NieR New Project – Famitsu Staff Interview

A couple days ago, Famitsu released another staff interview with the developers behind the new NieR title. These are my notes that I took while reading the article.

Front row (R to L): Yoko Taro, Saito Yosuke Back row (R to L): Okabe Keiichi, Taura Takahisa, Yoshida Akihiko

July 2nd, 2015 – Famitsu Staff Interview

With the original NieR IP, they wanted to only do “new things”. Since there are still many, many people who never played the game, they had the idea back in March of 2011 to work with NieR producer Takuya Iwasaki (current president of ILCA and ORCA) bring it to the PS Vita. But at the time, ORCA was busy producing Dragon Quest X, so the idea was dropped.

Iwasaki Takuya
ILCA http://www.ilca.co.jp/
ORCA http://www.orca-inc.co.jp/

There was also the thought of making something with Platinum Games, and since five years have passed since the first game, there was even more reason to make a new edition to the series.

Yoko Taro quotes Yosuke Saito as suggesting to make a new game with current technology, however Nier assistant producer Yuki Yokoyama pointed out that it probably wouldn’t be feasible due to poor sales of the first game. They just left it at “It’d be nice to make a new one sometime!”

Yoko Taro & Saito Yosuke

Simply due to good timing, they were able to involve Platinum Games on a new title on one condition: Yoko Taro must come to their offices in Osaka (Sending Yoko Taro to Osaka was initially Saito’s idea). If he would work seriously on the project in Osaka, then Saito wanted him to work as Director. Yoko Taro was not secretive about taking frequent and often long trips to Osaka, but he never publicly stated that this was for the new NieR title…which it turns out to be the case. He now lives about 3/4 of the time in Osaka. On a side note, he attended the final showing of his YoRHa Ver. 1.1 stage play in Tokyo and then quickly got back on a shinkansen back to Osaka.

Yoko imagined Platinum Games to be filled with the Kansai dialect and the “oraora” style like EXILE, but he was relieved to find the offices to be extremely quiet with many young, gung-ho staff members.

oraorakei

“ora ora-kei” style

On the contrary, he felt very unnecessary as though all he did was check Twitter and then head back to Tokyo. Game designer Takahisa Taura reassured him that he was indeed working even if he felt like he didn’t do much. They would be at a great loss without Yoko at the office.

Taura Takahisa

Saito says that beginning with Taura, much of the Platinum Games staff grew to love NieR, so there were many suggestions for the new game. Since Yoko seemed accept them all, as a producer, Saito was a bit worried, thinking that they were bring up far too many ideas… but in the end, he thought that, in order to create something really amazing, it was necessary to first start with a bunch of brainstorming ideas.

Yoshida Akihiko

While discussing who should take up the character design, Yoko suggested asking Akihiko Yoshida of Bravely Default and Final Fantasy XIV fame to contribute to the project. Yoko had taken a liking to Yoshida’s work for quite some time and thought it would be nice to work with him at some point. It seemed like an unobtainable dream to get him on board, but when Saito suggested they ask him, the others were blown away, thinking how awesome it would be to work with him. Since Yoko and Taura were both big fans of Yoshida’s work, they had nothing to lose by merely asking if Yoshida might be available. So, Yoko met with the president of Cygames, Koichi Watanabe, who said that due to Yoshida’s schedule, it would be difficult for him to participate on the new NieR project, but since Watanabe himself was a huge fan of NieR, he pretty much signed Yoshida over to them without even being present for the decision. Although Yoshida had never played the original NieR game, he feels like it will be a fun challenge to work on. Still, working out the schedule will be part of the challenge. Therefore, they hope to be able to work with Yoshida’s current schedule.

Taura played the original NieR title and remembers how it left him with the feeling that it betrayed many of the expectations of the player—in a good way.

Yoshida thinks that although both the NieR and Drag-on Dragoon (DOD) series are full of taboo topics that permeate the World of Yoko Taro, there seems to be many female fans. He feels a little afraid of their reactions to his designs.

