Below is a Q&A session with rising anime star Hiroshi Yamazaki, the director of “The Duel” episode of Halo Legends — an all-new seven-episode anthology expanding the Halo universe.

The Blu-ray and DVD will be available February 16

Anime director Hiroshi Yamazaki provides fans with a distinctly different artistic vision of the Halo universe with his painterly approach to animation in “The Duel.”

Yamazaki’s episode goes back to ancient times, at the dawn of the Covenant. A shamed Elite defies his role as an “Arbiter” — an honored but suicidal role that would regain him a shred of honor—to take a path of revenge against those that stole the only thing that matters to such an amazing warrior: His true love. This ancient Arbiter must fight his way through ever-growing groups of his former allies (grunts, elites, hunters, etc.) until he finally stands face-to-face with the elite who betrayed his trust.

QUESTION: What made you think Halo would lend itself to anime/animation?

HIROSHI YAMAZAKI: I believe that the suitability (of a property for animation) depends upon each story. This story definitely worked well in animation, and in this style.

QUESTION: What was the inspiration for your artistic vision in your episode of Halo Legends?

HY: I have been a lover of viewing the Halo art /illustration collection books and such for some time and the entire collection of Halo properties inspired me.

QUESTION: Were there any particular images within the Halo realm that helped shape or drive your creative vision?

HY: When I was contacted by I.G about the project, I imagined that the project would be very Sci-Fi in taste. However, when I met Mr. Frank
O’Connor (of 343 Industries, Microsoft Games Studios) for the first time, his requirement was to create a Samurai episode featuring an Arbiter, and I was considerably and happily surprised.

QUESTION: What did you set out to accomplish in this episode, and why do you think you achieved or exceeded your goals?

HY: What I was aiming for in this project was to make audiences understand there should be other styles of animation beyond the existing two primary kinds of animation presented — precisely cel-drawing 2D style and CG 3D style. I wanted to show that creators are not limited, that they have many options for different (animation) styles to create stories.

QUESTION: Did you feel you had the proper Halo experience to to bring the world to life in anime?

HY: I have played Halo 1 and 2 all the way through to the end. As I was so busy in this project, I could not play Halo 3 but instead I watched the gaming movie many times from the beginning to end.

QUESTION: Did you include any "Easter eggs" for the devout Halo fans in your episode?

HY: I employed the phrase "Akuma-da!" ("He is a devil" in English) as part of the dialogue of a grunt soldier for fun for game lovers. I’m not
certain whether everyone will get to enjoy that treat, though, as I understand the English version and Japanese version differ considerably and I am not sure how this dialogue by the grunt is treated in the English version.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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