Muv-Luv Author Kouki Yoshimune×BRZRK×Mafia Kajita 2016 4gamer Part 1 Interview Translation

Muv-Luv Author Kouki Yoshimune×BRZRK×Mafia Kajita 2016 4gamer Part 1 Interview Translation

Muv-Luv Author Kouki Yoshimune, Mafia Kajita, and BRZRK discussion. The first part of a large two-part interview with Mr. Yoshimune, in which they delve in his personal character. The original interview script can be found on 4gamer. The Second Part is to be found here, and to be translated at a later date

In 2003, “Muv-Luv” with the theme of a Super Easy School Adventure appeared from Age, a beautiful Bishoujo Game Brand that became famous after releasing “Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (Rumbling Hearts)”.

A sweet school life with characters full of tropes, a definite school story! and many players will be amazed at the “UNLIMITED arc” that appears when certain conditions are met. Hidden behind the scenes was the life at a surface pilot training school set on an alternate Earth about to be destroyed by an extraterrestrial life form called BETA, a fact that was never revealed until the release of this entry. Moreover, it was not just a bonus, but it could be called a full-length story.

At the time, I was thinking, “Well, it may indeed be more than a ‘school’ thing!” I think there was no end to the “what if” comments.

Muv-Luv Extra

The start screen of “Muv-Luv. From the cute childhood friend to the stiff committee chairman, it is just like a list of tropes in a school rom-com game

Muv-Luv Unlimited

However, if certain conditions are met, the …… world goes to UNLIMITED

Later, “Muv-Luv Alternative” (hereinafter referred to as “ALT”), a continuation of the UNLIMITED arc, was announced, but it took a full three years before its release in 2006. It is a good memory that the players had to wait for the same amount of time as the character who had lost consciousness for three years in the previous work “Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (Rumbling Hearts)” ……, However, I can still say that the quality of the work was worth the wait.

Muv-Luv Alternative

Muv-Luv Alternative.

It has been 10 years since the release of the first “ALT,” and in that time, in addition to the console port, spin-offs such as “Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse,” “Schwarzesmarken: Bloodstained Crest,” and “Schwarzesmarken: Martyrs” have also appeared. The world of the “Muv-Luv” series continues to expand with the recent launch of “Muv-Luv Alternative: Strike Frontier,” the first browser game in the series, on DMM.com. The person who initiated the “Muv-Luv” series is Kouki Yoshimune, president of AGE.

Now, BRZRK, a writer and a serious fan who has been following the “Muv-Luv” series since its initial release and is a member of Agakenohate, an official fan club of Age, and Kajita, a writer who experienced “Muv-Luv” for the first time in March 2016, coincidentally 10 years after the release of ALT, and became obsessed with its charms. The two of them will be having a discussion with Kouki Yoshimune in this issue of 4Gamer.

What kind of person is “Kouki Yoshimune” who created the world of “Muv-Luv”? And what secret stories are told about the development of Muv-Luv? What is the future of the “Muv-Luv” series? This is a three-and-a-half hour long interview, so we will divide it into two parts (※the second part is scheduled to be published in January).

Since this is a discussion of the “Muv-Luv” series, some topics may spoil the works in the series. Please be aware of this.

(Interviewer: Mafia Kajita, BRZRK; text: BRZRK; recorded November 30, 2016)


Mafia Kajita:
 …… Finally, we are able to have a dialogue in an article like this.

BRZRK:
 This is a great project for us as fans of “Muv-Luv.”

*As mentioned at the beginning of this article, BRZRK is one of the biggest fans of “Muv-Luv,” having followed the game since its release. On the other hand, Mafia Kajita played the game for the first time in 2016 and was hooked, and he got to know Yoshimune Kouki through the “Muv-Luv VR” interview.

Mr. Kouki Yoshimune (“Mr. Yoshimune”):
 I am honored to have been given this opportunity by 4Gamer. So I have decided on a lot of things to say (laughs). I have to say this! I’m on a mission to do just that.

Kouki Yoshimune×BRZRK×Mafia Kajita

From left, Mr. BRZRK, Mr. Yoshimune, and Mr. Mafia Kajita

BRZRK:
 Oops, I’m really curious what kind of mission it is. ……

Mr. Yoshimune:
 In due time (laughs). Thanks to your support, there have been many “Muv-Luv” projects this year. There was “Schwarzesmarken” and “Muv-Luv VR,” as well as last year’s Kickstarter, during which I met Mafia Kajita and BRZRK. So, I think the new, or rather, the major trend in our company right now is ……. Oh, regarding the order, should I not mention it yet?

*The goal was to develop an English-language version of the Muv-Luv series, and while the goal was set at $250,000, $1,250,000 was raised.

4Gamer:
 Given the excitement of the interview, it looks like it …… (laughs).

Mafia Kajita.
 I’m too anxious, it’s tough.

BRZRK:
 Seriously, it’s a tough one: …….

Mr. Yoshimune:
 The answer will be at …… later, or is it? I’m the kind of person who would give away spoilers of new releases on Nico Live. I don’t want to spoil anything that will make it boring. (Laughs) Isn’t it the same with movie trailers? It may be casually shown, but it is actually the last scene.

BRZRK:.
 Yeah, when I see the real thing, I say, “Ah! It’s here!” and I realize it.

4Gamer:
 Even if a spoiler is given out of the blue, people who don’t know about it won’t know that it is a spoiler. They would only understand it if they knew the relationship and the flow of the story.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Ultimately, many players want to see changes in the process and the relationship values between the characters. Especially since I think that many of the people watching this interview are existing fans, so I would rather have them think, “This sounds interesting,” than hide it in a strange way so that newcomers will have nothing to catch on to (laughs).

4Gamer:
 We will state at the beginning of the article, however, that there may be spoilers.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Then, for the sake of clarity, should we put the spoilers in red bold type or something? (Laughter).

BRZRK:
 It’s a devil’s deed to write in red letters while asking people to be careful of spoilers!

Mafia Kajita:
 It will go into my eyes like a bang!

Together: (laughs)

Mafia Kajita:
 Well, let’s not worry about that for now and be frank.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Yes, that’s right. Let’s go for pub crawl! (The act of visiting multiple bars/pubs in a single night)

The man who rides the wild bubble, his name is Kouki Yoshimune.

4Gamer:
 So, we have started slowly, but I would like to thank you in advance. (Yoroshikuonegaishimasu)

Together: Thank you in advance!

Kouki Yoshimune×BRZRK×Mafia Kajita

Mafia Kajita:
 So, please tell us how you became Kouki Yoshimune of “Muv-Luv” in the first place.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Let’s see, …… in Showa 42 (1967)…..

