stories are in the sky, or in the ocean, or in uncharted lands, they’re all the same thing. They’re all about the afterlife.
O: Well, that’s inevitable.
O: If you’re older than 50 and making movies that don’t deal with the afterlife in some way, something’s off about you.
S: Yes, yes, yes. (Impressed)
O: I saw Ponyo the other day and figured something out. I realized, “Oh, Suzuki Toshio had absolutely nothing to do with this movie,” and I was certain about it.
Staff: Absolutely nothing? (strained laughter)
O: That was a 100 percent Miya-san movie.
S: Well, it really is Miya-san’s movie.