NHK World "imagine-nation" Toho Project special - Transcript

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  1. NHK World "imagine-nation" Toho Project special 01/06/2015
  3. F - female host
  4. M - male host
  5. N - Narrator
  6. Z - ZUN
  8. == sm25293388 ==
  9. 01:00
  10. F: Okay, so today's feature is video game called "Tōhō Purojekuto."
  11. M: Toho Project.
  12. F: Mm-hm. It's a series of game, and it's a shooting game. It's not only shooting.
  13. M; No?
  14. F: You become a shrine maiden, and then--
  15. M: A shrine maiden?
  16. F: --you fight against the e--enemy.
  17. M: Right. Well, let's check it out, then.
  18. F: Okay, let's do it.
  20. 01:25
  21. N: The indies game festival Digital Game Expo 2014 was recently held in Akihabara. About 160 circles submitted their original games. From professional quality to really simple games, the variety of games on display attracted many visitors to the venue.
  23. 01:53
  24. N: The Toho Project got the most attention and was by far the most popular booth at the festival. It's unusual for an indies shooting game for computers to be popular here, but many people were interested in its latest version.
  26. 02:12
  27. N: A monster known as a "Gensokyo" roams around the world of this game. The main character is a female shaman, Hakurei Reimu, who exterminates various monsters.
  29. 02:28
  30. N: Players control a flying shaman known as a "danmaku" to defeat the enemy while avoiding the countless onslaught of bullets.
  32. 02:49
  33. Fan 1: I love the world view of this game and its characters. I've been a fan of this game for a long time.
  34. Fan 2: The story, the music, and the bullets of the enemy are all so beautiful. They make Toho Project very interesting.
  36. 03:07
  37. N: ZUN is the creator of the Toho Project. He doesn't often appear in front of the camera, but we got special permission from him for this footage.
  39. 03:18
  40. N: ZUN launched the Toho Project back in 1996 when he was in college and has released 22 editions of this indies game since then.
  42. 03:31
  43. N: The Toho Project has been a long-time seller for nearly 20 years and has many fans. It has branched out into various media such as CDs, novels, and manga, and its world view has become very popular.
  45. 03:52
  46. N: More than 10,000 fans show up for the annual Toho Project festival. Many of them create fan art such as illustrations, novels, merchandise, etc. And they enjoy its world view through cosplay as well.
  48. 04:17
  49. N: Major versions, as opposed to an indies version, will be released this year for the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita. So how did the Toho Project land this deal?
  51. 04:35
  52. Akinari Ito: The Toho Project has huge content attracting a large number of people. We wanted to bring the appeal of Japanese indie gaming to the world. We thought the best way to do that would be to invite the fans of Toho Project and those who enjoy fan art to come party with us and get excited about the PlayStation version as well. That's why we invited ZUN to join us and, well, liven it all up.
  54. 05:11
  55. N: The Toho Project is even attracting the attention of major corporations. Stay tuned as we cover ZUN closely and explore the creative studio behind the Toho Project on TV for the first time.
  57. 05:29
  58. M: That looks like a good shmup. Shoot 'em up games, right?
  59. F: And did you know, this content? It's indies games.
  60. M: Indies game.
  61. F: And one of their--their titles are coming out on PlayStation 4! Isn't that exciting?
  62. M: It's super cool. You know what? I'm not sure if you have a PlayStation 4, but I do.
  63. F: Yeah, you do.
  64. M: And um, there's um--there's a store, like an app store on your telephone, you know like--so they also got the PlayStation store on the PlayStation. And um, they got a lot of indies games in there.
  65. F: Oh really!
  66. M: Yes, they do. I checked it out recently, actually. Yeah, 'cause I actually downloaded a game that we introduced on the show here. Can we start playing soon?
