Anime Expo 2014: A chat with Fuminori Kizaki, director of ‘Bayonetta’

July 07, 2014 | 2:17 p.m.
"Bayonetta: Bloody Fate." (Sega/Gonzo)

“Bayonetta: Bloody Fate.” (Sega/Gonzo)

“Bayonetta” is well known among gamers and those who attended this past weekend’s Anime Expo, but the Japanese franchise doesn’t enjoy much mainstream popularity in the U.S. The action game-cum-movie could get a boost with the stateside release of the animated adaptation “Bayonetta: Bloody Fate,” due in October on Blu-ray/DVD.

A mix of magic and gunplay, the feature-length film is based on the video game’s original story about a witch who awakens after a centuries-long sleep. Outfitted with magical hair and gun-boots, she tries to piece together her history while battling creatures of light and dark. The film originally debuted in Japan theaters in November 2013 and a few months later on Blu-ray/DVD.

Fuminori Kizaki, director of “Bayonetta”and other anime favorites like “Afro Samurai: Resurrection” starring Samuel L. Jackson,  was happy to lend his vision to the film.

“Originally, I was a big fan of the game itself. One of the directors of the game, director [Yusuke] Hashimoto, said that while they were adapting the game for animation, he was thinking about me [to direct],” says Kizaki.

In a small interior room at the FUNimation booth during Anime Expo, Kizaki, through an interpreter, sat down with Hero Complex to talk a bit about why this particular video game was difficult to adapt.

“The game has a lot of story elements to it, and it is really difficult to show all of that in a 90-minute animated film. So when I was thinking about it, I knew I had to make it simple so that the people viewing it for the first time would understand it easier.”

“Bloody Fate” is the first “Bayonetta” project to have the characters voiced by a Japanese cast. “Bayonetta,” the game, quickly sold over a million units in its first three months of release back in 2010, and its sequel, “Bayonetta 2,” should be released in the U.S. in October. Kizaki knows that the game, which can be a bit risque with certain poses and imagery, has set certain expectations that better be matched on film.

“The game is full of action, so I want the audience to enjoy the [film's] action scenes. Sexy action scenes, actually. Bayonetta is a very sexy character. When she fights, there’s guns, but she’s very elegant.”

– Jevon Phillips | @storiz@LATherocomplex

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