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Scott Green interviews the creators of IGPX (IMMORTAL GRAND PRIX), the folks that did the anime sequence in KILL BILL!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with Scott Green, the AICN Anime guru. I confess to knowing very little about anime outside of AKIRA, GHOST IN THE SHELL and NINJA SCROLL, but the anime sequence in KILL BILL had my jaw on the floor, so I'm very happy that Scott got to interview the heads of Production I.G. about their newest. He even got some info out of them about it playing on a big network here in the States as well as who may be doing the English voices... Enjoy!

Scott, the AICN Anime guy here. One of the announcements from the 2005 Tokyo Anime Fair in Japan with immediate ramifications for anime in North America was the initiative by Production I.G. and Bandai Entertainment to produce IGPX, an original series for Cartoon Network's Toonami block. The sci-fi mecha-racing show from the acclaimed producers of the Ghost in the Shell anime incarnations, Jin-Roh, Blood and Love Hina among other works, will pick up on the 5-minute episodes of IGPX which aired on Toonami in 2003.

Production I.G Spills the Beans on New Anime, IGPX and Is got Cartoon Network Written All Over It

Kyosuke here with some pretty interesting news out from the land of the rising sun. For those of you that remember the 5 minute short, IGPX airing on Cartoon Network's 'Total Immersion' it looks as though those crazy animators at Production I.G are hitting the drawing boards again with a brand new 26 episodes series, titled 'Immortal Grand Prix' or 'IGPX' expanding on that original short. What makes this news even more interesting is the fact that Cartoon Network has signed on to co-produce this brand new series together with Japan making this a truly interesting blend of East meets West animation and storytelling – we saw glimpses of this on Production I.G's short on Tarantino's 'Kill Bill', imagine the possibilities! I had a chance to speak with the President of Production I.G, Mr. Mitsuhisa Ishikawa and director Mr. Mitsuru Hongo, here's what they had to say…

Q: How did the collaboration for IGPX all start?

Mr. Ishikawa: Cartoon Network had previously inquired about some development projects in the works here at I.G, looking around; there was a short development short in the works involving futuristic gladiatorial battles, this later became one of the shorts aired by Cartoon Network. The response from the viewers were overwhelmingly positive, to the point that Cartoon Network came back to us and together began looking into possibly doing a new co-produced anime involving the same concepts.

Q: How far is the show in development? Did Cartoon Network demand a lot creatively?

Mr. Hongo: The show is progressing quite nicely! We've taken over a year to truly flesh out the story details, background, mechanical and character designs. Looking at the show now, it's quite a bit different from the 5 min short aired in the United States. Creatively? Both Cartoon Network producers, Sean Akins and Jason Di Marco played a large collaborative role in the conception of the world itself and with them being such huge anime fans themselves, it was a very enjoyable experience. I think the end result will be an original Japanese animation with a story understood by a truly global audience.

Q: What's the show about?

Mr. Hongo: IGPX is a story based in the future focusing on an elite racing/battle competition where two teams of mecha operated by human pilots compete in the biggest sport in the world. The main characters, Team Satomi are a group of young rookies thrown into the big leagues. The series is a combination of 2D and 3D CG animation.

Q: Has the English voice cast been set yet?

Mr. Ishikawa: I believe the Cartoon Network team and Bandai Entertainment have received confirmation from Haley Joel Osment from the Sixth Sense, Michelle Rodriguez from Biohazard [note: Resident Evil outside of Japan] and The Fast and the Furious, Tom Kenny the voice of Sponge Bob, Joseph Hahn from Linkin Park, and an invitation has also been sent to Quentin to lend his voice.

Q: Wow! What's the budget for this?!

Mr. Ishikawa: The budget is very similar to our high-end television productions like, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and 2nd Gig.

Q: When will we see IGPX here in the United States?

Mr. Ishikawa: You should ask him [points to Jerry Chu of Bandai Entertainment]

Mr. Chu: IGPX is planned for broadcast on Cartoon Network's Toonami block of programming this Fall. Further details and announcements will be made at this year's Comic Con International.

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