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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 .
Ikuhara was born on December 21, 1964 in Osaka Prefecture. He graduated from Kyoto University of Art and Design in 1985.
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! .
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 second season, Sailor Moon R . Additionally, Ikuhara served as the director of the first Sailor Moon theatrical movie, called Sailor Moon R .
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).
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.
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.
In 2011, Ikuhara returned as an anime series director with 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 on January 5, 2015.
In 2019, Ikuhara released Sarazanmai , it was produced by MAPPA and Lapin Track. The anime began airing on April 11, 2019.
As of 10 October 2020 Ikuhara has mentioned he is working on a new anime,but has not provided any further detail.
Ikuhara will return to direct Re:cycle of Penguindrum , a compilation film for Penguindrum.
He has expressed interest in the possibility of collaborating on a project with David Lynch someday.
As with fellow directors Hayao Miyazaki and Yoshiyuki Tomino, Ikuhara's works (especially Mawaru Penguindrumand Yurikuma Arashi ) contain certain criticisms of 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.
Revolutionary Girl Utena is a series created by Be-Papas, an artist collective founded by Kunihiko Ikuhara. The primary entries in the series include a 1996 manga written by Chiho Saito, a 1997 anime television series directed by Ikuhara, and Adolescence of Utena, a 1999 feature film.
Kunihiko is a masculine Japanese given name. Notable people with the name include:
The second season of the Sailor Moon anime series, titled Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon R, was produced by Toei Animation and directed by Junichi Sato and Kunihiko Ikuhara. According to the booklet from the Sailor Moon Memorial Song Box, the letter "R" stands for the word "Romance", "Return" or "Rose".
Junichi Sato is a Japanese anime director, best known for working on shōjo-based anime and in the magical girl genre. He was formerly associated with TYO Animations.
Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie is a 1995 Japanese animated 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.
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 adventures of Usagi Tsukino and her fellow Sailor Guardians. In this season, they must fight against the Death Busters, who are planning to take over Earth. In 2000, Cloverway Inc. licensed the season for an English-language broadcast in North America. Optimum Productions dubbed the season, continuing over from the first two seasons that were licensed by DIC Entertainment. The series aired on YTV in Canada, who adjusted the episode numbers to match those of the original Japanese version, from June 12, 2000 to August 1, 2000. The season later aired on Cartoon Network's Toonami programming block in the United States. Edited and unedited VHS tapes and uncut bilingual DVDs of their adaptation were released by Pioneer Entertainment. In contrast to DIC's handling of the first two seasons, Cloverway retained the background music and sound effects from the original Japanese version. Eventually, the season was re-licensed by Viz Media in 2014 for an updated English-language release, produced by Studiopolis. The first 18 episodes of the season were released as Part 1 on November 15, 2016, and the remaining 18 episodes were released as Part 2 on June 20, 2017. While Sailor Moon S began very similarly to the first two seasons, it eventually took a darker, more emotional turn.
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. A two-part compilation film titled Re:cycle of Penguindrum is set to premiere in 2022.
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!, Kanamemo, MM!, Penguindrum, Yurikuma Arashi, Sankarea: Undying Love, Golden Time, If Her Flag Breaks, Mr. Osomatsu, 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 the animation studio 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.
In anime and manga, the term "LGBT themes" includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender material. Outside Japan, anime generally refers to a specific Japanese-style of animation, but the word anime is used by the Japanese themselves to broadly describe all forms of animated media there. According to Harry Benshoff and Sean Griffin, the fluid state of animation allows flexibility of animated characters to perform multiple roles at once. Manga genres that focus on same-sex intimacy and relationships resulted from fan work that depicted relationships between two same-sex characters. This includes characters who express their gender and sexuality outside of hetero-normative boundaries. There are also multiple sub genres that target specific consumers and themes: yaoi, yuri, shoujo-ai, shonen-ai, bara, etc. LGBT-related manga found its origins from fans who created an "alternative universe" in which they paired their favorite characters together. Many of the earliest works that contained LGBT themes were found in works by dōjinshi who has specifically written content outside the regular industry. The rise of yaoi and yuri was also slowed due to censorship laws in Japan that make it extremely hard for Japanese manga artists ("mangakas") and others to create work that is LGBT themed. Anime that contained LGBTQ content was changed to meet international standards. However, publishing companies continued to expand their repertoire to include yuri and yaoi, and conventions were created to form a community and culture for fans of this work.
Sarazanmai is a 2019 Japanese anime television series created by Kunihiko Ikuhara and jointly produced by MAPPA and Lapin Track. The series aired on Fuji TV's Noitamina programming block from April 11 to June 20, 2019 for eleven episodes, and follows three middle school students who are transformed into kappas in order to collect shirikodama, mythical balls 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.
Be-Papas was an artist collective and collective pen name founded by anime director Kunihiko Ikuhara for creating original works. Its membership consisted of Ikuhara, manga artist Chiho Saito, animator and character designer Shinya Hasegawa, scriptwriter Yōji Enokido, and planner Yūichirō Oguro. The group was intended to allow the animation production staff, who were previously rarely recognized as authors, to stand out in the shoes of original creators.
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. It 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.
Nokemono to Hanayome is a Japanese serial novel and manga written by Kunihiko Ikuhara. The serial novel was published in the teenage fashion magazine Kera from 2006 to 2007, while a manga written by Ikuhara and illustrated Asumiko Nakamura was published from 2007 to 2017. A sequel manga series, Nokemono to Hanayome+, was serialized on the digital distribution platform Comic Boost from 2018 to 2020.