Muv-Luv Integrate 24th Newsletter Interview – Imageboard Analysis from Kouki Yoshimune Translation

Muv-Luv Integrate 24th Newsletter Interview - Imageboard Analysis from Kouki Yoshimune Translation

In [Ageku no Hate] No. 23, Kouki Yoshimune talked about his thoughts on the brand and “Muv-Luv”. In this issue, he will explain the imageboards of “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE” announced at the 20th anniversary event.

A new step forward for “Muv-Luv” and what Kouki Yoshimune thinks.

Here is the last message of “Ageku no Hate” in a large volume!

Interviewer: Toshiro Kon

Muv-Luv Integrate Interview


Muv-Luv Integrate 24th News Letter Interview - Imageboard Analysis from Kouki Yoshimune

The latest work “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE”, which was planned at the time of “Muv-Luv” production.

──In the previous issue, I asked Yoshimune again about his passion for “Muv-Luv”. Taking that into account. In this issue, I’d like to ask him about his new work.

Yoshimune: I’m sorry, I’m an old man now, so I think I’ll repeat the same story as last time. I apologize in advance (laughs).

── No, I think it’s important for the context, so don’t hold back (laughs). This time, I would like to ask you about the story of “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE” which was announced at the event on October 22nd. First of all, how did this project come about?

Yoshimune: As for that, it’s was like the Baka-Ouji Persia (Kiminozo Character Designer)’s “Tobashiri.” (Getting dragged in/mixed in something)…… (laughs)

── “Dragged in/Tobashiri”, then, I’d like to know more about it!.

Yoshimune: I’d like to talk about the meaning of that in turn, since it’s meant to be a story with a moral. (laughs). However, I’ve talked about the rough outline in live broadcasts, so I’m sure there are fans who know about it.

──Then, please add all the good seasonings you can. 

Yoshimune: If I were to give an outline, I was told to leave “Muv-Luv” to concentrate on the new work at Ixtl, but I found myself risking the very existence of aNCHOR to present a sequel project in three months. It has the sense of a Light novel title outline. …… (laughs)

── Although you were away from “Muv-Luv”, suddenly in the sequel 3 months … It certainly conveys the feeling of being dragged into it (laughs).

Yoshimune: I had an outline for the sequel to a certain extent, so it wasn’t too much to say. In fact, when I was working on the “Muv-Luv” project, I had a rough idea of what I wanted to do. Even after the release of “Muv-Luv Alternative,” I was still working on this and that, and the material I had been working on was included in a booklet called “Exogularity 01”, so all I had to do was to put together the bridge. …… Whenever I was asked to do something reckless that didn’t take into account the production or work involved, or when I was asked to make assumptions that were outside of the story, I felt mentally exhausted, as well as burdened by the actual work (laughs).

─ I see, so you already had an idea for a sequel at the time of “Muv-Luv Alternative”, Can you give us more details?

Yoshimune: The usual way of constructing a story is to go back to the last scene, but in the case of “Muv-Luv” and other âge works, I was making it while even thinking about the development of the sequel. The reason I did this was because I was influenced by Isaac Asimov’s works and “Locke the Superman” that I read as a child, and I liked the structure of historical picture scroll-like chronicles and antique series like that. First, there is a historical timeline, and then some of the events are extracted and depicted as works. I have a fundamental longing for the dynamism of a story that accumulates and becomes a big history, like the robot series that joined Asimov’s “Foundation” series.

─ I see.

Yoshimune: In addition to that kind of yearning, when the company was founded, we all talked about how we wanted to live a life where money would come into the bank even while we were lying on a tropical beach drinking cocktails. (laughs), and “Muv-Luv” had the ambition of developing a worldview business that could continue for decades, like “Mobile Suit Gundam” (laughs). That’s why the ending of “Muv-Luv Alternative” was not created as a “neat ending to end everything”. Personally, I consider it to be exactly the same as the ending of “Muv-Luv Unlimited”.

─ In other words, in your mind, do you have something like “The Complete History of Muv-Luv” or “The Chronicles of Muv-Luv”, from which you select episodes?

Yoshimune: That’s the main gist of it. I was surprised to find out recently that a lot of people assume that stories are created in order from the beginning. It may be due to the influence of serialized manga. Of course, there are revisions made in response to reader feedback during the serialization process, but even so, they must have started the series with a rough idea of how the story would end and how it would develop. It’s often said of long-running manga that “the foreshadowing from a few years ago is divine! But that’s like being surprised that a skyscraper has an underground floor — God’s work! (laughs). The foreshadowing is designed and arranged from the ending, so it’s obvious to tie to it. Of course, most people in the world don’t have any experience in playwriting, so there’s no point in thinking they’re making it up as they go along, and there’s no need to know how to structure and build a story.

─ I don’t think that all writers create stories based on structure or method.

Yoshimune: Yes. What I realized from that conversation is that what most people are interested in is not the structure of the story, but the emotions of the characters and the transition of the drama itself. What I want to do is symmetrical to that (laughs). That’s why I realized again that I need to always be aware of how to use what many people are interested in and communicate it well. 

Muv-Luv Integrate 24th News Letter Interview - Imageboard Analysis from Kouki Yoshimune

— That’s the bridge you often talk about, Yoshimune-san. In a sense, I think it is “Cutting out the era”. (Reflecting a certain part in an era well). It’s a bridge to “what you want to do”.

Yoshimune: That’s right. For example, in “Muv-Luv”, I challenged the users of the time by depicting the dichotomy between “organization” or “nation” and “individual”, in other words, to describe the antinomy between public and private (me). I think that the conflict between an irresistible swell, the unreasonable and relentless pressure, or the social mission and the freedom and dignity of the individual is a serious issue that can be raised at any time. At least, it is a big problem that children must face in the process of growing up, and as far as I can see from the Internet, there are not a few people, including myself, who have only reached adulthood physically while they are still growing mentally. That’s why I created an extreme public vs. private confrontation structure, such as the annihilation of the human race, and threw a Heisei-era protagonist into it to depict what would happen and relativize it as a lesson.

—Indeed. If you ask me, that kind of framework of public/private conflict was also incorporated into “Kaseki no Uta”, which was supposed to be Age’s debut work, and “Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu”, which was practically its debut work.

Yoshimune: “Kaseki no Uta” is a story that takes place far in the future of the Age works, but I think the fact that this was the first work we planned had a big impact on the direction of Age. In other words, although it turned out to be a mirage, we were able to use our maiden work to determine the endpoint of what we would create in the future.

—Oh, I see! So there will be all sorts of interesting stories again in the background (circumstances) of that.

Yoshimune: As expected of Mr. Kon (laughs). You’re too sharp for someone who is considered a walking encyclopedia in the industry. No interviewer has ever bitten on that point before (laughs).

—This is the last issue of the fan club newsletter, and as a reward for your long wait, why don’t we be put things more bluntly?

Yoshimune: Hmmm (laughs). It’s true that we’ve been waiting for this newsletter for a long time, and it’s ……. Well, since Tororo-san is already here as the general producer, I guess it’s okay.

—Yes, that’s right. If there is a problem, Tororo-san will take care of it.

