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Kunihiko Ikuhara(Japanese:幾原 邦彦 Hepburn:Ikuhara Kunihiko, born December 21, 1964), also known as Ikuni, is a Japanese director, writer, artist, and music producer. He has created and collaborated on several notable anime and manga series, including his early works Sailor Moon and Revolutionary Girl Utena , and his later works Mawaru Penguindrum , Yurikuma Arashi , and Sarazanmai .
Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic language family, and its relation to other languages, such as Korean, is debated. Japanese has been grouped with language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance.
Hepburn romanization is a system for the romanization of Japanese that uses the Latin alphabet to write the Japanese language. It is used by most foreigners learning to spell Japanese in the Latin alphabet and by the Japanese for romanizing personal names, geographical locations, and other information such as train tables, road signs, and official communications with foreign countries. Largely based on English writing conventions, consonants closely correspond to the English pronunciation and vowels approximate the Italian pronunciation.
Anime is hand-drawn and computer animation originating from or associated with Japan.
Ikuhara was born on December 21, 1964 in Osaka Prefecture. He graduated from Kyoto University of Art and Design in 1985.
Osaka Prefecture is a prefecture located in the Kansai region on Honshu, the main island of Japan. The capital is the city of Osaka. It is the center of Keihanshin area. Osaka is one of the two "urban prefectures" of Japan, Kyoto being the other.
After graduating, Ikuhara began work at Toei Animation, where served as assistant director to Junichi Sato on Maple Town Monogatari , Akuma-kun , Toushou!! Ramen-man and Mōretsu Atarō , and episode director on Kingyo Chuuihou! .
Toei Animation Co., Ltd., commonly referred to as Toei Animation, is a Japanese animation studio primarily owned by Toei Company. It has produced numerous series, including Sally the Witch,Gegege no Kitaro,Mazinger Z, Galaxy Express 999,Dr. Slump, Dragon Ball, Saint Seiya, Sailor Moon, Slam Dunk, Digimon, One Piece and the Precure series.
Junichi Sato is a Japanese anime director, best known for working on shōjo-based anime and the magical girl genre. He is associated with TYO Animations.
Maple Town, also known as Maple Town Stories, is a 1986 Japanese slice of life anime series created by Chifude Asakura and directed by Junichi Sato. The series, animated by Toei Animation, consists of 52 half-hour episodes, which aired on TV Asahi in Japan from January 19, 1986 to January 11, 1987. It focuses on the adventures of Patty Rabbit, Bobby Bear and their families, in a small utopian anthropomorphic city named Maple Town. The series was followed by a 50-episode sequel, New Maple Town Stories: Palm Town Chapter, which retained only Patty Rabbit from both series, although Maple Town's citizens made cameos from time to time. To date, this has not had an official English release.
Ikuhara's most famous work with Toei was on the TV anime adaptation of Sailor Moon. He served as director of many episodes over the course of the series' run, and took over the position of series director from Junichi Sato during the third season, Sailor Moon S . Additionally, Ikuhara served as the director of the first Sailor Moon theatrical movie, called Sailor Moon R .
The third season of the Sailor Moon anime series, titled Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon S, was produced by Toei Animation and directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara. It began broadcasting on TV Asahi on March 19, 1994, and ended on February 25, 1995. It adapts the "Infinity" arc of the Sailor Moon manga series by Naoko Takeuchi, and follows the struggle of Usagi Tsukino and her friends against the Death Busters, who are planning to take over Earth. In 2000, Cloverway Inc. licensed the season for an unedited English-language broadcast in North America. Optimum Productions continued to dub the series. The series aired on YTV, who adjusted the episode numbers to match those of the original Japanese version, from June 12, 2000 to August 1, 2000. Edited and unedited videotapes as well as uncut bilingual DVDs of their adaptation were released by Pioneer Entertainment. In contrast to DIC Entertainment's dub of the first two seasons, Cloverway retained the background music and sound effects from the original Japanese version. Eventually, in 2014, Viz Media licensed the series from the start for an uncut release, and released the first part of the season on November 15, 2016 and the second part on June 20, 2017. While Sailor Moon S began very similarly to the first two seasons, it eventually took a darker, more emotional turn.
