Interview with B's Log magazine, released March 22, 2007. Translated by Croik
Shuu Takumi: Green (director)
Kazuya Nuri: Red (character designer)
Minae Matsukawa: Blue (producer)
--The characters of GS4, starting with Odoroki, have a wide variety of personalities. Did you have many instances of trial and error in creating them?
Nuri: Well, now. In Odoroki's first rough drafts he was more of a cool type. After his age was decided he took a fresh turn, and I began to draw him with a younger look. But even at that point his personality hadn't been decided yet (laughs). Other than that, we thought it would be better if he had a "rival" look to him. We had various ideas but in the end we decided on a protagonist who is easy to understand.
Takumi: We thought about giving Odoroki a scar on his forehead, like other hot-blooded characters.
--He certainly has an impressive forehead. Even Garyuu-sensei takes note of it.
Nuri: Phoenix also had a large forehead, so we worried about trying to hide it, to differentiate them. But we decided to keep it since it so easily gives him the young look we wanted.
--His hair is also one of his unique traits, isn't it?
Nuri: I ground out a bunch of rough sketches, and ended up drawing what liked like grass growing out of the smallest one. When Takumi-san's eyes fell on it he said, "How about this one--it's cute." For some reason he jumped at the smallest one (laugh). After that, I tried a variety of things.
--They kind of look like antennae.
Nuri: It's as if they grow when he's agitated. I thought they could be used to express his emotions. He's very particular about how they stand up.
--So he spends every morning styling them?
Nuri: Indeed. When using curly hair it won't stand up when it grows too long, so he has to be careful about cutting it.
Matsu: He's a very diligent character! (laughs)
--Speaking of which, his suit is unexpectedly stylish.
Matsu: We struggled with the color of his outfit.
Takumi: In order to differentiate Odoroki from Phoenix, we tried many variations, and took everyone's opinion.
Matsu: Since Phoenix is blue, we thought it ought to be red or green...
Takumi: I was the only one on green's side.
Nuri: And I worked hardest for it not to be green (laughs).
Takumi: Even as the director, I was too weak! (laughs).
Nuri: After deciding on the color, we thought it wasn't enough just to make it red, so we tried giving him the vest and rolling up his sleeves. Originally his top and bottoms were different colors.
Matsu: He looked like a clerk. People would ask, "Why is he wearing a vest even though he has short sleeves!"
Nuri: Surprisingly, we wanted something realistic (laughs). Undaunted, I went on the internet looking for people in short sleeves with vests. "Look, some are wearing it!" And so I was able to persuade those people (laughs).
--The bracelet is a nice accent as well.
Nuri: Now that there's the "minuku" it's taken on an eye motif. In truth, there was also a design that looked like a watch, but Takumi-san said, "I definitely don't want a watch."
Takumi: Somehow, a watch just doesn't look good on him. But it looked awfully bare without something, so we tried having him wear a bracelet.
--Now then, how about the heroine (?) Minuki?
Takumi: She's a mysterious magician. Like Maya...
Matsu: Since our entire concept is a bit younger, she's younger than Maya.
--Does she go to school, despite being a magician?
Takumi: She looks very free, but she does go to school. It won't appear in the game, though.
--Can you tell us about Odoroki's mentor, Kirihito Garyuu?
Takumi: We really struggled on this one. There were a lot of rough drafts. It was interesting getting the right style.
Matsu: We had a lot of different types, but once we decided on his younger brother we were able to pick a direction.
Nuri: About half-way through the rough draft process, they came together at once.
Takumi: Once we'd decided on his younger brother's hair, we combined it with him, and arranged them together.
--The younger brother being Kyouya Garyuu.
Nuri: He really took a long time to finish. As a rival character, he carries a heavy significance in the Gyakuten games. Especially because of Prosecutor Edgeworth. Of course, they couldn't be the same. So he became...a charming, unique personality, unlike anything we've had before.
Takumi: Part way through, I threw up my hands and said, "I can't think of anything!" (laughs). I really depended on Nuri at that point.
Nuri: For me, he was the character I was most concerned about. I was trying to make Kyouya a "laid back, handsome guy," so if he looks that way, I'll be very glad.
--What is Kyouya's personality like?
Matsu: I think he's an honest character. He always keeps a straight face. It's quite a difference from Edgeworth, who was so stuffy and secluded.
