Mamoru Kanbe ( 神戸守 ) is the director of the Elfen Lied anime.
Work on Elfen Lied
Kanbe's animation career began with his work as production assistant/production manager for Hayao Miyazaki's film "Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind" in 1984. Prior, he worked on making animated films for educational TV programs and theaters for children. He was originally recommended to work on the anime by Takao Yoshioka, its screenwriter, who believed Kanbe's art style would be ideal to translate the manga's style into anime form. Kanbe was initially reluctant to join the project, but upon reading the manga, became interested in the story and agreed to take part. His art style did prove to work for the anime, resulting in very clean and crisp animation.
The animation of the manga was determined in January, 2004 and during the time of the anime's production, the manga was still ongoing, so Kanbe and the team were forced to condense the plot thus far into only thirteen episodes. The song of Hugo Wolf's Elfen Lied had not yet appeared in the manga at this moment and the role of Nozomi in the entire story was uncertain so it was determined to make the anime based on the manga stories that had already been published. So the anime covers, roughly speaking, until the first seven Tankobon books. This, naturally, required many changes to be made to the plot, and Kanbe himself notes they had to leave out several significant plot details he thought he could have used to make the series more emotive. He viewed Elfen Lied as "a love story, and I could make it so that it would bring viewers to tears," resulting in the anime focusing more on the star-crossed lovers aspect of Lucy and Kouta's relationship. This had the unfortunate result of Yuka's character being made more shrill and unlikable in comparison to her portrayal in the manga. Of the many aspects of the manga left out of the anime, the character of Nozomi was excluded, and it is believed that her exclusion led to a dispute between Kanbe and the series' creator, Lynn Okamoto. Kanbe countered that the dispute centered on the timing of her introduction, which he did not oppose in and of itself. Nozomi's role was ultimately given to Kouta's music box since she could not be fit into the anime's already shortened schedule.
Kanbe and the production team for the anime were originally surprised by Okamoto's choice of Kamakura, but after visiting the city in December 2003 and February 2004 to view local buildings and locations, Kanbe commented that the setting was ideal for the poignant and reflective drama he wanted the series to be. Its overall geography and tranquility outside of the tourist spots provided an almost otherworldly and reflective backdrop for the plot, ideal for what he wanted. Prior to his work on Elfen Lied, Kanbe was already somewhat familiar with the city, as he directed another anime taking place there: Princess Comet ( コメットさん ).
- Ninja Ryukenden (1991)
- Ninja Toshi Monogatari (1994)
- Psycho Diver: Soul Siren (1995)
- Harimogu Harry (1996)
- Cardcaptor Sakura (1998-2000)
- Princess Comet (2001-2002)
- Elfen Lied (2004, 2005)
- Robonimal Panda-Z: The Robonimation (2004)
- I"s Pure (2005)
- Demon Prince Enma (2006, 2007)
- Denpa teki na Kanojo (2009)
- Sound of the Sky (2010)
- Kimi to Boku (2011)
- Kimi to Boku 2 (2012)
- Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider (2015)
- Mamoru Kanbe's love of Gustav Klimt's work led to Sound of the Sky's opening credit sequence being based on other paintings by Klimt, in a fashion extremely similar to Elfen Lied's episodic opening sequence.
- Kanbe has a personal liking for movie directors such as Ken Ichikawa, Jun Ichikawa, Stanley Kubrick, Ridley Scott, and Alan Parker.
- Unlike other major Elfen Lied creators of both the anime and manga, he seems to be a reticent person and does not speak out much on the internet.
- Kanbe's beginning work on educational and children's programming means his animations possessed little ecchi or gory content prior to Elfen Lied. When he was appointed to the general director of Elfen Lied, he asked Yoshioka what "moe" was, and was perhaps a bit annoyed to tackle such a new category. Yoshioka answered, "You yourself are a Moe type guy by nature, so you can do it quite naturally." After Elfen Lied, Kanbe returned to anime with fewer ecchi or gory content.