With this story, we had the most lively, intense exchange of ideas with this "development".
"Do we really have to take it to this extent?" "Isn't this something out of a midday talk show?" "Won't it be pushed aside as something that is physiologically disgusting?" They were all plausible opinions. They weren't just opinions based on simple likes and dislikes. At the end of a very long discussion, nevertheless, we decided to go this route with pride, confidence and awareness. We chose this for a deeper, heavier "story of those two girls".
Of course, what the people who saw the film...are feeling is "correct". There are those things that we'd like people to feel, but we can't "push those things on people." This goes for many other stories out there in the world. The only thing is...
Even for Chikane, "this night" is...The proof that she will never go back. A mask of lies that she wears to deceive the sly Orochi. It is alright if Himeko doesn't forgive her. No, in fact, she shouldn't be forgiven by Himeko. In order to make herself lose the right to hold Himeko in her arms. And, no matter what conclusion awaits her, this fact will never completely disappear from Chikane's memory. I also wrote this at another place, but this story's theme is that "love is not only beautiful."
This story is not about Chikane winning because she scored 100 and Souma 95. It's not that Himeko didn't choose Souma because of some fault or vice that he has. Then, why is it? There is only one true partner. And that one that Himeko loved was Chikane...at the very end, Himeko realizes this and accepts Chikane's love for her. That's the only reason. That's the simple truth. If two individuals get together, then naturally there won't be a spare seat for someone else. I really feel sorry for him, but somebody has to end up crying. No matter how strongly he feels about it, there are times when even such a love doesn't reach the other person.
They [the Orochi] can attain happiness by going on a rampage...but for Chikane, the more she goes on a rampage, the unhappier she gets. If one was to think of Orochi power as "the power of unhappiness", then Chikane is the most powerful Orochi. In order to become an enemy to Himeko, she purposefully chose the road that is most extreme and cruel...in order to deceive the Orochi. There is also an emotion that resides inside Chikane; a dark, negative, and chaotic emotion that resides along with her pure feelings toward Himeko. "It's ok if I'm just her best friend...as a matter of fact, that has to be the way it is." By liberating those feelings that she desperately tried to suppress and deny...she could deceive the Orochi. And the other reason she decided to do this (I touched on this briefly in my commentary on episode 8) is that this is a punishment...a sentence that she gave herself. "It's ok if Himeko doesn't forgive me...no, in fact, I should never be forgiven by Himeko." So that Chikane never forgives herself...it is an eternal sentence that she gave herself for the decision she made to select that night. (That is why, in the final episode when Himeko confesses her love for Chikane, Chikane desperately kept on coming up with reasons to deny it.) The one thing Chikane couldn't do...was that she couldn't help but say it at the very end. "It's true...I always loved you..." Properly speaking, she should say that it's all a lie when Himeko asks her......but she couldn't say that. She finally ended up saying her true feelings. She couldn't lie because that was, for Chikane, her last truth....the most important words.
Himeko's response after hearing Chikane's feelings from her is the true climax of this story.
As the director said in his comment too, the line that we wanted Himeko to say...more than "I love you"...was "I'm sorry to leave you alone." Even though Chikane-chan protected me so well and held me so tight...and she was always right next to me...and yet I wasn't able to understand anything about Chikane-chan. From now on, please share everything with me..don't shoulder them all by yourself anymore. I want you to share not only happiness but unhappiness with me, too...I want to walk together with you. You don't have to be "Miya-sama" or a knight to me...I want to be your "true" partner. Rather than "my Chikane-chan", I want to be "Chikane-chan's Himeko."
....mercilessly, the moment of farewell will soon visit them. With "Kannazuki no Miko," we started out by putting together this last scene's image during our first meeting. More than anything else, they chose the road they will both travel together when they meet again...no matter what kind of trial should be waiting for them ahead...they will walk together holding each other's hand firmly. "This moment will not be defeated by any eternity, god or destiny. There's no way it'll be defeated." This promise they made amidst the flurry of blowing flower petals is also a way of saying "Listen up!! Ame no Murakumo!" (according to the director.)
