Interview with Toshihisa Yokoshima: I do not think that my work is for adults, on the contrary, I hope many children in various countries will see it if possible.

We speak with Toshihisa Yokoshima about "The Gasoline Mask" project their unique technique, Cocolors, anime and many other topics


Toshihisa Yokoshima is an animator, known for his works in video games such as Rockman X8. His current animation production company, Kamikaze Douga has initiated "The Gasoline Mask", project with "Cocolors" being their first completed work. 

On the occasion of his film premiering internationally in Fantasia International Film Festival, we speak with him about the project, their unique technique, the film, anime and many other topics. 


Tell us a bit about the Gasoline Mask project. How did it came to be, and what are your plans for the future?

The first original project of the production studio "Kamikaze Douga" is called "Gasoline mask", which is a prototype of "Cocolors". There was only one prerequisite, the "people wearing a mask" concept. I dared produce a work like this even though I knew that in the commercial Japanese works, the concept would not pass. We were able to choose this concept because it is an independent production.

The Gasoline Mask Project also includes works completely different  from "Cocolors", but we have not started producing yet.

Can you tell us a bit about your animation technique, cel-shaded 3D CG and traditional Japanese printmaking? How does it differ from traditional Japanese techniques?

For a long time, I've been thinking that our 3D cel shading process is very similar to the  Japanese traditional printmaking process. Output a line that outlines the character, extract each facial characteristic such as hair and skin, put the color and shadow on each part, and synthesize it on "After Effects". The only difference is one is hand-drawn on paper and the other on a PC.


What does the title mean?

In Japanese, "cocolo (Heart)" is a word expressing emotion, combined with the English word "colors"
It means that ”"Cocolors"” is a story of colors of various emotions weaving the characters.

Why did you choose to hide the faces of the characters in Cocolors?

It was one of the themes to explore, whether there is a story that can be expressed by hiding facial expressions. Facial expression is the effective mean of conveying the emotions that human beings have.I think that it is impossible to communicate  real emotions by words alone. Actually, the main character Aki does not express his real feelings, he only repeats a false lie. And since he can not realise the other one's emotions, as if to impose his own desire, he draws a smiley mark on the mask of Fuyu. That gigantic mask is a symbol that pushes in their true emotions. Under the mask, we don't know what emotions they really have.
Also, reading human's emotions from facial expressions is a special ability that only human beings have. I think that people will surely feel something from the fine facial expression of the character shown at the end of the story. In that moment, Aki and everyone who watches,  will know him as a human being.

The anime is quite pessimistic. Why did you choose this approach? What inspired you to write this story?

Although it may seem like a very pessimistic story, I do not think that I made it as such. In the closed environment, the main character who is losing himself due to the emotions pushed in, liberates the emotion, accepts it... I think that it is a story reborn as a real human being.

What inspired me strongly in making stories and settings is the environment surrounding us in Japan today. As society gradually becomes obstructed, I feel that people, especially young people, are hardly hoping for the future. And they are swayed by the society where information can be easily retrieved, not the feelings and thoughts gained by themselves, but selected information that seems reasonably visible and can be drawn out easily, becoming a person who is an armchair theorist. They are the prototype of the characters in "Cocolors" whose emotions can not be seen, wearing a gigantic mask.

After a couple of years, I remembered that I saw strange animations of characters who wore masks a long time ago ... and it is best if you remember suddenly.


The violent scenes in the film are few but very intense. Why did you choose to include them? In general, what is your opinion of the depiction of violence on screen?

Since the expression of the characters can not be seen, I attempted to express feelings with hand-action in order to shape the characters. That is what the character do with their hands. There are  people who swing their fists without doing anything, or other people who draw a picture with their fist gripped.
I don't agreed with violence, but as a character who express his emotion straightforward, he is the one who hits his fist to the others. The violence he does is a way to convey his emotions to the main character who usually runs away from facts, as well as being the expression of himself.

Regarding the depiction of violence, if it's inevitable, as in "Cocolors", I think that it should be present. 

Can you tell us a bit about the voice actors? Why did you choose the specific ones, and what was the casting process like?