  67. F: No, not yet! And did you see the shrine maiden?
  68. M: Yeah, uh, yeah.
  69. F: You were like--the--like the least excited about that aspect!
  70. M: I--I'm just thinking about shooting something.
  71. F: Not yet, not yet! So look at her!
  72. M: Yeah, very cute.
  73. F: See? This character, it's really popular for like cosplay topic and like, they wanna draw illustrations of her.
  74. M: Yeah!
  75. F: It's really cute.
  76. M: She IS cute.
  77. F: So you want to play the game.
  78. M: Yes.
  79. F: Not yet. You're gonna know everything about the game before you play it.
  80. M: Okay, let's find out, then.
  81. F: Yeah, let's find out.
  83. 06:45
  84. N: We visited ZUN, the creator of the "Toho Project," at his studio. He used to work for a major game maker but didn't get to create games the way he wanted to. So he left the company to set up his own business in 2008. Now he works alone here in this studio, creating games all by himself.
  86. 07:10
  87. Z: It may seem difficult to manage this project as a one-person team because of its size, but you CAN do it if you think of the process of creating a game as a stand-alone project. There ARE other creators who make everything by themselves. I mean, it's not that hard. I pay special attention to the game's overall sense of unity so that when you play my game, you actually get this sense of continuity.
  89. 07:32
  90. N: The Toho Project is a type of shooting game that falls into a genre called "danmaku," in which the enemy fires countless bullets. Players control Hakurei Reimu, a flying female shaman, and defeat various monsters. As you avoid getting shot at the last minute, you move between the bullets and conquer the bosses to clear each stage.
  92. 08:04
  93. N: Fans love its attractive characters, too. The main character, Hakurei Reimu, is a female shaman, or "miko," who resides in Hakurei Shrine. She's a girl with mystical powers who can fly. Her job is to fight monsters. One character as popular as Hakurei Reimu is Kirisame Marisa. She's a human who lives in a magical forest and likes to use flashy magic. Players select whichever character they like for this game.
  95. 08:53
  96. N: ZUN designs all the characters. For example, Kijin Seija is the main character from Danmaku Amanojaku ~ Impossible Spell Card, a spin-off of the Toho Project. He's a perverse character modeled after amanojaku, a Japanese monstrous being, or "youkai."
  98. 09:20
  99. Z: Kijin Seija has a bow that's attached to his clothes upside down. I thought it would depict his perversity best if he always has his back turned. So there's no illustration of him from the front. It's a nice and easy depiction.
  101. 09:39
  102. N: The characters are illustrated as cute girls even though they're monsters. Their costumes are designed to suit their characteristics.
  104. 09:51
  105. Z: Things that have been forgotten in our society are brought back. That's the setting behind the Toho Project.
  107. == sm25293543 ==
  108. 00:00
  109. You often see a miko, or a female shaman, in various games nowadays, but there were none twenty years ago. I created one thinking it would be fun to feature a miko in the games.
  111. 00:08
  112. N: Although it's a shooting game, there are many scenes where characters have conversations. ZUN has a point behind this.
  114. 00:24
  115. Z: It's to highlight the charm of the characters. I knew it would make the danmaku attractive as well. Knowing how and why you came here makes you more motivated to move forward in the game. Being told "Game Over" is just frustrating, so you're able to play another round. I've set up the conversations of the characters as a kind of a reward. If the characters are attractive, the danmaku will become attractive, too.
  117. 00:41
  118. N: ZUN wants the danmaku to be charming. By making the characters charming, it's possible to make the enemy barrage charming as well. This one is a danmaku monster that used to be a Japanese taiko drum. He's very passionate and sprays bullets radially. And this one is a danmaku ghost that can kill humans and monsters. The bullets are layered in zones in order to corner the player.
  120. 01:32
  121. Z: This character is straightforward. This character's attacks are hard to avoid. Stuff like that. The danmaku can put the characters in perspective.
  123. 01:47
  124. N: Attacks from the enemy are part of the features of the characters. And that plays a role in creating the unique world view of Toho.