Taura’s first impression of Yoko Taro was that he seemed like a very odd individual who liked to upset the expectations of the player, but during talks about with various elements and parameters in the game, Yoko’s response was the exact opposite of what Taura had imagined that he was instantly reassured. There is no one at Platinum Games like Yoko Taro, they’re able to take his motivation and have fun working on the game together. Still, with so many suggestions on parameters in the game, Yoko wondered if it would really work out, but the young staff at Platinum Games are so positive and can easily move a project forward with such power and skill that, unlike working on his previous games, he feels like there is very little problems to worry about. Saito also commented that the staff works so quickly to implement new ideas. By choosing staff members who liked the previous game, they were able to gather together an excellent group of people to work on the new title. Yoko commented, “it’s true that even good-looking people can do a good job.” If this is the only comment that makes it to print he would be satisfied.

Saito said that there are many foreign fans who liked the unique world view in the original game, but it’s still very much a niche fanbase. He thinks that involving Platinum Games, Yoshida’s character designs, and Keiichi Okabe’s music, everything should work out. Even if Okabe should refuse to work on the game, Saito would force him to do so (this was a joke).

Okabe Keiichi

At the moment, Okabe has not received a list of themes he needs to create for the game, so he’s only composed the theme that appeared in the PV that was shown at E3. Saito thinks that a great portion of his job is over once the others were able to decide on what elements were lacking in the pervious game. “Yoko-san, good luck! haha” Since the addition of Platinum Games and Yoshida, Yoko thinks that they’ve already “won”. All that’s left to do is merely sleep.

Saito talks about the possibility of clashing personalities between Yoko and Taura and that if things had not progressed well during the pre-production meeting that everything might have fallen apart, leaving them to find another company to develop the game. But since Taura understands Yoko’s good qualities, they’re able to forge an enthusiastic team so this concern has worked itself out. The most emotionally difficult time of the pre-production was sometime last summer through the beginning of the year because nothing about the game could be spoken to the public…nor did they have any assistants (haha). Yoko pipes up and says, “Well, you never know what might happen. Taura could suddenly drop dead and I’ll be stuck working with someone who totally doesn’t get it.” He goes on to say that he has a severe affinity for or against people. Either he gets along well or not at all. There’s little middle ground. But since many people at Platinum Games have played the first NieR and they will treat it with respect and Taura has such a friendly demeanour, they’re able to work well together. “It’s true that even good-looking guys can be friendly.”

The new title will have a secondary title just like the previous titles labeled “Gestalt” and “Replicant”. They haven’t decided on the name yet, but as the story is further fleshed out, they’ll be able to give it an appropriate name. Since the game is not a direct sequel to the previous game, it makes little sense to call it “NieR 2”. He fells that if they’re going to focus more on battle rather than the typical RPG elements of the first game, then they really shouldn’t call it “2”. The staff working on the game has such great respect for the series that they will make it feel like an actual RPG—in fact, it will probably feel even more like a “NieR” title. They think that those who play and enjoy the new game will also enjoy playing the original.

The new title is connected to the previous NieR, but not in relation to the story. The new game takes place in NieR’s future, so it’s perfectly safe to play NieR after the new one. On the other hand, it may be more confusing for those who have played the first NieR.

It was difficult creating ruins in the first game, but this time around you’ll get a much better sense of “ruin” and the scope of its reality. Kazuma Koda is the young artist who created the image boards that were released online and various magazines. It only took him about 2-3 days to work on a single image. The key visual in which depicts a robot has something to do with the Celestial script that appears at the end of the PV. They’re holding back the meaning at the moment, but suggested for fans to have fun decoding it and wondering what it could mean.

Yoko Taro

Yoko calls girl dressed in black who appears in the PV the “main character”. Not all characters who appeared in the previous NieR title will return, but some will; however, they will not be playable characters. They will appear mostly just to give the player a little “squee” moment. That being said, Emil/No7 will be returning, but… (omit) Yoshida will be responsible for the main character designs, whereas the sub-characters will be handled by CyDesignation. They’ve asked Yoshida to supervise their work. And, a lot of descriptions for the sub-characters are pretty sparse and make little sense, so Yoko thinks that they’re doing a great job with the art. This time, there aren’t that many characters.

During pre-production, they discussed certain character designs for the girl in black, including the length of her hair and skirt, any items she might be carrying (weapons), and how she might walk. The addition of black crow feathers to her sleeves suggests death.

