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Cross Talk with Background Artists

March 19,2010

Three Itagakis

          This crosstalk interview is with Itagaki-san and the background artists. Hello.
Everyone Hello.
          I would like to start with everyone introducing themselves.
Kubo My name is Kubo, and I'm drawing background and concept art and I manage all of the background artists. My concept art is mainly about reflecting the world we're creating through the backgrounds.
Masafumi Kubo (Lead Background Artist)
Representative Works:
- NINJA GAIDEN 2 (Xbox 360 / 2008) Background Artist, Concept Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE Xtreme 2 (Xbox 360 / 2006) Background Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE 4 (Xbox 360 / 2005) Lead Online Lobby Designer
- Monster Farm 4 (PS2 / 2003) Background Artist
- Rygar (PS2 / 2002) Lead Background Artist
- Monster Rancher 3 (PS2 / 2001) Background Artist
- Deception III: Dark Delusion (PS / 1999) Background Artist
(All developed and published by Tecmo)
- Resigned from Tecmo in June 2007, participated in multiple games' development as a contracted staff.
          So Kubo-san arranges what the game world looks like?
Kubo Something like that. I get inspiration from the story, then discuss with art directors Matsui and Hiraga to see what kind of direction should be taken, and proceed to draw some pictures for a "how about this?"
          I see. Ok, the next person please.
Kato I'm Kato, and I take care of all background art.
Representative Works:
- NINJA GAIDEN 2 (Xbox360 / 2008) Effect Artist, Character Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE Xtreme 2 (Xbox360 / 2006) UI Artist, Jet Ski Modeler
- DEAD OR ALIVE 4 (Xbox360 / 2005) UI Artist, Character Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE ULTIMATE (Xbox / 2004) UI Artist, Character Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE Xtreme (Xbox / 2003) UI Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE 3 (Xbox / 2002) UI Artist, Character Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE 2 (PS2 / 2000) Lead Character Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE++ (Arcade / 1998) Lead Character Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE (SS / 1997) Lead Character Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE (Arcade / 1996) Background Artist
(All developed and published by Tecmo)
Itagaki He's a machinery maniac.
          Is that so?
Kato I'm quite good at machine-related things, especially making detailed stuff.
          What kind of machines have you made so far?
Kato I have been passed the baton for things that need extra attention.
Kato I did the modeling for DEAD OR ALIVE 4's Spartan-458. (*1)
*1   Spartan-458 is a character from Halo universe, a masterpiece Xbox game. She appeared in DEAD OR ALIVE 4 thanks to cooperation with the developer BUNGIE.
          That's amazing! Well, the next person please.
Kohama I'm Kohama. I have done the 3D operations for the background art so far, and work as Kubo's assistant. I'm able to use my experience and knowledge so far to try new approaches, so I'm enjoying my work.
Takeshi Kohama (Background Artist)
Representative Works:
- Tales of Vesperia (Xbox360 / 2008) Background Artist ? NBGI
- Dragon Quest Sword (Wii / 2007) Background Artist ? SQUARE ENIX
- Brave Story (PSP / 2006) Background Artist ? Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
- Tengai Makyou ZIRIA (Xbox360 / 2005) Background Artist ? HUDSON SOFT
          So you're more on the 'discovering new things' side of work right now?
Kohama Something like that. I'm quite enjoying the feeling of searching for a new me.