The last scene...the embrace at the intersection. We received a lot of questions from various people about this. How many years later did they meet again? Is it the present age? Is it the future? What happened to their memories? How old are they? What happened to Orochi? I really debated whether or not I should answer these questions here. Of course, it's not like we didn't think up anything beforehand (for example, to make the time period ambiguous, we had an idea to do this on a beach...although we decided to purposefully do this this amidst a crowd.) Among those who gave us questions, there were those who widened their imagination and came up with various settings. I don't want to negate these things. Himeko and Chikane will meet again some day and will fall in love with each other again. No matter what happens to the world or how old they are, that is the one thing that is certain. As for the rest, what the viewers are imagining, their favorite situation is "correct." We just hope that you enjoy it.
There are still more to come with these two's story. We created this series on the basis of that. Things that we should depict, things that we want to depict, things that we didn't have time to depict....there still is lot more to this. What lies ahead a love that becomes fulfilled...a love that is permissable....I'm sure there will be a new trial that'll come in front of them. In spite of that, walking together hand in hand...the road that Himeko and Chikane will be traveling on...so that we could present this to everyone, all of us will be putting in our hearts and effort to realize this one day.
Tetsuya Yanagisawa (Director):
This story does deal with love between two girls, but as far as I'm concerned, I directed it rather as a "classic, pure love story." That's why I excluded any "smoochy love games between two girls" type of a sweet situation when it came to "Chikane and Himeko." As a matter of fact, I made the fact that "they are of the same gender" as an obstacle that prevented them from fulfilling their love..."a fate that they couldn't do anything about that they were burdened with." No matter how much Chikane loves Himeko, she could never utter her painful feelings even though they were about to burst out of her heart.
Kaishaku (Original Manga):
I recall saying at the very beginning that "this is a story where two girls get together at the very end." I knew this assertion went widely off the high road. I also said, "In a decision between which to choose: love or the world...we'll choose love." ..... It is not a man and a woman. In other words, there is no regeneration [?], just a lot of risks. In spite of that, they are attracted to each other so much...they need each other so much that they end up choosing love. It's almost as if the world, their future, and people's opinions and their genders do not matter. As an expression, it is ok to cross at certain line. If there is a genre called Soft Yuri (Yuri = girl/girl love) then this will be Hard Yuri. We can't have them smooching each other, since we know that's a sin. So it'll be done in a high-class manner, although not in a snobbish way. Not in a naive way, but in a noble manner. Chikane is like that.
A story about two such girls...a story that goes against the world. I wanted to make it into a story like that and I wanted to see a story like that. The hero gets hurt and worries for the sake of the heroine. And that is Chikane. In other words, Chikane is the hero. That is why I filled Souma with elements of a straightforward hero. But in the truest sense of the word, the one who could make Himeko happy and who will end up together with Himeko is Chikane, who worried, got hurt and supported her along the way.
Sumio Uetake (Series Composition/Scenario Writing) [again]
The leading characters are these two shrine maidens. A boy and the two girls....seeing many elements in the proposal, I came upon one sentence which took me by surprise. Huh? You mean to tell me this isn't some story about love, robots and battles surrounding this boy who has a girl on each of his arm? Are you saying that the one in the center is this girl wearing a ribbon? A good-looking boy and a pretty girl fight over another pretty girl? Hmm...Then, can we take off with this love affair between these two girls as the axis? It's not about "one characteristic of one of the many girls"... not about "swaying emotions of adolescence, a puppy love of a girl that is just a little step toward experiencing true love"...not about "a spoiler or comic relief for the boy who's the leading character"...but it was something definitely powerful and totally serious that came straightforward at you.
Then, in that case, let's take it one step higher and why don't we make it a story in which the girls get together as a couple? Regardless of what shape or form it takes, is it permissable to have them fulfill their love at the end?
Yes, we insist that this raven-haired young lady come out victorious in the end. Although it seems like there will be stories like this around, but I never experienced it until that time. I felt like within my own head I just started to expand my imaginations.
"These girls can win, you know. As a matter of fact, I'd like them to win." Are you serious?! That was the moment when this "Kannazuki no Miko" became more than a mere enjoyable work for me. The mountain of joy was higher than Jungfrau and the valley of pain and hardship (it's work, so of course there's going to be some) was deeper than the ocean trench of the Marianas. We laughed, cried, and fought...it was a thrilling time like rolling around on top of a sizzling iron plate. I can say this out loud in front of everyone...that the anime I love the most right now is "Kannazuki no Miko". Being able to say such a thing is, I think, a very fortunate thing for a scenario writer.