In the close-up of the girl’s eye in the PV, it appears as though something—a pattern or letter—is reflected in her eye… What this could possibly be is unexplained since neither Yoko nor Taura thought of it. Yoko suggests that someone else added it in as a sort of “mystery” for people to ponder its meaning. He adds that it could just be a new religious symbol that somebody’s into. About the “sexy” mole on her face, Yoshida comments that this was originally in her design, but the placement is based off of the one his mother has. Yoshida was asked to made the designs with his own unique design, and he wonders whether he did a good job or not—Yoko comments on how good they are and how often the initial design also turned out to be the final. He sometimes adds little transformative elements that really accentuate the design. Yoshida added these aspects after considering what Yoko likes. Yoko says that it’s very unique.

There are also many Yoshida fans within the ranks of Platinum Games, so every time he’d send over an image, the whole crew would get together to look at it. There was also one picture that shocked many people. “Th-that’s……”

Yoko says that Taura is very particular about panty shots and the size of a character’s breasts. After Yoshida sketched a certain female character, Yoko states that Taura had said, “I’m not working on this game anymore unless you make her less busty.” Taura laughs and says, “Please stop twisting my words.” Apparently, Yoshida attempted to draw characters on the busty side but these sketches were rejected.

There will be many other types of weapons throughout the game, but the girl shown in the PV first begins with a katana. Attack motions will also change depending on each weapon. Since the previous NieR was so popular among women, the new game will mesh action with fun parts so that even women who are not particularly good at action games can still enjoy it.

They are shooting for 60fps, but the final point of compromise will be decided as the development stage progresses, comparing between action and things they want to express.

Okabe says that the “Song of the Ancients” track is the perfect theme to represent the series as a whole,

which is why he choose it for the new PV. He’s not sure whether or not that particular arrangement will make it into the game or not; to which Yoko said it probably will. He took the time and effort to write it, so it would be a shame not to use it. Okabe continues to say that other tracks from the first game will have new arrangements, too, but nothing specific has been decided yet. Saito says that they’ll have the soundtrack list ready by the beginning of August.

One of the things that made him think Platinum Games is really awesome was when those in charge of the sound went so far as to even create a small movie to demonstrate the sort of sounds they’re able to do using Middleware. Perhaps you can call it the pursuit of the affinity between action and sound. It’s amazing that they’re able to create such great-sounding tones. “To put it simply,” Okabe said, “while Yoko’s subconscious is preoccupied with the good-looking Taura, I can pretty much do what I like. (haha)”

The Weapon Stories were one of the most beloved areas in the DOD series. Yoko explains, “We were at the point where we had enough content for the original NieR, and so we were thinking about cutting them from the game. That was when many voices raged at us, saying things like, ‘Why are there no Weapon Stories!?’ So, we will be bringing Weapon Stories back for the new title. The stories are purely text, so there’s no cost for character models or things that move. It’s the sort of content that is kind to the wallet.”

Other staff members also had a hand in writing the Weapon Stories for the DOD series. Anyone who had an interest in writing something could do so and then Yoko would make the final edits; however, Taura refused to affect the world view or story. “He’s too preoccupied with panties and breasts,” Yoko said (teasingly). Taura says that he never refused to write anything. Simply, he has such high praise for DOD and NieR that he doesn’t want to touch it. He just wants to experience “The World of Yoko” like a typical player.

There will be multiple play-throughs, but it will be different from what we’ve seen in the previous NieR.

As far as the rating of the game goes, they want to allow the writers to be able to do what they want within a given limit. Yoko began making the previous NieR with the intention of getting a B or C rating…which inevitably turned into a D. He tried to tone down the violence that was present in the DOD series for NieR, but…CERO found fault with a completely separate issue (Kaine’s genitalia?), which lead to the D rating. “I’m always aiming for an A rating when I make my games, though,” Yoko said. “An A?!” retorted Saito. “The same as Dragon Quest!? There’s nothing in your scripts that would be considered A material. (haha)”

It seems like the next time we’ll hear or see anything new regarding the new NieR title will be later this fall—in time for TGS!? There will be more locations and images available to share with the public then. Currently, the game is about 10% complete.