Sailor Moon R: The Movie, known in Japan as Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon R: The Movie is a 1993 Japanese anime superhero fantasy film directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara and written by Sukehiro Tomita based on the Sailor Moon manga series written by Naoko Takeuchi. The film takes its name from the second arc of the Sailor Moon anime, Sailor Moon R, as Toei Company distributed it around the same time. The events portrayed seem to take place somewhere in the very end of the series, as Chibiusa knows about the identities of the Sailor Guardians, the characters are in the present rather than the future, and Usagi and Mamoru are back together. The film centers on the arrival of an alien named Fiore on Earth, who has a past with Mamoru and wishes to reunite with him. Unfortunately, Fiore is being controlled by an evil flower called Xenian Flower, forcing Usagi and her friends to save Mamoru and the Earth from destruction.
Displeased over the lack of creative control granted to him, Ikuhara left Toei after the fourth season of Sailor Moon in 1996 to form his own creative group, Be-Papas, consisting of himself, the famous shōjo manga artist Chiho Saito, animator Shinya Hasegawa (animation supervisor for Neon Genesis Evangelion ), writer Yōji Enokido, and producer Yuuichiro Okuro. Be-Papas collaborated to produce the anime and manga series Revolutionary Girl Utena (Shōjo Kakumei Utena).
Be-Papas was an artist collective and collective pen name founded by anime director Kunihiko Ikuhara. Its membership consisted of Ikuhara, manga artist Chiho Saito, animator and character designer Shinya Hasegawa, scriptwriter Yōji Enokido, and planner Yūichirō Oguro.
Shōjo, shojo or shoujo is a Japanese word for "girl". The word is derived from a Chinese expression written with the same characters. The Chinese characters literally mean "little" and "woman" respectively. In Japanese, these kanji refer specifically to a young woman approximately 7–18 years old.
Manga are comics or graphic novels created in Japan or by person using the Japanese language and conforming to a style developed in Japan in the late 19th century. They have a long and complex pre-history in earlier Japanese art.
Ikuhara had much more creative control over the anime, which he directed, than he did over the manga, which was written and illustrated by Chiho Saito. Notably, he also recruited composer J. A. Seazer, who provided the series' distinctive duel chorus tracks. Ikuhara stated that he had always admired Seazer, who had enjoyed popularity during Japan's 1960s student protest movement, and felt that Seazer's work, with its themes of revolution and changing the world, was perfectly suited to Utena.
Takaaki Terahara, known professionally as Julius Arnest "J.A." Caesar, is a Japanese film and theater music composer. Seazer enjoyed popularity among students in Japan during the 1960s, and worked closely with director Shuji Terayama and his theater Tenjo Sajiki until Terayama's death. He is a member of the theatrical company Experimental Laboratory of Theatre ◎ Universal Gravitation, better known as just Ban'yū Inryoku. He gained more mainstream attention for his songs composed for the anime Revolutionary Girl Utena, and has also composed the score to the animated film adaptation of Suehiro Maruo's manga Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show.
The series was a success, winning the "Best Television Series Award" and the "Kobe Award" at Animation Kobe '97. Be-Papas collaborated again in 1999 to produce a Revolutionary Girl Utena movie, Adolescence Mokushiroku ("Adolescence Apocalypse", released in English as Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie), with an accompanying manga, again authored by Saito. Ikuhara also helped supervise the production of other Utena-related works, including a Sega Saturn video game and a stage musical. Be-Papas disbanded after the release of the movie.
Ikuhara supervised the production of the English dub of the Utena movie, checking the quality of the translation; he expressed strong distaste for the idea of his work being censored or changed to seem more "American", and made sure such changes were not apparent in the U.S. release.
