Tatsuro Iwamoto Interview @ Japan Expo USA 2013
Hosting its inaugural anime convention in the United States, Japan Expo USA treated its convention attendees to a number of high-profile Guests of Honor ranging from the video game industry legends to infamous mangaka from Japan. We had a special opportunity to sit down with the Art Director for the Ace Attorney series and Clover Studio's Okami, Tatsuro Iwamoto! Join us as we learn about which characters he loves to draw, what he thinks about his creations come-to-life and which character he identifies with the most!
T-ONO: First off, what are your impressions of Japan Expo so far?
Iwamoto: It's kind of hectic right now trying to get everything for the presentation but having seen the massive amount of fans coming... I'm really excited for it.
T-ONO: Is this your first time in America? If not, what other places have you had a chance to visit?
Iwamoto: I've been to Alaska before, but it's my first time in California.
T-ONO: Speaking of America, for the English localization of the series Capcom set the Ace Attorney series in Los Angeles. Were you aware of this? If so, did you ever take this change of location into consideration when creating characters?
Iwamoto: Yes, I was aware of the (English) series taking place in Los Angeles, but I do not know why especially when you have the character Kenji in the game, who is coming from America.
T-ONO: In Ace Attorney 5, the game has moved from 2D characters into 3D characters. What's your opinion on the switch from 2D to 3D? Do you think it was a good idea or simply an inevitability for the series to go?
Iwamoto: For me personally, I love 2D games but seeing all the camerawork in 3D games is pretty amazing. Also, with all of the Ace Attorney games out so far, we're running out of scenarios and by switching to 3D, we would have more options and choices for scenarios.
T-ONO: Your Japan Expo biography states that you're biggest weak point is drawing "moe" girls. As a fan of Maya (Mayoi) and Trucy (Minuki), did you have any particular trouble with their designs? How long would you say that it took you to design them as opposed to a more fatherly figure like Detective Gumshoe (Itonokogiri Keisuke)?
Iwamoto: For me personally, drawing Maya and Trucy... For cute girls and beautiful girls, there is a set of limited styles and faces that you could possibly draw and having fatherly-figures like Detective Gumshoe, there are more options, styles and faces that you can draw with them. So I'm sure that it's not just me but rather other artists that run into the same problem.
Iwamoto: When we were first creating this game, there was such a small team and seeing it "floated on" by such a large crowd or wave... I'm happy for it but it's a little bit scary... Definitely scary.
T-ONO: Out of all the characters you've drawn, whom would you say that you identify with the most and why?
Iwamoto: For me personally, I like the character Godot and the final boss for the original Ace Attorney (Manfred Von Karma). The reason why I like the final boss was because I was offered to create the character, so I put all of my effort into creating this character and making him perfect. So there's the reason why he and Godot are my favorite characters.
T-ONO: Any last words for fans who couldn't attend Japan Expo?
Iwamoto: To all my fans that couldn't make it, this is still the first Japan Expo so hopefully it'll grow bigger and that there will be more to come. Hopefully I'll get called back for more Japan Expos and come back to America. To everyone else, talk to me on Facebook or Twitter saying 'I wish I could come', but I really wanted to meet them face to face.
Interviewer: J.M. Alcala
Photographer: Roger Lee