Yoko Taro

Yoko: For those who enjoy my games, I am never sitting back with ease. I am always shaking—in various meanings—with cautiousness.

NieR New Project: Dengeki Online Scans

I’ve posted my translations from the most important parts from the Dengeki interview in a previous post, but here are my scans of the actual article in the magazine. I’m very sorry, though; my scanning/editing skills are not that great, so I cannot splice the pages as seamlessly as others with more skill can. You can also view these images in the DOD/NieR Image Gallery here.

dengeki-no593-01_sm dengeki-no593-02_sm

dengeki-no593-03_sm

Here’s a little information about the captions:

 

  • The image that seemingly has a version of the Golden Gate bridge in it is described as the “Submerged CIty”.
  • Under the amusement park photo, it’s described as the “Amusement Park of Silence”.
  • The image of the boy standing atop a tall building is described as simply “A boy looking down upon ruins”.
  • The building that somewhat resembles the town main from the first Nier is described as “The gate within the Sleeping Forest”.

Here are some of my current speculations. Please feel free to skip this:

Ending E, which is told in “The Lost World” novella from Grimoire Nier, tells of a computer system growing and merging with the Forest of Myth. I believe this may be the “Forest Castle” we’ve seen from the article in the latest issue of Famitsu magazine.

Nier2.com

Just so that people aren’t confused when you come here, I’ve added a new URL to be directed to this blog. Since we’re shifting into a new world after DOD3, I thought we need to expand beyond it.

Whether you load drakengard-3.com or nier2.com, you will see the same blog so you won’t miss out on any new and breaking information.

I’m also thinking about updating the title of the main Facebook page to reflect both the Drakengard and Nier worlds.

But for the time being, I’ve updated the blog to use a NieR2 themed top image, so please don’t be confused if you load drakengard-3.com and see the Nier image. xD We’re merging both worlds here now. <3

NieR New Project

chara-girl

I’ve been so busy, I have not had the time nor the energy to make an official post here about the recent news at E3 about a new NieR game. I’ve heard and seen people be very shocked at this news, but… I dunno. I sort of felt it coming for a while. Here are a couple things that made me wonder whether or not a new instalment in the series was coming:

  • Theatrhythm – Many songs from NieR appeared in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call.
  • Lord of Vermilion – The cards of Kaine and Emil/No7 were updated for LoV3.
  • YoRHa – Multiple songs from the NieR soundtrack were used in the YoRHa play.

I don’t really know whether or not these are clear indications pointing to a new NieR title, but the fact remains that NieR, although it’s been five years since its release, has been out there, reminding people that it exists.

I’ve just edited the timeline image to include a couple more recent additions to the franchise, including the DOD3 Story Side Novel and possible position of the new Nier title.

DOD-Nier-timeline

 

So, anyway, about the latest news regarding the title from an article on Dengeki Online.

  • The new game will take place into the future, after Ending D of NieR.

  • Neither Gestalts nor Replicants will make an appearance.

  • Name drops of the previous NieR characters such as Nier, Yonah, and Kaine are likely, but that is all; however, Yoko Taro said that Emil will make an appearance. Likewise, Accord will also make an appearance in name only. He also said that a certain ******* character(s) will appear. Could this be Devola & Popola (DE-VO-LA-&-PO-PO-LA) or maybe even the Red Dragon (RE-D-DO DO-RA-GO-N)? The Dengeki Online interviewer seemed quite shocked by this news and wondered how it could be possible.

  • Yoko Taro stated that those who never played the first NieR can play the new one without a problem; however, he went on to say that it might be more confusing for those who have played the first one. He fears that fans may not see or even accept this new game as a true sequel. The fans might even be pissed by it.

  • Yoko Taro thinks the game has a “happy ending” but this statement startles both the Square Enix producer Saito Yosuke and Platinum Games game designer Taura when he says it. Yoko Taro is notorious for claiming a particular ending is “happy” when the general consensus calls it more tragic and sad than anything else. Saito goes on to say that he can’t see how there could possibly be a happy ending from the scripts he read. Yoko Taro then repeats, “I said it will be a happy ending! You don’t have to look so suspicious!”

  • The Junk Heap will be revisited. It is unclear, however, if it will be the exact same location as in the first title.