Mafia Kajita:
 Hoho …… hmm? Showa 42 (1967)?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Yes, I was born on January 21 at Hamada Hospital. ……

BRZRK:
 From there! I knew this was the pattern the moment you said Showa.

Mafia Kajita:
 I seriously thought that’s where you were starting!

Mr. Yoshimune:
 No, when I said “Showa”, you said, “That’s where you start!” I thought I was going to get a “hmm? I had no choice but to continue (laughs).

BRZRK:
 I was going to make a comment, but thanks to Mr. Kajita, I failed to do so.

Mafia Kajita:
 No, I was just wondering if there was something going on.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Mr. Kajita is the complete opposite of his looks, he is very serious and pure.

Mafia Kajita:
 Since you always talk about the war in your drinking sessions, I thought you would start with Showa history.

BRZRK:
 Ah, yes, that’s true. We talk a lot about rich topics.

Mafia Kajita:.

Mafia Kajita:
 Let’s get back on track. You entered the so-called eroge industry when you created “Muv-Luv,” didn’t you? But I heard that you had other jobs before entering the eroge industry.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I was a bubble rider.

Mafia Kajita, BRZRK:
 Bubble rider?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Yes, I am. I was always wandering around in search of the good waves of the bubble era.

BRZRK:
 Is that an eroge bubble or something like that?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 No, it is simply a bubble in the Japanese economy. When the bubble was down, the economy went into recession in many industries. So people moved to industries that were more profitable (laughs).

BRZRK:
That’s when you rode the bubble.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I originally worked in advertising and design at a production company subcontracted by a major advertising agency. The methods I learned from the agency staff at that time, such as how to make things, how to set things up, and how to make the most of marketing, are still useful to this day.
 At that time, subcontracting work in the advertising field was not done by computer as it is now, but was all done by hand. Moreover, last-minute specification changes and replacements were the norm, and it was a world where on-site workers called “designers” stayed up all night every day to make it work. Well, it was the same everywhere, but I was young and thought, “This is not the place for me”.

Mafia Kajita:
 I see.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 So, an office that dispatches personnel to a certain major publishing company was looking for personnel. I applied there through a friend of mine worked for a publishing company, and the salary was very good (laughs).

BRZRK:
 Those were good economic times. ……

Mr. Yoshimune:
 However, it was the end of the bubble economy, and when I thought about the future, I realized that the most important thing was to be in contact with people, and in the end, the only weapons I could use would be the experience and firsthand knowledge I gained from that experience.

So I jumped from the advertising industry to the publishing industry and was assigned to a weekly print magazine. I really treasure my experience there. I learned a lot not only from the editors, but also from various people, from so-called sexy actresses to politicians, through interviews and manuscripts, listening to their stories and being scolded.

Mafia Kajita:
 It’s a world that has nothing to do with otaku at all.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Yes. I was born in 1967, so I naturally watched “Ultraman,” “Kamen Rider,” “Yamato,” “Gundam,” and so on. At the time, there was no such thing as a genre of otaku, nor was there any recognition that it was a special hobby. If I could surf or ski, I usually did, I also was a ladies man and went to discos. And when I went home, I watched anime and manga (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 It’s a mixed way of life. It may be a rare type even now.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 The situation may be similar to today, when otaku culture is becoming more common. Well, I was very fortunate to have worked for a Publishing magazine with a wide variety of people, and to have heard the stories of many different people. For example, the story of the only survivor of a yacht accident that left him adrift for three months completely changed my perspective on life and death.

Mafia Kajita:
 There is a bunch of stories that don’t seem to go to the eroge industry at all.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Actually, at this time, my otaku career was at a standstill. I was born in Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, but since 80% of the students were enrolled in schools across borders, the opportunities to see each other decreased dramatically after graduation. In addition, the locals moved out due to land redevelopment and inheritance taxes, and I lost many of my childhood friends. So there was no one left with whom I could share the same atmosphere and currents and talk in an otaku way. By the time the so-called Miyazaki Incident discriminated against otaku, I had completely washed my hands of the otaku lifestyle (laughs).

Kouki Yoshimune×BRZRK×Mafia Kajita

Mafia Kajita:
 Was it difficult for you to live in those days?

Mr. Yoshimune:
Not at all (immediate answer). I was enjoying my youth in a New Romantic fashion style at a vocational school (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 What kind of outfit is the New Romantic fashion style?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 To put it plainly, fashion like Duran Duran.

BRZRK:
 We already don’t know what Duran Duran is in terms of chronology.

Mafia Kajita:
 What kind of outfit is it?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Well, among the designer brands, I would say that they are more music-oriented or visual-oriented (laughs).

Here, Age PR Noriene presents a Google image search.

Mr. Yoshimune: .
 I was called a “mobile suit” in vocational school (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 Hahahaha.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 As you can see when you look at Kōji Kikkawa at that time, he has shoulder pads on his shoulders.

BRZRK:
 Aah! I roughly recognized it.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Brands include Arrston Volaju, Linea Fresca, and Kohshin Satoh. These were clothes with avant-garde designs that asserted that they were different from others (laughs).

BRZRK:
 I was wondering if I could see the outfit now, and if I saw it now, I would think it was “amazing” in many ways.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I was wearing a long German military-style coat made of a purple carpet-like fabric, with an overbelt and a bunch of Cyrillic iron plates on my shoulders, and big, long New Rock boots. I wore cummerbund and a tuxedo of some design, which was my everyday attire (laughs).

BRZRK:
 I’m not sure if this is accurate or not, but doesn’t it sound like Visual kei?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Well, yes. If you interpret it in broad terms (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 That is no longer put in the category of otakus.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 No, I am kind of an otaku. In terms of fashion trends, American casual was popular in elementary and middle school, and Surf Kei (サーフ系) was popular in junior high and high school, and designer brands were introduced later. But I still liked robots and mechas, so I guess I was attracted to flashy and sharp designs in my clothes (laughs). It is hard to believe now, but those were the days when people used to line up for one-kilometer-long bargains at Marui.

