ABU DHABI: Japanese animator and illustrator Hidetoshi Ohmori is best known for his work for the Gundam franchise, Inuyasha, Naruto Shippuden, Kill la Kill and Detective Conan and the “Final Fantasy VII” video game.
Ohomori sat down with Arab News Japan for an exclusive interview, following his visit to Saudi Arabia’s “Anime Village” at the City Walk Jeddah. He discussed major aspects of his career, including inspiration to “make people feel the three-dimensionality of objects and recognize realistic animations.”
The animator draws back to his early days, talking about discovering the profession. “I first learned about the animation industry when I entered vocational school at the age of 18,” he said.
Ohomori mentions that he tried his own hand at the production with the help of a friend, which led him to travel to Tokyo a year later, ready to be fully involved in the industry. He holds gratitude for his friend.
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“I started out with learning the basics, working on ‘The Flower Child Lunlun,” he said. Ohomori became a household name working on anime hits over the years. The animator, now renowned for his work in the Gundam franchise (a 14-part movie/tv series), started out as the main director of mechanics and effects with the initial stage of the same series.
More of Ohomori’s career defining works include the Aura Battler Dunbine, Heavy Metal L-gaim, Space Runaway Ideon and more.
“I have distinct memories of each,” Ohomori said. “I remember when I first saw the illustration in a magazine ad for the release of Space Runaway Ideon. I called the production studio because I felt I had to participate,” he added. Recalling his experience with the Aura Battler Dunbine series, Ohomori said that he took on the role of animation director, a position consistent with his role in the original ‘Final Fantasy VII ‘(1997) game on PlayStation. “It was difficult, but everything was a fresh experience,” he added.
However, the path isn’t always smooth sailing. “The biggest problem was getting easy-to-use tools developed, and keeping up with the new versions. As opposed to motion based on reality, I put more value on the ‘essence’ of movements,” Ohomori said. “However, all this taught me nothing but the fact that the best way to solve a problem or task is to try out everything you can possibly think of,” he added.
Drawing off his experience in the industry, Ohomori leaves a word of advice for young hopefuls, reminding them that making a living as an illustrator is quite a challenge. He pushes them to keep working on their skills and never give up, as well as meet good teachers and friends who help encourage them everyday.
The veteran animator was invited as a special guest to “Anime Village” and was delighted to visit the Middle East for the first time and meet the fans in the region.