Pony Canyon producer Shinichi Nakamura along with music composer kensuke ushio spoke with their reporters in a press conference to give details on their film “Liz and the Blue Bird” which Anime Expo 2018 will show for the first time in the U.S on Day Two.

“Liz and the Blue Bird” is a story within the universe of the anime “Sound! Euphonium” featuring oboe player Mizore Yoroizuka and flutist Nozomi Kasaki of Kita Uji High School. They have one more competition in their last year of high school and will perform “Liz and the Blue Bird”. There are portions where the two parts are not in uniform, hinting the increasing disjunction between the two students. It becomes more noticeable as they talk about what’s after graduation and they tear far apart in the midst of preparing for the performance. Mizore and Nozomi need to find a resolution for their problem but it might not end up like a perfect harmony.

For those wondering where the movie fitted in the storyline, “Liz and the Blue Bird” was after the anime series, according to Nakamura. He worked with the same main staff of “A Silent Voice” including ushio and director Naoko Yamada. When asked about composing music, ushio told reporters how he and Director Yamada took the same approach they did with “A Silent Voice” to create the soundtrack and the animation. With “Liz and the Blue Bird”, ushio went more hands-on by creating musical inkblots, letting the paint dictate where the notes will be. He said that each side was one of the girls and had their own irregularities which became part of the music’s disjointed nature. Some of the inkblots turned into a large mass filling the bars, so ushio digitally turned them into sound bites. He further played with the dissonance by using co-prime integers and how their value between each other grew larger. It was quite a unique method of constructing music.

kensuke ushio holding one of his inkblot sheet music. Photo taken by Faith Orcino.

Close-up of ushio holding one of his inkblot sheet music. Photo taken by Faith Orcino.

When it came to putting sound to the notes ushio visited a high school and obtained sound bites from objects in and around like the clanging of beakers. Another instrument he used was a prepared piano which is a modified one that has items on its strings. In his case, there were erasers and he thought this type of prepared piano was a metaphor of the students having to be strictly placed to do certain things. ushio said that some of the audience may not be able to catch the subtle use of his techniques but was worth giving the detailed work. A question about inspiration for the “Liz and the Blue Bird” music was brought up and he said that Disney’s “Fantasia” films and the avant-garde musician John Cage were what came to mind. ushio did mention also that Akito Matsuda the composer of “Sound! Euphonium” worked on the orchestral portion of the soundtrack. A question popped up about his inkblot sheet music if he would consider putting them in a gallery. ushio answered via his translator, “I’d love to, but do you know any galleries?” It definitely seemed like the team did a lot to make this piece of art into a masterpiece.

kensuke ushio (left) and Shinichi Nakamura (right) taken by Faith Orcino.

For those that enjoyed the work director Yamada, composer ushio and producer Nakamura did in “A Silent Voice”, there is a good chance they will like “Liz and the Blue Bird”. The best chance to watch is at the special U.S. premiere at Anime Expo on Friday July 6th. The screening and panel will be at the JW Marriott’s Platinum Ballroom (LP2) from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. For more information on the event, visit AX’s website. kensuke ushio will also be available for autographs on Friday July 6th and Saturday 7th at 10:10 A.M.

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