[Honey’s Anime Interview] Maki Terashima-Furuta, Vice President of Production I.G., LLC (Los Angeles, CA)

production ig logo

As I entered my first Wondercon, I didn’t have high hopes for anything anime related. A friend had informed me he had an extra Industry Pass and since I can’t say “No” to free, I spent the next week sewing Trafalgar Law’s signature yellow and black hoodie knowing full well that this was a comic convention.

Long story short, when I reviewed the con schedule and saw there would be only ONE anime panel, I cleared the time slot. Anime is my life and although I love comics, I just don’t read or understand as many as I do anime, so I was looking forward to connecting with my fellow fans in a sea of Marvel and DC Comics..

An hour before the appointed time, a few friends let me know that their own panel (they worked on Con Man) would be taking place in the Microsoft Theater in a mere ten minutes. I looked at my watch and realized I would be cutting it close, but I went anyway because that’s what friends are for. Unfortunately, it caused me to be about ten minutes late to the panel which meant my video recording featured the back of several taller guys’ heads, therefore, rendering it useless. Short people problems are the worst.

After the panel concluded, I made up my mind. I walked up to the table with the horde of other convention goers and did what any self respecting anime lover would do. I asked for a job. While dressed like Trafalgar Law. Cosplay is basically an anime industry business suit anyways, right?

When that led to some solid leads, I gathered up my courage to approach Maki Terashima-Furuta once again, but this time for the greater good of all you readers out there and now here we are. Enjoy the fruits of my labor and I especially want to thank Maki Terashima-Furuta for taking me seriously while dressed like a death pirate carrying a five foot sword.

honey's anime character
Thank you, Nikki! Sorry it didn't work out on getting a job with them, but at least you're with us! I can't wait to read the interview. Let's check it out!

Interview with Maki Terashima-Furuta

Ms. Maki
Terashima-Furuta

Nikki Flores
(Honey's Anime Writer)

About Maki Terashima-Furuta

How did you become interested in the anime industry and how did that lead you to become the Vice President of Production I.G?

I was never interested in the anime industry. It just happened that the head of Production I.G was looking for someone to handle the overseas business, and I happen to be available at that time.

What’s your favorite anime or genre and how did it influence your career?

I grew up most of my life overseas and have never had the opportunity to watch anime as a child, except for the commercially popular ones such as Doraemon and Sazae-san.

I didn't know of Hayao Miyazaki or Mamoru Oshii, until I joined Production I.G in 1997.

About the Industry

What tips could you give to those attempting to break into the anime industry?

It depends on if you want to become a creator or producer, but for the former position, we always encourage you to keep a sketchbook and pencil with you at all times and just keep drawing as much as possible.

Practice makes perfect. As for a position as a producer, I personally believe that it is up to your personality and social skills.

Being responsible for everything is what it takes to become a good producer, as well as having a special talent in keeping the creators/artists motivated.

How does licensing work? Do you choose the titles or do the Japanese studios come to you?

Do the original Japanese creators have any say in the localization process of the subtitles and voice overs?

I am usually given titles available for overseas, and I have to study the titles to evaluate the value, and then select the right distributor, and sell it for a lot of money!

Most of the time, the Japanese creators don't have much say about localization, but some do like to attend sessions to supervise.

Regarding FLCL

Regarding the announcement of the new FLCL,

did Cartoon Network reach out to you or were you already in the process of creating the new season but needed more funding?

How long had FLCL been in production before a decision was made upon the announcement?

This is something that I will discuss at Anime Expo at the FLCL panel.

You guys are definitely encouraged to come, and check out myself and the guys at Cartoon Network talk about how this business finally came together after 10 years.

With Ajin being produced by Netflix and soon to be streamed on their platform,

would you say Production I.G and Cartoon Network/Adult Swim are working together to bring more anime directly to Western audiences on cable networks?

Were American fans the reason for this partnership and do they have any pull in the Japanese anime market?

We have always been close to Cartoon Network, ever since the first co-production we did together for a show called "IGPX,"

which wasn't a huge hit after all, but having learned through good and bad experiences, we feel that our collaboration on FLCL is going to be a huge success for the worldwide audience.

We are also working on two big titles with Netflix, which we will also discuss at the Production I.G panel, so please come see us.

FLCL - (c) 1999 GAINAX_KGI.
FLCL - (c) 1999 GAINAX_KGI.

In the official press release provided by Adult Swim via Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.,

it is said that the original creator Kazuya Tsurumaki, is returning for the new seasons.

Are there any others from the original staff/cast that will be returning?

Tsurumaki will be the supervisor on the new FLCL, and we are going to be using a different director(s).

As for the rest of the staff, we cannot announce just yet, but hopefully at the panel 🙂

Will the series be a Cartoon Network/Toonami exclusive or will the series eventually be available on streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, and Crunchyroll? Will there be both subtitles and voice overs?

There will be both English subtitles and dubs for the new seasons. As for its streaming services elsewhere, it is something that we will also talk about at the panel.

What is the hardest part of creating a sequel for such a beloved anime classic like FLCL, knowing that fans expect perfection?

The fans reactions were bigger than ever expected, which means there's a lot of pressure for the new season. We will do everything possible to make the new seasons to meet your expectations!

Future of Production I.G

In the future, do you plan to work with other streaming companies such as Crunchyroll, Netflix, Hulu, etc., to create new content? Do you have any plans in the future to create your own streaming service?

Yes, most likely so. With the video market shrinking, we will have no choice but to go with the new media. It is not necessarily a sad thing because there will always be a demand for videogram. In fact, we are already working with some of these major streaming companies.

Maki-san (c) 1999 GAINAX_KGI.
Maki-san (c) 1999 GAINAX_KGI.

Final Thoughts

If there are any other projects we did not touch on in the questions above or any other ideas your company would be willing to reveal please don’t hesitate to put them here.

I don't know if any of you viewers have been to my Production I.G panel at Anime Expo, but I have exciting guests (yet to be announced as of now) coming this year and we will be announcing lots of new titles, so please come see us!!


honey's anime character
Wow! That was great! I'm definitely going to be expecting the FLCL announcements at Anime Expo (AX). You can guarantee that Honey's Anime will be there to cover the Production I.G panel!

Again, we here at Honey’s Anime want to thank Maki Terashima-Furuta for answering our questions and taking time out of her busy schedule in order to do so. Everyone at Honey’s was so excited when the news came that she would do an interview for us and she didn’t disappoint!

What is amazing is that Production I.G has been in cahoots with Cartoon Network for so long without leaking any information! They deserve a medal for that level of secrecy and even now, so much information has yet to be released which is why Honey’s Anime will be sure to attend Production I.G’s Anime Expo panel to report what else will be arriving from this anime giant! Look forward to more new and updates in the near future.

Maki-san Courtesy of Jeff Uenishi

*Note* Maki Terashima-Furuta's Icon image

Source: Maki-san: Courtesy of Jeff Uenishi


Nikki Flores

Writer

Author: Nikki Flores

You may know me by my witty and excellent prose, but I assure you there is a real person underneath this brilliant exterior. As a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, I traveled to Okinawa, Japan in search of the One Piece. Together my crew consisting of a white dog named Yuki, an evil cat named Kyubei, the wise feline Pickles, and my ever supportive husband Aaron, we travel the globe seeking life’s greatest treasures. Oh, and I’m sure one day I’ll eventually meet Trafalgar Law in the New World. I hope. Please? *pout*

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