Characters of masks born in this world are creatures that can not survive so long, so we chose voice actors who can make voices of children and adolescents. Especially the character in the introductory scene is being played by a child. It was important to decide whether the cast links with adults' voice actors.

In addition, since it is a world that people need to wear the mask from the moment of birth, we are eliminating gender barriers with voice actors, making it a world nobody know about gender. Only Gidok, who is the administrator who created this underground world, is a human being, so I chose the voice of an aged adult.


As the film ended, I felt like you had more to say, but you were restrained by production cost. Is that the case? In general, how much a project like Cocolors costs at the moment? In general, what is your opinion of the Japanese anime industry at the moment? How difficult is it for someone to get funding for their animated movie?

Of course there was a choice depending on the production situation. Although the genre of this work is science fiction, its background is hardly told in the process. This is one part I cut off from the beginning.
However, even if I draw the background and the theme in detail, even if it is completed as a longer work, it is almost impossible to say whether it will get better.
Regarding production costs, we sometimes suspend and reduce production, sometimes do other work while doing other work, sometimes we ended a project a little early, so. I cannot answer concrete total production cost.Overseas, I think 3DCG  is considerably low budget, in terms of the production costs,. because the main staff is about 10 people, there are not many people engaged in production. 

Also, I think it is a very difficult situation to produce animations of such original works in Japan. In Japan, the production committee style, which recruits a lot of investors for work production is common. It is a good system where profits are distributed to each investor at low risk, but the work of low risk is a difficult environment to create in. So, I thought that animation, which is not such a system like this one, should head towards another direction.

It is rather common in Japanese anime for the main protagonists to be children or teenagers. Why is that? Why not adults? Even in titles like yours, which are addressed to adults.

Speaking of "Cocolors", the main characters are teenagers as they describe the world of children who can not live long.  I think that there are many with teenager protagonists in Japanese works, probably due to the system of investment to avoid risks mentioned in the previous question. Maybe I will make a story where an adult is the main character.

By the way, I do not think that my work is for adults, on the contrary, I hope many children in various countries will see it if possible. 

The soundtrack features some great tracks and I particularly enjoyed the ones featuring percussion. Can you tell us a bit about the music in the film?

I am very glad to hear that the sounds of percussion attracted your attention. In making music, I first wanted to incorporate instruments that fit the underground world, which was made by gathering junk items from the ground.When I was looking for something like a sound from beating junk items of iron, I met a percussion instrument called hand-pan that looked like the steel drum turned over. Because only limited scales and minor sounds can be played, it receives support of surrounding instruments to establish  a song, almost like the main character, Aki. 

In addition, another main character, Fuyu, is void not only of a facial expression but also of words. But his manifestation of rich feelings is expressed by piano and voice harmony of a colorful scale. About the sound of junk items, we also incorporated a variety of other instruments that produce interesting sounds, such as actual drums and chains, broken toy pianos, and others.

Which are your favourite filmmakers/movies?

It is difficult to narrow down the answer because I am influenced by so many filmmakers/movies.
The first inspiration received in making "Cocolors" was "The Ballad of Narayama" directed by Shohei Imamura or by Keisuke Kinoshita. "Orin" who feels alive, face to face with death, is the model for Fuyu.
Although "Cocolors" has a totally different time and a view of world from that, I made the film while considering what we carry with us while living. And Gisaburô Sugii's "Night on the Galactic Railroad" is one of my favorite movies, and I am influenced a lot in "Cocolors".