          And the last person please.
Onishi I'm Onishi, and I take care of background modeling in general. I don't have a set role, so I take care of a wide range of things.
Masato Onishi (Background Artist)
Representative Works:
- NINJA GAIDEN 2 (Xbox 360 / 2008) Lead Cinematic Artist、Lead Effect Artist
- NINJA GAIDEN Dragon Sword (DS / 2008) Effect Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE Xtreme 2 (Xbox 360 / 2006) Lead Game Designer
- DEAD OR ALIVE 4 (Xbox 360 / 2005) Animator、Lead Cinematic Artist
- NINJA GAIDEN Black (Xbox / 2005) Lead Cinematic Artist、Effect Artist
- NINJA GAIDEN (Xbox / 2004) Game Designer、Lead Cinematic Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE Ultimate (Xbox / 2004) Lead Cinematic Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE Xtreme (Xbox / 2003) Lead Cinematic Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE 3 (Xbox / 2002) Game Designer、Lead Cinematic Artist
- DEAD OR ALIVE 2:Hardcore (PS2 / 2000) Cinematic Artist
(All developed and published by Tecmo)
          I see. Has everyone been working with Itagaki-san for a long time?
Kubo Something like that, it's been quite a while.
          What was your first impression of Itagaki-san.
Kubo Me, I was originally in another department, but I always heard "Itagaki-san is really scary", and he did give off a very powerful air when we first met.
Itagaki (laughs)
Kubo But that was less "scary" than just him being really strict about creating work and getting angry over bad jobs. So I wasn't so much scared as "wow, what a very passionate person".
          You are feeling his passion more closely than ever now.
Kubo Something like that. What's more, he's very calm even under that passion and I feel that's the amazing part of him.
          What you just said about passion and calm, is that the developing stance as well?
Itagaki I have made all the taglines for the development team and games since a long time ago. The latest example is the taglines for company's recruitment ad and the slogan on our website. You can see what I'm thinking when you look at those.
          I see.
Itagaki Also, this is rather important, but if you don't have one more of yourself, you can't make anything good. I think I have three of me. First, a passionate me, then another one who watches and analyzes calmly over the first one, and the last one is... actually, that's an industrial secret. (laughs)
Everyone (laughs)
Itagaki So, we hold meetings inside "Itagaki", and we decide by a majority vote upon what's to be done. The mechanism is the same as control systems for fighter aircraft in old days.
          A majority vote?!
Itagaki But there's also the "loud Itagaki", so sometimes it's not up to a vote at all. (laughs)
          A difference of influential power then. (laughs) I see what you mean by passion and calmness.
Itagaki You can't do anything without them. For someone broadcasting, it's essential to be able to see oneself from an objective position.
Kohama It's like writing a love letter at night, then waking up next morning, reading what I wrote and thinking "what an embarrassing thing to write!".
Itagaki That's right. You can't write anything proper in a late night love letter, can you? But amongst the words are gems lying about. So if "another you" of day time polishes them, you'll be able to make a good one.
          I see.
Itagaki So, most of the taglines were written drunk in the midnight.
Everyone (giant laughter)
Itagaki And it's up to me and the pen master, Matsui, to correct them in the afternoon.
          That's a very logical manner of doing things.

