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(This is an excerpt from our conversation with Masao Maruyama)
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How did you feel about making an anime of Naoki Urasawa's Pluto?

TM: Urasawa-san's manga "PLUTO" can I describe this? It's heavyweight material. Given its weight, I knew this project would be challenging. When I say "challenging," I mean that we could have chosen the easy and cheap route, but that would have been a meaningless summary of the story. Creating an anime adaptation of Urasawa-san and Nagasaki-san's "PLUTO" required an equal amount of...let's say, "energy" as the original manga. Without this level of energy, it would have been pointless. We needed the basic resources of time and money to generate that energy. Ultimately, I had to invest a significant amount of my energy to secure those resources. Naturally, we want to avoid giving up once we start. I was determined to see it through from the beginning til completion. It nearly pushed my company to the brink of bankruptcy, but we persevered and ultimately created this fantastic anime. I'm thrilled that people can now enjoy it.

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After many years working on it, how did you feel when it was complete?

TM: As a producer, I witnessed every step of the process, so I didn't get to watch the final product with a completely fresh perspective, nor watch it without expectations, so I actually envy the audience who can experience this anime for the first time. To them, it's entirely new. 


I actually envy the audience who can experience this anime for the first time. To them, it's entirely new.

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Technically, was the animation in Pluto achieved?

TM: We focused on achieving high-quality animation with a lot of hand-drawn art.  We didn't rely heavily on computer graphics. So, one could argue that this anime represents the pinnacle of what this era can offer with existing technologies. It was created in a "normal" way.  Technology will continue to improve over the next 60 years, and AI will likely become more prominent. However, as technology advances, we often overlook essential aspects. The human psyche and sensibilities have been rooted in our DNA for hundreds, if not more years, so I don't believe this primitive essence will change significantly. Technology may advance but the content will likely remain relatively consistent with what we have today.

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How do you think the fans will interact with Pluto?

TM: What's unique about anime is that while we can watch it for entertainment and be emotionally moved by it, it is common to enjoy it by purchasing, collecting, and adoring character merchandise. When I think about this, I believe we should make it easier for anime fans to buy and collect merchandise. Currently, "PLUTO" is available for fans worldwide to watch on Netflix simultaneously. But what about character merchandise? Some fans get access to it much later right? This situation needs to change so that access time is shortened. Moreover, in countries with substantial anime audiences, like Japan and the United States,  merchandise is more readily accessible compared to other countries. However, fans are fans no matter where they are and should all be treated equally. I've always envisioned equality in this regard as my dream. I want merchandise to be available to every fan on Earth.

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