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Lee Sang-il,1,Rahul Jain,1,Railway Sleepers,1,Rainy Dog,1,Raja Mukhriz,1,Rajkumar Gupta,1,Ram,1,Ram Gopal Varma,1,Randy Mckenzie,4,Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead,1,Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead 2,1,Ravine of Goodbye,1,Re:Born,1,Real,1,Realism,1,Red Beard,1,Red Persimmons,1,Reipu zonbi: Lust of the dead 3,1,Resistance at Tule Lake,1,Respeto,2,Resurrection,1,Revenge: A love story,1,Review,8,Reviews,295,Reviews.,2,Reviews. Panos Kotzathanasis,1,Rima Das,1,Riri Riza,3,Ritwik Ghatak,2,River of Exploding Durians,2,River's Edge,2,Robin Weng,1,Roger Lee,2,Roman Porno,1,Ronja,1,Rouge,1,Roya Sadat,2,Running on Karma,1,Russia,1,RV: Resurrected Victims,1,Ryoo Seung-wan,1,Ryota Sakamaki,1,Ryu Kaneda,1,Ryuki,1,Ryutaro Ninomiya,2,S. Korea,73,S.Korea,2,Saayak Santra,9,Sabrina Baracetti,1,Sabu,3,Sade Sato,1,Salaam Bombay,1,Samui Song,1,San Diego Asian Film Festival,14,San Diego Film Festival,1,Sanjay Leela Bhansali,2,Sanjeewa Pushpakumara,2,Sankha Ray,30,Sarita Khurana,1,Satan's Slaves,3,Satoru Hirohara,1,Satoshi Kon,3,Satya,1,Satyajit Ray,1,Say Yes,1,Sayandeep Bandyopadhyay,6,Scarlet Heart,1,Score,1,Sea Fog,1,Seijun Suzuki,3,Sekigahara,1,Serga Mathang,1,Sexy S.W.A.T. Team,1,Sha Po Lang,1,Shake Rattle and Roll,1,Shakti Sounder Rajan,1,Shanjhey Kumar Perumal,1,Shanker Raman,1,Shaw Brothers,2,She Remembers He Forgets,2,She's the Boss,1,Shehjar,1,Shiboprosad Mukherjee,1,Shift,2,Shigeru Umebayashi,1,Shikhar Verma,13,Shikhar Verna,3,Shim Sung-Bo,1,Shinichi Fukazawa,1,Shinji Somai,2,Shinji Sômai,1,Shinjuku Swan,1,shinjuku Swan II,1,Shinjuku Triad Society,1,Shinobi no Kuni,2,Shinsuke Ogawa,1,Shinsuke Sato,2,Shinya Tsukamoto,4,Shireen Seno,2,Shirley Abraham,1,Shock Wave,1,Shôhei Imamura,1,Shoot for the Contents,1,Shorts,7,Shotaro Kobayashi,1,Shu Qi,1,Shuna Iijima,1,Shunji Iwai,2,Shutter,1,Shuttle Life,2,Shyam Ramsay,1,Siddiq Ahamed,1,Sidharth Bharathan,1,Sidi Saleh,1,Signature,1,Silent Mist,1,Silver Spleen,2,Singapore,3,Singh Anand,1,Singing Chen,1,Sinophone,1,Sion Sono,10,Siti,1,Sixth Sense Hooker,1,Slavemen,1,Sleep Curse,1,Small Talk,2,Smriti Mundhra,1,Sogo Ishii,2,Solanin,1,Solitude,1,Solo,1,Someone To Talk To,1,Sompot Chidgasompongse,2,Song Hae-sung,1,Song Kang-ho,1,Song of the Week,22,Sopawan Boonnimitra,1,Sopon Sakdapisit,1,Soul,1,Soul Mate,1,SoulMate,2,South Korea,21,Sri Lanka,3,Sridevi,1,Srijit Mukherji,7,Stammering Ballad,1,Stanley Kwan,1,Stanley Tong,1,Steel Rain,1,Stephen Chow,1,Stephen Fung,2,Steve James,1,Still the Water,1,Stoneman Murders,1,Story in Taipei,1,Strange Circus,1,Studio Ghibli,1,StudioCanal,4,Subenja Pongkorn,2,Suffering of Ninko,2,Sugihara Survivors: Jewish and Japanese,1,Suicide Club,1,Suman Mukhopadhay,1,Summer Snow,1,Sun-ho Cho,1,Sunao Katabuchi,3,Sunday Beauty Queen,1,Sung-hong Kim,1,Sunk Into the Womb,1,Susumu Hirasawa,1,Sweating the Small Stuff,2,Tadashi Nagayama,1,Tae