Seiji Kishi is a successful and well-established anime staff member; we will focus on some of his director roles today. Until recently, I didn’t know anything about Kishi, and now I feel mind-blown. So I’m hoping that this will be informative for those readers who, like me, don’t normally pay attention to anime production staff. As usual for the Director Digest posts, I will list about ten director roles and then discuss them in the notes section. Finally, I’ll say which one is my favorite role to date and why.
10 Favorite Director Roles
Assassination Classroom Season 2
Danganronpa The Animation
Danganronpa 3 (all three parts)
Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita (Humanity Has Declined)
Persona 4 The Animation
Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace
Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru (Yuna Yuki is a Hero)
Since I’ve watched several of these series several times over, it’s easy for me to see where the style and directing choices are keenly similar. I just hope I can describe this stuff well enough. In order to understand the similarities and differences in these anime shows, let’s first get a reminder of the sort of nature of each. The following sentences are not synopses, but simply point out the bits of content relevant to our discussion. Also note: I only had the energy and memory capacity to write about five of the ten in decent detail.
Angel Beats focuses on a large cast of characters in an unusual world where they must overcome challenges with teamwork and rediscover their lost memories. There’s plenty of chaotic comedy, but also some surprisingly dark or emotional moments, leading up to an extremely psychological climax. Many of these elements in Angel Beats are also seen in Kishi’s other works. To me, the most similar production to Angel Beats is Danganronpa The Animation. The cast of quirky characters is large, and there is no shortage of comedy, albeit a weirder type than in Angel Beats. Additionally, Danganronpa has many dark moments, and if taken seriously, the whole thing is quite disturbing. The main difference between these two shows is the mood of the ending. Simply put, Danganronpa ends on a hopeful note for the few surviving characters, while the last scene in Angel Beats is the broken-hearted weeping of the protagonist.
If you’ve watched both seasons of Assassination Classroom then you can already see how strikingly alike they are to Angel Beats and Danganronpa. Again, the cast of characters is huge, and most of them are colorful and quirky. In my opinion, the humor in AssClass wasn’t so great; I assume it was following the manga rather than being greatly influenced by Kishi. Said style of comedy is usually quite sexual, forced, or preoccupied with roasting certain characters. Assassination Classroom’s ending was tear-jerking and heart-wrenching like Angel Beats, but also quite hopeful for the surviving characters, like in Danganronpa.
Angel Beats, Assassination Classroom, and Danganronpa have so much in common that one must assume Kishi likes many of the shared elements. But some of the other anime series on this list are quite different. For example, take Humanity Has Declined. It’s a charming and funny fantasy anime whose humor styles include satire and social commentary along with the hilarious absurdities. There is only one main character, the unnamed girl “Watashi.” This doesn’t seem to have much in common with the others we talked about. The only things they have in common are absurdity and weirdness. Assassination Classroom has a bizarre yellow monster with tentacles. Danganronpa has the obnoxious Monobear. Angel Beats includes some strange afterlife lore. So what about Humanity Has Declined? It’s about little fairies that rule the world with magical technology and candy. Strange stuff.
I’ll go over one more of these series before moving to the next section. Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace is distinctly different from the other series we’ve talked about. It has an unsettling and quirkily energetic atmosphere that does remind one of the Danganronpa series; some of the marks of Kishi are there. But Ranpo Kitan is definitely an adult anime, with disturbing discussion of violent crimes, and a lot of sexual elements. Now, there is humor incorporated into the anime, but it still feels stickier than something like Assassination Classroom. The main cast is small. Rather than being high in action and fantasy elements like the other animes, Ranpo Kitan is chiefly a crime-solving story. (It does get supernatural by the end though.)
So it becomes clear that not all of Kishi’s productions are notable similar. There are other examples besides Ranpo Kitan. In Yuki Yuna is a Hero, Kishi tried his hand at the magical girl genre; the resulting anime was quite well-received, though not one of my favorites. And just recently, Mr. Kishi directed Asobi Asobase, a school comedy focused on three girls. Once again, this anime doesn’t rank too high in my favorites, but it saw a positive reception and good ratings on sites like My Anime List. Although Seiji Kishi did best with stories like Angel Beats and Assassination Classroom, it’s now clear that he’s very capable of branching out into other genres.
Other Note: Many have remarked that the protagonist of Ranpo Kitan, Yoshio Kobayashi, is very similar to Nagisa Shiota, the main character in Assassination Classroom. Their personalities are actually significantly divergent, but they are similar in being “femboys.” With only two examples, I don’t think we can say for sure whether Kishi goes out looking for series like this to direct. Still, it’s an interesting tidbit of information.
Favorite/Best Director Role
To continue, I have to make an important distinction. My favorite anime on this list is, without a doubt, Angel Beats. I also believe that Angel Beats is a high quality anime as much or more than Assassination Classroom. But today, I’m not looking at which one is the better overall anime. I am only looking at the directing done by Seiji Kishi.
While the directing in Angel Beats isn’t bad, it’s not the strongest on this list, either. The director role in which Kishi did best was probably Assassination Classroom– especially the second season. I think that anime is very well-made and everything flows ands feeds into each other. The finished product is beautiful and widely popular. Kishi did amazing with the direction of Assassination Classroom.
I hope you’ve learned a thing or two today about Seiji Kishi. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading, It means a lot. Take care now!
One thought on “Director Digest: Seiji Kishi”
Angel Beats was the only one I’ve seen on your list. My favorite work is his debut Yugo the Negotiator.
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