  • The concept art seemly does *not* depict Shinjuku but possibly other famous locations around the globe.

  • There appears to be a robot standing within the ruins of an old shopping mall. Besides this, there are many other shots of ruins including something that looks like the Golden Gate bridge in San Fransisco and a huge, rundown amusement park.

  • The image depicting a large building deep within a forest is called the “Forest Castle”.

  • The Celestial writing at the end of the trailer reads literally “NINGIOU HITO KIKAI” but ought to be romanized as “NINGYOU HITO KIKAI”, which again literally translates to “DOLL HITO KIKAI”. However, given the usage of the word “ningyou” in the previous games, especially Zero calling Accord a “doll” from the Old World, we can also assume that this is meant to refer to the ANDROIDS.

  • An alternative reading of the Celestial writing in the teaser trailer translates instead to “ANGEL HUMAN ROBOT”. This is hugely curious why the word “ningyou” would be used to refer to the angels… But if you imagine them as mere tools used by the Utautai…and others later on…they only sought after for their power. They could be a very accurate metaphor for marionettes on strings, God’s playthings.

  • Even those who are not very apt toward Action games will be able to complete this game because of the balance between the action and fun moments. Taura says this is the crux of the project.

  • There are many fans of the previous game who work at Platinum Games, so they will be sure to treat it with diligent care. Without getting into details, they feel this new game is very much like a “NieR” title.  The feeling of the previous title is still intact while increasing the enjoyment of the action.

  • Since Yoko Taro is such a huge fan of the shooting genre, there will also be shooting segments in the game. Simply, there won’t be multiple genres shoved into a single game like the last one.

  • There will be a myriad of weapons with Weapon Stories.

  • There will be multiple playable characters that you can switch between. As far as the E3 announcement, it was stated that there will be 3 playable characters.

  • You cannot freely switch between the playable characters until you unlock them through multiple play-throughs. This seems like a call-back to the first Drakengard where more characters became playable after each ending.

  • The parameters for multiple play-throughs is different from previous games.

  • Action sequences will vary between characters even when they use the same weapon. Connecting combos will be quite fluid.

  • Besides the wild boar, there will be other types of vehicles as well.

  • CyDesignation offered to do the design of the game since the president was a huge fan of Nier, not to mention many female fans in the company as well.

  • Somewhere in the game, a rather disappointing but good-looking male character will make an appearance (this was the same way Cent was described in DOD3: “disappointing good-looking guy”).

  • Emi Evans will be back to sing for the game!!

  • There were ideas of making the next NieR game for smartphones or the PS Vita…but they decided to take things seriously–to really do it right–and make a great game for the PS4.

  • The majority of the plot and dialogue has already been decided, and the new game will delve deeper within the “World of Yoko Taro”.

Aside from commenting too much on this latest breaking news, let me first add some other important links that everyone should be aware of by now.

And here are some other interesting quotes that I translated from an article on Dengeki Online:

—Does this game have any connection to the previous games?
Yoko: As far as the story goes, no; but they both essentially share the same world.

—Does the girl in the trailer have any connection to the previous games?
Yoko: Absolutely none.

—What is the meaning of the Celestial Alphabet at the end of the trailer?
Yoko: That’s a secret for now.

There is a ton of other information and things that I want to talk about… but I’ll try to do so sparingly. xD

So, what are your thoughts on this awesome news? Perhaps your reaction was much like the fans in this video?

EDIT: 2015.06.20
The Official TEMP Site just uploaded two extra photos.

nier2-website-05

nier2-website-06

Disclaimers: Please note that the contents of this blog are my own words and translations from various articles with my own opinions splashed within. If you like any of the information here, before you simply copy and paste the content elsewhere, please consider citing your source by linking me back here. Thank you!

Drakengard 4 Is Already Complete!!

DOD4

DOD4 Is Already Complete!!

Psych!

I started working on this many months ago, but it’s finished now. This is the 2 page bit about the fictitious DOD4 that was printed in the DOD 10th Anniversary -World Inside- materials book. It details a bunch of fake story ideas for a nonexistent DOD4. The likewise fake interview regarding it, too, is quite amusing.