Guk Gi,1,Tag,1,Taiwan,27,Takaaki Hashiguchi,1,Takahide Hori,1,Takahiro Miko,1,Takahisa Zeze,1,Takao Nakano,1,Takaomi Ogata,4,Takashi Miike,10,Take Care of My Cat,1,Take Off,1,Takeo Kikuchi,2,Takeshi Kaneshiro,1,Takeshi Kitano,1,Takuro Nakamura,2,Talop Wangchuk,1,Tamil,4,Tamura Senichi,1,Tang Seng Kiat,2,Tanit Jitnukul,1,Tanvir Ashraf,2,Taste of Rice Flower,2,Tatara Samurai,1,Tatsuhi Omori,1,Tatsumi,1,Tatsumi Kumashiro,1,Teddy Soeriaatmadja,1,Teenkahon,1,Teppei Nakamura,1,Tetsuo the Iron Man,1,Tetsuya Mariko,1,Tetsuya Nakashima,1,Thailand,21,Thanatos Drunk,1,That's It,1,The Adventurers,2,The Apology,1,The Bad,1,The Blue Redemption,1,The Boy and the Beast,3,The boy from Ipanema,1,The Brink,1,The Chase,1,The Cinema Travellers,1,The Crawler in the Attic,1,The Crazy Family,1,The Day After,1,The Detective,1,The Discloser,1,The Dollhouse,1,The elephant and the sea,2,The Executioner,1,The Eye's Dream,1,The Forest Whispers,1,The Forsaken Land,1,The Fortress,1,The Gangster's Daughter,1,The Girl Who Never Knew War,1,The Golden Fortress,1,The Good,1,The Great Buddha+,1,The Great Passage,1,The Hole,1,The Hungry Lion,1,The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles,2,The Inugami Family,1,The Iron Ministry,1,The Island That All Flow By,1,The Isthmus,1,The Kid from the Big Apple,1,The King of Pigs,1,The Last Executioner,1,The Last Painting,1,The Long Excuse,1,The Looming Storm,1,The Lowlife,1,The Magic Blade,1,The Man Without a Map,1,The Mayor,1,The Merciless,2,The Mermaid,1,The Muse,1,The Naked Island,1,The Name,1,The Net,1,The Night of the Earthquake,1,The Outlaws,1,The Prison,1,The Promise,1,The Raid,1,The Raid 2,1,The recipe,1,The Road Home,1,The Road to Mandalay,1,the Robber's Daughter,1,The Room,1,The Sacrament,1,The Salesman,1,The Seen and Unseen,1,The Shoot Must Go On,1,The Sleep Curse,1,The Sower,2,The Story of the Disappearance of Maryam,1,The Strange Saga of Hiroshi the Freeloading Sex Machine,1,The Swindlers,1,The Table,1,The Third Murder,1,The Thousand Faces of Dunjia,1,The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale,1,The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue,1,The Tooth and the Nail,1,The Truth Beneath,1,The Vanished,1,The Villainess,3,The Violin Player,1,The Way We Are,1,The Weird,1,The Windmill Palm Grove,1,Theeran Adhigaaram Ondru,1,Third WIndow,1,This Is Not What I Expected,1,This Is Not What I Expected!,1,Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum,1,Three Sisters,1,Three Times,1,Tiffany Hsiung,1,Tik Tik Tik,1,Tôkaidô Yotsuya kaidan,1,Tokyo Ghoul,1,Tokyo Heaven,1,Tokyo Idols,1,Tokyo Vampire Hotel,1,Tolerance Film Festival,1,Tom Waller,2,Tony Leung,1,Tony Takitani,1,Torico,2,Toronto International Film Festival,1,Toshiaki Toyoda,2,Toshihisa Yokoshima,3,Toshimasha Kobayashi,1,Toshio Matsumoto,1,Toshiya Fujita,1,Town in a Lake,1,Traces of Sin,1,Trailers,84,Train to Busan,1,Tran Ham,1,Translated articles,1,Trapped,1,Travellers