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Ikuko Itoh

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Ikuko Itoh (伊藤 郁子 Itō Ikuko) is a Japanese character designer and animation director best known as the creator of Princess Tutu. Along with creating the series, she was the character designer and chief animation director.

Previously, she worked as an animation director on the first four seasons of the Sailor Moon anime.She was also partially involved in the character design works of the anime series.

CommentaryEdit

The giant vacuum tube stereo was in my house ever since I could remember. It had a space carefully set aside for it, as if it were a precious family treasure. When I was around 5 or 6, my father would enjoy his favorite classical music when he came home from work, and as little as I was, I would also listen nearby. Of those, Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, in particular, caught my attention. I was still unable to read the explanation on the album jacket, so I pestered my father with questions. "What's Odette doing right now? What happened to the prince?" I seem to recall that he gave me vague explanations towards the beginning, but my questions must have been difficult to answer for my father, who was not especially knowledgeable about ballet. Soon, I was sternly told to "be quiet and listen!" I stopped asking questions. I had to decided that I would imagine whatever stories I pleased as I listened to the music.

Perhaps it was a habit I picked up then, but even after I began working on anime, if I needed a little "boost," I would listen to ballet music to deepen my imagination and raise morale. I began to seriously think about things like "why do Japanese like Tchaikovsky?" And about the "soothing effect" of classical music that is used repeatedly in television commercials. I came to feel strongly about thinking, "Is there no way to produce an animation that uses only the familiar and nostalgic classical music?"

Eight years ago, when Sailor Moon S began, Mr. Junichi Sato, with whom I would later have a long-lasting working relationship, asked me to do the character designs for Magic User's Club, and I had a tough time with it. This was because I did not know what kind of direction I should go with th drawings. That was when I asked, "If it were up to me, what would I want to draw?" And what I drew then for the first time was a maiden in a tutu... that was "Princess Tutu." Having taken a liking to that image, I decided to start building a story as I worked on Magic User's Club. As the story came together, I would have staff members I knew well listen to what I had, and gradually built up my dream. Eventually, there was talk of "Why don't you make characters and form a plot?"... It took a considerable number of years since then for it to actually become a show, but we have finally been able to bring it to you as the DVD you have here. Please enjoy the details of the music and the images created together with a wonderful staff with all our hearts.

At home, that giant vacuum tube stereo is still in its special place. The stereo has become timeworn and no longer plays music, but the music from that time still continues to flow in my memories, and my heart still continues to dance.

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