【interview】Made in Abyss Director Masayuki Kojima 2022.8.28

Made in Abyss

The second anime in the series, Made in Abyss: Golden Land of the Rising Sun, is attracting a lot of enthusiasm from anime fans. This work, with its detailed direction and emotionally-charged depiction, retains the power of the original work by Akihito Tsukushi. The film is directed by Masayuki Kojima.

This time, the first season in 2017, the two-part compilation theater version in 2019, and the theater version of Made in Abyss: Deep Souls in 2020.We interviewed director Kojima, who worked on the entire series. We asked him about the appeal of the girl Riko, the robot Reg, Nanachi from “narehate,” and the characters Vueco and Fapta, who have appeared in the second season. He also talked about the director’s influences on animation and his approach to his work.

Quotes 声優men


The market in “Narehate” is like a Middle Eastern bazaar or an American alley.

    Vueco and Ilmuy. The influence of this water…

-This second season is also great about the opening. I feel that as I follow the story, I can see the opening with a different feeling for each episode.

The opening was left entirely up to Takushi Koide, the production director. I think he was able to strike the right balance, and I am very satisfied with the result. If you have read the original story, you will be able to appreciate some of the scenes, but even if you haven’t read the original story, you will still be attracted to the opening.

-The music accompaniment by Kevin Penkin is also a hot topic, isn’t it?

The music is basically left to Kevin. The reason for this is that he himself is an avid fan of “Abyss” (laugh). For the second season, we were planning to use some of the songs from the first season. For the second season, we were planning to use songs from the first season, so we had discussed at the beginning that it would not be a problem even if the number of new songs was small. However, he has a deep understanding of the work, so he created a variety of music for us. Abyss is a story that makes you want to create as much horrifying music as you want. But I wanted the audience to feel the energy of “narehate village” itself. For example, there is an action scene in which Oogazumi appears and the “narehate” fight, which I interpreted as a festival for the “narehate village. I asked Kevin to compose a straightforward and easy-to-understand festival song (laugh).

“Nanachi” and “Majikaja. Majikaja showed us around the “village of narehate.

Abyss is also wonderful in the way it depicts the characters’ physiology, such as eating and defecating, as well as their gazes and smells. How do you think about this kind of physicality in your approach to this series?

The original work itself is a work that places importance on the physicality and physiology of the characters. When I think about food, I feel that if I don’t depict even a single ingredient in a realistic manner, I would deviate from the original story. I felt that “Made in Abyss” would not be “Made in Abyss” if I did not depict the specifics, even in areas not directly related to the story. So I feel that only by properly depicting smells and physiological factors can we create a sense of reality.

-The scene where Rico has diarrhea and the scene where he eats at Moogie’s restaurant were both humorous and concrete. The mysterious heat of the market scene is also impressive.

Thank you. I imagined the market in “Narehate’s Village” to be like a Turkish bazaar or the backstreets of the old Ameyoko district in Ueno. I hope you can feel that kind of unique atmosphere.

              bazaar                    Ameyoko                        

A voice actor who has individuality and charm in his voice has persuasive power and presence.

-The voice actors who play Riko, Reg, and Nanachi, Mimu Tomita, Mariya Ise, and Shiori Izawa, are all impressive, but from the director’s point of view, what do you think of their postrecording?

The three of them have already grasped their roles without me having to say a word, so the recording went very smoothly. I think she was still in high school when she played Riko in the first season, but I thought she had excellent intuition even then. I was worried before the recording whether she would be able to naturally become Riko, but after the test, I soon realized that my fears were unfounded (laugh). ise-san and Izawa-san also did a good job in their roles as Reg and Nanachi.

Rico and Vueco. The two actors’ theatrical skills are also appealing.

-What do you think about the appeal of the characters from the second season?

I am very glad that we chose Yuka Terasaki to play Vueco. She is a very talented person, and she is able to instantly grasp what we are looking for and execute it. Vueco also narrates this time, and I thought that the second season would not be complete without her presence, and I think that as a result, she released an attractive presence. Also, we decided on Misaki Hisano for Fapta after an audition. During the audition, I thought that if I could get her to play the role, she might be able to transform Fapta. However, it was an unknown. I wanted to have the same person play both Illmuly and Fapta, because Fapta has to express a lot of emotions. I found her voice so appealing that both Tsukushi and I recommended her. It must have been difficult for Ms. Kuno, but in the end, thanks to her, Fapta became a character with a wide range of emotions.

-Again, are there any requirements for voice actors that the director finds appealing?

In a word, personality. To put it another way, I am attracted to people whose voices surprise me even if they can’t act. Of course, it is important that the voice fits the work, but that is not the primary factor. If the voice is appealing, the character will naturally become more convincing. I am more attracted to voice actors who have that kind of presence.

Think about how you can be more drawn into the story.

Nanachi and her best friend Meethi. They are good friends and it’s sad.

-You have been directing animation since the 1980s. What was it that inspired you to get into animation?

Well, I think it was mostly my love of animation and movies from a young age. When I think about my generation, Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata were making and showing movies, so I guess you could say that seeing their works in theaters with my own eyes was my motivation. When I was a child, I had a vague idea that animation was just pictures and could not match the power of live-action. But when I saw the works of Mr. Miyazaki and Mr. Takahata, I realized that reality exists as a grammar of animation. I felt that animation had a power that could not be captured by live-action. I discovered this when I was in high school and decided I wanted to be involved in this world.

-That’s amazing! So you have been paying attention to the direction of images since then, right?

I don’t think I was able to verbalize it. But I still have the feeling I had at that time. In the case of animation, as in the case of manga, the amount of information is controlled through abstraction, including the people and backgrounds. I was thinking about how to make the cut and how to make it more appealing, and what angles to use to draw the viewer into the story. I enjoyed thinking about these things and was curious about them.

-So you have continued to be influenced by the works of directors Miyazaki and Takahata?

That’s right. I really learned a lot from Takahata-san’s works in particular. He is not a person who can draw. But all of his works are symbolic of Mr. Takahata. The reason why this is possible is because the creator has a clear idea of how he perceives the characters in his works. From that aspect, I learned and came to understand that this is what directing is all about.

-What are some of the challenges you would like to take on in your own work in the future?

To be honest, there is nothing specific that I want to do. But every time I make a film, I feel that I could have done more. All the works I have been involved in so far have been a repetition of this. If “Abyss” were to continue, I wanted to do what I couldn’t do in the first season in the theater version, and what I couldn’t do in the theater version I did in the second season, so if there is a third season, I would like to do what I couldn’t do in this second season.

 The destiny of Vueco is also worth paying attention to.

-The third season of “Made in Abyss: Golden Land of the Rising Sun” is about to reach its final stage. Please tell us what you would like us to pay attention to.

Whenever I work on an anime that has an original story, I always have the image of translating the original story. With “Abyss,” in particular, I am doing my best to bring out the charm of the original work to the fullest extent. I hope that everyone will accept it. It is not a work that has all the answers, so I would be happy if everyone could enjoy it through their own insights.

-Lastly, what position does this series occupy in your career as a director?

I really feel that I have found a work in which I can give my best when I receive this original story. It is a work in which I can bring out 100% of my accumulated know-how, and I would like to continue expressing the world of “Abyss” and its charms.


Thank you for watching. See you soon!

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