Hidari’s Commentary on Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (Nintendo Dream July 2017)


In addition to the large interview on Fire Emblem Echoes; Shadows of Valentia featured in Nintendo Dream’s July 2017 (released May 2017) issue, there was a section with Hidari (character designer) and his comments on some of the various aspects of character design of the game.

You can also learn more about the illustrator himself. There is also some concept art shown here and there.

This took me some time to scan, edit, and translate (not to mention buying the magazine), so if you’re feeling generous, please feel free to leave a donation!

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Enjoy!


The Gods Behind Character Creation

In this corner of the magazine, we ask questions to the artists who breathe life into the characters of the game! Today, Mr. Hidari, a character designer with a varied portfolio spreading across light novels, anime, and games appears! He is the designer behind Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (from here on, just Echoes).

Profile: Mr. Hidari

Freelance Illustrator. Illustrator behind novels like Usotsuki Mii-kun to Kowareta Maa-chan*, and anime like Fractale, Natsuiro Kiseki**, and Room Mate. He handled a wide range of character designs for three games in the Atelier Ayesha (Dusk) series.

*Lit: Lying Mii-kun and Broken Maa-chan
**Lit: A Summer-Colored Miracle

When did you start drawing illustrations?

I always liked drawing pictures since I was a kid. While my friends would draw people like Goku and Vegeta (*1), I would usually be drawing weapons, dungeons, logos, and other inorganic things.

I fell in love with manga in middle school. Through imitating other artists, I came to be able to draw people much more naturally, too.

I think the biggest turning point in terms of drawing people for me came with the advent of CG. From age 20 I was able to start coloring my pictures, and so began to pay more attention to all the intricacies of coloring.

Alm’s initial design. As it was a remake, I had to consider how much the character should resemble the original, and often sought consultation on the matter. His blue armor retained its regal air at first, but from these drafts one can see I was trying to decide whether to go on a “simple” design (based on the fact he was raised in a village), or one that was more “out of place (to the context). [-Hidari]

I draw illustrations with a Cintiq 24HD Wacom Tablet, and use the program Clipstudio. I didn’t really have to do anything too out of the ordinary for this game when it came to my drawing process, though I did have to remain aware of special metallic effects such as dents in the armor and all that. [-Hidari]

How did you come up with the various character poses?

The poses had to be something that could express the characters in a suitable way, but since there were quite a few characters, I had to come up with quite a variety of poses to avoid them becoming dull or repetitive.

In Awakening and Fates, the designer Mr. Yusuke Kozaki’s (*2) characters were shown from all sorts of angles, such as back view or sitting down. Seeing them drawn that way, I realized that he set a precedent that I too could get away with doing!

On other media I’ve worked on, I’m used to hearing, “Please make it front view [only]” or “We can’t see their waist if they’re sitting [so don’t do it.]”

What was your aim with Echoes?

Well, as a whole it was designed as a remake, so I sought to retain the air of a “good old fantasy” while also aiming to appeal and be acceptable to today’s players. I had to actively strive to maintain a balance between the two.

Regarding the clothes, there were already different types of established outfits for each class. So I arranged for each of the characters to wear clothes based on these designs. When it came to these designs, I carefully designed it as not to be too overly complex. Other games have such gorgeous or showy characters, and so their designs often call for being rather dense. Things like this have been drilled into my very nature, but since this was a remake, I tried not to add an excessive amount of accessories… despite that they still came out a little more complex than before.

When thinking of armor designs, I often reference familiar things as a motif. It’s hard to put in words exactly, but things like a [Japanese] sliding screen, a gutter, a steel rack or pillar, etc.

This illustration shows the main male and female character standing back-to-back, with the air of a “historic war tale.” It has been arranged in a way that the castle, troops, and dark clouds express how difficult of a journey lies ahead. After some discussion, it was chosen as the main illustration for the game. Though it’s not the most stylish composition, it has a lot of components crammed into one image like the original work from 25 years ago. [-Hidari]

What do you think is the most important part of making a character?

It’s a bit of a vague answer, but I would say “charm.” I personally don’t think I’m that good with enchantingly flashy designs, so I have to rely on gestures and facial expressions to bring out a character’s “charm” instead.

TN: The word he used was actually “艶” (tsuya), which means many things. Glossy, charm, youthful, feeling, etc. You get the idea.

Seven short questions directly to the Character God!

1 What was the first human [shaped] thing you drew?

The Decepticon logo from Transformers. (*3)

2 What other illustrators or manga artists do you lie?

Masters Jun Suemi (*4) and Hiroaki Samura (*5). Master Suemi influenced my coloring style, and Master Samura my drawing style.

3 What characters do you like?

In Echoes, I’d say the simple characters Gray and Robin. They are childhood friends now fighting a war together as comrades in arms with different degrees of confidence. The way Kliff contrasts with the two in his own growth is also great, I thought.

4 What’s your favorite game of all time?

There’s no way I can name just one!

5 What games have you been playing lately?

As I answer this question, Echoes has just been released, so I’m in the midst of playing that at the moment.

6 What if you were not in this line of work?

I’m not exactly sure, but I do have an interest in music. So if I was unable to live up to my dream [of being an illustrator], I’d probably be doing something in music.

7 Tell us something that has impressed you lately.

Glasses-free 3D on the 3DS screen! (I’m a little late, since I bought a 3DS just for Echoes).