Nuri: We wanted Kyouya to be a more modern character. On the other hand, we wanted his brother's image to be more classical. We made a point of making the younger brother's hair thinner.
--Which of them is taller?
Nuri: Kirihito is. But Kyouya is already pretty tall, so I feel bad for Odoroki when he's put between them (laughs).
--Kyouya really has some sexy expressions.
Nuri: Kirihito originally had a more wild air about him as well.
Matsu: There was also a very tanned version.
Nuri: But when we decided his brother was in a rock band, he clicked into an opposing image.
Matsu: During the development, we started to talk about what kind of band Kyouya was in. When Takumi asked, "What about a visual-kei band?" we said, "NO!" While everyone else was just saying what they liked, Takumi was really thinking of the musical world.
Takumi: It's a new band, one we don't have now. It's not hard rock, it's cool rock. I kind of created an idea in my head for an image song.
Matsu: Maybe someday we should make a Garyuu Wave CD. (laughs)
--I'm also curious as to how popular Garyuu Wave is.
Takumi: It's very popular. It's made it to the top of the Oricon Charts. [Similar to Billboard Magazine in the USA]
--How many people are in the band...?
Takumi: It may be Garyuu Wave, but he's not the only one in it!
Nuri: Though it is centered on him.
--So it was announced that Ema would be the detective this time instead of Gumshoe...
Takumi: She's become a more mature character.
Nuri: She was young in the last one, but now that we have Minuki-chan, we didn't want them to overlap.
--As she's grown, her legs have gotten slender. She's quite pretty.
Nuri: I'm glad. I was worried about the legs.
Matsu: Now that you mention it, you were always drawing the legs.
Takumi: Even though in the Gyakuten games you hardly see the legs.
Nuri: You're taking it the wrong way! (laughs) But really, I like drawing legs. Even on male characters I take special care with the lines.
--In addition to Ema, I'm wondering about what happened to Gumshoe.
Takumi: That's a secret. But one does wonder about what happened to Gumshoe. Well, maybe he'll star in another game...
Matsu: Oh, but he DOES star in a mobile game. [Gumshoe "stars" in a cell phone trivia game]
--Can you tell us some of your secrets in creating likeable characters, like these?
Takumi: Spill the secrets of a creator...? (laughs) Well this isn't really a secret, but one of the things we struggled with was not overlapping with any of the previous characters. When I need to concentrate, I take a bath to relax.
Matsu: Takumi-san is quite focused.
Takumi: I'm the type of person who decides everything at once the day before it's due.
Nuri: I'm pretty much the same. I internalize what I see day by day, draw out the images, revise them around a theme, and arrange them together. Or something like that.
--This time around you have some awesome specialty items. Apparently the first prints will have headphones..?
Matsu: The truth is, at first the management told us "there's already a limited edition, you don't need specialty items." (laughs). We thought that users would be happy if we just made some more of things we'd had in the past and used those, but others said they didn't want to do that, so we thought to create something else. So after combining ideas, we decided, "What about headphones?" We thought something expensive like that might not be able to be used, but when we asked the upper management they said, "We'll do it somehow!" So we sent out for them to be specially made. They were named the "Odoroki Head Phones" because I thought that since his hair style is his main characteristic, it ought to be named after him.
--The limited edition items are great as well.
Matsu: Originally we thought of making the database on a DVD. It was Takumi-san who protested, saying, "That's no good! It would be more interesting on the DS!"
Takumi: Well, being able to play it on the DS is the best part.
Matsu: ...And so, we made it on the DS (laughs). There's a new voice clip by Takumi-san on it, saying "Atta"! ["found it!" or "there it is!"]. It was easy fun. As for the movies, we've made a lot of videos for Gyakuten so far, so we had the staff pick several to include. We think the fans will really enjoy them. The Game Show movies with Takumi's writing especially drew a lot of attention. There are even some of the foreign ones there, so it's a great collection for the Gyakuten series.
--Do you have one last message for our readers?
Matsu: This series is fun no matter when you start, so I hope even those starting with GS4 will enjoy it. There are a lot of things we won't spoil even after the game is released, so I think that will increase it's appeal. Please keep checking the official site and B's Log, as we've put together a lot to excite anticipation.
Takumi: I hope a lot of people play it. For those playing for the first time, and those that have played the series in total, I think everyone will enjoy speculating on which parts are connected.
Nuri: We've got a huge variety of characters, young and old, male and female, and I think you'll enjoy them all.
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