Looking for the exclusive interview with Yoshiaki Kyogoku, director of the Laid-Back Camp anime? You’ve come the right place! Our in-house Laid-Back Camp Editor, Carl Li, had the opportunity to meet with Yoshiaki Kyogoku and get the inside scoop on the hit show. Read below for the full interview!
Carl: Hello, my name is Carl Li, and I work for a manga company called Yen Press. We publish Laid-Back Camp in English, and I’m the editor for the English translation. I heard you were coming to Otakon, and I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to get your opinions on working on Laid-Back Camp.
Yoshiaki: Pleasure to meet you.
Carl: You’ve worked in the anime industry for many years, but Laid-Back Camp is your first series as main director, I believe. How has your prior experience prepared you for the director role, and what were some unexpected aspects new to being director?
Yoshiaki: I’ve worked on many titles before, and I believe that each one I’ve worked on before has resulted in growing my technique that led to the creation of Laid-Back Camp. But in my first time as director, I did find a lot of things that were very difficult and unexpected along the way.
Carl: Would you be interested in elaborating on any of that?
Yoshiaki: I found that it took me far too long to come up with a storyboard. As time went on, I had less and less time to draw pictures in the storyboards. As an episode director, I could control one episode in its entirety, but as a director, I had to control all twelve episodes, and I just had no time.
For the last episode, I stayed in the studio overnight to finish it.
Carl: Laid-Back Camp uses many real-life or real-life-inspired locations. How much did you and your staff do on-site research, visiting the actual camp locations?
Yoshiaki: We went out ten times in total. Sometimes, we’d stay overnight; sometimes, we’d come home the same day. We went in winter, the same as the anime, and it was really cold.
Carl: So it seems that Laid-Back Camp—both the manga and the anime—have inspired a great deal of actual camping in Japan. What are your thoughts on this phenomenon, and have you ever gone camping yourself before or after working on Laid-Back Camp?
Yoshiaki: Before Laid-Back Camp, I never even imagined going camping, ever. But after we went location hunting with the staff, I found the idea of camping very fun. Even just having the fire in front of you and just having it burn is lots of fun. I wanted to take the charm of this camping experience that I had and give it to the anime viewer, and focus really hard on the charm of camping.
Carl: Related to that, what are your thoughts on anime and manga tourism in general?
Yoshiaki: So I believe that one of the charms of anime is that you can cut out a part of the real world, the beauty of the real world—in the case of Laid-Back Camp, this would be the scenery of the campground and the flavor of the food and how delicious it is—and take the fun, and turn it into a picture. It allows you to show people all of this, and to show them that everyday scenery, the things you see every day, are beautiful. That idea that I’ve allowed people to get a look at this beauty enough so that they want to go out and see it, and go to the same place, makes me very, very happy.
I’d like everyone outside of Japan to see the beauty of Mount Fuji.
Carl: You have credits on another series—Encouragement of Climb—that is similar to Laid-Back Camp in its emphasis on cute girls and the outdoors. Did that experience working on that series help in any way?
Yoshiaki: Nothing technical has really been brought over from Encouragement of Climb to Laid-Back Camp, but showing characters touching and experiencing nature has definitely been an influence going from Encouragement of Climb to Laid-Back Camp.
Carl: Thank you!
Don’t forget to check out the Laid-Back Camp manga, Vols. 1-6 on sale now, as well as the anime currently streaming on Crunchyroll! Loved this interview? Let us know on any of our social media channels, or comment below!