Yoshimune: I’m going to throw it all out there (laughs). Well, I’ll take your word for it and talk about it in order. The reason why the development of “Kaseki no Uta” was delayed was mainly due to the lack of quality in the scenario. As a result, a famous writer belonging to a big brand at the time, whom I met through the introduction of a big-name artist, agreed to write the game without telling the brand. However, six months later, the scenario that came out was really bad. First of all, 30% of all the routes were unconnected, and the story was mediocre and uninteresting. I was shocked that such a respected creator of a famous brand would do such a thing. Around the same time, I asked a famous writer who was also a lecturer at a major vocational school to write the scenario for “Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu” and as a result, I received an unfinished product that was written by the students and had no quality control (laughs). There were many other things, big and small, that happened one after another that would be unbelievable in the general industry.

—For Mr. Yoshimune, who had experience in other industries such as advertising, publishing, and consumer games before entering the industry, the looseness of the otaku industry must have been a huge culture shock.

Yoshimune: This is just a story from back then, but it’s not Japan anymore. It was a lawless zone where self-serving quibbles could go overlooked. (laughs) I attended a drinking party once where more than 60 industry executives gathered, led by a famous editor, and all they talked about was low-life gossip and backbiting, without any exchange of opinions on industry prospects, know-how, or technology. Furthermore, the organizations that represent the interests of the industry, including government executives, were in violation of the Antitrust Act, and have no confidentiality obligations, and do not even lobby to protect the industry at the behest of the Board of Education (laughs).  As I went through various experiences, I became convinced that this was not an individual problem, but that the morale of the entire eroge industry was low. From then on, I made up my mind to thoroughly go against the theories and common sense of the eroge industry. That’s why I decided to take the stance of “It’s okay if there’s at least one person who teaches the truth to those who deceive otaku by showing them fantasies of women. I’ve never talked about this before. (Laughs).

— You spoke frankly more than I expected. (Laughs). I might not have grasped the complete picture, but I was convinced. That’s why Yoshimune-san’s stance is like this.

Yoshimune: Today’s eroge industry is undergoing reforms, so this is just an old story. So, to get back to the present, …… (laughs).

— Yes, If you please.

Yoshimune: Darkish motives aside, as I want to do a chronicle, once the goal of “Kaseki no Uta” was decided at the beginning, it’s obvious that the rest of my works will be made to reach that goal. This is a macro-application of the technique of “counting backward” from the ending to create the story. Now that “Muv-Luv” has become famous, people say things like “the future of ‘Muv-Luv’ is ‘Kaseki no Uta’, but I’m not aware that I’m depicting the “history of ‘Muv-Luv'” in the first place. In other words, this is what I mean when I say that I’m picking up incidents from the history of humanity that I have in my mind and making them into my work. To put it another way, for the “Muv-Luv” series, the “world of 50 years from now” presented in the last volume of the manga series is one end point. For the time being, the series that bears the name “Muv-Luv” will be an intermediate goal in Yoshimune’s human history, and I think we’ll continue to work towards the final issue of the comics.

─ What a magnificent story!

Yoshimune: Now let’s talk about some more short-span goals (laughs). There’s a project called “DUTY~Lost Arcadia~” featuring Ilfriede of the West German unit of the UN Forces as the main character.

─ The three-dimensional mooks and the game short story “Muv-Luv Alternative Chronicles: Adoration” are the pre-stories, aren’t they?

Yoshimune: This story was designed as a concluding story of the first season of the “Muv-Luv” series, including “Muv-Luv”, “Schwarzsemarken”, and “Total Eclipse”. So originally, chronologically, the next game should have been “Duty”, but suddenly the order was moved up and “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE” was announced. The process and the results are nothing but “Tobashiri” (laughs).

Muv-Luv Integrate 24th News Letter Interview - Imageboard Analysis from Kouki Yoshimune

─ Since you were frank with you earlier, why don’t you include another reward by telling me more about the details and circumstances of the “Dragging in/Tobashiri”?

Yoshimune: A competent interviewer (laughs). No, no, no, the details are more interesting as a funny story after “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE” is released (laughs).

─ I understand (laughs).

Yoshimune: So, let’s go back to the main point again and summarize. As I told you at the beginning, when I construct a story, I think about it from the ending, and when I think about the ending, I always assume the development of the next work to some extent. I consider the ending of a work to be the conclusion of the main character’s story, so I don’t assume that the flow of history will be settled. The fundamental reason for this is that I want to depict history. I want to portray that history is spun by weak, helpless, and turbid people by layering the stories of people. In that sense, I think “Muv-Luv UNLIMITED” is a beautiful conclusion to the story. At the time of its release, I received a lot of criticism about the ending, saying that it was a “dead end. The most common criticism was that the BETA had not been defeated. I think the tendency to demand this kind of ending is the result of an environment that evaluates all stories based on TV anime and Hollywood movies for younger audiences. In the case of movies, the story is made to be resolved within the running time, and in the case of TV anime for younger audiences, the story is made to end in 13 episodes. But that’s because of each media’s suitability and production convenience, which is different from my storytelling. Of course, my inability to convince people of that is a big part of my inability. It’s a bit awkward to compare, but for example, “Mobile Suit Gundam”. In the last episode, the story of Amuro’s return to his family ended beautifully. But Zeon, the main enemy of the story, was not destroyed even though a peace treaty was signed. Amuro did not defeat the Principality of Zeon. To that, Why don’t you say “The story isn’t over because we haven’t defeated the enemy!” To me, it feels like double standard. Especially lately, they want to end the story clearly in the last episode, and even add a later story about the characters after the big ending. It’s scary how much they want to end the content completely. 

Muv-Luv information can be understood from the context.

I heard that you’ve been planning “Muv-Luv: INTEGRATE” for a while, but did the fans know about it?

Yoshimune: As you know, we initially planned to release “Muv-Luv” and “Muv-Luv Alternative” in one package, so we had a concept and a group of rough ideas when we were thinking about the ending at the planning stage. So about half a year after the release of “Muv-Luv Alternative”, we were talking about “What we’re going to do for the avant-garde part” in various places. We said, “The mass-produced models of the XG-70 Susanoo will gather in the orbit of a Martian satellite, fire their charged particle cannons at once, white out, and boom, the title! (laughs). At the time, it was called “Alt II” by the fans, but I’m sure the older fans will remember it.

─ If that were to happen, it would be an avant-garde Hollywood movie-like avant-garde that would rival the avant-garde of “Muv-Luv Alternative” (laughs). By the way, did you decide on the title itself around that time?

Yoshimune: “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE”. The tentative title itself was first written in a proposal that I showed to a distributor about a year after “Muv-Luv Alternative”. The title of the mecha book “INTEGRAL WORKS” is also a foreshadowing of that influence. Of course, I shared the tentative title and contents of the next work with Hatano-san, who was in charge of TechJian at the time, in real time.

─ As usual, it is a long-term preparation.

Yoshimune: We had planned to release it earlier, but due to various reasons, it was delayed, so it just became a long-term goal (laughs).

— The memorable avant-garde “XG-70 Susanoo on Mars” wasn’t on the image board for the 20th anniversary event, but I’m sure many fans would have liked to see it.

Yoshimune: Unfortunately, that scene was already established a few years ago in “Exogularity 01″, a book that summarizes the history of “Muv-Luv Alternative” up to 50 years later. For the purpose of that event, I didn’t want to show anything that the fans had seen before.

— I see. Now, let’s look at the Exogularity. Can you give us some additional information about “Exogularity 01”?

Yoshimune: Dengeki Daioh has been serializing “Muv-Luv” related manga for about 15 years. When “Muv-Luv Alternative”, which had been running for 10 years, came to its final installment, I decided to draw a new version of the final episode as a way of thanking the editorial department and the readers. At the time, I was away from “Muv-Luv”, so I couldn’t be involved officially, so I started creating the huge number of image illustrations and settings for it at my own expense. I planned to collect the fees for the illustrators and people who helped me with the production from the doujinshi (laughs). After that, the book was upgraded to official status, and was combined with a collection of character episodes from Strike Frontier and released at the 2017 Summer Comic.

