Note: This text is reproduced verbatim and provided courtesy of © Fuji Television Network, Inc.

(Interview Date: July 2020)

Here’s an interview with Taku Matsuo, who is the producer of “noitaminA” animation series at Fuji TV, “The Millionaire Detective Balance:UNLIMITED.” He talks about some of the intriguing factors which surround the thinking behind the anime’s creator team.

Taku Matsuo (Producer) “The Millionaire Detective Balance:UNLIMITED” ©Fuji Television Network, Inc.

The anime is based on the million-seller mystery novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, which originates back to 1975. And, in the year 2020 after about 45 years, why did you decide to make it into an animation? Also, what are the appealing areas about this anime?

I felt that the protagonist with an intriguing character setting, and his abilities to bang out flashy action sequences without worrying too much about the details, seemed perfect for the entertainment aspect of the animation. Plus, I was also a big fan of Yasutaka Tsutsui, the original author. I was sure that if we were going to do an animation, I wanted it to be flashy and showy, something that the live-action producer team would be envious of. I was also confident that it would be an exhilarating experience to see the main character, Daisuke Kambe, a wealthy man, who boldly solves cases with the power of money without caring too much.

As for the animation, could you describe the parts that you stayed faithful to the original work, and also what areas are new?

The main character, Daisuke Kambe is a wealthy man who plays an active role in the police force, so we wanted to keep this at the “core” of the animation’s entertainment value. At the same time, as it is being broadcasted in the year 2020, we also pursued the question of what fresh new factors we can add to the original work from 1975, something which “may only be achieved during this moment in time.” We thought that technology and gadgets were essential for a millionaire to solve crimes in order to meet the needs of the times, and we believed that it would be interesting to add a buddy character too. Driven by these thoughts, original settings and new characters specific to the anime version began to emerge one after another. On the other hand, we are very grateful to Mr.Tsutsui, for letting us do everything in the way we wanted, from the scenario, storyboard to even the animation’s title.

© 筒井康隆・新潮社/伊藤智彦・神戸財閥

The title of the original story is "The Millionaire Detective." But the animation is called "The Millionaire Detective Balance: UNLIMITED." What were the thought processes behind the "Balance:UNLIMITED" part?

In order to revive the legendary million-seller, "The Millionaire Detective" in 2020, we needed to imply to the world, that this is the "latest" work, so to make this possible, we decided to keep the original title part, but also added new keywords too. "Balance:UNLIMITED" (means “unlimited account balance”) is a key line in the script for Daisuke Kambe’s AI butler, whenever he performs flashy tasks to solve cases. In each of the episodes, I hope you’ll enjoy the story's decisive lines, which in a good way may seem a bit like a cliché.

The voice actors for the main characters, Daisuke Kambe, and his partner, Haru Kato, are respectively played by Yusuke Onuki and Mamoru Miyano. Could you tell us the reasons for their casting. Also, Mamoru Miyano is a veteran in the world of voice acting with many awards under his belt. On the other hand, we have an image of Yusuke Onuki as an actor and dancer in dramas such as "Daughter of Lupin." We believe that this is his first time in voice acting. What is the atmosphere like between the two of them during the recording sessions?

Yusuke Onuki was casted by director, Tomohiko Ito ("Sword Art Online the Movie: Ordinal Scale"/ “Erased") without any pause for thought. His voice is the perfect match for the millionaire character who is mysterious and fearless. And Mamoru Miyano plays the buddy character, Haru Kato, who gets thrown around by Daisuke Kambe in the story. Haru Kato helps to add the elements of depth and reality due to his perfect acting style which contain exquisite human qualities. They also do a lot of promotional work together, and the atmosphere between the two of them is great, both in the recording studio and during various interviews for the media. The way they respect each other is just like a real “buddy.”

The opening theme is the fast-paced and stylish song "NAVIGATOR" by “SixTONES.” What was your impression of this song when you first heard it, and why did you think it was appropriate for this anime?

I was so impressed that this wonderful track which reminds us of the "blue flame" like the image of Daisuke Kambe was written. It's a cool song which is both catchy and works well with the theme of the story. I’m so grateful to “SixTONES” for helping us to make the animation even more majestic.

This anime is being streamed in overseas too. What are the highlights of the story that foreign viewers can also relate to and enjoy?

We have created an animation that we can confidently say will be enjoyed by audience around the world. After being aired, each episode trends around the globe, and we can truly feel the enthusiasm of our fans from abroad too. The animation is hotting up, so I do hope that you will continue to support “The Millionaire Detective Balance:UNLIMITED.”

Taku MATSUO: Profile
After joining Fuji Television in 2008, Taku Matsuo was an Assistant Director for hit shows such as “SMAP×SMAP” and “Waratte Iitomo!,” before transferring to the pay-per-view department in 2011. There, he worked on administration for hit sports and variety shows. And in 2014, he moved to the Animation Department, where he focused on “noitaminA” anime contents such as "Erased," "Inuyashiki," and "After the Rain,” as well as films which include "The Anthem of the Heart," "Penguin Highway," and “A Whisker Away.”

By - grape Japan editorial staff.