BRZRK:
 It’s a sight you don’t see anymore.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Fashion styles have already diversified, but in the past, trends were monotonous, and the clothing industry and the mass media set the trends by looking at overseas collections. Whenever they advertised, “This year’s trend is black,” black would be all the rage across the country. The whole town was dressed in black, just like in Europe during the plague (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 What a black wave …… No, I see, Mr. Yoshimune was riding that wave as well.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Of course. I am of the generation for which Nora Hirano‘s (a bubble comedian) stories are just right. I used to go to Juliana Tokyo and MZA Ariake (now Differ Ariake) all the time (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 So, you are very fashion-conscious and the advertising business was a good fit for you.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I mean, …… it may not be the case now, but back then, there was no other purpose for a healthy boy to climb the ladder of adulthood than to be with a woman. Of course me included. (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 So that’s how you caught on to the fashion trends (laughs). So you went from the advertising industry to the publishing industry and decided to make eroge?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I have learned a lot from many people in the publishing industry, but I haven’t been disciplined yet. (laughs). When I felt that the publishing bubble was about to burst, I sniffed out the next bubble. I heard that a revolutionary hardware called PlayStation was going to be released, so I had no choice but to go into the game industry.

From the withering publishing industry to the new wave of PlayStation

BRZRK:
 Finally we get to the gaming industry! But it is a home video game console, isn’t it?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Yes, I always liked games that could be played on the Famicom (NES) and PC Engine, where everyone could get together and have fun. In the original “Famista” my friends and I would have one Central League team and one Pacific League team, play 130 games a year, decide the league champion, and finally play in the Japan Series (laughs). I was usually gaming.

Kouki Yoshimune×BRZRK×Mafia Kajita

Mafia Kajita:
 So you were familiar with games and thought that PlayStation would be an explosive business.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Like all young people at that time, I saw a lot of potential in games. I was amazed at how much fun they could be. Even though I lived near Akihabara, I had no interest in computers when I was young, so my original gaming experience was in arcades and on the Famicom (NES). I was thrilled to play my first RPG with “Dragon Quest” and I still can’t forget the shock and excitement I felt when everything in the games I, II, and III was connected (Linked together). Especially “Dragon Quest III” moved me so deeply that I couldn’t even cry. “What! This is how it all connects!”.

BRZRK:
 I was certainly shocked at the way Dragon quest’s timeline was connected.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I don’t mean to sound like a greenhorn/rookie, but “Dragon Quest” was my first experience with RPGs, and it was so shocking that, for me, there was no other title out there at the moment that surpassed it. As Mr. Kajita and Mr. BRZRK would know, the excitement of finally understanding the true meaning of the first part of a three-part game after two entries is the very essence of “Muv-Luv” itself. If you play the “Extra,” “Unlimited,” and “Alternative” installments and then play the Extra, you will find that all of the situations that were promised to you on the School Adventure have a cause-and-effect relationship with Alternative. That structure is what made Dragon Quest so moving, and inspired me to recreate it.

BRZRK:
 When you put it that way, the narrative structure of “Muv-Luv” makes a lot of sense!

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Moreover, the bottom line of “Dragon Quest” is the story of a father and son. My family was the head of a traditional performing arts family. Nagauta and shamisen …… are the kind of songs and music that are played in the background of Kabuki performances. My grandfather was the first generation and I am the third. My father, the second generation, passed away when I was in my second year of high school, and that was the time when I was most rebellious. But as I got older, I began to regret that I should have followed in his footsteps, or that I should have talked to him more. I guess it was a reaction to my past. I had a desire to create and convey something. In that sense, “Dragon Quest III,” the starting point of the series, was too much of a strike for me with that significance in mind.

Mafia Kajita:
 ”Dragon Quest III” is a story about following in the footsteps of your late father. Is that the starting point of your creative process?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I guess you could say that I started out by drawing pictures/sketches. When I was in elementary school, I wanted to become a Mangaka, so I read books, studied, and drew manuscripts.

Yoshimune Kouki

Mafia Kajita:
 Wow, there was a time when you did that?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I have almost no finished manuscripts, but I did finish a lot of rough drafts and storyboards. I think it was because of these that I am able to create the stories and characters now.

BRZRK:
 I see that all of your experiences up until you arrived at “Muv-Luv” have been put to good use.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I have taken many detours, but in retrospect, not a single one has been in vain.

Mafia Kajita:
 Going back to the earlier subject a little bit, the next bubble you sniffed after publishing was the console game industry, right? Did you end up going there?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 The publishing industry was really booming at that time. The annual salary of a part-time worker easily exceeded the average salary of a salaried worker today. When we were picking up manuscripts at night when the trains were running out, the part-timers would use cab tickets (cab/taxi tickets that could be paid for in lieu of cash) all the time. (Laughter)

BRZRK:
 That is a seriously enviable story. I’ve never experienced that before (laughs).

Mr. Yoshimune:
 It must seem strange now, doesn’t it? But those were the days when that was the norm. However, the sales of the flagship manga magazines had plateaued and advertising revenues began to decline, and when I started to feel that this was dangerous, I saw the demonstration of “Ridge Racer” on PlayStation, and then the game industry.

Mafia Kajita:
 Hou hou.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 So I first looked up starting salaries at game companies and arranged my affairs in various ways so that I could live on one-third of my publisher’s income. I sold my car and covered my mortgage with my savings, and my girlfriend at the time was furious and broke up with me, saying, “Why are you draining our marriage fund?” Even though I never once said anything about wedding funds (laughs).

BRZRK:
 Well, I guess, but from her point of view, why did you abandon a famous big company for a video game company? I’m sure that was the case. ……

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I’m sure that was it (laughs). And so, over the next year, I began my rehabilitation as an otaku. I bought a lot of “modern” magazines at the time such as “Dengeki Comic Gao!”, and I accumulated drawings, manga, novels, and proposals to create a collection of works for job hunting. I applied for jobs at Square (now Square Enix), Tamsoft, Himeya, and other job magazines at random.

Mafia Kajita:
 As a Graphic Artist?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Yes. I prepared a novel and a written proposal, but they were at the level of an amateur. However, I have been drawing sketches for a long time, so this was a cunning way of appealing to people that I could write and make proposals while also appealing to them as a graphic artist (laughs). In fact, I designed most of the Mecha and Tactical Machines in Muv-Luv, and I also did the base designs for the characters. Furthermore, I did most of the drawings of the old men who appear in “ALT.”

BRZRK:
 Eh, like the reluctant captain from the Sadogashima Hive Battle?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 From Walken to gate soldiers, MP, and so on. Mr. Bou, who was in charge of the main characters, was perfect, but the in-house artist in charge of the sub-characters was not good at drawing males, so I had no choice but to take charge of them. People who draw only cute girls sometimes tend to make males look like Okama characters.

Kouki Yoshimune×BRZRK×Mafia Kajita

Mafia Kajita:
 So you didn’t start out as a producer, but rather as an artist? I was also surprised that you had your sights set on the eroge industry after having sniffed the bubble of the console industry with the PlayStation.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 It was published in From A.

