Pocari Sweat released POCARI SWEAT – Bintang SMA TV commercial in September 2019 as part of its Pocari Sweat Bintang SMA or #BintangSMA talent search promotional campaign. The commercial attracted a lot of attention online and went viral, thanks in part to its visuals, looking noticeably familiar to those who’ve seen the works of Makoto Shinkai.

This was no coincidence, as the short itself was directed by Yoshitoshi Shinomiya, a Japanese artist experienced in illustration and background design for anime production. As it turns out, he really has experience working on some of Makoto Shinkai’s animated features, such as Children Who Chase Lost Voices, The Garden of Words, to the smash hit your name. Some of his other works related to anime include In This Corner of the World, Girls’ Last Tour​, Napping Princess, and others. He was also involved in the making of several other anime-style commercials, and also drew the poster for Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us.

Pocari Sweat Bintang SMA is a talent search held by Pocari Sweat for high schoolers in Indonesia. The search had chosen top ten finalists from participants from various high schools in Indonesia with their various talents. Those ten then went on to perform at the Pocari Sweat Festival, of which Nada Syakira Aisya from SMA Al-Azhar Banjarmasin was chosen as the winner. The winner is awarded with starring in the follow-up Pocari Sweat commercial, which again directed by Yoshitoshi Shinomiya and has been released on February 7, 2020.

On November 16, 2019, Yoshitoshi Shinomiya attended the finals of Pocari Sweat Bintang SMA at Pocari Sweat Festival, which was held at Basket Hall A, Gelora Bung Karno, Jakarta, Indonesia. The Indonesian Anime Times had the chance to interview him during his trip to Indonesia regarding his involvement with the TV commercial, as well what’s in store for the project in the future.

How long was the production process for the POCARI SWEAT – Bintang SMA TV commerical, from planning to the final product?

Just three months.

What were the most memorable parts of making the commercial?

I stayed in Indonesia for five days as part of this project, to scout for locations to be used in the CM. I was amazed at how there were so many tall buildings in Jakarta, yet there were still lots of trees and greenery around. Such a thing can’t be found in Japan. I also visited Bali, and the people were extremely welcoming to the point that I even got permission to enter people’s houses. It was very fascinating.

The commercial features two characters, a boy named Reza and a girl named Ayu. Where did the inspiration for them come from?

I actually had the opportunity to speak with local students, asking them about the uniforms they wear, what accessories they like to carry, and what kinds of hairstyles students in Indonesia like. The two characters came about from what I learned from those talks.

The visuals of the commercial feel very Indonesian and relatable with what Indonesians experience. What sort of references did you use?

I based them on my own observations, such as taking notes about the students’ hairstyles. I even bought an actual school uniform to use as a reference. We went back and forth on things such as skin colour and hairstyle with the people from Pocari Sweat until we managed to create something that captured the feel of Indonesia.

How does your image of Indonesia influence your work for this commercial? Will there be further projects in the future with the winner of the Bintang SMA talent search?

As I said before. Indonesia is different from Japan in that it has a large population of young people. I see that Indonesians are cheerful and spirited in what they do, and my view of Indonesia has changed 180 degrees compared to before. There were a lot of things that inspired me here, such as Indonesia’s diverse culture. For instance, I don’t see a lot of religious festivals in Japan, especially as festive as the one I saw in Bali. I hope that I can incorporate those different inspirations into my future projects.

For the next commercial, I feel that it will be a challenge for me. I hope to portray Nanda (the winner) as realistically as I can in the anime. After this, I will start to think about the next commercial. Please look forward to it.

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When will the next commercial start production, and where will the location be?

We will feature the winner of the competition and shoot it in Japan. I personally am looking forward to working on the next commercial. I would like to invite them to Japan as soon as possible in preparation for the project.

What do you hope to convey from this commercial?

The youth that I’ve met in Indonesia were all very energetic. I hope that high schoolers in Indonesia will keep passionately chasing their dreams. I’ve seen for myself just how passionate everyone was in Jakarta. My message to all the youth in Indonesia is to never give up.

The anime industry has been said to be notoriously difficult to work in. What keeps you going in such an industry?

I love anime because it can transcend languages and borders. An anime, even if it’s in a foreign language, can still be enjoyed by everyone. I’m thankful to fans of my work and for the warm welcome that I’ve received coming here. It’s a thing like those that keep me going to this day.

Finally, any message to Indonesian anime fans?

I saw and met with a lot of anime fans today. I’d love to collaborate with people who love anime in Indonesia, maybe bring along my colleagues here or to create an event where we can invite people to Japan. I hope we can work together in the future.

Yoshitoshi Shinomiya (light blue shirt) with the winner of Pocari Sweat Bintang SMA

The Indonesian Anime Times | Text by Dody Kusumanto and R. Ikhsan Nur Akbar | Translation by Caesar E.S | Photo by Dody Kusumanto and Widya Indrawan

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