Saturday, November 18, 2017

Forty Questions and Forty Answers As Told By The Staff (2005)

Title: Forty Questions and Forty Answers As Told By The Staff / 「スタッフがココまで語った40問40答」
Source: Gyakuten Saiban Fanbook

Summary: In this segment in 2005's Gyakuten Saiban Fanbook, series director Takumi and character designer Iwamoto answer no less than forty questions asked by the fans. While some of the questions relate to the development process, a great number of them are also questions you'd normally never seen in an official interview, that pertain to the story and characters, for example a question about whether detective Itonokogiri (Dick Gumshoe) can get married, what his salary is, or whether Mayoi (Maya Fey) goes to school. Note that this article was published in 2005, right before the release of the first DS port of Gyakuten Saiban (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney DS) and some of the elements mentioned here eventually found their way in later Gyakuten Saiban games.

01. Is the Naruhodō Law Office (Wright & Co. Law Office) doing well economically? (Kagawa Prefecture/Male/24 yrs.)

Takumi: In the first game, the Naruhodō Law Office had to worry about the rent each month, but as you don’t hear them complaining anymore lately, I’d guess they’ve been doing okay. By the way, in the original scenario, there was a part where they were duped into buying a 2.500.000 yen computer from BugDas (Blue Screens Inc.), leading to a debt at Kariyōze (Tender Lender).

02. What’s that coming out of Mayoi’s (Maya Fey) mouth whenever she’s surprised? (Kanagawa Prefecture/Male/22 yrs.)

Iwamoto: As it’s coming out of the mouth of a spirit medium, I’d say ectoplasm.

03. Where was Mayoi living when she was working at the office? (Tokyo/Female/27 yrs.)

Takumi: The idea for the first game was that she lived in the office (as the office was originally Chihiro’s (Mia Fey). By the way, Naruhodō (Phoenix Wright) rents an apartment, and goes to the office from there every day. You can see traces of this concept in the opening scene of the episode Turnabout Tonosaman (Turnabout Samurai) in the first game.

04. Does Mayoi go to school? (Miyagi Prefecture/Female/17 yrs.)

Takumi: I don’t really know, but it kinda looks like she’s having a break from her spirit medium school. Like she descended from the mountains to learn about society. Her extra-curricular course these three years were rather painful though.

05. Did Chihiro occasionally go back to the village of Kurain? (Tokyo/Female/18 yrs.)

Takumi: She gave up the title of the master on her own will and left the village, so I doubt she ever went back. Mayoi would come visit, they’d have some miso rāmen together and then Mayoi’d go back happily, that’s probably how it went for them. Harumi (Pearl Fey) didn’t seem to know much of Chihiro either.

06. Mei (Franziska von Karma) and Kirio (Adrian Andrews) are so cute. I can’t choose. What should I do? (Ibaraki Precture/Male/22 yrs.)

Takumi: …Those two are completely different types, you know. Anyway, there is a “perfect form” of these girls in the character of Obachan (Wendy Oldbag), so take a look and reaaaallly thnk it over.

Iwamoto: You don’t need to choose one. There’s also Mayoi, Chihiro, Umeyo (April May), Sakura (Dee Vasquez), Ōba (Wendy Oldbag), Mamiya (Penny Nichols), Natsumi (Lotta Hart), Mako (Maggey Byrde), Nodoka (Ini Miney), Kimiko (Morgan Fey), Harumi (Pearl Fey), Mirika (Regina Berry), Chinami (Dahlia Hawthorne), Mareka (Desirée DeLite), Keiko (Lisa Basil), Elice, Bikini, Ayame (Iris)…. There are plenty of them, so please love all of them.

07. Tell me the secret behind Chinami (Dahlia)’s cuteness (Kanagawa Prefecture/Female/16 yrs.)

Iwamoto: Well… I made her celestial robe design transparent, I made butterflies fly… I really went overboard with the design, which earned me the hate of the programmers. Anyway, she took me a lot of trouble and effort to make her as beautiful and lovely as possible. And because of all the effort of the staff, a certain aura radiates from her.