BRZRK:
 Is it From A, the job magazine?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Yes. There were a lot of published jobs in the game industry.

Mafia Kajita:
 Haaah.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 You know, (while lifting up his smartphone), we didn’t have such sci-fi gadgets back then. It was normal to find all part-time jobs in job magazines (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 Sci-fi gadgets (laughs).

Mr. Yoshimune:
 No, no, no! Cell phones are real science fiction, right? It’s the future, isn’t it? It’s already near Doraemon (laughs).

BRZRK:
 Come to think of it, there used to be From A and From A to Z.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 The Karkakinkin Kirkinkin Martians yes…… (A reference to From A to Z commercial song. In the CM, Martians like yellow octopus and Venusians like green squid will appear on Tuesday and Friday of the release date, and you can see them moving around freely according to the light melody of ” Karkakinkin Kirkinkin.”)

BRZRK:
You must have looked for a part time twice a week.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 You know! (Laughter)

Mafia Kajita:
 That’s a path I’ve never taken at all. ……

BRZRK:
 Seriously? That gap is shocking to me!

Mr. Yoshimune:
 So you see, Mr. Kajita is strange, even though he looks older than me (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 And I’ve never read a part-time magazine in the first place.

BRZRK:
 Well, now we have social networking sites, but did you know that in the past, books were sold just to find a correspondent? (A person who contributes news or commentary to a publication).

Mr. Yoshimune:
 BRZRK, at your age, how do you know such things (laughs)? I mean, that’s where you bite at (laughs)?

Mafia Kajita:
 I’ve never even picked it up (laughs).

BRZRK:
 There was a magazine called “Jamar” and I used to buy it because I really liked to see what kind of people were applying.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Wow, BRZRK, you are hopeless! (Laughter)

Mafia Kajita:
 I have been using a computer for communication since I can remember.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 That’s right. Well, in our time, job magazines were everything (laughs). At the time, it was, “We’re going to make a fortune with the Prestige!” The time was when companies that wanted to strengthen their human resources were recruiting a lot of new employees.

Mafia Kajita:
 I see. So, you were stuck with some company.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 PANDORA BOX picked us up. This is the company of Mr. Takeo Iijima (see reference article), a legend in the industry, famous for “Last Armageddon” and “BURAI”. I was a graphic artist, but since I was a mid-career hire, I was treated as a part-time worker for the three-month probationary period. Well, it was From A, so that was no contradiction (laugh).

BRZRK:
 It was where a song by Kikusuimaru Kawachiya was featured, isn’t it?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 You really know your way around …… (laughs). I met the founding members of ACID (ACID, the company that manages the Age brand) there.

Mafia Kajita:
 I see that the members have been formed/completed since PANDORA BOX. What kind of people were the members?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Reima Manfu, who is now independent, but was in charge of many of the original drawings for “Kaseki no Uta (Fossil Song)” and “Rasen Kairō (Spiral Corridor)” is the person to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for letting me through the first round of interviews, overcoming the objections of others. He was a character designer on the “Fujimaru Jigoken” team, and he was probably fed up by my behavior, which was too much trouble for a part-time worker, but he later said, “I really regret letting Mr. Yoshida through the interview process” (laughs).
Baka Prince Persia, who was in charge of original drawings and character design for “Rumbling Hearts” was a new graduate of Osaka University of Arts, and believe it or not, he was a 3D graffiti artist. He is now a quiet and mild-mannered boss who is well-liked within the company, but at the time he was as ruthless as ice and quite pompous (laughs). We got along well in the absurdist sense of humor, so we often went out for dinner and played games together.
 Tamu, who was in charge of many scenarios and script direction, including “Rumbling Hearts,” was also in the sound team. He was soft-spoken, but had a clear will and assertiveness. I took a shine to him because of his persuasive writing and good presentations in the in-house project competitions. A year after we became independent, I asked him to join us.
 Spindrill, our programmer, was a genius who built from scratch our original AGES integrated production system, which is also used in Muv-Luv. He is the younger brother of Tri-Ace’s Yoshiharu Gotanda, who had just graduated from high school at the time.

Kouki Yoshimune×BRZRK×Mafia Kajita

Mafia Kajita:
 Eh?

BRZRK:
 Eeeeh?

Mafia Kajita:
 Does that mean you had already met them in advance?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 No, at that time, all I heard from the other side of the island (meaning another department) was always “DB! DB!” (Database Abbreviations) and laughter. I never talked to them, and I never thought I would be working with the DB guys. (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 How many years did you work for PANDORA BOX before you decided to go independent?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 The last game I was involved in at PANDORA was “GREAT PEAK,” a serious simulation of mountain climbing in the Himalayas. All of the founding members were involved. I completely understood that they were exceptional and amazing creators during that crunch-like production process. However, at that time, the console industry was in the final stages of the PlayStation 1, and the bubble was already bursting. 100,000 copies was a big hit, and even Sony was no longer able to come up with the sharp projects of the past. There was a project for a game that had a cerebral damage gauge in addition to the physical gauge, and if the character was hit too hard the character would become a punch drunker, and a project for a sci-fi powered suit that was the basis for the “Muv-Luv” setting. …… Well, it had to be in times like this to create such projects. (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
A punch-drunker as character in a game. (laughs).

Mr. Yoshimune:
 If I wanted to do what I wanted to do, I couldn’t rely on other people’s money, so I decided it was time to look for my next bubble, and as I prepared to retire, I consulted with the founding members on various matters.
 Eventually, I said, “Since we have such a good group of people here, why don’t we start a business while we still have time to make a go of it?” And that’s how it came to be. After I retired, I received various invitations from people in the console industry, but I was so impressed by Spindrill’s rationale about the superiority of the eroge industry in our odds that I decided to focus on eroge.

Mafia Kajita:
 So you did not leave the gaming industry after all.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Well, at first, I was ready to reenter the provider industry in search of the next bubble, and I didn’t think about founding my own business for a second. However, after trying various things, I realized that I really liked otaku-related creations, and that was probably the biggest factor. In terms of conditions, I think the participation of Carnelian, the freedom of expression and overall (comprehensive) involvement were significant.

