Thursday, February 16, 2017

Gyakuten Saiban Blog entry 23: Family (1) (2001)

Title: Family (1) /「ファミリー (1)」
Source: Gyakuten Saiban official site (down)

Summary: In the twenty-third column for  the official website of the Game Boy Advance version of Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney GBA), director and writer Takumi explains how he came up with the strange names for the members of the main cast. In this first part, he discusses why he gave Naruhodō Ryūichi (Phoenix Wright) and the Ayasato (Fey) sisters their names.

Family (1)

All kinds of characters inhabit the world of Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney).  I love all of them. ‘You liar! Why did you give them funny names then?!’ some people might say, but I still love them all.

And as you may have guessed, I am especially fond of the five members of the main cast. That’s why I’ll talk a bit about them here. I will mainly write about how they were named, a topic I heard a lot of objections about.
  • Naruhodō Ryūichi (Phoenix Wright).
As the protagonist, he’s also the character I hear the most protests about. “The name sounds stupid!” and things like that.

…But consider this. A protagonist needs a name which makes an impact. It’s even more important here, because Gyakuten Saiban has a slightly comical presentation. Naruhodō (TN: a homophone to naruhodo, ‘I see,’ ‘I get it’). That name fitted perfectly with those demands. At least, that is the reason I came up with after the fact. Is the name that bad? Really?

Anyway, I was really a fan of the sound of naruhodo. It has a humorous ring to it. A slight feeling of silliness. And most importantly, it was utterly meaningless. Ryūichi on the other hand was taken from the name of a musician I like.

His lines are very easy to write. I basically just line up my own frank thoughts, and there you have Naruhodo-kun. That is why he feels the most familiar to me, and why he is my favorite (however, I myself am not as fueled by friendship, nor am I as simple as he is.)

By the way, I did Naruhodō’s voices of “Objection!”, “Hold It!” and “Take That!”. I decided on that abusing my powers as the director.

  • The Ayasato Sisters (The Fey Sisters)
When I think of names, I either start by looking for the right ‘ring’, or by looking for the meaning or the look of the kanji characters. Naruhodo-kun is a case of the former, while Mayoi-chan (Maya) is of the latter.

For some reason, I wanted the name of the heroine to be symmetrical. I like symmetrical patterns. So I first made a list of kanji that came up in my minds.

美 (beauty), 真 (true), 幸 (happiness), 亜 (next), 善 (virtue), 朋 (friend), 喜 (joy), 貴 (precious), 宵 (evening), 凶 (ill-omened), 器 (vessel), 凹 (concave), 凸 (convex), 月(moon), 火 (fire), 水 (water), 木 (wood), 金 (metal), 土 (earth), 日 (day) , and more.

I created her name based on this list. Mayoi… “The True Evening”. It fitted her mysterious image when she first appeared in Turnabout Sisters. The sound of the name Mayoi was also unique, and I really liked it. There was nothing special about her character background. She was an utterly normal spirit medium in training you’d see anywhere. Something like that. As I wrote her, she started to develop on her own. It turned out she liked miso rāmen, she loved Tonosaman (The Steel Samurai), was curious, etc.

The most fun while writing the scenario was without a doubt the banter between Naruhodo-kun and Mayoi-chan. I’d never know what they might say next. I’d love to hear more from them.

I was surprised at how much people reacted to how I handled Chihiro-san (Mia Fey). But the moment it was decided they would be sisters, her fate was sealed, so I never felt I did something bad to her… but now I do. But to me, she is still ‘living.’

The concept behind Chihiro-san is also very simple. She is just precisely how I imagine the ideal “sister” character. By the way, her characters in her name were chosen with the meaning of “she’ll ask even a thousand times”, because she’s a lawyer (TN: the chi part in her name means ‘thousand’, the hiro part ‘ask/visit’).

…And that was the defense side. The prosecution side will follow next time.

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