Fire Emblem: Awakening and No More Heroes character designer Yusuke Kozaki recently did an “Ask Me Anything” Q&A on Reddit, with the assistance of Japan Expo staff who acted as his interpreters. During the Q&A, Kozaki answered a number of lighthearted questions from fans, such as his academic background, his favourite Fire Emblem character to work on, and his favourite Pokémon. Here are a few of the questions and their answers:
How do you personally feel about Tharja’s massive popularity among Fire Emblem fans? Could you explain how you approached this character when designing her?
This character has a very dark aura, but she likes the main characters very much.. She could be considered a stalker in another view. This is the only Fire Emblem Character whose figure has been manufactured here in Japan.
Just wondering, which character in FE:A was your favorite to design? Also, what was your primary inspiration for the design of armored characters (e.g Social Knights and especially Armor Knights)?
Lucina. For the armored charcters, the art director designed the armor, and I designed the characters in the armor.
In Fire Emblem Awakening, is there a particular character you feel closely connected with? All of their designs are unique by their personalities, so which character do you see yourself as?
Vaike. I feel close considering the personality, not the design..
I was just looking at your art recently! I like the variety and detail of your character designs. At what age did you seriously get into drawing? What was the process you had to go through to become a character designer?
I went to a graphic design school where I learned graphic design for commercials and publicity oriented design. But I’ve been interested in drawing all my life.
I was 19 when I did my first manga. I was 24 with my first character design. At the beginning I wanted to be a Manga-ka. I was asked to do the Character designer for Speed Grapher and did it in order to earn money. But when I tried, I found it interesting. I got more and more work from animation, film, and videogames. And now it’s more videogame film than anime. My advice for anyone who wants to be a character designer would to have a stock of design patterns (hair, face, form of the eyes, many separated elements) that will create a new design if you put them together.
How closely did you get to work with Suda 51, and what is he like to work with? How do you feel about Grasshopper recently being acquired?
He is someone very creative, but he is a boss of the company. He has to meet a lot of people and be very sociable. He has a kind of boss aura. But he is very humble. When I had ideas, Suda 51-san always found a way to help me exchange ideas, and to develop them further. It was constant brainstorming, but very creative and positive.
In Japan, the companies who are making games for home are having some difficulties, and companies who are making games and applications for smartphones are getting stronger, so Grasshopper being bought by Gungho Online Entertainment will allow them to develop more games, and be stronger as well.
Who’s your favorite pokemon?
You can view the full Q&A at the link above. If you’re interested in checking out more of Kozaki’s art, you can find it on his DeviantArt page.
Image courtesy Yusuke Kozaki’s DA page.