updated 7:39 AM MDT, Oct 5, 2015

Alpha (有葉) Artist Interview

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Japanese artist Alpha made her first visit earlier this year to Anime Expo 2011 held in Los Angeles. Alpha is an illustrator for the visual novel company, Akabeisoft2 and has worked on the award winning game, G-Senjou no Maou (G線上の魔王). While some may have never heard of Alpha, a legion of American fans lined up to meet her at MangaGamer's booth.

Hear what Alpha had to say about her experience at Anime Expo, a little about how she got started into the industry, current projects she is working on, and a special message for all her American fans!


Alpha: Greetings to everyone, I am Alpha. I work at a game maker company called Akabeisoft2.


T-ONO: What did you think of Anime Expo?


Alpha: Anime Expo looked like Japanese events such as Comic Market and Dream Party combined. I was especially surprised that you were allowed to take picture anywhere at the event.

I loved the people because they were so enthusiastic and friendly.

日本の「コミックマーケット」や「DreamParty」がMIXされたようなイベントのように感じました。 特に、写真撮影がどこでも可能な所に驚きました。



T-ONO: Were you surprised to see so many fans here in America?


Alpha: Yes, I was surprised that people knew me in America.

はい。 私の事を知っているファンが居て、とても驚きました。


T-ONO: Was it hard to draw so many sketches for your fans?


alpha sketchAlpha: Yes it was.

I wasn't planning on having an autograph session, so I didn't bring any of my drawing equipment, but I bought some at Anime Expo.

When I started drawing sketches, I saw how the line grew and I thought I wouldn't be able to go back home if I was going to draw for everybody.


サイン会をする予定ではなかったので、イラストを描く道具など、何も持ってきていなかったのです。 ANIMEXPOの会場で、イラストの道具を買いました。

イラストを描いている内に、お客さんの列がどんどん伸びて怖くなりました。 全員に描いていると、日本に帰れなくなってしまう!と思いました。


T-ONO: Can you tell us how and why did you decide to get into the industry professionally?


Alpha: Since I was a child, I always wanted to work as an illustrator. I have dreamed of it since I was in Montessori.

When I graduated high school, I went to school at an art institute.  At that time, I've always wanted to work at Square Soft (Now known as Square Enix), who were known for the Final Fantasy series, but it was extremely hard to get hired so I gave up working for them.

While studying at the art institute, a member from Akabeisoft2 asked me if I wanted to make a game with them, so I accepted their offer.





T-ONO: Take us through what it is like for you working on a new game, from the initial planning stages to its completion.


Alpha: First, the Director and the scenario writer plan out the project.  Afterwards, the project is presented to the team. If the project is accepted, the production for the game begins. 

The scenario writer creates scenarios based on the project.  From the scenarios, we start marking places where illustrations will be inserted.  Instructions are given to the illustrators to begin drawing a base drawing that only consists of lines.  When the base drawings are complete, the graphic artists begins adding color to the illustrations.  After the drawings are colored, programmers insert them into the game. 

When everything is put together, someone plays through the game to find any glitches or illustrations that wasn't censored.  Censoring is very important because if we missed adding censors to an illustration or word, the game gets aborted.  When a game gets aborted, we have to pay for the abortion fees and we end up having a lot of debt.

If everything is censored and no glitches are left, the finished game, or the master data, is taken to the factory for production.  When it gets to the factory, the game is finally completed.

企画を社内で練る(シナリオライターとディレクターで練る事が多いです)。練った企画 を、社内でプレゼンする。 会議で通った企画を制作開始する。

シナリオライターが企画内容に沿って、シナリオを書く。企画内容に沿って、イラストを差し込むべき箇所を抜粋する。 原画への指示書を制作する。指示書と、シナリオを 確認しながら原画家がイラスト(線画)を描く。出来上がった原画をグラフィッカーが彩色する。シナリオに合わせてプログラマーがゲームに完成したイラストを入れていく。




T-ONO: What do you feel is the most important aspect in designing your characters?


Alpha: I usually focus on whether the picture fits the game and whether the fans will like it or not.  It is really important that the illustrations fit the game because if it doesn't, it might destroy the world view of the game.



T-ONO: For the characters you've designed, is there a particular character you have a special attachment to or most proud of?


Haru UsamiAlpha: The first favorite character is Haru Usami from G-Senjou no Maou (G線上の魔王).  The second is Touka Oone from Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo (車輪の国、向日葵の少女). They are both characters from memorable works.