Kouki Yoshimune

Mafia Kajita:
 What do you mean by comprehensive?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 In the case of eroge, unlike the production of consumer products, we were not only responsible for the scenario, graphics design, voice recording, sound production, and other on-site production, but also for all aspects of the creation, including publicity, sales, sales promotion, and shop-outs. In a sense, it is the same as being an original manga artist or a singer/songwriter.
 That wasattraction for the otaku of our generation. When we were young, we all had the desire to create our own “Gundam” type of anime. In reality, however, it is almost impossible.
 But with eroge, it was possible. Like the Nikkatsu Roman Porno of the past, it was positioned as a gateway to success for young directors who can do what they want as long as it contains eroticism. Moreover, unlike anime, which required the audience to continue watching it every week and buy the disc, eroge could be given to the audience as a stand-alone package up to the end of the story. This difference is huge. “Muv-Luv” and “ALT” have more than 40 volumes of text in light novel terms.

BRZRK:
 There may be limitations, but it is an advantage to be able to pack it into one and deliver it without worrying about the time scale or length.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 It was very appealing to me that the creator alone could complete his creation and send it out into the world. At the time, I was not playing eroge at all, so it didn’t really hit me at all at first (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 Did people around you tell you about it?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 ”To Heart” is the basic education of mankind! Multitasking! And Spindrill too.(laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 (Laughter). But Spindrill is a genius, isn’t he?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 That’s right (laughs). He even did the basic design of “AGES” when he was in high school.

Mafia Kajita:
 That’s really awesome. ……

Mr. Yoshimune:
 When we created GREATPEAK, we recreated a Windows-like GUI in the game, and SCE asked us to remove this feature because they would sue us. That’s how genius I was. (laughs)

Mafia Kajita:
 Sounds like Supernard from the movie …….

Mr. Yoshimune:
 When we had some of the biggest names in the IT industry look at AGES, they asked us, “Why is this person in Japan?” They often said “You should be in Silicon Valley”.

BRZRK:
 I can only say that it’s amazing.

Mafia Kajita:
 And so, the conversation finally turns to the eroge industry.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 In the early days of the company, in order to keep fixed costs down, we moved to a town called Isohara in Ibaraki Prefecture and lived together as a group while making our products. However, after about six months, small misunderstandings of unknown cause have accumulated, and I felt that I was nearing my mental limit. Thankfully, I had been approached by a great person at SCE before I became independent, so I decided it was time to move to Nakano-Fujimicho and started working on “Magical Dice Kids” at the development office in Nakanosakaue, our own “Kaseki no Uta” and “Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu(The Season You Were There)” in the office, and “Rasen Kairō” and “D ~Sono Keshiki no Mukoukougawa~(The Other Side of The Scenery” for the OEM. I was engaged in two trades at the same time.

Mafia Kajita:
 That’s crunch, isn’t it?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 It was really a combo of troubles, so much so that even now, when I think back on it, I wonder how we were able to do it (laughs). For “Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu” the main scenario writer had the students from the vocational school where he was teaching write the scenario and deliver it to us, and he escaped.

Mafia Kajita:
 Ugh.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Rasen Kairō was also terrible. I was relieved because I had asked a well-known and experienced eroge scenario writer to write the story, but upon inspection after delivery, it turned out that the stories were not connected. I noticed this on December 16. The master-up (Software development stage before the final release) was on January 8 (laugh).

BRZRK:.
 Eh, so less than a month?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 We discussed countermeasures at an internal meeting and said, “Okay, let’s rewrite the entire scenario!” I was very happy with the result. The devil Tamu, myself, and some subcontracted writers helped to rewrite everything (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 Eh, in that short period of time?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 It was physically incomplete and the content was not interesting. There was no way we could publish something like that. When we entered the eroge business, we even agreed with Spindrill, who said, “Abandon any consumerism (in terms of quality level, etc.)” (laughs). Looking back on it now, I could see that this is where Age’s tendency to disregard profitability really began. It was a disease of not being able to abandon one’s own standards of quality (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 Woah….

Mr. Yoshimune:
 In the end, we managed to finalize it at the deadline, though it was delayed until about 12 or 14 days. Physically, we could not extend it any further. During that period, we were on a crazy schedule, having to finalize a product on a deadline every two weeks (laughs).

BRZRK:
 Huh?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Kaseki no Uta, Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu, Magical Dice Kids, Rasen Kairō, and D – Sono Keshiki no Mukoukougawa.

BRZRK:
 Five finalized every two weeks?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Yes, among them was a complete rewrite of the “Rasen Kairō” scenario.

Mafia Kajita:
 It was completely hopeless!

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I felt the same, though I don’t remember much. Anyway, I slept only one hour a day for more than a month, and I had a mysterious chronic condition that made my skin itch even when my clothes touched it. Even though the founding members were younger than I was, I still think it was pretty bad.

Mafia Kajita:
 Oh no, that was a terrible state of affairs.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Because of such a crunch, a lot of things happened internally as well. At the end of the year, Reima Manfu’s mother sent us a lot of Osechi dishes. Among them, the Kombujime of flatfish and sea bream was really delicious. I put them in the refrigerator and said, “Let’s share them with everyone after the New Year.” We stayed up all night and when we noticed that it was the New Year, we opened the refrigerator in high spirits and found that only the Kombujime (sea bream) was gone.

Mafia Kajita:
 Oops?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I was even more upset than usual, so I was pissed off and said, “Who just ate the Tai (Tai Kombujime)? Spindrill then blurted out, “Hmm, I ate it.” The, when I asked, “Why did you eat only the Tai? and he replied, “Because Tai is more delicious”. Mum, Mum. I seriously thought I was going to erase him at the time (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 Mr. Spindrill …… Well, that’s interesting (laughs).

Mr. Yoshimune:
 ”Don’t you have any desire to share with everyone? I asked him, “No, I don’t.” he answered flatly.

Mafia Kajita:
 Isn’t he a super genius (laughs)?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Well, he is a super genius, so it can’t be helped (laughs). In reaction to that, when we finished the mastering of “Kaseki no Uta” we bought 500 grams of Matsusaka beef for each of us and ate it as steaks to motivate ourselves. After the first bite, everyone said, “Oh my God, that’s so good!” I was very impressed. Then, after the second bite, everyone stopped moving and started to blush, saying, “I feel sick. …… All of us had been up all night, and our stomachs were already overtaxed with fat (laugh). We diced all the Matsusaka beef and made it into soup and ate it after all the fat had been drained out.

BRZRK:
 What a waste! I mean, what’s the point of having Matsusaka beef! (Laughter)

Mafia Kajita:
 What kind of cruel development is this: …….

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I was astonished to find that all of the products that we went to such lengths to create sold only 10,000 units or so (sales volume). Among them, “Rasen Kairō” released by Will, was the most talked about. This data had a great influence on our later policy.
 ”Rasen Kairō” is a so-called ryōjoku kei / humiliation-type Nukige, but if we were going to make it, we decided to avoid the industry theory that says, “If you turn on your computer, you’ll see …… in five minutes.” We wanted to create a new frontier in the netori genre, where the only thing you can do is to make the character moe like in a moege and then watch him or her go through terrible things. So we created an Internet browser within the game and uploaded images of the heroines one after another to a backstage site within the game.

