SDCC 2015 Interview with ‘Attack On Titan’ Director Shinji Higuchi

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IMG_3328When news of a live action version of Attack On Titan was first announced, most of us all cringed in fear of what it would turn out to be. I mean seriously, when was the last time a property like this, which was a Manga turned anime before it became a live action film, actually turn out good? Teasers have come under fire lately, as have trailers in general. Over the years some have revealed too much and others took so many scenes out of context fans were upset after watching the film. Recently releases of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Batman Versus Superman have both had polar opposite receptions, the former being largely positive.

FUNimation recently announced that they had acquired US distribution rights to the new live action films which would be released in North America later this fall. We recently had a chance to ask director Shinji Higuchi about the process of making such a film happen and how he balances the practical effects and CGI with a film like this. We also got a spoiler of sorts to that scenes in the trailer which had many fans upset about who Mikasa was kissing!

How did you decide which source material to pull from (Manga and Anime) when creating the script for the live-action adaptation?

I did pick and select from the various source materials but mainly from the manga. From the manga there were 3 elements I found very key to the story: 1) A Titan that eats Humans, 2) Humans are living in walled cities, and 3) They found a way to counter the Titans using the O.D.M. gear.

How do you balance CGI and practical effects with so many different elements in the story (The ODM gear and the Titans)?

As Japanese we all work on a Samurai and Ninja method of doing things. There was a TV series when I was growing up, in the series the ninjas were told not to use guns, but they were readily available to them. They were told to use their shurikens. They were told guns were their last resort and that is how I feel about CGI. Unless they are your last resort you don’t use that.

A lot of people saw some main characters kissing and that has brought up the question was who was kissing Mikasa?

I think that everyone, as a result of seeing the most recent trailer, has fallen into a trap that we had set for viewers. If the question from fans is on who Mikasa is kissing, everyone has it all wrong. I do feel that they shouldn’t be in a love triangle during circumstances like that, so that was most certainly a trap we set for viewers in that trailer.

So this newest trailer reveals an even closer look at the titans and some of our main characters and iconic scenes. The mix of CGI and practical effects is a plus in this situation given that this film doesn’t have the help of multiple production company budgets like most western films.

So, as a fan of the Manga or the Anime tell us your thoughts on the live action film which is set to be released around Aug of 2015 in Japan.

Robert Prentice