Anyone is welcome to use this image and/or information held within it as long as you do not further edit or crop anything out and you cite your source. I’ve already placed it in the main Images Gallery at the links below.

MANGA: Thou Shalt Not Die, Chapter 5 (English)

tsnd-ch05-02

Thanks for your patience! Here’s Chapter 5 of “Thou Shalt Not Die”! Please click the image to be redirected to the chapter on my site.

A couple days ago, I was finally able to work on the chapter and post it to my site and Batoto, almost a month late. I’m so sorry for the delay! Life and work really kept me away from being able to work on it sooner.

But, finally after I was able to complete it, can you imagine what the first couple posts over at the great Batoto were? Flaming posts. Of course. What is a release without a bitchfest? That’s cool. That’s fine. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. What you’re not entitled to do is throw an bitchy, adolescent fit at the person who gave the free stuff away in the first place. Talk about misplaced aggression!

Here’s the thing: Any scanlation production is illegal unless it’s explicitly sanctioned by the copyright holder and/or publishing house. I have absolutely no permission to do so from anyone. Any of the aforementioned entities have every right to stop me at any time.

That being said, the next poignant issue is the cost it takes for any scanlator to do what they do. Here’s a break-down of the expenses involved:

Chapter 5 = 6 hours of work
Labor rate = $30/hour = $180 (time is money, after all!)
Big GanGan Book Purchase = $6
Monthly Photoshop Subscription = $50
(Translation knowledge = 12+ years Japanese studies = ???)
Subtotal = $236

Current number of views on drakengard-3.com = 48
$236×48 = $11,328

That is a huge amount that the copyright holder/publisher is out because of an unsanctioned use of their property. What do you, as the reader, pay to read?

NOTHING.

You.
Pay.
Nothing.

Does this give you efficient leverage to incessantly complain about watermark usage, font positioning, word choice, style, character voice, the Boogie Man, Life? Did you even bother to read the forward that discusses the usage of watermarks? Whether you agree or not is besides the point. What purpose does complaining serve other than make you look like a complete whiny bitch? If you don’t like it, you can do it. Simple as that, right? Then you can also be prepared to pay up the initial $236 worth of costs for production. Enjoy that. If you’re not willing to pay, then I’m sure some other scanlator sap will be willing to go to their own expense to give YOU, the reader, free manga to read. Personally, I have no interest in giving you anything for free, which I have already explained many times. Perhaps if you had read the previously stated forwards, you would have known that and saved yourself a lot of time and unnecessary application of aggression.

So, go right ahead and keep on complaining if you enjoy doing so. It makes you look so awesome, after all! I won’t stop you! So, by all means, have at it! But you know what? Nothing will change. I will continue doing what I do, unhindered from the retorts of little children, until I get a cease-and-decist notice from the copyright holder/publishing house.

This is the absolute final response that I will make regarding this nonesense. Why must I waste my time and energy on the people who obviously don’t get it?

It’s time to grow up, people. Just because you cannot see my face, just because you think you have power, just because you are ANON does not give you the right to belittle someone who is only trying to share something special with you—for free. Read it for what it is—as it is—or don’t bother reading at all. It’s that simple. There is no need to slander or belittle the messenger. If you really can’t handle it, then I’m sure someone else will be willing to give you PRISTINE copies of chapters for FREE. Unfortunately, that person will never be me.

Thanks for the time and opportunity to vent.

The DOD Encyclopedia

Up until now I’ve translated many definitions from the Drakengard universe, but the majority of my notes are spread around so much that I can hardly even remember what I’ve translated and what I haven’t. This page will serve as my DOD Encyclopedia.

Should you have any specific questions about anything in the DOD universe, please let me know and I’ll try to look it up in any of the official resource materials. I will continue to add to this list as I fumble through my old notes and/or make some more.


Dragons / ドラゴン
[DOD1] The dragons were once known by the alternative name of “God’s Messengers” and were considered to be the strongest creatures in the sky. Depending on individual intention, the environment, and day-to-day experiences, dragons are able to evolve, increasing their vitality and power. Since the dragons have never once lost a battle for survival, other monsters dare not defy them out of instinctive fear and awe. Besides the species by which the Red Dragon, Black Dragon, and Ancient Dragon belong, there are some subspecies of dragons such as Wyverns among others; however, none of them share the same level of pride. Additionally, the term “Red Dragon” and “Black Dragon” are not labels used by the dragons themselves, but are rather names given to them by humans who needed a way to distinguish between individual dragons. The dragons themselves do not view this naming system as very correct.

