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How the team behind the Sengoku Youko anime brought the manga's style and tone to life

Action and comedy perfectly balanced, as all things should be.

Sengoku Youko anime screenshot
Image credit: White Fox

Turning the still pages of a manga into an anime is more work than most people think. Aside from just retaining the look and feel of the original, an anime needs to be mindful of the pacing issues that can crop up when translating a story into a new medium. For the team behind the upcoming anime Sengoku Youko, that meant using the animation to highlight what made the original popular rather than fight against it.

Speaking to Popverse at Anime NYC in November, series director Kagetsu Aizawa and producer Allain Cai explained that the flow of action was important to capture in the anime version of Sengoku Youko, which is due to air on Crunchyroll in January. “Even in the manga, there are important things and we wanted to emphasize that. One thing we were thinking about, with big and exciting scenes, was how we can make them even more exciting in the animation. That’s one thing on the animation side we wanted to focus on.”

Maintaining the flow of the action is clearly important in an anime like Sengoku Youko, which features some spectacular fights against some strange creatures, but the team was also keen to keep the same playful tone that the manga had. “In Mizukami-sensei’s work there are a lot of serious scenes and also comedic scenes as well, there’s a mix of that,” they explained. “We didn’t really want to lose that, the humorous scenes and fun stuff, because, if you just watch serious stuff, people will get too worn out.”

This is similar to how One Piece often switches from goofy and carefree to intensely serious often within the same chapter. That shift in tone not only gives viewers a break between the heavy stuff, but also makes the serious moments hit harder. “We wanted to make sure that balances very well in the anime,” the team concluded. “The comedy and the serious stuff.”

How well they’re able to strike that balance is going to be how faithful the Sengoku Youko anime feels to fans of the original manga and whether it can find a new audience with the new series when it debuts in January 2024.

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