Monday, September 26, 2016

Gyakuten Saiban Blog Entry 20: Tonosaman (2) (2001)

Title: Tonosaman (2) / 「トノサマン (2)」
Source: Gyakuten Saiban official site (down)

Summary: Contuining on from the previous blog post for the original Game Boy Advance version of Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney GBA), director Takumi talks about writing Turnabout Tonosaman (Turnabout Samurai). He mentions how the murderer of this episode actually swapped genders during development and how he came up with the idea of having a child appear in the story too. He finishes off talking about how absolutely difficult it was writing this story and about the important lesson he learned from this experience.

Tonosaman (2)

(I will talk about the murderer below. Please read this after finishing Turnabout Tonosaman (Turnabout Samurai))

The crucial difference between The Hero Murder (Tentative) and Turnabout Tonosaman, is that the murderer changed genders.

“….You know, we don’t have any female murderers.”

It all started with this remark by Ms. Suekane. Now she mentioned it, the murderers of the four episodes were indeed all men. If we were in the United States, we might get sued for gender discrimination. And it was a bit unlucky that this was the only episode where we could turn the murderer into a woman.

“But Mr. Takumi, wouldnt it be a bit strange for a woman to be a director on an action program?”
“Well then, let’s fire her then and give her another job.”
“But then we'd be missing a director?”
“Well then, let’s have that oppressively heated scenario writer become the director.”

And that is how the murderer of this episode became a nihilistic, cool, slim, handsome woman. It’s like I did a body-swap trick.

At the time, I had another crisis on hand. I had already used all the ideas I had for Turnabout Sisters, so I was missing something with impact for the trial part. At that moment, I started to feel malice towards the me of the past. That is how Kyūta (Cody Hackins) was born.

“When you want higher ratings, bring out the kids and animals.”

I think I remember a talented TV director telling me this once. A child as a witness. A child would lie about different things than an adult. This could work!

I put my idea notebook down and started writing the first Investigation Part right away. But, for some reason, the writing didn’t really go smoothly. And after a while, dark clouds started to gather within my mind. Dark clouds are a symbol of “worry.” This was bad. When I finally finished the first Investigation Part, I finally realized what that worry was.

The quality of my idea notebook was way too low…!

Back when I made this idea notebook, I still didn’t know how to properly spread out contradictions across a story. In the few months since I used this notebook, I had learned that this wasn’t going to be enough. But I simply didn’t have the time anymore! Should I just go on writing like this?

When you lose confidence, your willpower also starts to weaken. And when your willpower weakens, your health will also suffer. At least, that's the case with me. The following day, influenza got a hold on me. I was the first of the winter rage. Four days later, after wandering between the line of life and death, I decided to start all over again.

This was the moment. This was the moment when I started to plan out a plot first, before I started writing. It wasn’t a matter of whether the scenario would get better or not. What’s important was my own health. I wrote about this earlier, but no matter how good the plot is, whenever I finish writing, my confidence levels are down to zero. And if I have to start writing again when my parameters are still at zero… thinking about it is already too much. I’d become close friends with all the variations of influenza before I’d finish the game.

I really had a horrible experience with Turnabout Tonosaman. But as I was writing the confrontation with the true murderer, my next battlefield was already waiting for me.

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