[DOD2] In order to secure their survival as an elite class of creatures in the world, the dragons believed they needed to uphold their role in “God’s Plan”. —DOD -World Inside-

God / 神
[DOD1] The one and only absolute Creator of every creature and person. All creatures act based upon the great “will” of God. However, God is unable to control mankind due to “free will” alone. Many people believe that God wants to eliminate humanity because they were “a mistake whose only strength is their ego.” —DOD -World Inside-

God? / 神?
This is the humming, painted with the color of insanity, that flowed from Manah’s mouth as she danced in front of the alter. Layered upon her own voice was the sound of a deep voice filled with apathy; its source unknown. More than likely, it was the voice of God who merely borrowed Manah’s voice. As previously mentioned, this world did not have any particular god that ought to be worshiped by all. Nonetheless, it’s difficult not to say that an entity who created the universe does, in fact, exist. Should such a being be called “God”?

Throughout the entirety of “Drag-on Dragoon”, God makes no personal appearance. That being said, there have been plenty of moments in which God’s hand in the world’s affairs can be seen ever so faintly. A small glimpse of God materializes in the world through such times as when a mysterious voice came out of Manah’s mouth, the time when the strange form of the “enemy” descended upon and destroyed the Empire, or the time when Furiae lost her human form and was transformed into a goddess of destruction.  For the human race, these are the manifestations of nightmares, not a single one depicting a merciful God.

From God’s perspective, the human race was a defective creation. That is why God cast a seal over the world, which should more accurately be called a program for destruction, and created the race of dragons to destroy all of humanity. Moreover, God created the Red Eye Disease that, when infected, it would drive the humans themselves to break the seals, inevitably leading to their destruction by their own hand. Did God hate humanity that much? If so, why didn’t God destroy humanity by his own volition? Certainly, the existence known as “God” should have the power to do so. So then why did he refrain from using this power and instead enlisted others to do his bidding?

It’s a question without an answer. Perhaps someone could appreciate this situation as a test given to humanity. How can we call such an existence “God” when it personally sought the complete annihilation of the human race? —DOD Perfect Guide

The Nameless / 名もなき存在
[DOD2] Before the world had been connected with the “Great Time”, the so-called “Nameless” were the spirits of angels. —DOD -World Inside-

Utautai / ウタウタイ
This is the generic term given to individuals who have the ability to manipulate a power greater than any normal human by merely singing. This power is the product of the Flower, which resides within one’s body. Although Zero, herself, is an Utautai, when she attempts to stop the Flower by killing herself, it activates a reprogramming sequence. Five little girls are born from Zero’s body, each one taking a portion of Zero’s power. As the girls are born, they each take up the names of One, Two, Three, Four, and Five, and thusly retreat. Each of the girls possess their own sense of self, memories, and special abilities as well as speech and behavior. —DOD3 Complete Guide

Utahime / ウタヒメ
This is an honorific title for the Utautai girls. The term was forged when the girls (One, Two, Three, Four, and Five) defeated the Lords of the Land and saved the people from oppression with their amazing power of song. Each of the girls then took responsibility of leading each of the separate lands, Two governed over the Land of Sands, Three: the Land of Forests, Four: the Land of Mountains, and Five: the Land of Seas. As far as the civilians were concerned, they viewed the Utahime girls as an absolute existence worthy of their veneration. They would even go to the extreme of sacrificing their own lives if it meant protecting an Utahime. Even though the girls may share the same power of song, Zero’s singular goal means the death of her sisters, which is how she obtained the title “Utahime (Utautai) Traitor”. —DOD3 Complete Guide


  • Drag-on Dragoon Perfect GuideFamitsu, enter brain, November 6, 2003
  • Drag-on Dragoon World InsideSquare Enix, December 19, 2013
  • Drag-on Dragoon 3 Complete GuideDengeki, Media Works, April 10, 2014

AROUNDERS TERRA BATTLE by Earthbound Papas

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I was lucky to view the concert from the front row, besides the small bunch in the center. <3

 

To celebrate the 1,000,000th download milemarker of Terra Battle, the new smartphone created by Sakaguchi Hironobu and his team at Mistwalker, the special mini-concert performed by Uematsu Nobuo and his Earthbound Papas band was held last night at the Apple Store in Omotesando, Tokyo.

