Interview with HIROI Ouji, from Red Entertainment (formerly Red Company), creator of the Sakura Taisen series, about Sakura Taisen 4.
This interview was conducted in Weekly Famitsuu issue #684. Text © Enterbrain, translation by Eve C.
Famitsuu: So why did you choose "Aa, mujou" as the subject of the play this time around?
Because "Aa, mujou" is a story about Paris. Despite the fact Oogami came back from Paris, he would still have interest in it, wouldn't he.
Famitsuu: "Aa, mujou" is a translation of Les Misérables...
Yes, as surprising as it may sound, and although not many people know about it, "Aa mujou" is "Les Misérables". In fact, it's been translated around Meiji 44 (NFT: 1911).
Famitsuu: So which book have you used as a reference?
Ruikou Kuroiwa's "Aa, mujou" (Note from Famitsuu: Kuroiwa Ruikou (1862-1920) was the first person who translated Les misÚrables into Japanese). Even Jean Valjean is written in kanji! (laugh) It's from Taishou 8 (NFT: 1919).
Famitsuu: Of course, you won't be using it "as is", there will be some Hanagumi-ish interpretation of it, won't there be?
Indeed. We would like like to have a Hanagumi interpretation of it, just like we previously turned the tragedy "King Lear" into "Comedy King Lear".
Famitsuu: Surprisingly, Sakura will have to take up the challenge of a 'baddy' part...
We've done this casting thinking that we could broaden the character of Sakura, the "newbie" in the theater. Let her take this turn and give her the support so she can extract herself from her status of newbie, you know.
Famitsuu: Won't the Paris members perform in the play?
No, they won't take part in the performances. It's just that having them appear in the game means that they'll have to play a leading role in it as well. So we had the Paris members make quite an entrance.
Famitsuu: It looks like it's going to be hard to put together the story.
I think it's already together (laugh). Then again, if you don't see it as a whole, you can't get it.
Famitsuu: Each of the characters is really considered on a personal basis.
Indeed. Because each of the characters of the Imperial Capital and Paris all have different ways of thinking.
Famitsuu: Moreover, it's a worldwide thing.
Yes. Because in a different country, the way of thinking is different as well. So you can't think that, for example, the way of thinking of a girl from Japan and the one of a girl from Paris is the same. Because there's a Parisian way of thinking, in Paris. I think if a girl from Paris was playing, she'd agree. I cared especially about this. We mustn't judge foreign culture through a Japanese perspective. I think when the Hanagumi members read "Aa mujou," they too felt that difference in the culture.
Famitsuu: What about the Sakura-ish music heard during the plays, what will it be this time?
It will be BGMs. Also this time, Oogami is singing the theme song. Because this is the finale, we're offering you this luxury to please everyone (laugh). So we would like everyone to look forward to this. We won't betray your expectations.
Famitsuu: We've seen some material for the enemies, the Jouki (NFT 'steam demons'), but we can't figure out if there is someone behind them or not...
I'll give you a hint: urbanization. Aren't we saying it's the Finale? (laugh). Think about the history of cities and the history of people. Because Sakura is deep; it's like an excavation of Japanese history! (laugh).
Famitsuu: This time, it's going to be the Koubu 2nd Model. What's the difference with the previous Koubu?
Each will get a "dress-up" and be more personalized for each character.
Famitsuu: But there will be some Koubu other than the Koubu 2nd Model, won't there be?
Please play the game! (laugh)
Famitsuu: But it was the Koubu F2 in Paris.
Hmmm, what if I had just lost consciousness right now, you'd be surprised... I'm a coward!
Famitsuu: I'd say it's a bit easy! (laugh)
Totally! But there's no reason it should stop, right. There must always be something that will surprise you.
Famitsuu: So will there be some sort of Ultimate Weapon this time?
An ultimate weapon...well, since there will be a machine you practically use in that way, you can look forward to that too, yes.
Famitsuu: The mecha launch scenes have become incredibly beautiful.
This is precisely the technique we've developed for the movie. We had already made progresses then. When you look at these, it seems like we were just at the experimental stages in the previous games. You may have thought it looked great in the previous games, but we've evolved even more since. So, if we hadn't done the movie, I think we wouldn't have been able to achieve pictures of such quality.
Famitsuu: There are lines that sound like Sakura is actually urging for a wedding, aren't there?
Indeed (laugh). What we're dealing with is the "Eternal Love". Therefore, the feelings of the characters can evolve. Finding out how the feelings will evolve is what the game will be about. Because after all, what we're dealing with through the whole series is 'Love'.