Ikuhara's post-Utena works include the manga World of the S&M (released in English as The World Exists for Me), on which he collaborated with Chiho Saito; the novel Schell Bullet , which he co-wrote with Mamoru Nagano; and the Schell Bullet-based concept album Thanaphs 68.
After the conclusion of Utena, Ikuhara's only works in anime for a time were as the storyboard creator for the opening sequences of Nodame Cantabile and yuri anime Aoi Hana .
In 2011, Ikuhara returned as an anime series director with Mawaru Penguindrum , which began airing in July 2011.
He is currently writing the manga Nokemono to Hanayome , illustrated by artist Asumiko Nakamura and published monthly in Japanese fashion magazine KERA .
In 2015, Ikuhara released Yurikuma Arashi , which consists of an anime series produced by Silver Link and a manga series illustrated by Akiko Morishima. The anime began airing January 5, 2015.
A new project titled Sarazanmai began airing on April 11, 2019.
He has expressed interest in the possibility of collaborating on a project with David Lynch someday.
As with Miyazaki and Tomino, Ikuhara's works (especially Mawaru Penguindrumand Yurikuma Arashi ) contain certain criticisms against the capitalist system. In Ikuhara, such criticisms are often accompanied by a more or less latent distrust towards the whole social order, or even human nature itself.
Ikuhara has attended several conventions and similar events, given interviews to fans and reporters, and, along with Chiho Saito, provided commentary tracks for the DVD releases of Utena. He often dresses in brightly colored clothes when socializing with fans. He has cosplayed as Sailor Mars on a few occasions.When questioned about his work by fans, particularly about the more mystifying aspects of Utena, he tends to give humorous, odd or evasive responses (for instance, asked about the significance of the stopwatch carried by the character Miki, he said that it contains the key to "all the mysteries of the world"). The implication is that he wishes to leave interpretation of his works open to the audience.
Works for which Ikuhara came up with the original concept are in bold.
|Episode Director||Unit Director||Assistant Director||Storyboard||Other||Notes|
|1986 - 1987||Maple Town Stories(メイプルタウン物語)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Assistant director on episodes 3, 26, 28, 31, 33 and 35. Also production assistant.|
|1987||New Maple Town Stories: Palm Town Chapter(新メイプルタウン物語 パームタウン編)||TV series||Yes||Episodes 2, 5, 7, 11, 13 and 15 only.|
|1987||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||TV series||Yes||Directed episode 4. Credited as "Yoshikatsu Kasai"(笠井 由勝).|
|1988||Tatakae!! Ramenman (闘将!!拉麺男)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Also production assistant.|
|1989 - 1990||Akuma-kun (悪魔くん)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Yes||Assistant director on episodes 1, 5, 8, 11, 15 and 18. Commercial director, sub-title lettering.|
|1990||Hana Ichi Monme(はないちもんめ)||OVA||Yes|
|Mōretsu Atarō (もーれつア太郎) series 2||TV series||Yes||Yes||Directed episodes 18 and 26.|
|1990-1992||Utsunomiko Tenjō-hen(宇宙皇子 天上編)||OVA||Yes|
|1991||Magical Taluluto (まじかる☆タルるートくん) film 1||film||Yes|
|1991-1992||Goldfish Warning! (きんぎょ注意報!)||TV series||Yes||Directed episodes 4, 13, 21, 25, 30, 38, 43, 49 and 54.|
|1992-1993||Sailor Moon (美少女戦士セーラームーン)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Directed episodes 6, 11, 15, 21, 26, 31, 36 and 46. Storyboarded Sailor Venus' transformation sequence.|
|1993-1994||Sailor Moon R(美少女戦士セーラームーンR)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Yes||Took over as series director from Junichi Sato on episode 60. Directed and storyboarded episodes 51, 60 and 68. Storyboarded episode 61, Sailor Moon's second transformation sequence and the Moon Princess Halation & Burning Mandala attack sequences.|
|1993||Sailor Moon R: The Movie (美少女戦士セーラームーンR)||film||Yes|
