Earlier today, ANN broke the story that Emiri Katou and Kaori Fukuhara will star in Ad Lib Anime Kenkyusho (Ad Lib Anime Laboratory). Ad Lib Anime Kenkyusho is an experimental show that will debut on BS Fuji on October 15. The series will be completely unscripted. Instead, Katou and Fukuhara will ad-lib each episode’s dialogue, which will then be animated based on the recordings. A guest star will join the show each weak to voice a supporting character.
This is truly a fascinating turn of events, as far as anime production goes. Anime in itself is often created under a heavily stuctured, heavily timed and tested process that doesn’t allow for script deviations. The animation is produced ahead of time, and the script is tuned and tweaked to the point that it fits the on-screen animation perfectly. Even in the western adaptations, where shows like Shin-chan and Sgt. Frog take heavy liberties with the shows’ dialogue, a strict structure is retained, and a script is followed.
There is great potential for this to go wrong. With no real constraints, and no script, this could easily turn into a non-sensical mess. A bad guest, a troubled recording session, or even an off night for an actor could spell disaster for that week’s production. However, at the same time, there is great potential for a show that can be genuinely funny. Spontaneous comedy lends itself to a sense of humor that simply can’t be recreated in a scripted environment.
I’m a bit skeptical of how the series will fare as a whole. I am genuinely curious about how the show will pan out, and I wonder how it will impact anime as a whole if the show is successful. In addition, I can’t help but wonder how the show would capture that same unscripted, spontanous spirit if the show manages to be acquired for American release by a company that dubs its product. These are questions that will be answered in due time, however. All we can really do is wait at this point.