For those of you who don’t know, apart from running this fine site, I also host and produce a TV show on community TV called It’s Japan, Man! I’ll provide the relevant links at the bottom. We were recently in Sydney covering SMASH! and were lucky enough to get some great interviews with a few of the special guests such as Japanese cosplayer Kaname, musical group Garnidelia and otaku world leader and comrade to everyone across the globe, Danny Choo!
Danny has been a huge source of inspiration to me and this site wouldn’t even exist in the first place. It was Danny’s own site that gave me the confidence and motivation to start japandaman.com and then a few years later to start the TV show It’s Japan, Man!
Here’s a few pics of me meeting Danny and exchanging business cards with him. Needless to say, this was a massive highlight for me. Not just for SMASH! but as a massive tick on my life highlight!
Here are those links for It’s Japan, Man! Hope you give us a follow, a Like, watch our videos or whatever way you choose to say hello and interact with us 🙂 Thanks!
UK publication, GamesMaster, was recently fortunate enough to spend some sit down time with legendary Nintendo game designer and character inventor, Shigeru Miyamoto. The topic on the conversation was what inspires Miyamoto to create games and continue being a front runner in the world of video games.
As an example, the original concept for the Wii was the notion of families spending time together in the living room where a lot families seem to congregate and gather. “Shiggy” had the following comment to make on what makes him tick and drives his creative juices.
“I can take a look around at anything which is happening around me or around the world and sometimes I can notice that for this particular thing, even though it is one of the very ordinary things surrounding us, if we can apply an interactive nature or game technology to that, it’s going to be something very unique. That’s going to be something that people will enjoy.”
“In the case of the Nintendo DS, you can bring the Nintendo DS anywhere, that’s why I was able to think in terms of how it could be used at the museum, for example. And in the case of Wii, Wii is supposed to be inside the house, most often in the living room where families get together, I always thought in terms of how it could expand the joy inside of the living room.”
This interview took place right after the interview with Hiroaki Yura and Hiroki Kikuta from CIA. You can catch up on that here. Tomoki Miyoshi (@tomoki_miyoshi) is an extremely gifted young composer at only 18 years of age who has been tasked with bringing the cinematic world of Soul Calibur V to life. Read here as Japandaman Dailies’ Art Editor, Stephanie, goes one on one with this exciting talent and finds out what makes him tick.
SK: You’re very young and you’re working on Soul Calibur V?
Tomoki: I turned 18 a few weeks ago and have been asked to work on the music for the upcoming Soul Calibur V game as a composer. It was really the most exciting thing in my life to have heard about the position in the project being offered to me. It was unreal to say the very least. I actually worked on the cinematic scenes found in the story mode of the game, which is actually the field I was most interested in to begin with.
SK: So what are your influences? What got you into composing?
T: One of my biggest influences, if not all, is from Film music. My favorite composer for Film would have to be Thomas Newman with John Powell being the very close second. I also attend a music school in Japan called the Koyo Conservatory, where I study Composition/Film Scoring. I actually study composition from a Jazz-based basic, which was entirely influenced by the school I currently attend. Hiroaki, my music supervisor and audio director also helps me greatly with exposing me to diverse musical genres. To wrap things up, I’d say that I’m most influenced by traditional Japanese and Hollywood music.
SK: So do you find that scoring for the cinematics in games is different, in any way, to how you would imagine otherwise?
T: Nowadays, in my opinion, scoring for cinematics in games is virtually identical to that of scoring for any other traditionally prevalent media because the final product is of such high-quality in games. The only difference I found to be apparent in games is that you have to anticipate the atmosphere and the intensity of what will happen next in the gameplay section of the game.
SK: And especially with, for example, composing music for video game cinematics, you want something grand because people are going to be hearing it over and over again every time they boot up the game, every time they play or watch the FMV’s from the game so I’m assuming it’s hard to make something memorable?
T: The audio director, Junichi Nakatsuru, who I am actually a great fan of, told me about the gravity of how many people are actually going to listen to my music. I didn’t take that into consideration when I was actually writing the music, but having realized that, it’s actually a very scary thought. Making things memorable wasn’t particularly my goal. They say that the best film scores are the ones you don’t notice. My job, I thought, was to accompany, illustrate and to enhance the scene, at the same time keeping the musical side of things intriguing to the listeners.
SK: It’s a great thing to do at an age so young so you should be really proud of yourself and I’ll be really looking forward to hearing your compositions. Thank you for that!
Thanks to my readers for showing enormouse patience and as promised, the first of two interviews held at the Tokyo Game Show from the booth that Creative Intelligence Arts (CIA) had there. Another big thank you to JD’s Art Editor, Stephanie, for hosting the interviews while she was there!
During the interview, Hiroki Kikuta (@HiroakiYura) spoke through Hiroaki Yura (@Hiroki_Kikuta) acting as his translator hence why Kikuta san’s answers will be in 3rd person.
Stephanie: Ok, I’d just like to thank both of you today for doing this because I know you’re very busy. And if I could just start with Yura, with the Soul Calibur, you’ve recently been appointed the Musical Supervisor for the game, we just wanted to know what type of direction did you want to take the music in?
Hiroaki Yura: Ok, um, basically the same team was used to create Soul Calibur 1 to 4 and Soul Edge as well lead by Mr Junichi Nakatsuru but since he wanted to make it a bit different, it was (set) 17 years after Soul Calibur 4 and this game is much loved by the West, what we wanted to do is to give a little more Western flair but with Japanese tastes. So you know how they do modern Japanese food, it’s like that with music. What we’re trying to do is, trying to make a Japanese version, Japanese food but with modern Western taste.