Mafia Kajita:
 So it became a hot topic …….

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Quite a bit. It was a time when the Internet was generally recognized and spread like a bomb, and it was Prince Baka who came up with the idea for the project. He looked at the eroge boards of a certain giant bulletin board and said, “I don’t understand why we can have such maniacal and intense erotic discussions with people we don’t know. It’s so weird.” That was the beginning.
 At that time, urban legends such as backstage sites and murder videos were emerging on the Internet, a new media. To contrast these nuances, I mixed an original urban legend called “Rorstein’s Corridor,” which is an adaptation of the urban legend* of a cabin called Square, into the main character’s background to emphasize the urban legendary scare factor of the Internet.

*In order not to fall asleep, four of the survivors move to the corner of the room, one by one along the wall, and the person who is tapped on the shoulder at the end of the corner moves to the next corner. The survivors descend the mountain safely without falling asleep thanks to the repetition of this procedure, but they later realize to their horror that it is impossible to do this with the number of people in the room.

Mafia Kajita:
 Was it the “Rasen Kairō (Spiral Corridor)” that helped spread the word about the Age name?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 We certainly gained a lot of fans with “Spiral Corridor.” Many people commented that they were surprised at the gap between a game that seemed to be a Nukige and a game with a storyline and characters. The games we make, such as “Rumbling Hearts” and “Muv-Luv,” are fundamentally the same, to do an anti-predetermined/established path, while having that established path into account. The theme of the game is “to leave an impression by gouging the player’s heart with a spoon” (laughs).

BRZRK:
 Forcefully insert a non-sharp object and gouge it roughly. ……

Mafia Kajita:
 When you saw that method being talked about, you decided it would be a good idea, didn’t you?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 When the company was founded, we decided that if we did not succeed in three years, we would go out of business. So, the new products that we started making at that time would be on the market in the third year. So I asked if I could do it my way from that point on. Until then, we had been focusing on the opinions of members who were familiar with eroge, such as Carnelian and Spindrill, while making what we felt was satisfactory in our own way at the time. But it sold for us about 10,000 or so.
 However, “Spiral Corridor,” which was made in the same way, sold well. I realized that it was the same thing I had learned at the time at the advertising agency: it is not just a matter of making a good product that sells, but how to sell a good product that is important. I was clearly aware that my lack of experience with eroge had led me to make a selfish assumption that “This must be something special,” and I had stopped thinking about it.

BRZRK:
 I see. So this is where your former experience came in handy.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I thought about how we, as latecomers to the eroge industry, could survive in an industry dominated by such powerhouses as Leaf, and later Key, Alice. In such a situation, we could find a hint by unraveling history. Since we were losing by the rules set by the powers, we had no choice but to fight on a different playing field, one that was arranged in accordance with the rules, while still observing them. This is truly the modern history of Japan (laughs).

BRZRK:
 I see. That sounds like Mr. Yoshimune (laughs).

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Therefore, we decided to release a fan disc encompassing the existing titles, “Age Maniacs: The Last Days of the Four Isumi Sisters,” to measure the actual response data from users.

Mafia Kajita:
 Hou hou.

Kouki Yoshimune

Mr. Yoshimune:
 It was an idiotic software that featured a large number of characters by different original artists, including those from other companies in addition to our own titles. In any case, the contents are only pranks. We chose the theme of supernatural phenomena as a way to overturn our own common sense. For example, when you look at the CG in the gallery mode, you can see the faces of characters who were not there, and we included a female moan on the included theme song CD (laughs).
 In our sales promotions, we also ran a campaign called “Search for the Five Great Paranormal Phenomena! We also ran a “giveaway campaign,” and in our scenarios, we mercilessly tinkered with the works of other companies. We added voices to characters who originally had no voices, and we parodied serious content. And finally, we had a robot come out in a super-development that ruined the excitement, and we showed an unskippable scene that was just like Godmars‘s Shin Gattai.

BRZRK:
 Haha, it’s a mess, isn’t it (laughs).

Mr. Yoshimune:
 The purpose of the location test was to find out the line between what existing users of eroge would be offended by and what they would not be offended by when they were shown something different from their preconceived notions. so it is meaningless if the test was not extreme. If it were a fan disc with a lot of parodies, it could have ended up as just a joke, but I was nervous inside (laughs).

BRZRK:
 Oh, this Gattai Shin was used in the final scene of in “Muv-Luv Alternative”, right?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Yes. All of the productions for “Rumbling Hearts” and “Muv-Luv” were based on the data collected there.

Mafia Kajita:
 Ah, I see.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 In terms of sales, we did something that no other company in the eroge industry was doing at the time.
 We serialized short episodes for each character in magazines, posted short stories on the official website, distributed free dojinshi-type booklets at Comiket before the release of the game, and committed to the procedures. We had the main heroine voice actress in charge of the theme song perform in cosplay, and held live shows at our booth. We would also make a large scale demo version and ruthlessly devour money. (laughs).

BRZRK:.
 Ah, …… that’s the Kiminozo thing.

Mafia Kajita:
 So you are saying that your experience from your advertising days was also useful?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Yes, I am. There is nothing original about me. I just brought what is common practice in other industries.

Mafia Kajita:
 What would you say was the first work to incorporate that advertising technique?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 It’s called “Kimi ga Nozomo Eien” (“The Eternity You Desire”). This title is a pair with “Muv-Luv” and depicts the same theme from a macro and micro perspective. So the worldview is the same, and the school uniforms are the same, with summer and winter uniforms.

Mafia Kajita:
 So you already had the idea for “Muv-Luv” in mind from the stage of “Kimi ga Nozomo Eien”?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 The planning was simultaneous. There were twists and turns until we decided on “Muv-Luv”.

BRZRK.
 Twists and Turns….

Mr. Yoshimune:.
At first, I decided to make one set of the same school thing, the heavy “Kimi ga Nozomo Eien” and light hearted “Age Gakuen (Tentative)”. It felt like a work closer to Key and a work closer to Leaf (laughs).

