Tag Archives: Clannad

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.

Otakon Day One – Kikuko Inoue Panel Q&A, Pt 2.

kikukoinoue_380w

Part 1 is here.

Kikuko Inoue is a famous seiyuu associated with many popular anime. Her past performances include Belldandy of Aa Megami-Sama, Kasume Tendou in Ranma 1/2, Rune Venus in El-Hazard, Kazami Mizuho in Onegai Teacher, Lust in Fullmetal Alchemist, Miria in Claymore, Grace O’Connor in Macross Frontier, Akane in Higurashi, and Cecile in Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. She answered questions at Otakon.

Inoue was also accompanied by Hidenori Matsubara, the character designer of Ah! My Goddess, the show Inoue is best known for.

Continue reading Otakon Day One – Kikuko Inoue Panel Q&A, Pt 2.

Otakon Day One – Kikuko Inoue Panel Q&A, Pt 1.

Kikuko Inoue is a famous seiyuu associated with many popular anime. Her past performances include Belldandy of Aa Megami-Sama, Kasume Tendou in Ranma 1/2, Rune Venus in El-Hazard, Kazami Mizuho in Onegai Teacher, Lust in Fullmetal Alchemist, Miria in Claymore, Grace O’Connor in Macross Frontier, Akane in Higurashi, and Cecile in Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. She answered questions at Otakon.

Onee-chan

Continue reading Otakon Day One – Kikuko Inoue Panel Q&A, Pt 1.

Anime Diet Radio Episode 18 – Don’t Try This At Home

Anime Diet Radio finally graduates and comes into its maturity in this, our 18th and our first Jeremy-less episode in a while. (He had a toothache.) We’re doing DANGEROUS things that you shouldn’t try at home: like the Indonesian boy who imitated Naruto too much and spreading the Clannad virus! And we also talk about this season’s anime like Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino, Rosario + Vampire, True Tears, Shigofumi, and They are My Noble Masters.

This was, as you will hear, recorded two weeks ago on Super Bowl Sunday. It is actually Take 2 of Episode 18, which because of computer problems described in the Introduction, we had to scrap. I still think this was a good episode, though, and I hope you’ll agree!

Erratum: the drink referred to that had a commercial in the Superbowl is not called Volt, but Amp. As you can see I did not do well in the electricity unit of high school physics. :) You can see the original Super Bowl commercial here (1). Note the warning at the bottom!

Show Order

  • –(00:00–03:36) Introduction
  • –(03:37–12:37) News 1: Indonesian Naruto Fan Strangles Self; Legislation Called For
  • –(12:38–19:47) News 2: The Clannad Virus
  • –(19:48–39:02) Mailbag
  • –(39:03–67:28) Roundtable
  • –(67:29–end) Conclusion

Show Notes

  • –OP: “Breakin’ Through” by Shūhei Kita (OP to Persona: Trinity Soul)
  • –ED: “COSMIC LOVE” by Nana Mizuki (OP to Rosario + Vampire)
  • –The original news piece about the Naruto Indonesian victim is at Anime News Network here (2).
  • –The original news piece about the Clannad virus and other Japanese prosecuted for illegal uploads is at ANN here (3).
  • –The comments for the previous episode are here.

References

  • (1)http://sports.aol.com/nfl/superbowlads?videoId=2065948
  • (2)http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-01-21/indonesian-child-dies-after-imitating-anime-character
  • (3)http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-01-24/3-japanese-men-arrested-charged-with-uploading-anime
  • (4)http://animediet.net/archives/3162#comments

Mike’s Winter 2008 Birthday Roundup: the Threes

Yes, dear readers–that’s your duty too!
Yes, dear readers–that’s your duty too!

Because I don’t have time to write full entries tonight and because as of this posting, it’s also my birthday. Whee! Let’s celebrate with some brief thoughts on Rosario + Vampire, Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Persona: Trinity Soul, Clannad 15, and Spice and Wolf thus far.

Continue reading Mike’s Winter 2008 Birthday Roundup: the Threes

Clannad 13-14: A Theory of Expectations

They used that same suitcase in “Lost” too–but to hold totally different things

Is it a bad sign when the end of the Kotomi arc reminds me, more than anything else, of the episode of The Simpsons that ripped off Citizen Kane? Not exactly. But there were certain ways in which this ending was less satisfying than it could have been, especially given the good buildup we got. (Be warned that this entire review is essentially a spoiler.)

Continue reading Clannad 13-14: A Theory of Expectations

Michael’s Official Winter 2008 Preview

So…what am I going to be watching next season? I’ve now done this exercise enough that I know the shows I often find interesting from the plot summaries are not necessarily the things I will actually blog about. But here’s what I find eye-catching for the moment. (Information taken primarily from hashihime’s brilliant and useful list. He serves the fan community very well.)

Continue reading Michael’s Official Winter 2008 Preview

Oh, so THAT’S where Key gets their ideas: “The Dandelion Girl”

Day before yesterday, I saw a rabbit… …and yesterday, a deer… …and today, you.

Thanks to Kurogane, I discovered that one of the puzzling lines Kotomi utters (“the day before yesterday, I saw a rabbit, and yesterday a deer, and today, you.”) in the past couple of episodes of Clannad actually comes from a short story by Robert F. Young called “The Dandelion Girl.” (Full text of the story here.) It was a science-fiction short story written in 1961, and published in the Saturday Evening Post. The author apparently wrote for both that publication and also for America’s premiere “soft” science fiction and fantasy magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF). I remember longing to have one of my own short stories published in that prestigious journal. I’m impressed some writer at Key knows his literary SF.

I encourage you to read that story. It’s not only well-written, it is also quite moving. In fact, it’s like a Key story in many ways, involving time travel, unrecognized love, and a despondent man who discovers something about life that he’s forgotten. The Japanese, according to the Hayakawa SF poll, seem to have a particular affection for this story, so I suppose it’s no surprise that tales of this kind show up in Key productions and even in RahXephon.

Since we’re now talking about literary science fiction, you know what I’d love to see? An anime adaptation of Flowers for Algernon. They could make Algernon really cute, shoot all of Charlie’s scenes from subjective shot angles like in ef, and make the love story contained in it real tragic. SHAFT should do it. Damn right.

Clannad 10-12: Antisocial is the New Moe

Cute

This is strange. Why do I already feel, in just three episodes, that when the Plight Turn occurs for Kotomi–it more or less works? Is it because I find Kotomi a lot less annoying than Fuko was at first? Do I just have a moe fetish for antisocial genius girls who can’t play violin?

Continue reading Clannad 10-12: Antisocial is the New Moe