|1994-1995||Sailor Moon S(美少女戦士セーラームーンS)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Yes||Directed and storyboarded episodes 92, 103, 110 and 117.|
|1995-1996||Sailor Moon SuperS(美少女戦士セーラームーンSuperS)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Directed episodes 128, 137, 150, 159 and 166.|
|1997||Revolutionary Girl Utena (少女革命ウテナ)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Yes||Storyboarded the opening and episode 1. Made corrections for a HD remaster in 2008.|
|1998||Martian Successor Nadesico: The Motion Picture – Prince of Darkness (機動戦艦ナデシコ -The prince of darkness-)||film||Yes||Credited for "friendship cooperation".|
|1999||Adolescence of Utena (少女革命ウテナ アドゥレセンス黙示録)||film||Yes||Yes||Yes||ADR Supervisor on the English dub. Plays an art teacher.|
|2005||Diebuster (トップをねらえ2!)||OVA||Yes||Episode 2 only.|
|2007||Nodame Cantabile (のだめカンタービレ)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Opening only.|
|2008||(Zoku) Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei (俗・さよなら絶望先生)||TV series||Yes||Episode 4 endcard.|
|Soul Eater (ソウルイーター)||TV series||Yes||Episode 29 only.|
|2009||Nodame Cantabile: Paris-Hen(のだめカンタービレ 巴里編) OVA||OVA||Yes||Credited as "Kai Uzumaki"(渦薪 かい).|
|Sweet Blue Flowers (青い花)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Storyboarded the opening, episodes 5, 6 and 11 (final one co-storyboarded with Ken'ichi Kasai). Directed the opening under the pseudonym "Kai Uzumaki".|
|2011||Penguindrum (輪るピングドラム)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Storyboarded and directed the first opening and episode 24; storyboarded the second opening, episodes 1, 5, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22 and 23. Also music director.|
|2012||Kokoro Connect (ココロコネクト)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Third ending only.|
|2013||Brothers Conflict (ブラザーズ コンフリクト)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Ending only.|
|2015||Yurikuma Arashi (ユリ熊嵐)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Storyboarded and directed the ending; storyboarded episodes 1, 2, 7 and 12. Also music director.|
|2016||Norn9: Norn + Nonette (NORN9 ノルン＋ノネット)||TV series||Yes||Opening only.|
|Shin Godzilla (シン・ゴジラ)||film||Yes||Was an extra in a scene of a mob fleeing from Godzilla. Uncredited.|
|2019||Sarazanmai (さらざんまい)||TV series||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Storyboarded the opening, episodes 1 and 11. Also music director and insert song lyricist.|
Revolutionary Girl Utena is a manga by Chiho Saito and an anime directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara. The manga serial began in the June 1996 issue of Ciao and the anime was first broadcast in 1997. The anime and manga were created simultaneously, but, despite some similarities, they progressed in different directions. A movie, Adolescence of Utena, was released in theatres in 1999. A number of stage productions based on the franchise were also produced in the late-1990s and late-2010s, including the "Comédie Musicale Utena la fillette révolutionnaire", staged by an all-female Takarazuka-style cast.
Mamoru Nagano is a Japanese manga artist, animator, and mecha and character designer. Born in Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture, he is noted for his work with anime studio Sunrise. He is married to voice actress Maria Kawamura.
Osamu Dezaki, also known as Makura Saki, Kan Matsudo, Toru Yabuki or Kuyou Sai, was a Japanese anime director and screenwriter.
Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie, known in Japan as Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon SuperS: The Nine Sailor Soldiers Unite! Miracle of the Black Dream Hole and Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie: Black Dream Hole in the English adaptation, is a 1995 Japanese anime superhero fantasy film directed by Hiroki Shibata, written by Yōji Enokido, and based on the Sailor Moon manga series by Naoko Takeuchi. It takes its name from the fourth arc of the Sailor Moon anime, Sailor Moon SuperS, as Toei Company distributed it around the same time.