S: Like a fusion?
HY: Yeah fusion exactly. And hence I had several composers from japan and the United States get together and create this music because I thought everybody would benefit from their talents.
S: That’s fantastic, so are you surprised about how the gaming public has adopted music as so mainstream. They’re all listening to it now, you see a lot people putting it onto their iphones?
HY: Well not really because we do a pretty damn good job! I’m actually quite glad that they do because I do think video game music should be respected and it deserves its respect as we do because these composers and performers they train so much to get it out there.
S: And especially as you were saying you’re trying really hard to create music that appeals to both Western and Japanese audiences.
HY: That’s correct or whatever music that appeals to humans.
S: Yes, exactly! Ok, if I could ask Kikuta san a few questions? So you composed the Secret of Mana, which a lot people loved the game, loved the soundtrack and they still talk about it today. It created a lot of fond memories.
(At this point, Hiroaki calls over to Larry from CIA to grab young SC V composer, Tomoki).
HY: Sorry, he’s another composer of ours, he’s only 18, he used to be from Australia and he’s working on SC V. We’ll finish Kikuta san first.
S: So when you were composing the score for SoM, did you know or did you think to yourself that this is going to be remembered years after the game had been released?
Hiroki Kikuta: He didn’t plan it for it to be heard for so long after the game was released but he felt, you know, he put in a lot of effort as, ah, tried his best to make sure that his music is heard as long as possible.
S: How important is it for you to reach out to your fans and communicate with them not just through your music but also just connecting via any other media?
HK: So he thinks it’s very very important that he reaches out to the fans and everything. Because it’s all part of a cycle where he puts something out and maybe it might take 15 years later but it will finally come back to him and that’s energy he needs to make new work happen.
S: That’s very interesting. I like that idea that you’re actually using your fans enthusiasm for your work and just in general what you’re doing to inspire you to create new music.
HK: He’s really happy about that and the fans that are listening are happy too.
S: So if we could just talk about Eminence for a little bit, I have to ask, a lot of people are asking in Melbourne, is there any plans for Eminence to be visiting Melbourne soon?
HY: Well I think this is probably the best answer that I’ll have, ah, is I can’t say anything at this stage. And it’s definitely not a no and I can’t say if it’s a yes but it’s something in between.
HY: Let’s just say something may happen next year. Early next year.
S: Ok, fantastic. With Eminence you’ve worked with Blizzard and you worked with a few large companies recording music so do you think that you’ll continue doing more major work with other companies and Eminence?
HY: Yes, I think as a Music Supervisor my time is not 100% diverted to Eminence but a lot of people do ask for our services, for Eminence’s services, so I think we will still continue to work with these companies.
S: That’s great. That’s fantastic. So again for Kikuta san, you used to be a manga illustrator, is this something you still do as a hobby or are you more devoted to your music now?
HK: He doesn’t draw as much but being able to direct pictures, manga or art, he actually used that skill to enhance his competition because it is very important for him, for people like myself as well, to understand what kind of music to write to what kind of picture.
S: So you use visuals to influence your music as well and do you find that being an artist and being able to draw also helps you build the music flow with the images?
HY: Yeah, that’s what he said.
A musical tour de force!
S: So which composition of work are you most proud of and why?
HY: In what kind of way? Video games or…?
S: Video games.
HY: The thing that he made, right?
HK: (proceeds to play “The Little Sprite” from Secret of Mana off his phone)
S: And why would this one be your favourite? Why is this your number one choice?
HK: It’s because it’s very fantasy like and he’s very into cute, fantasy like creatures and also the marimba is really out there. He really likes the marimba.
S: Ok, that’s very cool, I like that. So lastly, do you have any messages for your fans in Australia, both of you?
HK: He really really likes Australia, it’s a great country and the food is great so he wants to come back again.
S: Yes, you should!
HY: Yeah, um, me too!
S: That’s fantastic! Thank you so much you guys, I know it’s only a short interview, you’re very very busy today. I know you’ve got announcements later, Soul Calibur?
HY: Yeah, in about half an hour. If you like you can talk to Tomoki, he’s bilingual so he can speak English. He did all the cinematics for SC V.
(Yura then proceeds to call Tomoki over)
Yura: I’ll leave you.
Head on over to Part 2 of this exclusive as Stephanie interviews Tomoki, the composer bringing the cinematic world of Soul Calibur V to life.
I mentioned via Twitter the other day that I was working on something TGS related that I would hopefully be able to reveal in the next few days. Well that time is now so I can reveal that Japandaman Dailies has managed to score not one but two interviews while at TGS with a couple of major players in the music world, both video game and anime world.
Hiroaki Yura, the recently announced new Music Supervisor of upcoming Soul Calibur V and Hiroki Kikuta, composer and video game designer of some undeniable influential games ranging from Secret of Mana through to Seiken Densetsu 3, Soukaigi and Koudelka.
Hiroaki is also the Director of the Eminence Symphony Orchestra responsible for some classically beautiful scores such as The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya and the more recent Wii release, Xenoblade Chronicles.
Japandaman Dailies’ Senior Art Editor, Stephanie, will be in attendance covering all four days and will be interviewing in an exclusive one on two interview which promises to be a highlight. Stay tuned to Japandaman Dailies for all your Tokyo Game Show updates!
A bit old now but this is what happens when you cross Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz with some Japanese comedians who take a crash course in English and then interview them at the red carpet event in Japan for Knight and Day…hilarity ensues, watch the reactions of the stars and the comedians!!