Muv-Luv Integrate 24th News Letter Interview - Imageboard Analysis from Kouki Yoshimune

─ I see. So, what was the reason you didn’t want to show the pictures the fans have seen at the 20th anniversary event?

Yoshimune: I wanted the 20th anniversary event to be a place where new fans could experience the atmosphere of the Age events we had back in the days of “Kimi ga Nozomu Eien” and “Muv-Luv”, and for old fans to remember the excitement of those days. You never know what will be foreshadowed, so you can’t miss anything. I wanted people to relive the tingling sensation of that time, such as “I don’t know what will be a hint, so I can’t miss anything. I can do it if I’m not careful!” (laughs). That’s why I thought that everything that the fans saw had to be meaningful. The order in which things were shown, the way they were shown, and the timing were all designed to have meaning. If you’re going to show something you’ve done before, you have to give it meaning to make it work. Unfortunately, the Mars bombardment scene of the mass production model of XG-70 Susanoo is “just as they saw it” in that sense, so I had to omit it.

— Certainly, that event was a very nostalgic event for me, and I was excited to say, “This is Age!” Both new and old fans were eager to dig into the stage and screens, and the cheers were constantly rising.

Yoshimune: If everyone enjoyed the event, I’m very grateful. However, that event was not the goal, but the start, so I think we have to maintain the unique style and taste of Age in the future, but always approach it in a “modern” way. “Muv-Luv” has already been in the planning stage for more than 20 years since the previous planning stage, and even “exorganity01” has already passed about 3 years.

— If that’s the case, has the contents of “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE” also changed from the original plan?

Yoshimune: That’s right. The historical position of the “axis,” the timeline of events, the theme, the message, etc. have hardly changed. However, I had to make a lot of changes to the so-called “sides” of the game, such as the character design, layout, approach, and bridge, to keep up with the times and the influence of the Baka-Ouji’s “dragging/tobashiri” (laughs). Nevertheless, I think the result is better than ever.

—So if you had made “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE” right after “Muv-Luv Alternative,” it would have been different.

Yoshimune: If you have “Exogularity 01”, you might want to look at it again and imagine the timeline while comparing it to the imageboard. But please note that I never said that the order of the imageboard is in chronological order (laughs).

—I think it’s amazing that each of the games and supplementary material are so closely connected and multilayered, which is only possible with the historically-based creative style you mentioned earlier, but it’s also amazing that each of them is a work that can stand on its own, without requiring you to play the other works.

Yoshimune: Maybe it’s not such a big deal (laughs), but in addition to my creative style, what I say in my works and what I want to do have not changed since the past, so I think there is a sense of unity whether it’s a single work or a multi-layered work. This style is also common in the way I name my titles and characters. For example, “Total Eclipse” means “Total Lunar Eclipse,” a phenomenon in which two things overlap: the sun, which is shining but cannot be seen directly, and the moon, which cannot shine without the sun but shines most beautifully in the night sky. This is a metaphor for what I often refer to as the inner good and evil or the overlap of yin and yang that forms a person. The message of human beings being both pure and impure has been common to all the stories I have created since “Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu. Rather than accepting or giving up on the state and condition of such people as “natural,” I portray them from the front, asking “Why?” “What will happen”, and then grab the meaning and draw. That’s the style I’ve been aiming for with âge. That’s why the brand name is “âge,” which means “time” or “era,” in order to weave an appropriate chronicle that emphasizes searching seriously for oneself and their sound. Strangely enough, despite the fact that I haven’t released any new works in the past few years, I always have about 40% of fans in their 20s when I take surveys. Kitakuo-kun is also in that demographic, isn’t he? The reason why there is such a continuous influx of young people who haven’t experienced “Kimi ga Nozomu Eien” or “Muv-Luv Alternative” in real time, is because Age is not only an emotional character drama, but also a relentless penetration of the inner world. Furthermore, I think it’s because it’s a very strong work that encompasses multiple layers of social perspectives and values, and it’s something that can’t be replaced by anything else. That’s why I imagine that people who are no longer satisfied with works that are just character-driven or that only provide answers within a certain layered category will find them through word of mouth.

—I see, “Muv-Luv” is certainly special. I arrive because there is no alternative work … It’s a very interesting hypothesis.

Yoshimune: Even if young people ask me for an extreme answer, all an old man like me can do is to tell them about my own experiences, so I don’t know if I can answer their questions. (laughs) But even then, in order to communicate properly, you have to create a bridge that can be easily accepted by the young people of the time period. For “Kimi ga Nozomu Eien” and “Muv-Luv”, I prepared a bridge that would provide an easy entrance for eroge fans. Thankfully, at the time of planning, everyone in the industry advised me that science fiction, robotics, and war stories would never sell.

─ The approach you took at the time was very Age-like, and after listening to the frank talk at the beginning, the familiar story became more interesting in a different way.

Yoshimune: If you say so, it’s worth talking about (laughs). Well, after all, my method is almost the same as the method of interpersonal communication. Recently, I feel that many people think that talking about their thoughts to the other person is a conversation. Normally, communication is not possible without sharing assumptions and understanding with the other person. And Yet, what happens is that people sling around words that only work for them, and lament that “they won’t get it” or “they won’t understand. That’s why I think it’s a very important branding factor to continue to show the sincerity of “choosing a way to communicate to others,” considering the production style and publicity as the content of the work. In short, among the many works in the world that have “irreplaceable multiple values, accusations, and answers for each layer,” I think “Muv-Luv” is the only work that even breaks its knees to face the layers that eroge otaku can understand. That’s why young people who question their inner world will eventually reach it.

Bridge to an unchanging fan who understands better by committing to (getting involved with) the other person.

Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien

─I see. So How do you think the bridge will be used to communicate “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE” to fans and young people in 2020?

Yoshimune: In “Muv-Luv Alternative”, we designed a bridge for the eroge users of the early ‘00s, but this time, since it is a general (universal) work, we will design a gimmick and a bridge that can be easily understood by the youth of the 2020s.

─What kind of image do you envision for the youth of the 2020s?

Yoshimune: It might be easier to understand if I say that they are young in spirit rather than physically young. For example, I feel that this is especially common in the generation after me, but in general, I feel that there are no other people in their minds. It’s mostly subjective and conjectural. They don’t read between the lines, and do the same thing over and over. What they see and what they do is all that matters, and they don’t question their knowledge or understanding. It could be said that he simply lacks imagination, but they seems to be more interested in maintaining a certain air or mood than in understanding others, even in conversation. If I can’t share my viewpoint with someone, I just identify them as someone I can’t have a conversation with and try not to get involved. It’s like, “If you don’t want to get to know them, is that okay?” That’s the impression I get. In fact, I often see this when a boss says to a subordinate at a meeting agenda item, “I haven’t heard about that,” and the subordinate replies, “I sent you an email on October XX. It’s like, “What’s the point of sending an email? (laughs).  I’m not trying to silence you with a hierarchical relationship, but if you need to “get your boss’s approval” as the “optimal solution to achieve your goal,” then e-mails and voicemails are just a means to an end. It’s like you’re shifting the problem from your own gain or loss to someone else’s (laughs). If this were to be applied to an eroge manufacturer, it would be a miracle if they posted information on their website about a new title that would go on sale on the last Friday of the month, and customers would come and see it on their own, and it would sell on its own. (laughs) In reality, miracles don’t happen with such passive methods. If you don’t make a sale, and the customer who didn’t buy the product says to you, “You uploaded it on your website, didn’t you?”. If you don’t make an effort to actively communicate with the customer, there is no way they will buy.