08.  Who is the most popular character among the staff? (Hyogo Prefecture/Female/25 yrs.)

Takumi: The prosecutors are really strong here. Mitsurugi (Edgeworth) is popular among the female team members, Godot among the male members. I myself think fondly of not only Godot, but also of the detective Hoshidake Aiga (Luke Atmey). I realize now that’s it’s strange he never appeared in the games until the third one.

09. Is Obachan doing well after the third game? (Saitama Prefecture/Female/21 yrs.)

Takumi: Obachan’s energy is what makes the world turn around, they say. As the world is still turning around today, I think she’s okay. You know, she’s oddly quite popular, Obachan. Was it good I had her dressed in that sloppy suit in the second game? Sometimes thinks turn out better than expected.

10. Itonokogiri is always getting his salary cut, so how much is it now? (Tokyo/Male/30 yrs.)

Takumi: The clues to that are hidden among the thirteen episodes. “He only eats sōmen”. “He lives in Maison du Tomorrow”. “He lives on candles at the end of the month”. With this, zvarri!, you can deduce his salary.

11. Can Itonokogiri get married? (Achi Prefecture/Female/30 yrs.)

Takumi: He does look like he has a lot of pure and warm love within him. If he can find someone capable to accept all of that, I think he’d make a great husband. But for now, he’s pouring all of that love and heart into unrewarding investigations.

12. It appears like Itonokogiri’s feelings for Mitsurugi are rather strong… (Aichi Prefecture/Female/24 years)

Takumi: There are a couple of characters of whom even I can’t control what they say whenever I’m working on a scenario (Mayoi and Yahari (Larry Butz) for example). Itonoko is another of them, and before I knew it he had grown all attached to Mitsurugi. There was probably some event in the past that made him so loyal to Mitsurugi.

13. Why don’t Mitsurugi or Karma (von Karma) wear their prosecutor’s badges? (Osaka/Female/22 yrs.)

Takumi: Eh? There are prosecutor’s badges? …Oh, wait, I can’t say that. In that world, it’s chic for prosecutors to not wear them… probably something like that. Anyway, it’s written three times in the manual: “The characters, laws and legal system as presented in this game are all fiction.”

14. Did Mashisu (Laurice Deauxnim) manage to publish Mei-chan’s Big Whip Adventure (Franzy's Whippity-Whip Trip)? (Kanagawa Prefecture/Female/13 yrs.)

Takumi: I think it’d be much more fun if he’d publish a biography, so who knows? Anyway, he might’ve chased after his model all the way to the United States.

15. Godot and Chihiro looked like they were getting along very nicely. Had they already promised to marry each other or something like that? (Ibaraki Prefecture/Male/24 yrs.)

Takumi: He might’ve promised to take her to a café where they serve a great Mocha. It was probably just about to start for those two….

16. Who made Godot’s mask? (Tochigi Prefecture/Female/13 yrs.)

Iwamoto: the genius scientist who also revived Godot. I am sure that someday, Takumi will create a story about Godot and this scientist.

17. The Lay Judge system will be introduced in Japan. Will this have any influence on the stories in the future? (Nara Prefecture/Female/23 yrs.)

Takumi: I don’t about the future, but it says three times in the manual: “The characters, laws and legal system as presented in this game are all fiction.” It will take a lot for us to waver from this view.

18. Have the voices for the DS version been re-recorded? (Gunma Prefecture/Female/22 yrs.)

Takumi: The DS is basically a port of the first game. I don’t want to change the image of the characters, so I don’t plan to change their voices.

19. Can you change the clothing of the characters in the DS version? (Nagano Prefecture/Male/18 yrs.)

Takumi: Like I answered right now, the DS version is a port of the first game. We won’t change the clothing of characters who have already made an appearance.

20. Had you expected it would turn out to be such a hit when you worked on the first game? (Tochigi Prefecture/Male/20 yrs.)

Takumi: To be completely honest, I’m not sure whether the series is really that big as a hit… But I could not have guessed that you all would play it and love it so much. Thank you!

Iwamoto: We weren’t even sure whether it would be released, let alone hope for a hit.

21. What gave you the most joy during development? (Tokyo/Female/28 yrs.)

Takumi: It’s really great when you’re talking the plans over with all the members in the team, and when a great idea comes up because of all that energy brewing there. It gives you a pleasant surprise when the walls of your own limits are broken through outside support.