  126. 01:56
  127. N: So here is how he creates the danmaku.
  129. 02:04
  130. Z: I use the computer on the right side to tweak the data or make some adjustments while creating the game. This process is just endless. For example, this is a boss from stage 6. So many small bullets get fired like this. It's already hard enough to battle and play like this, but let's make it even harder by increasing the number of bullets. I mean, now it's even more difficult to beat (laugh). We can also make the bullets bigger. Since it's hard not to get hit by big bullets, I make adjustments like this so that it won't happen all the time. Small changes in parameters make BIG differences. Draft versions have problem like this, so I need to go in and modify them to make the final version. I revise all the bullets, too.
  132. 03:08
  133. N: He makes small adjustments like this over and over again to make the game difficult enough for the players to barely clear the stages. The latest version, Danmaku Amanojaku, features great allies for the players and items to avoid attacks.
  135. 03:31
  136. N: For example, this item is called "hirari nuno," or nimble fabric. You can use this to become invincible for a moment to get through unavoidable bullets. And this one is tengu's toy camera, allowing you to erase bullets within a selected range. By introducing these items, it can evolve as a game without losing its world view.
  138. 04:12
  139. N: ZUN initially wanted to create music for games. He composes all the music for the Toho Project and has also released a compilation CD. He is also particular about the music to dramatize the Toho Project world view.
  141. 04:43
  142. Z: When creating a stage, I make the music first, not the graphics or the characters. I compose the music based on the general setting. Then I develop the scene and the characters according to the music. After that, I determine the level of difficulty of the stage.
  144. 05:02
  145. N: For example, the scene of this stage gets darker little by little in step with the modulation of the musical keys. And the boss shows up when the chorus comes in.
  147. 05:39
  148. N: Scene changes for things like when the enemy appears, etc., are all synced precisely with the music. This creates a sense of unity in the game and also gets the player going and feeling good, too.
  150. 05:57
  151. Z: One problem is that when you try to coordinate it with the music, you have to play it over and over again. You can't really fast-forward it either. Actually, this is a debug version so you CAN fast-forward it, but if you do so, you can't really tell if it's matching the music or not.
  153. 06:16
  154. N: The Toho Project is now being localized. Versions that have been released in the past are now being localized in English to be sold as downloads.
  156. 06:35
  157. And this year, a major version of the Toho Project will be released for the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita.
  159. 06:49
  160. N: ZUN describes his passion.
  162. 06:54
  163. Z: The style of this game is SO Japanese. But I think how it's played is global. I'd love it if people from all over the world played this game.
  165. 07:06
  166. F: So the time has come. Are you ready?
  167. M: Am I ready?
  168. F: Yeah!
  169. M: I was born ready for this! Bring it on!
  170. F: Okay, let's do this.
  172. 07:14
  173. M: See? I can go, I--oooh.
  174. F: What's that? Oh, you're using hirari--
  175. M: The blanket, the blanket.
  176. F: --nuno, the blanket.
  177. M: Ah tatatata!!
  179. 07:22
  180. M: I need to focus.
  181. F: Okay.
  182. M: All right all right all right, come on blanket! How many blankets do I have?
  183. F: Three!
  184. M: Ah tatatatata!! How do you do it then?(?) This is difficult!
  186. 07:35
  187. M: I just gotta--need a little bit more patience. Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on!
  188. F: Blanket, blanket! Yeah yeah yeah yeah. Pretty good. Yes yes yes yes!
  189. M: Hooy!
  190. F: Woohoo!
  191. M: I am imagination!
  193. 07:56
  194. M: I gotta say I was feeling a little bit pressured 'cause I, you know, I, you know I did pretty good last time. And it's like, I felt a little bit, you know, overconfident, maybe? You know, because I didn't expect it to be that difficult. Uh, but it was good! You know, the music is good, you know, the scene is--and you could tell that the boss power is going down. So--once you get a look at the screen properly, that is. It's a bit far away for me to see.
  195. F: So it's the screen that was the problem, not you.
  196. M: That's it, 'cause I'm a little bit far away from the screen. You know, 'cause, you know, the cameras and stuff in here. You know, get me in my little zone world, you know, it's like [sound effect], I can probably do a little bit better.
  197. F: Oh yeah, everybody says that.
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