Lockdown is now lifted in Japan, but what do we still need to keep in mind as we enjoy our new-found freedom outside the home? AOI Pro. partnered with disinfectant company SMV Japan to create this new 'Out of Lockdown' animation film, which will answer all your questions.
The entire film was handled in house, back to April. AOI Pro. teamed up with Dentsu from the planning stage to brainstorm some new ideas. “Despite the many coronavirus-related films worldwide, almost none were from Japan, so we saw room to make our own,” says producer Watanabe. As part of efforts to make it as appealing as possible outside Japan as well as domestically, AOI Pro. brought Chari, with many overseas followers, on board to create the illustrations and decided to add a new song to the animation to maximize the impact. The song is original, courtesy of music company audioforce and with lyrics from the creative team headed by Dentsu wordsmith Chiemi Manako.
The production team got things started by sharing the song direction with audioforce, then requesting samples. While the composition progressed seamlessly with an appealing deliverable soon to hand, the lyrics proved far more of a challenge. Originally in Japanese, rendering them in English involved overcoming linguistic and cultural hurdles, including words with no equivalent and those culturally difficult to transpose. Suffice to say, extra care and attention were needed. Differences also emerged in national coronavirus perspectives. Even if a certain content came across as amusing to a domestic Japanese audience, it could be viewed very differently elsewhere, underlining the need for careful content selection.
“Having said that, something overly serious would be killjoy and may even end up offending some viewers, so we settled for a comical tone: quirky and simply enjoyable,” says Watanabe.
Despite current circumstances, AOI Pro. will continue striving to provide films that appeal to and please as many people as possible, while prioritizing the safety of business partners and employees above all other factors.