Iwamoto: When I picked up a kitten wet of the rain on my way to work.

22. Is there a way to get up quickly even though it's hard to get some sleep during development? (Tokyo/Male/17 yrs.)

Takumi: It is absolutely vital to have sleep well if you want to do a good job. To prove this theory, I always aspire to sleep as hard as I can every night.

Iwamoto: If you say to yourself “Tomorrow I’ll wake up at XX times three, good night” before you get into bed, you’ll wake up precisely at that time.

23. I have a question for the staff members who voiced the characters. Was the recording hard? And how was it doing voice work? (Saitama Prefecture/Female/16 yrs.)

Takumi: When I first voiced Naruhodō, nobody was paying attention to Gyakuten Saiban (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attoney), so I did it without much worries. The people who started voicing from the second game might have felt some pressure.

Suwabe: I was very nervous, and it took me thirty minute just to record “Objection!” But I was also lucky enough to hear Mr. Takumi’s doing Naruhodō’s voice in real life. I felt a bit embarrassed at first, but it was very fun to voice a cool female character like Mei.

Kamiya: I was looking forward to play 3 (Ace Attorney 3 - Trials & Tribulations) myself, so I shut myself out from all information. So I had no idea what kind of character this Godot was, and I simply did my best following Takumi’s directions. But still, I’ve been in the game industry for 11 years, but this game was the first time I was moved to tears by seeing my own name in the credits.

Iwamoto: “Objection!” was already recorded when we worked on the first game, but as we didn’t know who’d get picked, I went quite far to do the voice. “Hold It!” and “Take That!” were recorded when we worked on the third game, but I couldn’t do the voice like I had back then, and I realized that even voices grow older.

24. So the voices are done by the members of the team, but how many takes did each of them take? (Saitama Prefecture/Male/22 yrs.)

Each person took about thirty to forty takes screaming “Objection!”. It’s fun and with time, everyone gets more into it, until they suddenly cry “This is it!” By the way, we had a professional voice actor for a promotion video for the third game, and he took only one turn to go far beyond what we could do.

25. Was there any time during the development you thought you’d die? If yes, what happened? (Aichi Prefecture/Male/22 yrs.)

Takumi: When a game you’re working on becomes something far beyond what you had in mind, you might think “I could die peacefully now.” Working on the three Gyakuten Saiban games I have thought that three times now.

Iwamoto: I was having a lot of trouble with a character design, when I caught influenza and had a 39 degree Celcius fever. I really thought I’d die. Also, two days before we’d finish the third game, I missed a step on the staircase and fell five or six steps down. I really thought I’d die. But I was miraculously unharmed.

26. Who was the most difficult character to create during the development process? (Saitama Prefecture/Male/24 yrs)

Takumi: I really struggle with characters with an amazing lack of unique personality to set them apart. I remember Miyanagi Chinami (Dahlia Hawthorne) and Ayame (Iris) especially. And I always struggle with the prosecutors. Karuma Mei and Godot.

Iwamoto: The one standing out is definitely Miyanagi Chinami. She had to be the heroine and the final boss what made it difficult already, and she had to appear in the final episode dressed in Japanese clothing…. There had never been a character before with so many conditions.

27. Mr. Iwamoto, tell me the secret behind drawing elderly men. (Mie Prefecture/Female/14 yrs.)

Iwamoto:  You need to have love for elderly men. So much that if someone asks you who your favorite actor is, you say “Yamazaki Tsutomu! Nakadai Tatsuya! Mifune Toshirō! Dennis Hopper! John Leguizamo! Etc. etc.!”

28. My friend says she wants to marry Mr. Takumi. What should she do? (Kanagawa Prefecture/Female/19 yrs.)

Takumi: My real personality is like that of all the characters of Gyakuten Saiban added together and divided by that number… I’ve a hard to read personality. You might be better off staying away from me.

29. Mr. Takumi, do you really drink while you work? (Tokyo/Female/26 yrs.)

Takumi: I actually try to keep business and private separate, so I hardly drink outside of work. It’s almost scary how you get used to things. Nowadays I can keep my bottle on my desk and nobody thinks it’s strange. Sometimes people come and give me a bottle. Perhaps they’re telling me to get to work….

