Tag Archives: Air

Interview: Itaru Hinoue, Character Designer of Key Visual Arts

Itaru Hinoue is lead character designer and one of the founding members of Key Visual Arts, one of the most influential visual novel studios in Japan. Her moe character style has helped define entire genres of visual novels and anime, from titles starting with Kanon and continuing into Air and Clannad. Inoue also contributed to the scenario of Key’s latest visual novel, Rewrite, and has also done other artwork as collected in her art book White Clover.

This interview was conducted by Lily Huang and Michael Huang. It has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

[Michael] When you started designing characters for Key, did you imagine that it would inspire an entire approach to doing this “moe” style?

I didn’t expect it at all!

[Michael] What were you trying to capture in designing characters that way, especially girl characters?

My characters have to be cute–that’s what I was going for.

After you did Kanon and Air, which were very popular games, was there a lot of pressure to meet fans’ expectations between Kanon, Air, and Clannad

I did feel pressure to make it a better creation, to draw it better, to make better illustrations for each project I had. 

I ask because Kanon and Air were only one year apart, but there was a 4 year gap between Air and Clannad

Overall we wanted to do better because Air sold so well. We ended up taking four years because we wanted to go above and beyond.

Between Clannad and Little Busters, you worked on BL games. Do you think boys can be moe?

(Laughs) You must be really into it! I like making very handsome people…because I had been drawing girls, I wanted to draw some guys. With my style of moe, I can draw them…I like the smaller boys so I can apply it the way I like.

When I came across your BL work in White Clover I was surprised. It’s so different from what you’ve done before.

After Clannad I was trying to figure out what to do next, and I wanted to draw boys. I gathered some girls and did some [focus] testing to see what kind of drawings worked, and ended up making it at the company. That’s how it started off.

[Michael] What does moe mean to you, personally?

It means kawaii (cute).

[Michael] What do you hope the audience feels when they see one of your characters?

That’s a hard question! I want them to think–“my wife.” I want them to love them that much. I want them cute enough to say “they ARE my wife.”

shizuru-heterochromatia
Shizuru from Rewrite.

What are your favorite character types to create–tsundere, megane, eyepatch, cool, etc.?

With Shizuru [Nakatsu, from Rewrite], I stuffed in everything I like into that chracter. That could be your base line of what I like to draw.

Are you aware that there are a lot of fans overseas of Key, and we were able to raise $500,000 for an English translation of Clannad?

I didn’t know it was overseas as much, but at Comiket, I did see some overseas users that visited.

Will Key focus on the overseas market in the future?

[producer] We’ll try!

How did you develop your special style of creating characters, with the large eyes and high noses? 

I’ve been drawing since I was little, and I’ve always liked large eyes–it’s a staple. Whenever I draw they just end up being big.

Looking back at the last 10 years of anime in 2017

From The Diet 3 Daily (long ago known as believewhatyouhear.org news) in The Diet 3 –

Sept. 23, 2017, The Diet 3, Atlantis. As the Anime Diet web site is now literally a Cyber City with the address thediet3.atn that also has real physical infrastructure on the current continent of Atlantis (used to be known separately as California, China, India, Japan, and Taiwan) with the address atlantisempire.atn, the Diet 3 Daily will look back at the last 10 years in anime.

Lady Hirano Aya became the first “Haruhi (the rough equivalent of a high priest. Some have been calling her the Popette)” of the Religion of Haruhi. However, these days she’s looking to pass on her position to the current idol seiyuu, Tanaka “Tiffany” Sakura, because according to the Haruhi Apostles’ Creed, once “the Haruhi” becomes 30 years old, she has to give up her position to a younger woman.

We are expecting political intrigues, assassinations, poisoning and many more Otaku riots.

The Cyber Nation of Gainax has been fighting a bitter 2-front war with The Cyber Federation of I.G. Bones and the Cyber Ghibli Liberation Front. Anno Hideki lost his life in a cyber terrorism incident and lost all his capacity to be creative. These days he can be seen posing as Ultra-man in front of the physical infrastructure of Tokyo 30, the capital of the Cyber Nation of Gainax and muttering phrases like: “I mustn’t run away”, and “I alway bring trouble to everyone around me.”

Goro Miyazaki, the leader of Cyber Ghibli Liberation Front, has been churning out stick figure anime with exceptional quality music and gorgeous scenery; he insists on these being hand drawn without the use of any CG. Many critics hailed these as “facinating art pieces commenting the mockery of the truly classic of animation”.

Ishii Mamoru started a cult named Shirow Savior, which also happens to be the name of a mecha anime that features Ultranet-ready mecha that features only bishonen pilots and only moe girls that simply can’t be killed outright. The believers of “Shirow Savior” and the believers of “Haruhiism” have been in constant cyber paper fan battles since 2014.

The giant robot “Rahxephon” has been installed as the Guardian of I.G. Bones and it has been almost completely invincible in battles against The Cyber Nation of Gainax. In its last battle is slayed 15000 Eva Unit 13 mass-production types. Miraculously, a pilot only known as Ikari S., piloting Eva Unit X1, actually successfully defeated Rahxephon using the Lance of Longeness and what is now known to the Cyber domains as AT attack Field.

KyoAni remained an animation studio in Japan. However, it’s now also known as the “Underground Diet (Parliament)” of Japan. Because Cyber Gainax took over Tokyo and made it into Tokyo 30 and became separated from the rest of what once was Japan, Kyoto became the capital of what once was Japan once again. KyoAni’s AIR defense force series became one of the best sellers in anime all time. Rumor has it that KyoAni is actually run by Lady Hirano Aya, but our sources couldn’t confirm that.

the Otaku is now the 1st class citizens on the entire continent of Atlantis. Instead of the New Year’s Day, January 1st was change to “Otaku shopping Day”, on the day no anime-related stores would close and Otaku can shop 24 hours straight on that day and on January 2nd, which is now known as the Cosplayer’s Day, by law, everyone on the continent of Atlantis is required to cosplay as an anime character.

Common crimes include: whacking someone with a cyber paper fan and steal his or her memory while screaming: “nandeyanen!” Stealing priceless artifacts (figurines) of Kanon, Air, Haruhi, Akane (from Ranma) and others, Gigaslaving people up their asses and almost destroying the world in the process, disrespecting Lady Hirano Aya, dressing up as Zetsubo Sensei without screaming “I’m in despair” every 5 minutes, riding giant robots, mechas, Tachikomas and the like without a pilot’s license (a special license is required for piloting transformable robots). conducting mecha combat without applying for combat permits, carrying Claymores without symbols, using anti-Akuma weapons without registering with the Black Society of Jesus, dating yaoi vampires without drawing doujinshi of them, sexually harassing mecha musume (military mecha girls) and/or using them for prostitution purposes, hacking people’s cyber brains and play the OP song for Potemayo 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 or 366 days per year in their heads, disrespecting your mother and Inoue Kikuko-sama(Belldandy, Mizuho, Miria) in the same sentence, and many other crimes, all of which are punishable by death with “Full Cavity Synchronization Capacity” probes, in groups inside special death agencies.

We here at The Diet 3 Daily is now fearing for our lives.