─That’s true. Only such manufacturers say, “We made a good product this time, but why isn’t it selling?

Yoshimune: We need to get rid of that kind of fantasy and sentimentality. If good things sell, then SONY must have beaten VHS with the β and iPod with the high-resolution Walkman. (laughs). “Making good products” is a matter of course, but it is only when you combine it with “communicating the goodness” of the product that you can compete on a level playing field. The case of Sony’s defeat proves that people are driven not by logic, numbers, or facts, but by emotions and feelings, or more specifically, by stories. Whether it’s business or interpersonal relations, if you’re dealing with people, there are always emotions involved, and you have to think about how to move those emotions without logic. I think that’s why we can’t communicate with each other because we don’t understand the root of the problem.

─When I listen to other people’s troubles and complaints, I certainly get the impression that they are ignoring such shared assumptions and fundamentals, and are throwing their own subjectivity at each other.

Yoshimune: I suspect that I’m not even doing that (laughs). Rather, I think they are trying to keep a moderate distance from each other, thoroughly avoiding the clash of emotions and subjectivity. This is not the first time I’ve felt this way, and I felt it 20 years ago. The scenario of “Kimi ga Nozomu Eien” reflects the doubts I had about this feeling at the time. At that time, the number one ideal type of man for girls was a “Gentle Man”. That’s why Takayuki became such a character. I think I threw it at him and said, “This is the kind of convenient kindness you guys are looking for.” (laughs). Furthermore, Takayuki has a good sense of responsibility, which makes him even worse. The choice of a kind and self-admonishing character brings misery to everyone around him, including himself. But it’s a negative chain of events that started from a misfortune that was originally no one’s fault. However, many players criticized Takayuki based on their impressions and emotions, instead of using the original contextual thinking. I would like to ask such people, “So, if you were in the same situation as Takayuki, would you be able to face others and yourself to that extent? Many people used to say, “For the sake of Mitsuki’s future, I have to be cold and dare her to leave me! But I felt like, “Is that really for Mitsuki’s sake? “Isn’t that just a neat trick you’ve prepared to get yourself out of a tough situation? (laughs). 

— I see, that’s harsh (laughs). What can I say, it’s a user accusation that is typical of Age’s work.

Yoshimune: But after many years of questioning such things in my works, I gradually come to think that such things are no longer necessary (laughs). In “Muv-Luv” and “Muv-Luv Alternative”, I hunted down the protagonist who wore the popular “Singularity” and “Determination” tropes. I even threw in an ironic happy ending at the end (laughs).

─ I think you are referring to the end of “Muv-Luv Alternative”, the so-called “Final EXTRA”.

Yoshimune: Think about it. A young man in the Heisei era who thinks that a radius of a few dozen meters is all there is to the world is robbed of not only his bloody efforts and growth up to that point, but also all the experiences that various people risked their lives to teach him. Then, if we return to the stupid “Our harem is just beginning!”, would that really be a happy ending? (laughs) Of course, eroge at the time were the ultimate entertainment, and the interpretation of the work was up to the recipient, so it didn’t matter what they thought. But at the time, I thought that people who were just looking for entertainment didn’t really need “Kimi ga Nozomu Eien” or “Muv-Luv”. What I found most disconcerting was that the majority of these happy-ending supremacists were indulging in self-justification and self-confirmation, claiming that “eroge are the cutting edge” of otaku entertainment culture. I remember that there were many of them, especially on the huge message boards of the time. In addition, there were many people who used “Kimi ga Nozomu Eien” or “Muv-Luv” as a basis for mounting the argument that “it’s not like the opportunistic eroge you’re playing.” Of course, I don’t mean to deny or condemn the act itself. But as a creator, I’m keenly aware of my lack of power, thinking, “I can’t get through to them at all. ……” (laughs).

Exogularity

— It’s the same as what you said earlier about narrow-minded communication, but maybe that’s just the way it is.

Yoshimune: Again, being able to speak Japanese doesn’t necessarily mean that communication is established. For example, in “Muv-Luv”, Sumika and Meiya don’t actually exchange many words. However, because they both share the common denominator of Takeru, they were able to understand each other through their respective understanding and feelings towards him. So, what I’m trying to say in the end is that in “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE”, since there is a common denominator between the existing fans and “Muv-Luv Alternative”, I want to take an approach that will further deepen even the interpretation of “Muv-Luv Alternative”. Of course, for newcomers to the series, I need to focus on making it an independent story, and as before, I need to carefully appeal to the sincerity in mutual understanding, and at the same time, I need to make sure that they can enjoy the multilayered links with the past and future works. And since this is a sequel to “Muv-Luv”, I believe that the main character must reach a point beyond the answer given by Takeru.

Analyzing “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE” from the imageboards. 

— Please explain, to the extent possible, the information that can be read from the imageboards that were released at the 20th anniversary event about “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE”.

Yoshimune: Rather than being tactful about spoilers, I’d like to talk about how to read these imageboards and some hints. First of all, an imageboard is a conceptual visual that is created by the people in the development team in order to maintain a common understanding.

—This is exactly what you have been talking about, to create a common understanding and share assumptions.

Yoshimune: Since many people are involved in this work, it is important to share it through pictures. If we only use words, there will be a big gap in perceptions due to differences in individual experiences and the works they’ve seen. So I’m not sure if this imageboard will be used directly for the event image. In the past, Tamwoo has used all the existing pictures in the game, though (laughs).

—Imageboards are a technique that was often used in movies and anime. I think people who are not familiar with such things now understand that this is not an advance presentation of event CG. Now, please explain the events in the order they are shown.

Yoshimune: The first one is the largest hive on the moon called Lunar 0 or Lunar Original with the Earth in the background. This is an overlap with the event picture in “Muv-Luv The Day After” (TDA). I think the old fans who saw it at the event may have been momentarily disappointed to see a picture that they had seen before. But if you look closely at the details, you’ll notice various differences. For example, the total height of the hive seems to have been about half the size, as if it was were broken, and there is some kind of artifact (man made object) spread out at the foot of it. This is the largest lunar facility ever built by mankind, and the Earth in the background is the Earth from “Muv-Luv Alternative”. Most of the Eurasian continent has been leveled by BETA and is dry, so there are no clouds at all. If you have a copy of “Exogularity 01”, you can compare it to the history after “Muv-Luv Alternative”, and you’ll be able to read deeper into the story, such as “this is after the Hive Sweeping Operation of the Second Lunar War”. In addition, if you look at the historical events that followed, you can make a deeper reading, such as “The mass-produced Hercules G-element”, which is the successor to XG-70 Susanoo and is what was used to attack Mars, must have originated here and was assembled on the moon or in space. The base at the foot of the Hive is probably a G-element mining and refining plant. And so on. Comparing it to the event CG of “TDA”, we can learn many more things. For example, in this area that looks like the Japanese archipelago, there’s Sadogashima. I wondered if this illustration was a mistake on Monkey Chop’s part, or if we were on a different planet in a different probability space-time (laughs). In any case, it’s more natural to interpret this situation as humanity being quite dominant, at least for a while after “Muv-Luv Alternative,” and I think it’s somewhat relieving. In that sense, it’s also a piece to help people cool down from the excitement of the announcement of the new project, and get ready to observe it calmly.

