Japanese animation expert Sébastien-Abdelhamid returned to our microphone on his very special relationship with the famous manga “Naruto”, whose twentieth anniversary we celebrated last week for its animated series.
Recognized expert in Japanese animation, Sébastien-Abdelhamid Godelu was present last Saturday on the stage of the Grand Rex in Paris to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the animated series Naruto. Much more than a simple audience success, the anime occupies a very special place in the French audiovisual landscape, while its manga is still among the best-selling comic books in France seven years after its cessation.
While he has just unveiled his new collaboration around naruto with a famous brand of shoes, Sébastien-Abdelhamid agreed to come back to our microphone on this series dear to his heart, which continues to animate passions among young people, as among the not so young, as evidenced by the electric atmosphere felt this Saturday in a totally sold-out Grand Rex!
What relationship do you have with the Naruto series?
Naruto really holds a special place in my heart. I got back to manga and anime with Naruto. I find this work to be incredible on so many levels, even more than twenty years after its creation. Naruto is and will remain a work dear to my heart.
In your opinion, what role has the license played in the world of manga and anime?
I think that Naruto is one of those licenses that have brought a breath of fresh air to this whole culture. Naruto in particular has made it possible to recruit new anime and manga fans and at the same time to recover old fans who no longer watched since the cessation of large licenses. Naruto is finally the perfect alignment of the stars: ideal publication timing, brilliant story and a high quality work, both on the scenario as the characters or the fights. Beyond embodying a renewal, Naruto has also made it possible to establish new standards.
Why is Naruto still so popular in France, despite the manga stopping a few years ago?
I think that Naruto belongs to our culture today as well as other great heroes of manga and animation. The fact is that Naruto is transgenerational, this immense quality allows him to be discovered even today by people of all ages! Twenty years after its debut, Naruto remains immensely popular because this work has managed to maintain through its various characters – and more particularly thanks to its title hero – a very important emotional relationship with its fans, and that’s strong, very strong !
How do you feel about the idea of having been able to bring together several thousand fans for a special evening, in a legendary cinema such as the Grand Rex?
It’s a dream for me, more than 2400 people were there, we sold out in just a few minutes, I’m super grateful. The crazy thing is that this evening is a reveal, it’s the reveal of my collab, and very modestly I’ve never seen an event of this content for a launch of this type.
For me it was always the idea from the beginning to do this at the Grand Rex, a room that I like especially since the evening is completely FREE! It was entirely imagined with and for the fans. I want this event to be a big meeting of all these enthusiasts, it’s extremely important to me. I want to see happiness in people’s eyes, that’s the best reward for me.
Why is Naruto a series that lends itself perfectly to declination (derivative products, fan art, new manga editions, etc.)?
Naruto is a vast, rich universe that is very strong in terms of iconography and visual universe. Elements are immediately recognizable and assimilable to Naruto. When I started working on pairs I knew right from the start where I wanted to go.
It was a real pleasure because being a fan I was able to transcribe the spirit of the characters I chose while implementing an artistic side so that the pairs could be worn, it’s important I’m not making an object lambda, I make a pair of sneakers, it’s made to be worn, loved, seen and appreciated! So sincerely I think we did a very good job.