The Next Step to Continue the “Muv-Luv” World

Mafia Kajita:
 I see. I think we can finally talk about “Muv-Luv,” but I already had my fill, or maybe it’s already enough for one interview. ……

Mr. Yoshimune:
 We can talk for another eight hours or so (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 Seriously? …… Speaking of “Muv-Luv”, “Muv-Luv Alternative Strike Frontier” (hereinafter referred to as “Strike Frontier”) is currently being launched by DMM Games, isn’t it? Considering what I have heard so far about Mr. Yoshimune’s tricks, I wonder if there is some kind of significance to the existence of social games or …… tricks in this as well. I understand that many of the old fans are playing this game, right?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I was very nervous when I heard that 340,000 people had pre-registered. In terms of the significance of the project, I would say that …… is a step for AGE to take the next step and to research its know-how.

BRZRK:
 So you are looking to the next step after social games?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 To explain in turn, we previously provided a service for mobile phones called “Muv-Luv Alternative Next Answer”. I was able to learn how to create and operate a mobile service while watching from the side.
 What the players who supported the game until the end committed themselves to was the communication part with the characters. I believed that the characters, their relationships, and communication are the most significant factors.

Mafia Kajita:
 Hmmm. Hmmm.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Next is “Strike Frontier,” which was being done to specifications featuring gameplay. We were learning about the trends and management know-how of browser games by seeing them up close. Until now, AGE has not developed content mainly for the Internet. Now we had to learn how to operate a comprehensive system that included free basic play, a billing system, and a contact point.

BRZRK:
 Surprisingly, come to think of it, we don’t do this on the web.

Mr. Yoshimune:
If Age is going to be involved deeply in the production of future new works, it is essential to learn the standards of the Internet environment. Of course, I didn’t expect to be able to use the know-how I had as it was.

Mafia Kajita:
 Absorbing know-how is important.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I understand social games not as “games” but as “communication tools”. Therefore, the meaning of having a new social game in operation is that we want it to function as a receptacle for people who know “Muv-Luv” from “Shinkage no Kyojin” (*The author has clearly stated that Muv-Luv has influenced him), “Muv-Luv VR” and the TV anime “Schwarzesmarken” etc. More specifically, it is one of the entrances to the “Muv-Luv” world.
 Therefore, in order to maximize the range of the audience, we have a general policy of “definitely include things that cannot be done in the main “Muv-Luv” series. That is why I don’t think I should be too deeply involved.

Mafia Kajita:
 You have something you want to do, but you refrain from getting involved?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 To put it simply, we always aimed to create a shared world like the Cthulhu Mythos, or rather, we wanted various writers to play with that world and use it as a stage for creating their own works. That is why the parallel world setting has been established.
 However, thankfully, there are enthusiastic fans who love “Muv-Luv” and “Muv-Luv Alternative” and think that consistency with the original work is the most important thing, and the reality is that they are the ones who support us. Both core users and new users are important. That is why, in a sense, a Soshage environment worked in our intentions where there is a common understanding that it is natural to not be able to conform to the original work due to limitations in the specifications. We are allowed to try various things, as in the case of “Agemaniax”.

BRZRK:
 Ah, that makes some sense. So that’s how the game stands. So if you bring 2016 gadgets into the “ALT World,” you can think of it as a shared world ……?

Muv-Luv Alternative Strike Frontier
Muv-Luv Alternative: Strike Frontier
Muv-Luv Alternative Strike Frontier
Smartphones brought into the BETA world by the protagonists. Yuuko-sensei analyzes them and creates a game, which the protagonists are forced to play. What is the purpose of the game? ……

Mafia Kajita:
 So Mr. Yoshimune was not involved in the construction of that world.

Mr. Yoshimune
 That’s right. Such is the development of “Strike Frontier” from this year to next year. ……, can I say this?

Mafia Kajita:
 Oh? What is it?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Well, we are starting a campaign for awakening/OS conversion during the year, which will greatly improve the capabilities of the surface pilots and tactical surface fighters. The cards that you already have will also be updated to reflect these improvements. In addition, multiplayer will finally be implemented, a specification that was originally planned to be implemented at the time of service-introduction.

BRZRK:
 Oh, multiplayer?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Yes, it’s like forming a flight with other players to fight the enemy. We are also planning to implement the “Schwarzesmarken” characters early next year.

BRZRK:
 Schwaken coming!

Mr. Yoshimune:
 As I mentioned earlier, “Strike Frontier” is in a sense a receptacle, so we are preparing a new heroine exclusively for “Strike Frontier” for new soshage players, and a character from “Schwarzesmarken” for new TV anime players. Well, it’s too late for that (laughs). We also had released the second part of the game (Schwarzesmarken: Martyrs), so this was the right time to do it.

BRZRK:
 What about existing fans?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 To put it bluntly, I don’t believe that old fans will be satisfied with soshage. We are asking them to enjoy the game as a derivative work, and at the same time, we are asking for their cooperation in acquiring new users through live broadcasts and other means (laughs). What do the existing fans of “Muv-Luv” want? It would be either “ALT 2” or an animated version of the main “Muv-Luv” series.

Note: Derivative work 二次創作nijisōsaku means usually unauthorized and produced by fans, e.g. dōjinshi, fanfiction.

Mafia Kajita:
 Oh!

BRZRK:
 You are absolutely right!

Mr. Yoshimune:
 However, both of those things cost an absurd amount of calories, don’t they? The calories I’m talking about here are the 10,000 yen notes (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 Well, it does cost a lot. Calories I mean.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Unless we earn that money on our own, we will never be able to produce the “Muv-Luv” that users are looking for again, whether it is an anime or a game. As I have said in the past, as long as we use other people’s money, we have a responsibility to give priority to their interests and listen to what they say.
 ”Muv-Luv” and “Muv-Luv Alternative” are titles that we were able to make only because we had more than 600 million yen of our own money, and they are titles that we did not consider profitable, which is the worst foolish thing anyone could do in terms of management. In order to recreate that purity, I believe it is necessary to focus on soshage at this time.

Mafia Kajita

BRZRK:
 It means a pure “Muv-Luv” work paid for by Age to not be influenced by what the sponsors say. ……

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Currently, “Muv-Luv” is the most well-known content at AGE, but the initial registration for “Strike Frontier” was 340,000 people. Clearly, the number of existing users has been exceeded.

Mafia Kajita:
 Since there are so many of them, you can’t exclude their needs. “Muv-Luv” must be continued while responding to their requests.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 That’s right That is why we hope that existing fans will support the development of “Strike Frontier” and other projects, in the sense of encouraging “Alt 2” and the anime adaptation. To that end, we need to make the game itself more interesting, but we would be happy if you rather enjoy the differences in content and settings.

Mafia Kajita:
 I am sure that the previous explanations will be convincing.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I know that many people think that the anime and “Muv-Luv 2” are scams. I am well aware that it is difficult to get people to believe this. However, our next move is actually in the works, and our mission now is to land on the ground so that we can make an official announcement.