Integrate Imageboard 1
Imageboard 1
TDA 00
Muv-Luv TDA Planet Earth

—I see. I’m really enjoying the fact that if I actively gather information that has been released to the world so far, I can see many things and expand my imagination.

Yoshimune: On the other hand, if you look at too many things, you may misunderstand things because of your preconceptions. I know I’m being a bit cryptic, but I never said that the order of the imageboard was the chronological order (laughs).

—But, you didn’t say it wasn’t chronological either, (laughs).

Yoshimune: That’s what I’m talking about (laughs). The way you pick up and read the information on these imageboards, and the way you combine it with information from other media, is exactly the same as socializing and communicating with others. If I were to use “Muv-Luv” as a metaphor for people, if you can understand and remember what someone has said and done before and what it means, you can see the context of their words and actions, and gradually understand the protocol of that person. For example, in sports and games, the more you understand the rules and how to play, the more fun you will have. I’m thinking that if we can understand the fun of extracting context and information from Muv-Luv’s image boards, fans will be able to divert it to their human relationships. …… I’m probably still failing at this point, but I’ll keep at it (laughs).

4th Generation TSF

─ I know it’s not easy, but I think it’s important to keep working on it. Now, please explain the second one.

Yoshimune: The second one is a scene of TSFs getting ready for battle in the hive. This is also drawn in such a way that many fans will have the impression that they’ve seen it somewhere before at first glance. And if you look closely, you can see that the details are different, just like in the first picture. For example, the situation. Up until now, the battles in the “Muv-Luv” hives have always shown humans in an inferior position, except in “Muv-Luv Alternative”, but in this picture, there’s less of a sense of urgency. If you look closely at the TSF, you’ll see that the Mig-29 in the foreground has a Raptor-like compound eye, and that the head unit has a large sensor. The markings on the shoulders are not a unit insignia, but street graffiti-like. In his hand, he’s holding a prototype-long sword made for the YF-23, for some reason. On the other hand, the flexible material covers of the joints are covered with sheet-type reinforcement material.

Integrate Imageboard 2
Imageboard 2

─Oh, it’s true! It’s something you don’t know until you’re told!

Yoshimune: The TSF in the center is a quadruped (four-legged), if you look closely. This is a tactical multi-legged transport fighter whose existence has been publicly announced, and this is the first time it has been shown. The two containers on the top of the fighter are the same standard as the ones scattered throughout the war zone, but in a smaller size. Two squad support sentry guns in the upper front, one ground gatling gun under the base of both forelimbs, one electromagnetic projectile gun in the base of the right forelimb, and one assault gun in the rear. Anyway, from the heavy armament that exceeds the A-10 and the four long swords mounted on the sides of the container, we can guess that this TSF is not a transport machine, but rather an ammunition supply and gunship. It can be operated as a bipod high-mobility TSF by purging the rear leg unit in an emergency, so it is superior to the A-10 in terms of survivability. Knowing this setting, you can imagine that the situation in this picture is not yet imminent, at least not yet. And further behind the quadruped, there is a Mig-31 carrying a container. Judging from the lightness of its armament, it is unlikely to be an ammunition container. And other customized TSF seem to be surrounding this TSF. From this information, we can see that if this unit is carrying something, this Mig-31 is carrying it, and the others are probably escort TSFs.

─Oh, I’m getting excited (laughs). By the way, is there any reason why the quadruped has not been released until now?

Yoshimune: At the stage of “Muv-Luv Alternative”, I had thought about setting up a multi-legged transport machine that would be responsible for the logistics of the Hive invasion, but I never had a chance to show it in pictures. I was thinking of cleaning up a rough sketch and posting it when I published the mecha book, but as I kept postponing it, I lost track of it (laughs). Then, about four years ago, the person in charge of Kotobukiya, who was producing plastic models of TSFs, and Riene PR, the publisher at the time, had a customization contest for TSF plastics as part of a live broadcast project. At that time, I instructed them on the image of the modification, and we made a Centaur type by combining the lower half of a Balalaika with another Balalaika. That was the basis for the rough design of the quadrupedal TSF that was released this time. I think it was around the time of the “Schwarzesmarken” anime, and I wanted to publish it in a booklet for Comiket, so I made a plastic model of it as a foreshadowing. But once again, I missed the opportunity (laughs). When I talk about it like this, some of the more dedicated fans might ask, “So there’s something in the other plastic models, too? (laughs).

─I guess no one realized that the plastic model of the centaur-type TSF was a foreshadowing.

Yoshimune: That’s just the people who were there. It requires a lot of contextual thinking, don’t you say, or maybe it needs an old fan, someone who is familiar with Age and all the tricks of the trade (laughs).

—So that was it, Amazing. Foreshadowing over several years ……, Yoshimune-san is now one of the gods~ (laughs).

Yoshimune: That sort of talk is …..(laughs).

Surprise, anxiety, and anticipation created by the connection of imageboards

─ Now please explain the third one.

Yoshimune: This is a heavy industrial area adjacent to a huge hive. If you know the rules of the “Muv-Luv Alternative” world, it can give you an extreme sense of discomfort. In terms of the layout, the colors and impressions are symmetrical and contrasting with the lunar hive in the first picture, and until the hive battle in the second picture, the impression is that humanity has the upper hand, leading the eye to focus on the minor differences, and then the flow of the pictures suddenly arouses anxiety in this one. The composition of the high phase hive in the center of the cloudy sky intentionally overlaps with that of the lunar surface. While the dominant lunar surface was a little downward-looking, with high saturation and contrast, this image is the complete opposite, with low color and low contrast.  In addition, it is almost one-toned, which is already a bit depressing (laughs). The overall sour look peculiar to industrial areas gives an even more grim impression. This is where the old fans who came to the last event would notice. “It would be strange if the Hive grew so much that the surrounding area wasn’t cleared.” There are people in the heavy industrial area, railroads are laid, and the trailers are as clean as if they had been running a while ago. In particular, there is the detail that a gap line has cut through the city, and the overturned trailer was cut off at the same place as the gap. If you look at the cut surface, it’s obvious that the gap was created after the trailer overturned. The trailer looks as if a human being has been fused and embedded in it, and the people around it also look odd if you look closely.

Newyork UN

—It looks like a BETA human city.

Yoshimune: That’s good~ (laughs). I welcome with warmth the creation of such individual interpretations. In that sense, let’s look at it from a bit of an aesthetic appreciation angle. For example, roads and railroad tracks depicted in paintings are often symbols of life and the landscape ahead of us represents the future. In this painting, what lies beyond the road and railroad tracks is a dull cloudy sky and a towering hive. This is truly a psychological pressure that says, “The future is cloudy, and I have a strong feeling of despair.” The breakaway from the food chain and the tearing apart of the city, a symbol of civilization and order, is a metaphor for the collapse of these things. And the screen is tilted compared to the first one, which is dominated by humanity. This instability is even more unsettling. In addition, the angle of the human city is looking down, while the hive is looking up slightly. The upward angle is a metaphor in which the main point of view is being inferior and weak, while the subject is superior and strong. This will come up later, so keep it in mind (laughs).

Integrate Imageboard 3
Imageboard 3

—It’s like, “This is going to be on the exam”.

Yoshimune: And now, the symbols that people find most frightening, are the ones that are close to people but a little different. A fusion of Grotesque shapes in casual clothing and surreality. In this seemingly calm painting, which is neutral and low-contrast in terms of color, I’ve cooked up all the elements that depress the viewer, such as trompe l’oeil paintings and paintings by Escher, Chirico, Munch, Hieronymus Bosch, Dali, Salvator Rosa, and hell in religious paintings (laughs).

