The much sought after anime “Uchoten Kazoku” will air on TOKYO MX, KBS Kyoto and Sun-TV, in turn from July 7th. The anime is created by P.A.WORKS, an animation studio, which has released many masterpieces to date.

Prior to the airing of Uchoten Kazoku, a preview event was held on June 16th at Kyoto Minamiza Theatre, where popular voice actors, Takahiro Sakurai, Junichi Suwabe, Hiroyuki Yoshino, Mai Nakahara and Mamiko Noto appeared. Tomihiko Morimi, author of the original novel, Masayuki Yoshihara, director of the anime and Kenji Horikawa, president of P.A.WORKS, also attended the event.

Uchoten Kazoku is an animation based on the popular novel written by Tomihiko Morimi. The bestselling novel sold over 250,000 copies. The creation of the manga characters was handled by manga artist Kōji Kumeta, known for works such as “Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei” and “Joshiraku” and the production of the anime is handled by P.A.WORKS, known for “true tears,” “Hanasaku Iroha,” “TARI TARI” and other hits. The story is based in Kyoto and features a Japanese raccoon, long-nosed goblin and people coming together to create comical drama. For this reason, the preview event venue was decided on Minamiza Theatre, which held its first anime event.

1,000 people attended the event, and the venue was fully packed with the audience filling up all seats of 3 floors. From the audience, glamorously dressed women in yukata cheered on the actors who appeared on stage. The event began with a welcome speech from each member of the cast, followed by a promotional screening of the anime and a recorded speech on video from voice actress Kikuko Inoue, who played the role of the mother of the main character Yasaburo Shimogamo. Inoue, who could not attend the event in person, entertained the audience with her witty remarks.

Mr. Morimi, Mr. Yoshihara and Mr. Horikawa appeared on stage after the preview screening of episode one of the anime. Talks about the creation of the original novel and stories about the long term location and research required for the creation of the anime were revealed, along with the showing of photos of scenery that were used as inspiration sources. Next, all actors and staff appeared to answer questions from fans in an intimate and fun atmosphere. For the finale, Kyoto city’s mascot character Mayumaro presented flower bouquets to each cast member. At the photo session, Mr. Sakurai called out “Shimogamoya~!” imitating the shouts of an audience at Kabuki theatres, ending the first anime event at this venue on a happy note.

“Uchoten Kazoku”
On air from July 2013

[Comments from the Cast]
Takahiro Sakurai (part: Yasaburo Shimogamo)
“I first visited Kyoto as part of a school excursion. Since then, I visit the city from time to time on my own, without a particular schedule in mind. I like the city because it allows me to wander and enjoy the scenery. My character Yasaburo is an obscure but soft character that people cannot dislike. I was able to act out my character naturally without overdoing it. I hope that people would want to visit Kyoto after seeing this anime.”

Junichi Suwabe (part: Yaichiro Shimogamo)
“The view from this stage is really great and I have enjoyed this experience. Yaichiro is the eldest son of the family, cares for his younger brothers and tries to please his father, but sometimes this sense of responsibility prompts him to go around in circles and then he panics. He is a good character (laugh). The story is great too, it is about family love and it makes you feel warm on the inside, when you watch it.”

Hiroyuki Yoshino (part: Yajiro Shimogamo)
“Hi this is Yajiro, the frog and I hide inside a well (laugh). I appear in many scenes right from the start and I am very nervous today. I mean, this is the first anime event at Minamiza. For those of you who have read the novel, or for those starting off with the anime, I think there is something to take away for everyone. Enjoy watching the anime!”

Mai Nakahara (part: Yashiro Shimogamo)
“The city of Kyoto is elegant and graceful. It makes me feel relaxed, kind of like being at my grandmother’s house. My character is adored by his elder brothers and is a cheerful character, always dependent on them (laugh). I guess he doesn’t have much influence on the plot, but he makes a statement where necessary.”

Mamiko Noto (part: Benten)
“In one phrase, Benten is not someone you want as your enemy (laugh). It is difficult to understand what this character is thinking. Stay tuned on his relationship with Yasaburo. I hope fans enjoy watching the anime.”

Masayuki Yoshihara (Director of anime)
“Seeing the favorable reviews of episode 1, I wonder if I can maintain the excitement until the end…(laugh) When I first saw the novel, I thought to myself, ‘How am I going to make this into anime? This is going to be tough.’ I tried to think of ideas on how to create a screen, which fans of the original novel could also enjoy. I searched for a perfect setting for about a month and took over 10,000 photos of locations to give me the necessary ideas. I am pleased with the results.”

Kenji Horikawa (president of P.A.WORKS)
“Fans of our works tend to be men so I am surprised at the number of women who have attended this event. Is this really one of our anime works? I read the original novel, cried and was excited. I thought that if this were to be visualized, it had to be anime. I wanted to depict the beautiful scenery of Kyoto held inside Mr. Morimi’s mind.”

Tomihiko Morimi (author of original novel)
“Watching the anime, I was drawn into the beauty of Kyoto city. When I was a student, I lived here and one day, I happened to see a Japanese raccoon running along. I realized then, that I would eventually want to write something about raccoons combining a long-nosed goblin to the plot. The story is not a reflection of my younger days, but it has a special meaning to me, beyond other works.”