Kunihiko Ikuhara

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Kunihiko Ikuhara
幾原 邦彦
Born (1964-12-21) December 21, 1964 (age 58)
  • Director
  • music producer
  • novelist
Years active1986–present
Known for
Websiteikuni.net Edit this at Wikidata

Kunihiko Ikuhara (幾原 邦彦, Ikuhara Kunihiko, born December 21, 1964), also known by the nickname Ikuni, is a Japanese director, writer, artist, and music producer. He has created and collaborated on several notable anime and manga series, including Sailor Moon, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Penguindrum, Yurikuma Arashi, and Sarazanmai.

Early life[edit]

Ikuhara was born on December 21, 1964 in Osaka Prefecture. He graduated from Kyoto University of Art and Design in 1985.[1]


Toei Animation and Sailor Moon (1986–1996)[edit]

After graduating, Ikuhara began work at Toei Animation, where he served as assistant director to Junichi Sato on Maple Town Monogatari, Akuma-kun, Toushou!! Ramen-man and Mōretsu Atarō, and episode director on Kingyo Chuuihou!.

Ikuhara's most famous work with Toei was on the TV anime adaptation of Sailor Moon. He served as director of many episodes over the course of the series' run, and took over the position of series director from Junichi Sato during the second season, Sailor Moon R. Additionally, Ikuhara served as the director of the first Sailor Moon theatrical movie, called Sailor Moon R.

Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997–1999)[edit]

Displeased over the lack of creative control granted to him, Ikuhara left Toei after the fourth season of Sailor Moon in 1996 to form his own creative group, Be-Papas, consisting of himself, the famous shōjo manga artist Chiho Saito, animator Shinya Hasegawa, writer Yōji Enokido, and producer Yuuichiro Okuro. Be-Papas collaborated to produce the anime and manga series Revolutionary Girl Utena (Shōjo Kakumei Utena).

Ikuhara had much more creative control over the anime, which he directed, than he did over the manga, which was written and illustrated by Chiho Saito. Notably, he also recruited composer J. A. Seazer, who provided the series' distinctive duel chorus tracks. Ikuhara stated that he had always admired Seazer, who had enjoyed popularity during Japan's 1960s student protest movement, and felt that Seazer's work, with its themes of revolution and changing the world, was perfectly suited to Utena.

The series was a success, winning the "Best Television Series Award" and the "Kobe Award" at Animation Kobe '97. Be-Papas collaborated again in 1999 to produce a Revolutionary Girl Utena movie, Adolescence Mokushiroku ("Adolescence Apocalypse", released in English as Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie), with an accompanying manga, again authored by Saito. Ikuhara also helped supervise the production of other Utena-related works, including a Sega Saturn video game and a stage musical. Be-Papas disbanded after the release of the movie.

Ikuhara supervised the production of the English dub of the Utena movie, checking the quality of the translation; he expressed strong distaste for the idea of his work being censored or changed to seem more "American", and made sure such changes were not apparent in the U.S. release.

Hiatus (2000–2010)[edit]

Ikuhara's post-Utena works include the manga World of the S&M (released in English as The World Exists for Me), on which he collaborated with Chiho Saito; the novel Schell Bullet, which he co-wrote with Mamoru Nagano; and the Schell Bullet-based concept album Thanaphs 68.

Return to directing (2011–present)[edit]

In 2011, Ikuhara returned as an anime series director with Penguindrum, which began airing in July 2011.

He is currently writing the manga Nokemono to Hanayome, illustrated by artist Asumiko Nakamura and published monthly in Japanese fashion magazine KERA.

In 2015, Ikuhara released Yurikuma Arashi, which consists of an anime series produced by Silver Link and a manga series illustrated by Akiko Morishima. The anime began airing on January 5, 2015.

In 2019, Ikuhara released Sarazanmai; it was produced by MAPPA and Lapin Track. The anime began airing on April 11, 2019.[2]

As of 10 October 2020 Ikuhara has mentioned he is working on a new anime,[3] but has not provided any further detail.

Ikuhara will return to direct Re:cycle of Penguindrum, a compilation film for Penguindrum.

On March 31, 2022, Ikuhara announced that he was changing his name to "Bonsoir Ikuhara", later revealing it to be a pseudonym for Teiko Bon Bon, a music project with Bonjour Suzuki and Teiko.[4]

Personal life[edit]


He has expressed interest in the possibility of collaborating on a project with David Lynch someday.[5]

As with fellow directors Hayao Miyazaki and Yoshiyuki Tomino, Ikuhara's works (especially Mawaru Penguindrum[6] and Yurikuma Arashi) contain certain criticisms of the capitalist system.[7] In Ikuhara, such criticisms are often accompanied by a more or less latent distrust towards the whole social order, or even human nature itself.[6]

Interaction with fans[edit]

Ikuhara has attended several conventions and similar events, given interviews to fans and reporters, and, along with Chiho Saito, provided commentary tracks for the DVD releases of Utena. He often dresses in brightly colored clothes when socializing with fans. He has cosplayed as Sailor Mars on a few occasions.[8]


  1. ^ "【在学生&卒業生限定】幾原邦彦氏 特別講義「時代とアニメ、僕たちの移りゆく感性と欲望」開催のお知らせ" [Current Students & Graduates Only Announcement of Kunihiko Ikuhara Special Lecture "Time and Animation, Our Moving Sensitivity and Desire"]. 京都造形芸術大学 在学生専用サイト (in Japanese). Kyoto University of Art and Design. September 28, 2019. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  2. ^ Loveridge, Lynzee (May 15, 2019). "Utena, Sarazanmai's Ikuhara Likely Directed TMNT Episodes". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  3. ^ Mateo, Alex (October 10, 2020). "Utena's Kunihiko Ikuhara Is Working Now on His Next Work". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  4. ^ Loveridge, Lynzee (March 30, 2022). "Utena, Penguindrum Director Ikuhara Announces Name Change". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 30, 2022.
  5. ^ Sevakis, Justin (April 22, 2001). "Interview with Utena creator Kunihiko Ikuhara". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Pastore, Ugo. "Let us try to make sense of 19". Translated by Pavesi, Davide. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  7. ^ Brienza, Casey (September 11, 2014). "Objects of otaku affection: animism, anime fandom, and the gods of … consumerism?". In Graham Harvey (ed.). The Handbook of Contemporary Animism. New York: Routledge. pp. 488–490. ISBN 978-1-317-54450-0. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  8. ^ "Interview with Kunihiko Ikuhara". UR Anime Club. October 8, 2000. Archived from the original on July 15, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2008.

External links[edit]