—When I look at the painting again after listening to the explanation, I feel a bit bewildered. ……

Yoshimune: In order to emphasize the sense of “…… if you look closely,” we first fast-forwarded through the event. I wanted to raise people’s expectations and give them a big positive impression of the whole picture, and then have them look at it slowly and feel creeped out by the negative impression. It may or may not have worked, but that kind of display method is also a way to psychologically get people excited and have fun.

—I think it’s more like “Omotenashi” (Heartfelt Hospitality) (laughs). I guess you could say that, even for a single event, you pay a lot of attention to the details of the event to ensure the enjoyment and satisfaction of your customers. Looking back, it’s true that the past Age events were notable for that kind of attention to detail.

Yoshimune: Other parts of the event, such as the pre-event announcements, were a bit of a mess (laughs), but in the end, we want the fans who come to the event to have as many happy memories as possible. 

— Let’s continue with the fourth one. This is also …. (laughs).

Yoshimune: It’s New York City at night, overrun by the BETA. The first picture has high contrast and high saturation, with human dominance. The second one is highly saturated and the whole image is lit up, but it’s one tone and low contrast, so there’s a “?” is attached to that dominance. The third picture is almost one tone and low contrast, suggesting a future of anxiety and despair — and then the fourth picture is high contrast and high saturation. The colorful colors that suddenly come into view give you psychological reassurance for a moment, and when your recognition catches up with you, you feel like “Wow!”. It probably only takes a few tenths of a second, but the psychological shaking effect of colors has been proven in horror films.

Integrate Imageboard 4
Imageboard 4

—I knew it was reverse hospitality (laughs). No matter what, I have a feeling that humanity is in serious trouble.

Yoshimune: On the ground, a metaphor for defeat and the past, is the head of the Statue of Liberty, the symbol of freedom and domestic peace of the United States, the most powerful country in the world of Muv-Luv Alternative. It’s like the saying “Chiniochiru”(To drop like a rock in regards to power and authority). It is the country that supported humanity in the BETA wars the most, and the largest supplier of food and anti-BETA weapons. The beheading of the symbol of New York City, the center of the economy, is a situation that can only lead to despair. War is not possible without economic power, and the U.S. is the world’s number one not only in the production of anti-BETA weapons, but also in their development. That’s why it’s a terrible spectacle. (laughs).

Suzumiya Akane, Illfried, Latrova, Gretel

—The “Muv-Luv” series, especially “Total Eclipse”, often features the close connection between war and economy, so this is a pretty hard image for fans. I can see why New York was chosen for this painting.

Yoshimune: It would have been better if it was just the economy (laughs). The overall impression of this picture is an homage to the international poster of my favorite movie, “New York 1997”. (Movie: Escape from New York) If you know what that movie was about, you can imagine even more. And the city is crawling with countless tank-classes, which seem to have been completely overwhelmed. Behind the skyscraper, there is a hive with the same symbolic layout as before. But for some reason, there are two (laughs). “Why isn’t New York evenly leveled?” Isn’t it easy to feel uncomfortable? In addition, both hives are irradiating each other with something like a laser. It’s a piece that turns the very foundation of the conventional wisdom of “Muv-Luv Alternative” upside down.

— Are you saying that the hives are fighting each other?

Yoshimune: It does look that way. If that’s the case, I wonder if one side is under humanity’s control and is intercepting the other.

—If that’s the case, then at first glance it looks like New York has been overrun, but referring to an incident described in “Exogularity01”, we can imagine that a tank class under humanity is engaged in urban warfare with a tank class of BETA. 

Yoshimune: Oh, that’s wonderful! But to begin with, in the history of “Muv-Luv”, there are no hives in the Americas. If that’s the case, the historical background may be different. In other words, there’s even the possibility of a different probability space-time (laughs).

-No, no,. ……. When I look at it somehow, I tend to just take it vaguely as “Oh, it’s going to look like this?”, but now that you’ve explained it, I can get as much information as I want out of this one piece.

Yoshimune: Aside from the huge delusion of another world or human side BETA, you should be able to read some more fundamental but quite critical information from this picture (laughs). Mr. Kon, what is in New York right now?

— What? …… You don’t mean …… the United Nations?

Yoshimune: Exactly! The location of the headquarters of the United Nations Forces, which plays a central role in the counter-offensive against humanity in that world, has become a battlefield. Furthermore, the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of the super power of the United States, which has a strong influence on the UN, is beheaded and “Fell to the ground/Dropped like a rock” which can be read as a metaphor for the “destruction of the UN” or, more specifically, the “collapse of humanity’s fighting posture”. Throughout “Muv-Luv,” I have been denying the blind acceptance of the “UN myth” and “UN justice,” and for those who remember that, it can be seen as a metaphor for the collapse of the values of globalism and human cooperation (laughs).

—As you said, it’s a shocking illustration that becomes a turning point when you take the whole imageboard as a single story. It’s quite suggestive in terms of story, theme and message. Let’s move on to the next one, leaving room for fans to imagine.

Yoshimune: Legendary characters fighting on the TSF carrier deck of the United Nations fleet, right? In terms of composition, the drawn fleet is moving from left to right, so it is an offensive in western pictorial grammar. Also, the background is a daytime blue sky, a change from the previous night scene. Moreover, for the first time, there are characters that we are familiar with, so psychologically, it’s quite a relief. Especially in the world of “Muv-Luv Alternative”, the sea functions as a constant barrier against BETA. The sea, originally a symbol of growth and adventure, is depicted in the design, adding to the sense of security. Moreover, the fleet is state-of-the-art. You can see a Zumwalt class destroyer in the background, and there are two regular TSF carriers in the foreground, the Gerald R. Ford class and the one the characters are on. The military in Muv-Luv is portrayed as being pretty close to reality, so if you’re able to do an internet search, it’s possible to speculate on the possibility of a large fleet of at least two regular TSF carriers, 18 surface escort vessels, four submarines, and four supply ships. In addition, in the “Exogularity 01″, you can see that the squadron of TSFs on the flight deck of the Ford-class is a mass produced version of the fourth generation TSF, the Typhoon. From there, the time period of this imageboard can be roughly estimated.

Integrate Imageboard 5
Imageboard 5

─ I feel a sense of relief and elation that blows away all the depression I’ve been feeling.

Yoshimune: But I think the old fans know that when Age makes them feel secure, the next big pitfall will come, so I thought they might be prepared for it (laughs).

— The conflict between the characters implies that …

Yoshimune: In the world of “Muv-Luv Alternative” and in reality, humanity has never been united, so in a sense it’s business as usual (laughs). There is also a strength that comes into play when irregular things come together for a moment, and I think that is the strength of humanity.

— It’s a point of view that is typical of Yoshimune-san’s work. Now, I think fans are waiting for an explanation on the identity of the characters depicted here.

Yoshimune: First of all, at the very front is Ilfriede. It’s obvious by her hair, and if you zoom in on Akane’s eyes, you can see her face (laughs).

— Ohhh, It’s true.