and Magicians,1,Treb Monteras II,2,Trinh T. Minh-Ha,3,Triple Threat,1,True Fiction,1,Tsai Ming-liang,2,Tulsi Ramsay,1,Twenty Two,1,Twilight Dinner,1,Twitch: You Are My Toy,1,Typhoon Club,1,Udine,1,Um Tae-hwa,1,Unbowed,1,Uncovered,1,Up Down and Sideways,1,V.I.P.,1,Vagabond,1,Vaishali Sinha,1,Vampire Cleanup Department,2,Vanishing Time A Boy Who Returned,1,Vannaphone Sitthirath,1,various,2,Varnyathil Aashanka,1,Verena Paravel,1,Vesoul International Film Festival,20,Victor Vu,1,Vidya Balan,1,Vietnam,6,Vikram Zushi,1,Vikramaditya Motwane,1,Village Rockstars,1,Vimukthi Jayasundara,1,Vinay Shukla,1,Vincent Kok,1,Violated Angels,1,Visitor Q,1,Vital,1,Vitaly Mansky,1,Vivien Qu,1,Voyage to Terengganu,1,Wai Ka-fai,1,Walk on Girl,1,Walking Past the Future,1,Wang Bing,3,Wang Chao,2,Wang Lung-wei,1,Wang Ming-tai,1,Warriors of the Dawn,2,We Make Antiques,1,Weeds on Fire,1,Wei-Hao Cheng,1,Wellgo USA,2,West North West,2,What a Man Wants,1,What A Wonderful Family 2,1,What Time Is It There?,1,Whispering Corridors,1,Whispering Star,1,White Sun,1,Who Killed Cock Robin,1,Whore Angel,1,Wilson Yip,1,Wiman Rizkidarajat,1,Wine War,1,Winter Vacation,1,With Prisoners,1,Without Memory,1,Wol-Ha: Very Bad Moon Rising,1,Woman of the Lake,1,Won Shin-Yeon,1,Wong Chun,3,Wong Jing,2,Wong Kar-wai,2,Woo Ming Jin,1,Xaisongkham Induangchanthy,1,Xu Bing,1,Ya-che Yang,1,Yamato (California),4,Yan Pak Wing,2,Yang Chao,2,Yang Ik-june,1,Yang Jong-hyeon,1,Yang Woo-seok,1,Yao Tian,1,Yash Chopra,1,Yasmin-san,1,Yeon Sang-ho,2,Yes Madam,1,Yeti Obhijaan,2,Yin Liang,1,Yiu-wai Chu,1,Yoji Yamada,1,Yoo Ha,1,Yoon-chul chung,1,Yoonsuk Jung,1,Yosep Anggi Noen,1,Yoshihiro Hanno,1,Yoshihiro Nakamura,2,Yoshihiro Nishimura,3,Yoshimasa Jimbo,1,Yoshinari Nishikori,1,Yoshishige Yoshida,1,Yoshitaka Mori,1,Yoshiyuki Kishi,1,Yosuke Takeuchi,2,Yotsuya kaidan,1,You Losers!,1,Your Name,1,Youth,1,Yu Aoi,2,Yu Irie,1,Yu Sang-wook,1,Yuen Chor,1,Yuen Woo-ping,1,Yuji Shimomura,1,Yûji Tajiri,2,Yujiro Harumoto,2,Yuki Tanada,1,Yukihiko Tsutsumi,2,Yukuhiro Morigaki,2,Yusaku Matsumoto,2,Yutaka Ikejima,3,Yutaro Nakamura,1,Yuya Ishii,2,Zakka Films,2,Zhang Lu,1,Zhang Nan,1,Zhang Yimou,1,Zig Dulay,1,Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight,1,Zoo,1,Zuairijah Mou,1,Zuri Rinpoche. Bhutan. Five Flavours,1,
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Asian Film Vault: Interview with Toshihisa Yokoshima: I do not think that my work is for adults, on the contrary, I hope many children in various countries will see it if possible.
Interview with Toshihisa Yokoshima: I do not think that my work is for adults, on the contrary, I hope many children in various countries will see it if possible.
We speak with Toshihisa Yokoshima about "The Gasoline Mask" project their unique technique, Cocolors, anime and many other topics
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Asian Film Vault
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