Future Boy Conan - Who Are These Guys and Their Job TItles?

Dumb Rookie Question: Can somebody help translate these job titles? These are the closing credits to Future Boy Conan, Hayao Miyazaki's 1978 TV series produced at Nippon Animation.  The reason I'm asking is because Keiji Hayakawa, who was part of the production team, is credited on Wikipedia and Anime News Network as the "director" of half the series episodes. That can't be right.

I snapped screenshots of the final two title cards from Conan. Hayao Miyazaki's name is listed on the second; but who are the people and job titles on the first? I see the "root words" for the Japanese word for "director" but don't understand the distinction of these other titles.

These sort of things can be especially tricky, as Japanese anime was so often invented on the fly. Job titles and roles, animation theories, pretty much everything was improvised and adapted freely. There is no formal school of animation theory in Japan, as exists in the West. They have no Cal Arts to hand down the official textbook. And so we have a lot of varying job descriptions for similar duties.

I'm guessing that Keiji Hayakawa was an assistant director for the series. He did assist Miyazaki on the e-konte storyboards.  So who can solve this riddle?

After that, we can next solve the riddle of Why Can't Anyone License Future Boy Conan.


Anonymous said...

I heard that Nippon Animation ask a very high price to license their properties.

Thomas Anderson said...

Why are you saying Keiji Hayakawa is credited on Wikipedia as the "director" of half the series episodes? I just checked Wikipedia, it clear says Keiji Hayakawa is Co-director, and credited for Storyboards of ep.3&4,8,12,15. Is this means half the series episodes to you?

Anonymous said...

助手 means assistant. But 補 is also a word for assistant as well, I don't know what the difference between those two is.

製作 refers to production and 進行 to advancement, so together it's some sort of producer?

早川啓二 seems to be read as Hayakawa Keiji, judging from早川啓二

鈴木孝義 seems to be read as Suzuki Takayoshi,鈴木孝義

I'm not finding a Wikipedia page for 細田伸明 or 竹内考次... (I hesitate to guess at how to pronounce those names - the family names might be Hosoda and Takeuchi, respectively, but I could be wrong.)

I don't know, I'm really stumbling in the dark here.

NegativeZero said...

I can see how this gets confusing. There's actually no one explictly credited as 'Director' there. Super amateurish attempt by someone with not much Japanese ability:

First one has Hayakawa as 演出補, assistant director. I'd interpret this personally as him being Episode Director.

Second one down is Suzuki Takayoshi, which I can't figure out how to translate. 演出助手 - assistant director as well, but it more means assistant to the director. Basically the guy that handles the episode direction stuff the actual episode director is too busy for. I'd say in this case, Assistant Episode Director.

Third credits are Production Assistants (制作進行). I'm bad with names, but I don't think either of them are listed on ANN for it. These are the production desk people that handle the more organizational side of things.

Final one in the second page lists Miyazaki Hayao as Director, but as 演出 (enshutsu) rather than the more common 監督 (kantoku). Series Director would seem appropriate in this case I think.

JC said...

Not sure if this helps but here's what I found:

演出補 (Assistant/Apprentice? Director)

演出助手 (Assistant Director again?)

制作進行 (Production Assistant)

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Thanks for the help. If anybody has wondered if Japanese-English translation is easy, well, here's your answer. There are a concepts that don't easily translate from one to the other.

In Japan, there are two or three different Kanji phrases for "director." Why is this so? Why was the more traditional "enshutsu" become replaced by "kantoku," and how are they different?

We'll have to ask Ben Ettinger on this. He's the Japanese animation expert, particularly the early post-war years. What's needed is a clear understanding how anime tV productions are made, and how the various job roles evolved. They really did make everything up as they went along, kids. It's that innovation that makes anime so innovative and unique. The US is completely different, orthodox and repressive by comparison. We can teach you how to make 1940s Walt Disney cartoons, or 1949s Chuck Jones cartoons. End of line. Very weird. And I don't think the Americans ever really understood Japanese animation theory, beyond the simplest stereotypes. Limited Animation is completely alien to the Disney paradigm.

Anime News Network's database lists Keiji Hayakawa as "director" for 13 episodes (but also Hayao Miyazaki for all 26, and Isao Takahata guest-directed two). Wikipedia lists Hayakawa under the "director" slot on the main right-hand column. So that's why I asked the wuestion. This was a complete surprise to me, so I rushed to find an answer right away.

Bottom Line: Future Boy Conan is Miyazaki's child,mhis series. He's the dictator driving the tank (to quote one of Yasuo Otsuka's drawings). And we really need to update those online databases.

And it's probably true that Nippon Animation and Bandai demand a killing for the rights to their catalog. But isn't that true of all the anime producers in Japan? These guys are extortionists compared to the rest of the film industry. Again, very weird.

StephenM said...

I know from reading Anipages that most modern anime series have a main series director who oversees everything but personally directs only a couple of the episodes, and several individual episode directors to take over the other eps. They generally have a couple episodes in production at once, and they need an episode director for each one, even when the overall series has a very clear directorial voice. That might be what happened here. Miyazaki had a lot to do-he had to delegate somewhere.

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