Yoshimune: Only Ilfriede is wearing a C-type UN military uniform. This alone shows that her position and layers are different from the other characters. But if you look closely, you can see that the uniform is navy with silver taping, different from the UN blue color scheme on a black base. If you look closely at the UN unit insignia as well, you can see that the name of the organization is different. And the one grabbing onto Ilfriede is Akane Suzumiya. There were many people who expected her to be another character because she didn’t have a white hairband or ahoge, but when you combine the time prediction I made earlier with the aging of the characters standing behind her, the chances of that happening are slim to none. So, the CWU-45 jacket she is wearing has the unit insignia of the UN Valkyries. After “Muv-Luv Alternative”, Akane was transferred to the Valkyries, which was reorganized by the Japanese Imperial Army to honor the achievements of the troops who were buried in the dark. However, even though the rank and unit insignia are that of the UN forces, the color of the jacket is different from the previous Valkyries. Latrova standing behind her also wears the same color as L-3b. As I’ve often stated publicly, Latrova joined the Valkyries of Alternative 4 with Yuuya after Total Eclipse. Incidentally, L-3b was worn by Marimo, the commander of the 207th Platoon at Mount Tengen, right? In other words, these symbols indicate that Latrova is Akane’s superior in rank. Next to Latrova is Gretel. Surrounded by the carrier strike group and three people in military uniforms, she is the only one in civilian clothes. However, her jacket is a trench coat, and it was originally a military uniform. The composition of Gretel wearing such a coat in the midst of all the military colors suggests that she is in a position of influence in the military even though she is retired and has gone down to the civilian world.

Kouzuki Yuuko

— It’s like the solution of a riddle in a mystery novel, isn’t it? It’s like profiling or like the detective Kouki-kun (laughs).

Yoshimune: My heart is an elementary school student, but my body is old, so I guess I’m not wrong (laughs). Then I’ll get into it a little more. For example, there are things that can be read from the characters’ body language. Akane is grabbing Ilfriede’s chest with both arms, right? The muscle strength of an angry physically active pilot is not considered half bad, and yet, the fact that Ilfriede hasn’t made the slightest move at all is a mystery. This shows that although Ilfriede is in a commanding position, she is always down in the field to face the problems that the pilots cause, that she makes an effort to maintain the same physical strength as the front line pilots, and that she has acquired the mental strength to do so. This is also a suggestion that Ilfriede is prepared to take on a great cause that cannot be shaken by a little criticism. As a contrast, Akane’s actions are more emotional and human. Whether she dares to commit such a grave crime as grabbing her superior officer or whether she lets her emotions get the better of her is clear from the previous discussion. This kind of conflict and dilemma between private and public is an essential motif in the “Muv-Luv” series, and humanity’s inability to unite even in the face of a reassuring counterattack is also a motif of the “Muv-Luv” series. “INTEGRATE” is also a metaphor for the fact that “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE” is a story about humanity. In addition, if Akane was just letting her emotions get the better of her, it would be even worse, and when combined with the collapse of the UN headquarters, it could be interpreted as the loss of the chain of command and military code (laughs).

— That’s right. Oh, I see. ……

Yoshimune: On the other hand, Latrova is standing directly in front of Ilfriede while keeping the most distance from their quarrel. This shows that she is calm and objective, and that she is sincere and straightforward towards others, as depicted in Total Eclipse. However, since folding her arms is a sign of anxiety and rejection, we can also read that she is somewhat distrustful of Ilfriede. She may be questioning Akane’s actions even though she approves of them (laughs). Gretel, on the other hand, is standing in front of Latrova, so she seems to be somewhat neutral. And the oblique (At an angel) body can be inferred to be a growth in Gretel’s mind, or the acquisition of a way of dealing with problems without confronting them head-on. But the best part is that her hands are warm inside the pockets of the coat. This indicates that she will never show her hands. It makes me imagine that maybe she is not a civilian, but belongs to an intelligence organization like Yoroi, or became a talented journalist, or a politician. Also, although it is a somewhat old-fashioned way of looking at it (laughs), a woman’s hairstyle and length of hair is a symbol of her change of heart, so my imagination grows from there as well. Akane’s loss of the childish symbol suggests the loss of something important, a break with the past, and inner growth. Her passion to grab onto her superiors without fear of punishment may be the result of her devotion and longing for Mitsuki, whom she admires. In contrast, Latrova remains almost unchanged. She was quite a complete character when she first appeared, but if you think about it, something has remained stagnant since then, which means she may be suffering internally. Gretel’s short hair can be interpreted to mean that she has undergone a drastic change, cutting off her past and many other things.

— I was reminded that “Muv-Luv” is still “Muv-Luv” in the sense that it doesn’t try to reassure us at all. Now, it was time for the sixth piece of the puzzle, and I was impressed by how the event hall buzzed when it was displayed.

Yoshimune: I was talking while watching the faces of the audience looking up at the screen, and it was obvious that their complexion had changed for the worse (laughs).

— I think everyone knew immediately that it was Kouzuki Yuuko. However, Yuuko, who reigned in the “Muv-Luv” series and was an absolute existence of salvation for humankind, was probably mercilessly ruined, in position and also mentally. Looking at the flow from the first piece, this is nothing but despair. My hope that “Yuuko-sensei would do something about it” was dashed to pieces. Even the complexion of my face would also change (laughs).

Yoshimune: The illustration is bright and highly saturated, the background is phosphorescent and monotonous, and something important is arranged to be placed in the center. The basic idea is based on the first one, but the metaphor of the layout is also a culmination of the image boards so far.

Muv-Luv Integrate

-I see. It’s true that Yuuko is now in the same place the hive has been so far. It’s a clean and bright room, but it emphasizes the sense of uneasiness and abnormality.

Yoshimune: The white, inorganic room with the shiny floor that causes anxiety is an homage to the room known as the fourth monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Knowing Captain Bowman’s fate, another wild idea will grow in your mind. As you pointed out, Yuuko’s downfall. First of all, it’s quite unsettling to see Yuuko, who had been so seamless and imposing, sitting defenselessly with unfocused eyes (laughs). Here’s the angle that I said was important earlier.

— Yuuko is looking down. That means …….

Yoshimune: Yes, as I explained in the third picture, the fact that she is looking down on us indicates that Yuuko is submissive and weaker than those in her viewpoint. The hospital gown she is wearing and the bandages on his wrists and ankles have many stains of oxidized blood. It shows that he has not been cared for a long time and has been treated roughly. There are also countless injection marks on her arms and a mysterious device on her neck. It is obvious that Yuuko is being violated at someone’s will. The stuffed animals scattered on the floor are Kasumi’s bunny and Inia’s Misha. Inia has joined the Valkyries with Latrova and Yuuya, so it’s natural that Misha is with Yuuko. In the last issue of the manga version and the “Exogularity 01″ and the beginning of the 10th anniversary PV, it will be more fun to imagine the missing link and what happened before that. The 10th anniversary PV is available on the official Age YouTube channel, so please check it out.

Integrate Imageboard 6
Imageboard 6

— What sort of sound was there?

Yoshimune: It is a noisy audio recording of Yuuko being interrogated by someone.

─ That’s also …… (laughs).

Yoshimune: And the last. The title is displayed in high contrast in jet black. “Muv-Luv. INTEGRATE”.

─ This also had an impact on me.

Yoshimune: With so much anxiety, I wondered if the meaning of the word “integrate” would be the only hope. If you look closely at this, you can see the blue-white light around the letters. Blue is the blue of the earth, and also the blue of the United Nations. Light is also a symbol of hope.

The next step is to commit to the context of the “Exogularity”’s Age resale.

—Well, that was interesting! When I heard about it, My excitement and anxiousness increased dozens of times and I didn’t know how to behave.

Yoshimune: Thank you very much. I am honored to be of service to you in my old age.