Sailor Moon, known in Japan as Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, is a 1992 Japanese anime television series produced by Toei Animation using Super Sentai motifs. It is based on the manga of the same title written by Naoko Takeuchi that was published from 1991 to 1997 in Nakayoshi. Sailor Moon first aired in Japan on TV Asahi from March 7, 1992, to February 8, 1997, and was dubbed into various territories around the world, including the United States, Australia, Europe and Latin America.
Penguindrum, known in Japan as Mawaru Penguindrum, is a 2011 Japanese anime series produced by Brain's Base. The series is directed and co-written by Kunihiko Ikuhara and was broadcast in Japan from July 8, 2011 through December 23, 2011. Sentai Filmworks has licensed the series for North America, while Kazé UK has licensed the series in the United Kingdom, Siren Visual has licensed the series in Australia and New Zealand, and Dynit licensed the series in Italy. A manga adaptation of the anime by Isuzu Shibata began serialization in Comic Birz on May 30, 2013 and ended on January 30, 2017.
Yukari Hashimoto is a Japanese composer and arranger. She has composed the music for a number of anime series, including Toradora!, Omamori Himari, Mayo Chiki!, Penguindrum, Yurikuma Arashi, Sankarea: Undying Love, Golden Time, March Comes in Like a Lion, Sarazanmai, and the closing theme "Kanashii Yokan" to Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase.
Yurikuma Arashi is a Japanese yuri anime television series produced by Silver Link and directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara. The series was first announced via a website in August 2012, where it was referred to as the "Kunihiko Ikuhara/Penguinbear Project." The series first aired in Japan between January 5, 2015 and March 30, 2015 and is licensed in North America by Funimation. A manga adaptation illustrated by Akiko Morishima was serialized in Gentosha's Comic Birz magazine between February 2014 and April 2016 and has been licensed in English by Tokyopop under the title Yuri Bear Storm. The name appears to be a reference to Akira Yoshimura's novelization of the Sankebetsu brown bear incident, The Bear Storm, though any more concrete link besides the presence of human-attacking bears is only speculated.
Adolescence of Utena is a 1999 Japanese anime film. It is a follow-up to the 1997 anime television series Revolutionary Girl Utena, created by the artist collective Be-Papas. The film is directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara, written by Yōji Enokido based on a story by Ikuhara, and produced by J.C.Staff. An English-language dubbed version of the film produced by Central Park Media was released in 2001 as Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie.
Hanjuku-Joshi is a Japanese yuri romance manga series written and illustrated by Akiko Morishima. It was serialized in Comic Yuri Hime by Ichijinsha, with the chapters collected in two volumes. It was released online in English by JManga and it is published in French by Taïfu Comics.
MAPPA Co., Ltd. is a Japanese animation studio established on June 14, 2011, by Masao Maruyama, a founder and former producer of Madhouse.
Akiko Morishima is a Japanese yuri and shōjo manga writer and artist.
Sarazanmai is a 2019 Japanese anime series created by Kunihiko Ikuhara. A joint production between MAPPA and Lapin Track, the eleven-episode series aired on Fuji TV's Noitamina programming block from April 11 to June 20, 2019. The series follows a group of three middle school students who are transformed into kappas in order to collect shirikodama, a mythical ball located in the anus that contains the physical manifestation of one's desires; Ikuhara broadly developed the series as a story about yōkai for an adult audience.
World of the S&M, released in English as The World Exists for Me, is a 2001 Japanese manga series. The series is written by Kunihiko Ikuhara with Seinosuke Ito, credited jointly as Be-Papas, and illustrated by Chiho Saito. The series is Ikuhara and Saito's second collaboration following the anime and manga series Revolutionary Girl Utena.
Schell Bullet is a series by Kunihiko Ikuhara. The series is composed of a two-volume novel by Ikuhara with artwork by Mamoru Nagano, and Schell Bullet: Thanaphs 68, a concept album composed by Tenpei Sato with vocals from Ikuhara and Maria Kawamura.