BRZRK:
 Oops, that makes me wonder which the “next” is …….

Mafia Kajita:
 Which one, you can’t say yet, can you?

BRZRK:
 As a half Finn, I’d love to see Finland fall apart at Rovaniemi Hive, though!

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I’m guessing Irma Thesleff (laughs). Anyway, I can’t go into details yet, but there are some things from “Strike Frontier” flowing in there (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 So, “Strike Frontier” is for the sake of the anime and “Alt 2”?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 I guess, looking at “Star Wars Ep7,” I think that the best content is to continue, and it is important to change while following this path. If we don’t acquire new fans without cutting off the old ones, the content will end. Therefore, I hope that the future of “Muv-Luv” will be created together with the fans.

BRZRK:
 You said “Strike Frontier” might help with that.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Now that we live in an age of billing social games and crowdfunding, I think it’s easier to talk about this kind of thing. The days of receiving something prepared while disregarding the users and their feedback are long gone. From now on, I think we have entered an era in which the creator and the customer think together about how to invest funds in content, whether directly or indirectly, while disclosing the prototyping of how the content will be created at this stage.

BRZRK

BRZRK:
 Certainly, a decade ago, you would not be able to talk about such things, but thanks to crowdfunding, I feel that it has become easier to talk about the development and production funding aspects of the project.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Nowadays, we can have anything we want custom-made. While we are on the subject of next year’s “Strike Frontier,” I wonder if it will be in April or May. ……?

BRZRK:
 Excuse me?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 The planned original new character additions.

BRZRK:
If they were original, would it be a character related to the anime or “Alt 2”?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Hmmm! I don’t know about that! (Laughter)

Mafia Kajita:
 As expected, you can’t tell us yet. (laughs).

4Gamer:
 By the way, when can we expect an official announcement about the next big move?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Maybe after next April?

BRZRK:
Well, I think this interview will be posted later this year, is that okay?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Since 4Gamer is doing something that has no immediate benefit, such as the “Muv-Luv” interview, it would not make sense for us not to bring a visiting gift (laughs). It’s only natural for a PR person to give good information to 4Gamer, which is a large online game media outlet. (laughs)

4Gamer:
 I appreciate you saying so.

BRZRK:
 Well, let’s keep at it for “Muv-Luv” at 4Gamer, shall we?

Mafia Kajita:.
 And following future developments seems to be in demand!

Mr. Yoshimune: .
 Ahhh, our content. Since we don’t develop it so often, can we have a serialized section of life counselling instead……? (Laughter)

BRZRK:
 That sounds absolutely interesting.

4Gamer:
 Seriously — Please take the idea back and consider it.

Together: (laughs)

Mr. Yoshimune: .
 I’m getting a little sidetracked, but the specifications we had originally planned for “Strike Frontier” are finally starting to come together, so I’m hoping that Mr. Kajita will finally be able to play with it and tweet about it (laughs).

Mafia Kajita:
 So that’s where we’re going to start, is that correct?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Is it? (Looking at the person in charge who was present)

Contact person:
 Yes, we’ll be powering up the fun for everyone!

Mr. Yoshimune:
 This may sound contradictory to what I said earlier, but I will also be cooperating in some areas, such as designing new characters. TSFII (Tactical Surface Fighters in Illustration, one of the “Muv-Luv” side stories) for “Muv-Luv Alternative Lunatic Dawn” (*), which will be sold at the AGE corporate booth at Winter Comic Con, is set on Sadogashima after ALT. The episode depicts a joint exercise between the US Marines and the Japanese Imperial Navy. The new character who will appear in the episode, who will be flying an Imperial Navy-spec F-35, is also related to this episode, so be sure to check it out.

*Official supplementary reader for the world setting of the “Muv-Luv” series.

Mafia Kajita:
 Ho. I have no choice but to play it now because of my new raised expectations.

BRZRK:
 Speaking of which, an interesting element of “Strike Frontier” is the ability to incorporate CP (command post) exclusive characters into the organization. I think that if you broaden the scope of this feature, it is possible to have characters who are not originally CPs stand in that position.

Mr. Yoshimune:.
 Oh, sharp (laughs).

BRZRK:
 There are also people who appear in the main “Muv-Luv” series, but in a minor role. If you actually try to use those characters, you’ll find that they are very capable! I would be happy to see something like that. For example, Chief Kyouzuka of the XP (cafeteria) is very good at handling food, so maybe she can handle people well, too? I’m letting my ideas run wild.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 It certainly sounds like a good setup. This is exactly the Toyota way of improvement. Let’s do it! (Laughs)

Mafia Kajita:
 It looks chaotic but interesting (laughs).

Mr. Yoshimune:
 If we can make it that far, ……I’m sure we will have Kajita-san playing and tweeting about it!

Mafia Kajita

Mafia Kajita:
 No, I simply haven’t touched it because I haven’t had time to play it, and I have no other reasons. I really don’t, okay?

Together: (laughs)

Mr. Yoshimune:.
Anyway, the latest “Muv-Luv”, which is the longest serialized record of Dengeki Daioh by Azusa Maxima Sensei, is being published on Dengeki Daioh, but it is already drawing the battle with the A target, and it will be completed soon. In that case, there will be a sense of separation. To that end, I want to announce the next big development and connect it well, while giving a feeling that it is not over by connecting it with “Strike Frontier”.

BRZRK:
 But it sounds like a lot of work is involved.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 That’s right. That’s why we want to announce at an early stage that we have a couple of “new works by Kouki Yoshimune” in the pipeline for social media, along different lines from “Muv-Luv”.

Mafia Kajita:.
 What? Is that a soshage with Yoshimune Kouki content?

BRZRK:
 Rather, you talking about it now…is that ok ……? (Laughter)

Mr. Yoshimune:
 Well, I didn’t say anything specific.

Mafia Kajita:
 What’s the impression of the work over there?

Mr. Yoshimune:
 It would be bad if I told you that much now. I would be erased (laughs).

Kouki and BRZRK

BRZRK:
 Let me know when the time comes, even if it’s in secret ……!

4Gamer:
 It’s almost two hours now, so let’s take a short break here.

BRZRK:
 Is this the first half? It’s fun but scary to put together: ……. Well, anyway, in the second half, we will finally hear a lot about “Muv-Luv” itself.

Mafia Kajita:
 I feel like we are interrupting.

Mr. Yoshimune:
 No, I’m glad I was able to talk about “Strike Frontier” before the end of the year!

To be Continued in Part 2.

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