One Truth Prevails: An Interview with Michihiko Suwa

Interview With Michihiko Suwa
Location: Anime Boston 2018
Interview Date: 3/31/2018

It’s no small feat to produce an anime that has 46 episodes. Detective Conan (Case Closed) has had 46 Opening Themes! It’s had 56 Ending Themes. The 22nd movie (Detective Conan: Zero’s Executioner) is coming out April 13th, one week after the 898th television episode. Counting OVAs, there have been around 25,000 minutes of Detective Conan animated and produced. Unless you’re in the One Piece universe, that’s a lot.

If you go all the way back to the beginning, you’ll come to a point when Gosho Aoyama’s manga inspired a glint in Michihiko Suwa’s eye. It’s been a long journey, but one he’s comfortable with.

“For [Detective] Conan, we now produce 40 television episodes and one movie a year. We’re used to the process and the rhythm.” -Michihiko Suwa

He noted that Conan has two separate teams: the television team and the movie team.

He reminisced about when Kyoto Animation needed assistance 20 years ago. He recommended the team at Sunrise, which worked out beautifully for all involved.

Over the course of his career he’s seen the industry evolve quite a bit.

“I feel like we have more ways to distribute anime. Satellite, streaming, television, it’s a developing industry.” -Michihiko Suwa

“This April there will be 70 new anime. It’s a prospering industry, but not all of these 70 shows will be hits, so maybe we need to look at how we can be more selective.” -Michihiko Suwa

I asked Suwa if his experience working on a very difficult role on the variety show “11PM” influenced how he treated his staff:

“The way I treat my underlings hasn’t changed. At the time I was on the bottom rank and I learned a lot.” -Michihiko Suwa

While Detective Conan may be first and foremost on people’s minds, City Hunter has a movie coming out in 2019.

“All of the City Hunters had a different time slot. It aired at Monday 7 PM, Friday evening, Saturday at 6 PM. Each version had a different target audience. At one point it was Sunday night. That one required a more fashionable opening and ending.” -Michihiko Suwa

I was curious how a new City Hunter film came to be:

“We knew how we would fund it. We got people on the production committee to approve it. The business involved came to an agreement. In particular, I’ve worked very closely with Aniplex. Sunrise will be creating it. We will leave room for potential future sequels.” -Michihiko Suwa

Something to be excited for. Special thanks to Michihiko Suwa for speaking with us. Special thanks to translator Akira Negi. Thanks to Anime Boston for making this interview possible.

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