*1: Characters that appear Akira Toriyama’s manga Dragonball. Goku is the main character.
*2: A manga artist, illustrator, and character designer with an extensive portfolio. He worked as character designer on games such as No More Heroes, and anime such as BBK/BRNK.
*3: Transforming robot toys from TOMY, which became a comic and animated show. Decepticon is the name of the group of antagonists.
*4: An illustrator. Did illustrations for the Guin Saga novel series, as well as the Wizardry series.
*5: A manga artist. Best known for Blade of the Immortal.


That ends Hidari’s segment! I hope you enjoyed and learned something new about the artist.

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Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Nintendo Dream Interview (July 2017) [Complete]

I spent the whole last week  translating an interview about  Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. It was featured in the July 2017 issue of Nintendo Dream (released May 20th, 2017). I had to find and buy the magazine too! This post is the entire interview in one place for your convenience (you may notice the last few days have snippets from it, separating various sections).

A big thanks to VincentASM on serenesforest.net for referring me to the fact that nobody had translated it yet (that we know of). Please link back if you use any part of the interview as I put a lot of time into it. The original Japanese transcript I (re)typed up is available by request.

I recommend reading a previous interview about this game as some things the devs said in it are referenced.

Please note the third section has spoilers. The section has  a clearly marked spoiler warning from the magazine and me, so please be weary.

Lastly, this interview took countless hours of valuable free time to transcribe/translate/edit…  not to mention I had to buy the magazine itself. But I’m glad to have had the opportunity to bring this all to you! If you’re feeling generous and want to help support my passion of translating, please use the button below!

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Fire Emblem Echoes: Dengeki Developer Interview (April 2017)

I spent the last two days translating an interview about the newly released Fire Emblem Echoes. It was featured in the June 2017 issue of Dengeki Nintendo (released April 21st, 2017).

A big thanks to VincentASM on serenesforest.net for sending me the scans. Please link back if you use any part of the interview as I put a lot of time into it. The original scans of the interview are available only by request, as well as the Japanese transcript I (re)typed up.

Some important questions are addressed, such as where the title came from, why Gaiden, and other fun tidbits of other Fire Emblem games. Enjoy!


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Making of Fire Emblem: Gaiden (from APE Guide) – Interview Translation

A user named Hardin on serenesforest.net passed a small interview found in an old guide for Fire Emblem: Gaiden to me to translate in celebration of the game’s 25th anniversary in March.

Specifically, it is from the Ape Encyclopedia Fire Emblem Gaiden, located on pages 131 and 132. It features an interview with Fire Emblem series creator Shouzou Kaga. This interview was conducted a long time ago, before the release of Mystery of the Emblem (FE3, which came out in 1994)

Since then, news of Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia came to light, making this more relevant to readers who may be curious. This article was actually written January 19th, soon after the news of the game was released. (Posting was delayed because I wanted Hardin to post it first, as intended, in March).

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FE2 “Choose Your Legends” Poll Results Analysis

Nintendo conducted a poll for Fire Emblem Heroes urging fans to pick a favorite character of theirs that they would love to see featured. Each fan could vote once a day for 13 days for almost any character from any of the main Fire Emblem series of games.

This is part of a miniseries I am doing on analyzing the vast amount of poll data available to us and what it means for the fandom and their favorites regarding characters.

Thanks to the tireless work of Elieson over on serenesforest.net, we can take a look at the break downs by game!

Today we will focus on FE2, or Fire Emblem: Gaiden. What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than looking into the game set in Valentia?

There are some general things to keep in mind before we get started, however.

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Translation Error – The Art of Fire Emblem: Awakening

A friend pointed out an error in the newly released Art of Fire Emblem Awakening.

He was curious whether or not this was an error in the original text, or a translation error. So I took a quick look:

Official translation:

“The three countries of Ylisse, Regna Ferox, and Plegia make up the continent of Valm, known as Archanea in previous Fire Emblem games and Valentia in Fire Emblem Gaiden.”

FE fans can already spot the multitude of errors above with simple searching.

The original Japanese text (with my translation):

なお、イーリス、フェリア、ペレジアの3国家が存在する大陸は過去シリーズで登場したアカネイア大陸、ヴァルム大陸は「ファイアーエムブレム外電」の舞台であったバレンシア大陸と酷似している。

Also, the three countries of Ylisse, Regna Ferox, and Plegia make up the continent that was known as “Archanea” in previous series entries. The continent of Valm meanwhile resembles the continent of “Valentia” which appeared in Fire Emblem: Gaiden.*

*-Used localize names to keep it simple.

This seems more in line with the lore we know of too. It seems it was just a translation error and not one that was in the original text of the book.

What likely happened was they read the descriptor above as talking about the same continent, rather than the small comma separating them talking about two different continents. Quite literally, it reads like:

Also, Ylisse, Regna Ferox, and Plegia are three countires that exist on the continent that was in previous games known as Archanea, Valm appeared to resemble Valentia from Fire Emblem Gaiden.

Seeing the above makes it a bit easier to see how it happened (talking about previous games, then the mention of Gaiden). The translator perhaps did not have key context clues from the games either, having never played them/being unfamiliar with them.

That is all speculation however. Lastly is a summary info-graphic for use if needed to share this post in simplicity.

If you spot any more potential errors, please let me know and I will look into them!

artoffeawakeningcorrection1

Fire Emblem: IF Famitsu Developer Interview [FULL] [5/25/2015]

FEIFWallpaper

Today Famitsu’s website posted the full version of the interview I translated previously. with three developers behind Fire Emblem: IF. Here it is translated below. The new sections are marked *NEW*. The rest of the sections are from the previous translation.

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