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Anime Boston Interview Series: Shingo Natsume

By: EyeSpyeAlex

Shingo Natsume is an extremely diverse and talented individual. He has been involved with numerous aspects of behind-the-scenes work on anime. From director, to animator, to storyboarder, Shingo has done it all. While most notably known for his work on shows such as One Punch Man, Full Metal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, and Space Dandy, Shingo was recently at Anime Boston promoting his now show ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. I had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Natsume to ask him a few questions about his background, his art style, and his favorite genres.

You have worked as an animator, a storyboarder, and as a director at different levels on different projects. How has your versatility impacted your ability to work in the industry? What do you credit to your versatility?

There is a strength in having versatility of ability. This is true in any field. If you have an image of something or if you have text and you are directly able to translate it into a drawing, that shows great strength. If you have to rely on other people to translate your ideas into a visual, that would be a loss in strength as things may be lost in translation.

Each show you have been involved in has differed greatly in terms of art style. What would you say is your style of art?

When I think of myself, I like to think that I don’t have a fixed style. However, people do say I have a characteristic style, so perhaps I do have a style, and I think it’s about striking a balance between myself and what’s expected of me. Left to my own devices I would do what I’d like, but as a director I have to keep the audience, style of the base material, and show itself in mind. I feel like if I created my own show with no direction it would be boring though, so I have to mix in a little of myself to strike the balance. It’s very likely that I’m the one that understands myself the least.

ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. seems vastly different from other pieces you’ve worked on. ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. seems intense and gritty. What would you say is your favorite genre to work in? How does that compare to your favorite genre to watch?

Science fiction and comedy are what I do well working in, such as with Space Dandy. As an audience member I love to watch and read science fiction novels, especially Star Wars and Interstellar.

What can fans of the ACCA manga look forward to in the anime adaptation?

For the fans of the manga, being able to hear the voices of their favorite characters would be one of the attractions of the anime. ACCA is very dialogue heavy material, there is a lot of opportunities to hear the characters speak. The voice actors did extremely well in performing their characters, so fans should enjoy that.

What are the struggles often faced when adapting work?

For me, there weren’t a lot of struggles. Both with One Punch Man and ACCA, the original creators were very supportive of the adaption. They were also very prompt if I had any questions. It was very encouraging to have creators I could actually consult. For One Punch Man, the manga artist was present when we were drafting the screenplay. For ACCA, the editor of the manga was there with us.

With a quiet intensity, Shingo Natsume answered all of my questions in an extremely thoughtful manner. I was left in awe at his introspection and the level of detail he provided to his answers. As a major fan of One Punch and a new fan of ACCA, it was an honor and a privilege to have had this opportunity. On behalf of everyone at Mithical Entertainment, I would like to thank Shingo Natsume for his time and responses.

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