「G線上の魔王」の宇佐美ハル(Haru Usami)です。2番目は「車輪の国、向日葵の少 女」の大音灯花(Touka Oone)です。 どちらも思い入れのある作品の、登場人物です。


T-ONO: What medium do you general use in your artwork? (tablet, pencil and paper, scanner, etc.)


Alpha: I use a LCD tablet (Wacom Cinitiq21 UX) utlizing Adobe Photoshop CS3 and SAI.  Sometimes I use a 0.2 mm mechanical pencil and paper to draw and then I scan the image.

液晶タブレット(Wacom製 Cintiq21UX)ソフトはAdobe Photoshop CS3 、SAI シャープペン(0.2)と紙で描き、スキャナーで取り込む事もします。


T-ONO: Can you discuss a little about any current or future projects you are working on?


Somewhat, We Don't Have a Space! (やや、置き場がない)Alpha: Right now, I am working on a fan disk of We Don't Have a Space! (置き場がない!) called Somewhat, We Don't Have a Space! (やや、置き場がない), and it is going to be released around Fall or Winter of 2011.

Also, I am working on another project called Son of the Sun (太陽の子) and the scenario is written by Fumiaki Maruto (Known for Chocolat ~Maid café "curio"~ (ショコラ ~メイドカフェ・キュリオ~) and White Album 2 (ホワイトアルバム2)), Takahiro (Known for Kimi ga Aruji de Shituji ga Ore de (君が主で執事が俺で) and Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai! (真剣で私に恋しなさい!), and LooseBoy (Known for G-Senjou no Maou and Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo). They are all cooperating on writing the scenario.

The illustrators who are creating the base drawings are Nekonyan (Known for Parfait ~Chocolat Second Brew~ (パルフェ ショコラ セカンド ブリュー) and Kono Aozora ni Yakusoku o (この青空に約束を)), Shironeko Sanbou (Known for Tsuyokiss (つよきす) and Kimi ga Aruji de Shituji ga Ore de), and me.

A lot of people are working on this project so it is a lot of work, but it is really interesting and exciting at the same time.

今取りかかっているプロジェクトは「置き場がない!」という作品のファンディスクです。 タイトルは「やや、置き場がない!」で、2011年秋~冬ごろ発売の予定です。

また、もう一つプロジェクトに取り掛かっています。「太陽の子」というプロジェクトで、シナリオが丸戸史明さん(代表作:「ショコラ ~maid cafe "curio"~」、「WHITE ALBUM2」)とタカヒロさん(代表作:「君が主で執事が俺で」「真剣で私に恋しなさい!!」)、るーすぼーいさん(代表作:「G線上の魔王」、「車輪の国、向日葵の少女」)が共同で制作しています。

原画担当は:ねこにゃんさん(代表作:「パルフェ 〜ショコラ second brew〜」「この青空に約束を―」)、白猫参謀さん(代表作:「つよきす」、「君が主で執事が俺で」)、それと私が担当しています。



T-ONO: Are there any plans to release any of the games you have worked on in the United States?


Alpha: The hardest part of releasing them in the U.S. is the words we use like "Yaya"(meaning somewhat) or "Honnori"(meaning softly) that are really hard to be translated into English depending on the situation.  It is hard not to destroy the world view of the game when translating it into English.  However, it is nice if people in America will be able to enjoy our products!  I hope we can do that one day.

一番のネックは、日本語の「ほんのり」とか「やや」とか微妙なニュアンスを、ゲームの世界観を壊さずに英語にできる人がとても少ない事です。アメリカでも楽しんで貰えるなら、とても良いことですね! いつかできたらいいな、と思います。


T-ONO: Out of all the games you have worked on, which one would you recommend to American gamers who may not have played a visual novel before?


G Senjou no MaouAlpha: The game that I recommend the most is G-senjou no Maou. Next would be Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo.  It was really surprising to see a lot of people who knew these two games at Anime Expo. People who likes visual novels would like our games too.



T-ONO: Do you have any message for your fans in the United States?


Alpha: I was very happy when I had a very warm welcome from the people in America, even when I didn't announce that I would be at Anime Expo.  I felt there were no boundaries between people who loves video games and anime.

I will definitely come back to America again sometime!  I am looking forward to see you all!




T-ONO: Thank you for your time, We would be looking forward to see your new project.


Interviewer: Theodore Mak
Translator: Arthur Arends

Images copyright Akabeisoft2.

Last modified onTuesday, 30 December 2014 21:34
Theodore Mak

Theodore is a founding member and current Executive Editor of The-O Network.

Website: www.twitter.com/tono_Theo