The wait is finally over! Blading’s favorite ninja, Eugen Enin, has finally released his much anticipated new VOD, Initial E! Eugen returned to otherworldly streets of Tokyo, Osaka and Okayama, Japan with the assistance of his brother Daniel Enin as well as Vincent Lindgren to follow up on the success of his revolutionary E3 profile. Similar to his previous VOD release, Initial E is loaded with inconceivable new technical maneuvers, cutting edge filming and spliced with nostalgic animations that will trigger many childhood memories for our readers.
We had a chance to speak with Eugen and got to find out more about the filming process behind Initial E, as well as the filming dynamic between him and his brother, as well as the cultural differences that he observed on his travels to Japan. So check out what Eugen had to say!
Hey Eugen, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. We have seen you filming previously in Japan, specifically your groundbreaking E3 profile. How many times have you visited Japan now and what is it that keeps you returning to film there?
Actually filming for E3 was my first time being in Japan, Initial E the second. I am really fascinated by the Japanese culture, food, spots, environment, holistic thinking but an eye for details and perfectionism. I definitely fell in love after our first trip.
How long did you film for Initial E?
Around 13 days.
Wow, that is wild you filmed all that in less than two weeks! Did you sustain any major injuries while filming for Initial E?
Nothing too serious but due to the overuse of my left ankle a painful impingement happened, but afterwards it emphasized that it actually resulted through all the years of skating and just popped up on that trip. It held me back for the rest of the trip but I could still skate as long as I kept being careful. Now I will probably have a small operation around autumn to correct it and enable me to put my ankle under pressure and have a pain free flex again. Other then that I had the typical injuries like bruises and once hit my tailbone pretty bad hahaha. But all in all less injuries then on my first Japan trip.
Do you try and pace yourself and skate things you think you won’t get hurt on early on in the filming process?
I always try to calm myself down because normally I’m overloaded with energy while skating but on that trip I fully let the spots speak to me. So when I felt good and was hungry for a more dangerous trick, I tried to stay focused, prepared myself and did good tries to approach to the trick. I definitely wanted to have a few bigger spots and tricks this time and show a bit more then just my typical tech and creative tricks.
You have an incredible work ethic and are constantly releasing ground breaking content. Does the pressure to live up to your fan’s expectations ever stress you out or do you not think about it & just rise to the occasion?
Good question… I used to stress myself out a lot, trying to get better every year, release harder sections etc. fearing stagnation… and trying to make everybody happy. Not to the point where I let it out around me but It was more of an inner fight. I slowly learned the hard way that it’s mainly me who I’m fighting against all that time and that I finally need to find some peace in what I’m doing and not just using it as a release of energy and stress. But I met so many incredible, hard working, humble, lovely and inspiring human beings that made me realize why I’m actually doing this. And now I just enjoy the ride. 😁 Sometimes I still get nervous but so far that journey always surprised me positively so I keep going. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
It seems like the architecture in Japan is very modern and artistic which also means there is probably heightened security to preserve the property. Were there any tricks that you weren’t able to get in your previous trip to Japan because of being kicked out or other variables that you wanted to re-attempt for this project?
After one of the first kick outs during E3 we realized that it’s not worth risking it or at least pushing it too far at risky spots. So we tried to stay safe this time and mostly avoid risky spots. But last time I couldn’t visit or finish all my dream spots, but ones that I definitely remembered from that trip. Like the ledge line with the alley oop soul through that corner or the transfer from the huge ledge to the down rail soul to topsoul.
We really learned through our first Japan trip and avoided risky spots as much as possible. But the kick outs are super polite and friendly anyway. We had one spot close to a police station but we did it super fast and careful so nothing happened at all. Plus in a worst case scenario, Vince or the locals would have helped us with the language.
The manga/anime Initial D was an obvious influence on the VOD but were there other anime films or mangas that influenced the editing style or the 2D animations for the VOD?
Tons of animes inspire us all the time, so its hard to name them all hahaha. But this time it was, besides Initial D, One Punch Man, Doraemon and old 70’s anime. Plus a few old games and Sega style animations like Sonic or Metal Gear Solid.
In the video there is a clever intermission where you have a traditional Japanese meal with your friends. What are your favorite food dishes that you enjoyed while eating there?
Ramen, sushi, tempura breakfast in that order hahaha. But I enjoy most of the food out there.
How does the Japanese culture differ from your German upbringing?
Actually I have an Ukrainian upbringing which makes it even more complicated hahaha, but lets keep it with the German. Culture wise a few aspects are pretty similar like the power distance, uncertainty avoidance and long term orientation but other aspects like the individualism are stronger marked in Germany. Especially cultural standards like the meaning of time are different. Germany has a more monochronic time concept and Japan a polychronic which means that the Germans are less flexible, always on time and serious about the accomplishment of plans. The Japanese are the opposite which correlates which their holistic view on things. Collectivism is key in Japan, you can forgot your stuff somewhere for days and nobody will steal it which is not that strong marked in Germany. But the most important thing is the language difference. The Japanese language is totally different structured than German which influences the culture differences too. The Germans are really outspoken which can even seem rude sometimes for people from different cultures. But honestly it’s refreshing to experience these kind of culture differences and it’s a personal gain that everybody should experience once to expand their horizons.
You and your brother have collaborated on several video projects over the years. Do you guys ever disagree on the direction that you want to go or do you both seem to agree on things for the most part?
Agree? hahaha That’s a very rare term in our conversations hahaha. We basically disagree all day. But if it comes to the direction which we wanna go for, we normally agree pretty fast since we have a similar view on the bigger picture. Just the execution to get there seems very chaotic to outsiders since it looks like we argue all day, but its just our way of constructive communication. No matter how old and mature we get, we keep being moaning brothers hahaha. So therefore our workflow is a more dynamic and asymmetrical one.
There are several tricks in the video that are unconventional or haven’t been seen done in many years. Is bringing back old school tricks with a new school flavor a conscious effort or does it come naturally?
Years ago when I wasn’t aware of old school videos and all the tricks that already been done it happened accidentally but after studying all the old school videos I basically tried as many unpopular tricks as possible to find out what works for me and which of these old and forgotten tricks could look modern again.
The environment in Japan seems to mesh well with your personality and also your skating style. If you have the opportunity to film another VOD with Vincent & Daniel would you like to return to Japan again or maybe try filming in a different location?
I don’t wanna spoil too much since it depends on the sales of the current video but we would probably go somewhere else for once. But it’s definitely not the last time we will go there. It’s just way to nice to not go again.
Who all would you like to thank for making the Initial E filming process possible?
I wanna thank all the people who made this trip possible, My sponsors and all our supporters out there, Vince, for being the humble inspiring skate guru and Film genius he is and for pushing Danny and I to come to Japan and do our thing. Without him non of these trips would have been possible. Danny for staying strong, true to himself and always believing in me no matter how hard the situation. It’s inspiring to see him growing up. My Lady Pia for staying to my side all these years and supporting me no matter what. All our Japanese homies who helped us along the way to get this project done, Hiraku Kaji, Kazu Morita, the Okayama connection with Yuto Goto, Soichiro Kanashima, Eji Sakihara and Ren Fujiwara. Chiaki Ito for providing us the amazing spots in Osaka, Christian Closs, Yuto Suzuki, Danny Abe, Shintaro Nakayama, Shimpei Kimura, Ichi Inoue, Yuya Najamura, Hikaru Suzuki, Kazuya Ito. My heart is still smiling every time I think back and I’m humbled and grateful about this experience and the chance to grow. Arigatou gozaimasu!
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