Noizi Ito Interview (The Guided Fate Paradox)
Noizi Ito is a popular illustrator and character designer. Probably best known for designing the characters in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Shakugan no Shana, we were lucky in 2010 to interview her during her first official visit to the United States. We caught up with her at this year's Anime Expo to talk a little about her first internationally released game, The Guided Fate Paradox.
T-ONO: Long time no see! It’s good to see you again.
Ito: It’s good to see you too.
Ito: I designed a guest (DLC) character for Disgaea 4, and because of that, I got asked to work on it in a larger capacity. It was the first time I got to be in charge of character design for a retail game, so I was worried about whether or not I would be up to the task.
T-ONO: Have you played any of NIS’ (Nippon Ichi Software) previous titles? If so which ones and what did you like about them?
Ito: I’ve played Hayarigami. I also played a Disgaea game in the past, but my work kept me really busy, so I haven’t beaten that one yet…
I like Nippon Ichi Software’s style—how they don’t stick to just one game genre. Stories and characters are important, but the reason I wanted to work together with NIS was because I could feel how enthusiastic they were to make a game system that players would truly enjoy.
T-ONO: Was there any difference working on this project compared to your PC games?
Ito: There was a lot of characters, so there was difficult to design so many.
T-ONO: Were you given any input on how or what the characters should look like, or was that left up to you?
Ito: I thought up the details, core design, and body shapes myself, but I was given an overview at the start about the characters’ personalities, how they perceive themselves, and the fact that the angels wear maid and butler outfits, while the devils wear suits.
T-ONO: Did you have any difficulties adapting your style to fit NIS' unique character designs?
Ito: Yes, I was concerned about it, but they wanted my original designs. So I didn’t really think about it while I was designing.
T-ONO: Which character was the easiest and most difficult to design?
Ito: The easiest character to design was the heroine, Lilliel. Satanael (Satanadia) and Galtion (Galucion) were the hardest. When I sent them the design sketches in the beginning, I initially drafted Satanael as a more “evil” looking Galtion. Afterwards, they told me that Galtion had an image similar to that first sketch of Satanael, so I did some brushing up to make the Galtion we know and love today. The other characters were approved in pretty much one go!
Satanael (left) and Galtion (right)
T-ONO: Is there anything specific you did for the game that’s different than what you have done in the past?
Ito: For this particular game, I tried to make the designs friendlier towards children.
T-ONO: Comparing your previous works to The Guided Fate Paradox, how has your art style changed?
Ito: This might go off-question a little, but there were many characters in this project, so I considered the schedule and decided to change my coloring methods into a more concise and simple style.
T-ONO: While working on The Guided Fate Paradox, were there any memorable or funny moments you could share with us?
Ito: I mainly reported on my progress via Skype with the production team head, and I remember how they frequently edited their Skype “status” (next to their Skype name) to the vegetables in season or random food comments, so those were interesting to read. The most recent one I saw said, “Guess sauries are coming to an end.”
Ito: If it becomes an anime, it would definitely show a different fun side to it. If it becomes an anime, huh...? As a member of the production team, I would definitely be happy.
T-ONO: How do you feel about the game being released in America?
Ito: I am very pleased that American fans love my character designs.
T-ONO: Would you be interested in continuing to work with NIS on future titles?
Ito: I look forward to what kind of work NIS could offer me. I believe a corporate culture that is full of freedom has a lot of potential.
T-ONO: Do you have any message for your American fans?
Ito: I am very happy that I had a chance to meet all of my American fans. I want to come back again.
T-ONO: Thank you very much.
Ito: Thank you. It was very nice seeing you again.
Special thanks to NIS America