— When I heard this story, I thought that what Tororo-san, the general producer of “Muv-Luv”, should do next is to re-release “exogularity01”.

Yoshimune: Indeed. It’s been a long time since the release of the game, and it’s an indispensable book for fans who have recently arrived to think about for the time until the release of “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE”. I’ll ask if I can reprint it at the summer Comiket.

— But then again, I think it’s amazing that this series of developments encompasses the very theme of “committing to the work”.

Yoshimune: This is going to be an old man’s loop (laughs), but even people we meet casually every day can be understood more accurately and properly by learning more about their past. Other people are not side characters, they are the main characters in their lives. In other words, all of our day-to-day relationships are “Avengers,” right?

— I see, “The Avengers”. I think I understand why human relationships are so troublesome.

Yoshimune: The reason why I included Akane, the heroine of “Kimi ga Nozomu Eien”, as a sub-character in “Muv-Luv” is because I wanted the players to understand and relativize such interpersonal relationships in the game they are interested in. Akane in the EXTRA version of “Muv-Luv” is the best friend of Chizuru, one of the heroines, and the ace of the swimming club in Yuuko’s class. She’s a bit too much of a side character (laughs), but behind the casual lines uttered by such a side character girl, there are actually various meanings contained in her experiences in “Kimi ga Nozomu Eien”. Fans who have continuously played “Kimi ga Nozomu Eien” and “Muv-Luv” will be able to understand the true meaning behind each of Akane’s lines. However, those who got to know Akane from “Muv-Luv” can only take her words for what they are. That’s the meaning and importance of having interest in other people in human relationships.

— In this world, there are no supporting characters.

Yoshimune: That’s right. But nowadays, I think it has become standard to be involved with others only to the minimum extent necessary in order to protect and cherish yourself. But if you want to take care of yourself, you have to take care of the people around you. This is something that will never change.

─ That’s what it means to be committed to others.

Yoshimune: That’s why I feel incredibly uncomfortable when people call it a “star system” when we introduce characters from other works. The original star system is the same as that of actors, where the same character with the same name is given a different role and is put into a different work. In our case, they are only appearing because the worlds are connected. It’s not a side or a star concept.

Kouki Yoshimune

─ So the roots of the character remain the same in some respects, but there are also things that have grown and changed on top of that.

Yoshimune: That is the context that people have, isn’t it? When something happens, there are so many people who want to talk about the process rather than the conclusion, and they want it to be evaluated/appreciated. If so, I would like people to be interested in other people’s processes as well. After understanding each other’s accumulated experiences, they interact with with an appropriate sense of distance, which leads to a true understanding, including the good and bad points of each other. On top of that, I think it would be best for both parties to finally decide on a comfortable distance for both of their sakes.

— One of Yoshimune-san’s thoughts and feelings will naturally be included in “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE”.

Yoshimune: Of course. A lot has really happened in the past few years, and at the time I really didn’t like it and thought it was a negative experience, but thanks to what I accumulated during that period, I was able to clarify what I wanted to do and the attitude I should take, etc. In the end, it all turned out to be a good thing that I had experienced that negativity. As I always say, opportunities don’t wait for people to prepare for them. It is physically impossible to foresee the arrival of an opportunity and to prepare well in advance. In the end, I feel that the results of grabbing a sudden chance in any situation and working through it, even if it is rough, are ultimately more connected to the future. Chance is, after all, luck. I think it’s called “luck” because it’s brought to you. What does it come from? It is the “fate” of people. The “karma” of people is the “circle” that human relationships form. The “circle” is both “wheel” and “harmony”. I’m really impressed that the old name of Japan is Yamato, which means “harmony” in Japanese. That’s why, for me, it was an unwillingness to be involved in “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE” in a mixed-up (unclear) way or a forced manner (tobashiri). In the end, however, I consider it to be “luck”, or in other words, an opportunity that I was “fortunate” to have through the “fate” of others. As a result, I couldn’t release any new works, and because I was in a dry slump, I created and polished dozens of new projects. Always having smooth sailing is not necessarily good for the work. The various hardships I went through during that period reconnected me with people and re-filled me with material for the creative style I was exposed to. That’s when I was reminded again. There is no point in trying to change things by reasoning or preaching. Even though we are old people, we still pursue our dreams, choose what we want to do, accept our failures, and keep moving forward. The best way to send a message to the world is to expose that image in all its purity and turbidity. One of the major meanings behind the title “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE” is “reintegration of the inner self. I’m very happy and really looking forward to being able to deliver to you again, after more than ten years, the fruits of a serious battle between old people who never give up.

Ageku no Hate, last interview with a message from Koki Yoshimune

—Thank you very much for your time today. This is the last issue of the fan club newsletter that has been published since its inception. Finally, please give a message to all the fans who have been waiting for the 24th issue for many years.

Yoshimune: First of all, I would like to sincerely apologize for making you wait for the newsletter for many years because of my inability to manage the fan club at that time. I don’t want to go into details because it would be an excuse for anything I say, but there is no doubt that it was the result of unbalanced and excessive services, poor estimates, and lack of management skills. The staff at the time, who still managed to get the bulletin out, are not responsible for any of this. A few years ago, I entrusted the management of that weakness to ixtl, transferred the copyright of Age, and emptied my pockets, but thanks to the kindness and support of many people involved, including our fans, ixtl became aNCHOR, and with the support of Tororo and other new friends, we were able to create the illusive “Muv-Luv INTEGRATE”, which had become a mirage. I’m sorry for the delay. The fact that I am able to deliver the last issue of the magazine to you now, while keeping you waiting, is truly a gift of luck brought about by fate. It would be my great pleasure if my ups and downs could be of some help to you in your life. It proves that if you never give up and keep making choices, decisions, and taking actions, this kind of luck can really come your way. In other words, the 650 million yen in personal debt I once incurred was proof that I had that much bank credit at the time. I would never have been able to do it on my own, but I was able to pay it off thanks to the help and support of many people. It was a result of your support, and the fact that someone always reached out to me when I was in trouble, and in all the right places. However, if I had been relying on my luck and sitting on my laurels, I don’t think anyone would have reached out to me. Even though everything I did was immature, I continued to struggle as a person concerned with my choices and actions at the time, and I persevered to avoid running away from my responsibilities. I think that’s why so many people have reached out to me, even to a character failure like me. I think this fact is a stronger and more persuasive message than “Muv-Luv”. And this time, the production of the magazine took shape thanks to the efforts of the people who connected us to Tororo. So I want you all to believe in me. I want you to believe that no experience or time is ever wasted as long as you keep struggling. There are no “ifs” or “buts” in life. The present is always the best. The only thing you can change is the future, and the future is the result of the accumulation of the present. And if you have a problem that only time can solve, don’t run and hide, just let time take care of it. I can only apologize to those who have been worried about not receiving the newsletter for years, but I am truly grateful to all of you who have allowed me to keep my promise in this way. Thank you very much for your support so far. I will continue to struggle again, so please bear with me. Finally. A few years ago, there was a time when the 23rd and 24th issues of the journal were about to be published. It didn’t happen at that time, but I think the greeting I drew at that time is included in this issue. This time, I didn’t dare to make any changes to the data, and I’ve posted it as it was at the time, so I thought it would be fun for you to compare it with this last greeting. In the future, the fan club and bulletin will probably take different forms, but I would like to continue them in some way, so if you have a chance, please do not hesitate to contact me again.

— Thank you very much.

Yoshimune: Thank you very much, too.

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