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Voice actor Takasama Ohashi hosted a special panel about the upcoming adaptation of Shinobu Ohtaka’s ongoing series “Orient”. 

Musashi and his best friend Kojiro live in a world where demons are the ruling elites of society. For more than a century after the mysterious Kishin arrived, many have taken the way of the samurai and fought the creatures as the Band of Bushi. Due to the demon’s power and influence, the two boys must hide their ambitions and relations to swordfighters. Kojiro nearly abandons their dreams but follows Musashi in their journey to become warriors and to understand himself.

Ohashi mentioned that the manga took place during the feudal era of Japan when the Kishin showed up and changed the balance. He revealed that Yuma Uchida will be performing as protagonist Musashi and Soma Saito will be Kojiro.

Soma Saito then joined the panel along with director Tetsuya Yanagisawa, story editor/series composition Mariko Kunisawa, chief producer from Avex Hirotsugu Ogo, and Kodansha manga editor Naoki Takuma.

Ohashi showed a recently released key visual of “Orient” and Director Yanagisawa talked about how the show has been two years in the making. He said that there was still much to do but hoped others will keep the hype for the anime while they wait for its release. Saito also expressed excitement about “Orient” after mentioning it was his first time seeing the picture. Editor Kunisawa then broke down parts of the image, highlighting and hinting things that will play a big role.

Producer Oga spoke about how the project came to be by approaching the anime adaptation department of Kodansha after the manga’s serialization announcement. He said the story had a unique way of narrating the growth of the main characters. When he asked the director about his first thoughts, Yanagisawa said it seemed like a typical shonen story that he would like and read. He said that ACGT possibly knew it was a manga within his preferences and approached him with the project. He shared the same sentiments as Oga while working on the anime, seeing the way the adventure unfolded. Since the manga was still continuing, Yanagisawa would be surprised by its latest developments and had fun taking reading like a fan. 

Kodansha editor Takuma then talked about working with Shinobu Ohtaka and the creative staff for the manga. He said that at the start of serialization, there were multiple ways the story could have gone but it ended up changing to fit the way characters evolved. Editor Kunisawa confessed that the flexibility and unpredictability of the plot made work a bit difficult. Due to the limited amount of time and episodes, she said “I do whatever I can to pack in everything I feel should be shown” but mentioned there were many scenes she wanted but couldn’t fit in the anime.

Ohashi asked Saito if he knew about “Orient” before the project and the voice actor answered that he ended up reading after going for the audition. He called it “a real thrill ride” and was hooked on the series. Saito admitted he auditioned for Musashi but felt more towards Kojiro. Luckily, thanks to the support of his agency, he got the role he wanted. He also said that he has been rereading “Orient” to understand Kojiro more while waiting for recording sessions to start.

Director Yanagisawa discussed how production has been and said his focus was the character’s struggles within themselves and displaying them in the show. He said that Musashi was a very candid person but Ohtaka told him that “he’s lonely at the beginning” but is more of a catalyst between the other characters. He pointed out that Kojiro has the same passion as him but it takes more for him to be more outgoing. Both Ogo and Saito shared similar responses but Saito said he also loved Kojiro’s flaws he found in the manga.

Ohashi then talked with Kunisawa and the incorporation of special terms and words from the book into the anime such as “oni”, “Bushi”, “kitetsu-tou” and “kitetsuki”. She said that “Orient” had its own unique world with a lot of interesting features but still kept in mind that the characters’ emotional states were also important. She reiterated that it was hard maintaining a balance of which content to keep and exclude but Director Yanagisawa praised her work, especially for being able to work in new developments from the manga. Editor Takuma informed the panelists that when the manga team met, the story went in different directions but trusted composer Kunisawa’s skills. He said they completely trust both Kunisawa and Yanagisawa on making the anime. He shared that the team were very excited when they heard about the adaptation but Ohtaka herself was “humble” and found it motivating to work on the manga. Takuma also said that fans of “Orient” and her other works left encouraging messages on their official Twitter page. Saito said both he and Uchida look forward to performing as Kojiro and Musashi as actors and fans. He said the series had an appealing aura and he wanted to keep the passion throughout the project.

Ohashi then opened up the panel to let them talk with the actor regarding his character. Ogo said he looked forward to the gags and comedic moments. Takuma then said he wanted to see how Kojiro tended to Musashi and their relationship. Director Yanagisawa responded that he’d like to see Kojiro against the seduction techniques, one of the flaws Saito mentioned earlier. Composer Kunisawa shared that his character was her favorite in the series and was excited to see his performance.

The host then asked Saito’s thoughts on “Orient” being shown in other parts of the world while being broadcasted in Japan. The voice actor answered by calling the panel “a Band of Bushi” and an incredible team with united feelings. He said he hoped that everyone’s enthusiasm will show in the anime and will be moving to all viewers.

During closing remarks, everyone thanked V-CRX viewers for watching the panel. Saito said he hoped to have the excitement and passion in his performance. Producer Ogo then said he’d work hard to make sure the major parts of the show get across to the viewers and would love to go to Crunchyroll Expo in person. Takuma and Kunisawa said they will be waiting for the show’s release in anticipation with the fans and others looking forward to it. Director Yanagisawa expressed his hopes that overseas anime fans will enjoy “Orient”.

The anime adaptation of “Orient” is still being made but English readers can head over to Kodansha’s website to check out a free preview of Ohtaka’s original manga and where to purchase their own copy.