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Peter Chung
"The guy who made Dear Brother, Dezaki Osamu, is probably my biggest influence."
Emru Townsend: Fluxstylizes violence. That's part of the appeal--of the first two seasons, anyway.

Peter Chung: It's not at all a theme of the third season shows. I don't really deal with it at all.

Do you read anything on the Internet at all?

I don't personally, but I've gotten some printouts from MTV, they've been monitoring that stuff, printing it out, and sending it to me.

It's interesting that most people were complaining about the lack of violence, which I didn't see as the point. It was interesting, but I never really thought of it as the point of the show. I'm wondering how many of its fans only pick up on the surface aspects of it.

Well, I felt it was pretty mixed, there were some people who liked the new shows, and some people who didn't. I think that a lot of people in the first place like the show for all the wrong reasons. That was part of my strategy, to get people interested in the show for different reasons. And that's fine. I think a lot of that has to do with the mental maturity of the particular viewer. When I was younger, that kind of thing appealed to me much more, but at this point in my career, I don't have that much of a desire to go back to doing that sort of stuff.

The look of Æon Flux is very much along the lines of Heavy Metal, other European comics, and whatnot. One thing that I've heard often from people who watch it is that it's very Japanese animation-influenced. Personally, I don't see that at all, I tend to see it more along the lines of European stuff. Which do you figure influenced the design more? Or is it just a synthesis of all the things that have been percolating in your head?

Well, a synthesis of those two influences as well as dozens of others, including fine art references and live-action influences as well. It would be hard for me to try to analyze that myself. I'll leave that up to the viewers.

With the way that you stylized violence in the first one, and to some degree in the second--which had less over the top violence than in the first season, but still a reasonable amount--what do you think of similar work being done in live-action, like, say, Quentin Tarantino, John Woo, stuff like that? Are you fan? Do you care? Any of the above?

I like John Woo's films. I like some of Quentin Tarantino's films. But it's not my favorite stuff by any means at all. I actually prefer films that are more psychological and less into physical violence. I don't always go to see films for the same reasons. Movies are made for different reasons and you go to see movies for different reasons and to satisfy different urges and desires. I try not to create one scale on which to compare all films. I just don't think that's meaningful.

I think that the fact that you're using the same medium, film, is very often fairly coincidental. What they have to do with each other, what they mean, or how good one is compared to another is really pretty meaningless.

It's worse with animation since all sorts of things are attached to that.

Yeah, animation is even worse, since it's loaded with so many preconceptions as to what it's supposed to be, what is good animation, what is not.

What's some of your favorite animation? What other things to you like?

Well, I do like a lot of Japanese animation. I like a lot of independent animation that's done for the festival circuit. There's a Russian animation director named Igor Kovalyov, I'm very fascinated by his work... he's interesting. I like a lot of the Japanese work, for different reasons. My favorite one that I've seen recently is a soap opera one called Dear Brother. It'll never get imported, I'm sure, because it's too... well, it's too Japanese, for one thing [laughs]. It's not violent at all, it's very weird, it's very perverse. It's about a girl who's in a private school, and she gets picked to be in a sorority and there's all these scandals involving incest and lesbianism. It was on NHK.

Anything else?

Well, the guy who made that series, Dezaki Osamu, is probably my biggest influence. He did a film called Golgo 13, that's probably what he's known for here. Although he's made so many films--he's currently working on a series called Black Jack, which is about a doctor...

Right, based on [Osamu] Tezuka's old series.

Right. Those are beautiful.

Heard of them, love to see them, probably won't for a long time. [laughs]

That's the kind of stuff that I wish they would translate into English and import, but they probably won't.

Yeah, they don't fit into the preconceived ideas of what anime is like or can be.

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