For renowned TV animation producer Michihiko Suwa, dreams really do come true. When Suwa was a new graduate, he never imagined he would become one of the most respected animation producers in Japan. 'When I had my job interview with Yomiuri Telecasting Corp. for the producer position, I only casually mentioned that I loved anime,' he tells SYP. 'Then three years after working on variety shows, I was given this opportunity to produce animation series.' His big break came in 1987 when he became the man behind City Hunter. The widespread success of the series in Japan and Hong Kong brought him fame and more opportunities. Over the last 18 years, almost all of this series have become hits with Asian youth. His most celebrated productions include Kindaichi Files, Detective Conan and Inuyasha. If it wasn't for his passion of comics and animation, Suwa, now 45, says he would not have stayed in the industry for so long. 'For me it's interesting work,' he says. 'I just love comics.' Most of Suwa's productions are screen adaptions of popular comic series. When choosing a new comic to work on, he says he always considers if it has an interesting plot. But his creativity is never confined to what appears in the original book. 'It's like baking a cake,' he says. 'My job is how to make a good cake, which is already there, to taste better. I might add have to add some cream or fruit on top.' When working on an adaptation, Suwa says that the challenge is how to improvise the characters. 'Sometimes we want to develop the characters a bit further, give them more dimensions compared to the way they are portrayed in the originals,' he says. 'But we always have to seek approval from the author.' Nevertheless, the authors usually agree. 'After all these years, we have built up trust. We understand each other's borderlines,' he says. He cites Inuyasha as an example. The comic's author, Rumiko Takahashi, is the one of the best-known comic authors and is the woman behind publications such as Rama 1/2. Although Takahashi is a veteran comic author, Suwa wasn't intimidated. 'It was actually a great experience because we have common ground. She has confidence in me,' he says. 'She has great personality. She takes care of me as if I was her younger brother. We both are huge fans of baseball.' Asked if he has ever thought of changing his career, Suwa says no immediately. 'I have found the job I enjoy the most, and now that comics and animation are seen as part of our culture, or even an art form, I don't see why I have to go.' For youngsters who dream of pursuing a career in Japanese anime, Suwa says the door is always open. 'The most important thing is to have very strong drawing skills,' he says. 'Certainly knowing the language is essential for communication, but it's the drawing skills we treasure the most. Anyone can have a chance.'