Attendance to this event was completely free through the Apple Store Omotesando Website. All you had to do was reserve a ticket in advance, although they quickly “sold out”. Strangely enough, reservations became available before the previously announced time, which could be why I was able to get a ticket. I was extremely nervous whether or not my reservation went through because of this.

I arrived on site around 6:00pm, an hour before the concert was said to begin. I think there may have been a little miscommunication about this, though. Typically for any given concert, you will be informed on the time when you can enter the facility (会場 kaijou) and the time when the actual concert will begin (開演 kaien). My memory could be failing me about this, but I don’t think we were ever informed on the entrance time. Then again, it’s taking place in an actual Apple store, so they have to be open for business all day, so… xD

Anyway, those who reserved a ticket were directed to get into a line that stretched to the very back of the store. We only waited there for a couple minutes until meeting with a staff member to check your name with the master list of RSVPs. It was all very high tech, using iPads to enter names and sign in each individual. Very cool and handy!

When I was allowed to enter the reserved area, there was still a lot of open space, and I easily made my way to the front of the area. There was exactly enough space for one person at the very front, stage left. 😀

As I settled in a little bit and managed to take off my jacket without bumping into the people beside me, I could enjoy the pre-concert tuning the band members conducted for at least the first 30 minutes after I arrived to my viewing space. They played many tunes only halfway, but there were at least two tunes that were played all the way through, one of which was Aeris’ Theme from FFVII.

After the sound check had concluded, the boys left the stage via the door stage right, just below the stage. Since this particular Apple store had all but one perimeter wall made out of glass, I noticed a couple of the boys walk outside and down the road for a quick breather. ^^

Anyway, as far as concerts go, the show itself was quite enjoyable with a rather subdued crowd. That’s what’s very interesting about many concerts in Japan–the majority of the crowd will listen quietly to a performance with very minor reactions. The largest movement the people in the crowd ever made was possibly bobbing one’s head in tune to the music. This is very common in Japan. It felt very strained to even “whoooo” during their entrance. xD

Since this was just a mini-concert, they were only able to perform a total of 7 songs. Here’s a brief look at each of the tracks:

1: [テラバトル] Terra Battle / Main Theme
2: [地平線を超えて] Beyond the Horizon / The Maker’s Beckoning
3: [戦いの波形] The Waves of Battle / Braving the Battle
4: [エアリスのテーマ] Aeris’ Theme (FFVII)
5: [剣と槍と弓と] Swords, Spears, and Bows / A Battle of Teamwork
6: [全てを賭けて] Risk it All / The World’s Awakening
7: The Man with the Machine Gun (FFVIII, Laguna’s Battle Theme)

I’m going on memory regarding the YouTube links to the tracks above, so please excuse me if I made any mistakes matching themes to the titles.

Once the concert had officially ended, Sakaguchi Hironobu walked on stage to thank everyone and also announce a very special occurrence of the day–> it was Uematsu-san’s birthday!! Yay! Sakaguchi-san handed him a large bouquet of flowers and Narita-san began playing Happy Birthday on the keyboard… but the crowd wasn’t able to enter into the song very promptly… but I tried to sing as loudly as I could. xD

Then all the boys left the stage area, and the host from the Apple store concluded the concert by asking people to not loiter around the exit. He was very clear in stating that this was THE END of the concert, as sometimes people tend to expect an encore. xD

Many, many people still hung around thereafter, taking photos of the boys cleaning up after the event, but I left rather quickly thereafter.

All-in-all, it was a great concert, and boy, did it go by quickly!! Their next concert will be held in Mexico in April. Safe travels, boys! I look forward to seeing your show again in Japan sometime!! <3

 

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* I took all the photos on this page except for the one on the very top, which was actually taken by Fujioka Chihiro, the percussionist of the band that night, who took the photo after the soundcheck.