30. Mr. Takumi, how’s your health? I want to know how your medical check-up went. (Chiba Prefecture/Female/22 yrs.)

Takumi: I sadly have to confess it’s not that good. The neutral fat value in my blood was good for a new record (150 would've been high, but it was 2000). The doctor even told me that I was without a doubt the number one at Capcom. I know have to work out and take some medicine. But the rest is basically fine. Even my liver.

21. The names of the characters are so funny. How do you come up with them? (Tokyo/Male/16 yrs.)

Takumi: The most troublesome thing about mystery fiction is remembering the names of all the characters. That is why I try to make them memorable. That was at least the serious intent I had at the very start, but they somehow turned into jokes. Early on I just wrote down whatever came up, but the naming process has become more time-consuming since.

32. Who of the team came up with the idea of Mitsurugi turning all white in the eyes? (Hyogo Prefecture/Female/27 yrs.)

Takumi: That’d be Ms. Suekane, from the original team of the first game. She’s the creator of the main characters like Naruhodō and Mitsurugi. I had not made any specific orders about their facial expressions, so that is all her taste. She has taught me a lot about creating characters.

33. How do you come up with the personalities of the characters or tricks for the plots? (Tokyo/Female/12 yrs.)

Takumi: I come up with them when I’m all desperate with a deadline breathing down my neck, or if that doesn’t work, I continue working on the story to see if it comes to me then, and if that doesn’t work either, I just finish the story as is. Basically, it’s mostly part desperation, part coincidence.

34. I love the series, but I always become sad when someone dies. Do they have to be all murder cases? (Osaka/Male/36 yrs.)

Takumi: That’s a difficult question. Saving your client who is in a desperate situation… that’s the theme of this game series. And for that to happen, certain sacrifices are needed… That is how I think about it. If someone else would work on the story, something different might happen perhaps.

35. What do you look at to come up with the impactful clothing of the characters? (Aichi Prefecture/Female/17 yrs.)

Iwamoto: I go to a large bookshop or library, or I search the web… Anyway, I look at a lot of reference materials

36. Is there a place that serves as a model for the various episodes? Have you gone somewhere for research? (Tokyo/Female/17 yrs.)

Most of the time I just imagine the locations in my head. I have been to two places for research. 1) We went to a circus for Turnabout Circus (Turnabout Big Top). 2) We went to a Zen temple for a training course for Farewell, My Turnabout (TN: he probably means The Magnificent Turnabout/Bridge to the Turnabout). But it wasn’t even really for research, we just wanted to go there.

37. What kind of fan feedback has made you happiest? (Tokyo/Female/21 yrs.)

Takumi: Story, characters, game mechanics…as the creator, I have a reason for every element in Gyakuten Saiban. I always feel moved when I find someone who truly sees through all of my intentions. Also I like it when the people around me or cute girls praise me (← normal).

Iwamoto: I was surprised when chocolates were sent to some characters on Valentine’s Day. The team enjoyed them a lot.

38. How about creating a Columbo game using the mechanics from Gyakuten Saiban? (Saitama Prefecture/Male/28 yrs.)

Takumi: I love Columbo and have all 45 episodes on DVD (everything after that I don’t consider Columbo). This will become a long story if I get started, so yes, please, someone make that game! I want to play games myself too sometimes…

39. The controls in the cell phone version of Gyakuten Saiban is different from the regular version, but was there something difficult about making changes like that? (Fukushima Prefecture/Female/28 yrs.)

Takumi: I knew there was a cell phone version, but I never played it. …Sorry for the useless answer. There were probably difficult problems they had to deal with, I think. Really sorry for the useless answer….

40. Are there moments in your life when you want to shout “Objection!”? (Shizuoka Prefecture/Male/30 yrs.)

Takumi: When I’m reading messages from fans who have played Gyakuten Saiban and they write “objekshon” instead of “objection” (TN: 異議 and 意義 are both read igi, but mean something completely different).That happens more often than you’d think. I can’t help but wonder why they get that wrong. And then they claim the game left such an impression on them…

Iwamoto: When I won only 300 yen in the End-of-Year Jumbo Lottery, I thought: “Objection! This can’t be true!”

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