Quality Raising Direction

          Kato-san, how long have you known Itagaki-san?
Kato I've been working under him ever since I was new. It's going to be my 16th year .
          16 years! That's a very long time.
Itagaki Kato was one of my very first subordinates. One of the 4 artists, in fact.
          So he really is the longest then.
Itagaki Yeah, it's incredibly long. He's like my real younger brother.
Everyone (laughs)
          So what kind of impressions and episodes did you have? Stuff like, 'that's impossible!'...
Kato Impossible... well, to be honest, that happens all the time.
Everyone (laughs)
Kato But it's not really just asking for the impossible. Itagaki-san has a certain belief towards art, and never makes compromises for anyone.
          What kind of art?
Kato Way to generate pictures on screen, appearance, color contrast, all that visual stuff. Even if you thought "that's gotta be ok", under his direction it becomes clearly different and easier to play. Sometimes he makes me think "dammit!", but in the end I stick with him no matter what.
          It might be impolite to ask, but is it not possible to finish without Itagaki-san's intervention?
Kato Of course, since we're a gathering of talent, it's possible to reach a certain level without him. However, to go even further upwards, we need his judgment.
          Itagaki-san, with what kind of intentions do you intervene at the end?
Itagaki Intervention! That sounds dangerous. But, that's alright. (laughs) In other words, individual staff members are doing their job to have it concluded under his responsibility. On the one hand, a game is an assembly of those individual parts that the staff creates. So, it's normal for them to think "it should be this way", but sometimes the product doesn't need it. You'll understand that if you read my crosstalk with programmers and designers.
          I see.
Itagaki For example, suppose we create a steam locomotive for a game. Then, a whole locomotive will be made as a matter of course. But, when looking at it, its wheels are a bit angular. You know, wheels are the life of a steam locomotive. (laughs) So, I say "why do the wheels have 32 corners? It looks a bit angular," looking at Kato's locomotive from its official side (*2). Then, I get the reply "It has to be this way or the game won't load it onto the memory, Itagaki-san."
*2   In most of blueprints drawn in Japan, a steam locomotive is drawn with its front-end on left and the cab on right. In Japanese Railroad industry, the visible side of the locomotive is called "official side" and the invisible opposite side is called "unofficial side". 
Itagaki However, if only the official side of a locomotive is shown on the game screen, all the polygons allocated for the unofficial side will be totally a waste. So, I reply, "Then you don't need the unofficial side. Give those polygons to me". (laughs) Of course, you hear him cry out "Ehhh ???" This is because the person doing the modeling cannot make the decision to cut it off. Such direction is not possible unless you know how the final visuals are composed and completely understand all the specifications. Machine power is limited.
Itagaki Although the creator finishes something he thinks is acceptable, considerable amount of useless resources are put in it in terms of materializing a play. But, such way of creation is never a total waste. If they are forced to create a cut model with the official side only, flexibility in expression will be lost. That's why it is correct as a process. In other word, it's a "necessary waste".
          So such things can be done.
Itagaki I raised a very easy to understand example just now, but as finishing a certain section is completely different from finishing an entire game, so you have to gain the staff's trust to step into such areas. There aren't many modelers who cut the locomotive in half after hearing "Cut it in half!". (laughs)
Everyone (giant laugher)
Itagaki You'll hear "But I spent so much effort making this locomotive!!" (laughs)
          That certainly is true. (laughs)
Kato Itagaki-san likes jokes. So he may say all this, but he also did the DEAD OR ALIVE series' level designs.
          All of the level designs?
Itagaki Not all. Almost.
Kato He can focus on the small parts and the entire game as a whole, it's amazing.
Itagaki But when I said, "in the Las Vegas stage, let's run over the characters with cars", you made a face like saying "Oh, my God!"?
Everyone (laughs)
Kato I thought you were joking. (laughs)
Itagaki But it made the game more interesting after all, right?
Kato Certainly.
Itagaki It should work even with a car running as far as it's mathematically fair. Oh, and we made that too. Hippo.(*3)
*3   Hippo is the hippo that appeared in DEAD OR ALIVE Ultimate that cries when a character is smashed into it. Known commonly as Hippo Danger.
Kato We also made buffaloes. They formed a speeding stampede. (laughs)
Itagaki Did you cut their unofficial sides, too? (laughs)
Everyone (giant laughter)
          You made quite a lot of interesting stuff.
Kato Itagaki-san's ideas all contained contents that make you think "isn't this going too far ahead?", but inside him is a certain image, which improved the game the more we matched it. In the end, it becomes "the stage just isn't the same without this".
          I see.
Kato At first we're worried it may disrupt the game tempo, but once it's put in, it only becomes more fun in most of the cases.
Itagaki The Pteranodon (*4) was a failure, as the forewarning didn't work well. Maybe those dinosaurs should have been removed.
*4   Pteranodon is the dinosaur that appeared in DEAD OR ALIVE 4. Circling in the air, it gives off a cry before smashing into the characters. It's is incredibly difficult to avoid.
Kato When I took screen shots, it served perfectly.
Itagaki We did spend some time doing that. Oh and I remember I was about to lose my precious Kato once.
Itagaki You wanna hear about it?
          Yes, please.
Itagaki He is a CG artist, but he is a farmer at the same time.
Kato Making games by weekday, planting rice crops by weekends.
Itagaki We, Valhalla, also have a reserve Self Defense Force officer. So, our company is perfect already. We could get our own rice and our lifelines would be secured during emergencies.
Everyone (laughs)
          What an amazing gathering.
Itagaki Yup. Let's get back to his story. Kato once tried to pass through a barn with tractors inside. That very moment, the barn went BAM! and caved in.
Kato Yup.
Itagaki From what I heard, he was going to the toilet, and if he went for the tractor, he wouldn't be here now.
Kato I heard strange noises and thought, "gotta move stuff outside the barn" and was going to the toilet before that. And then barn went BAM!
Itagaki If he reversed the order he'd be dead.
          You narrowly survived.
Itagaki He's really quite amazing. He also received a formal gratitude letter from the police for a catching a vending machine vandal. I even said "it's dangerous, don't be rash." ... Why did you go anyway?
Kato What do you mean, why? It's like I did something bad. (laughs)
Kubo Amazing. You weren't scared?
Kato We didn't have anyone around us. I didn't think before I acted, and since the criminal was facing me, I slammed him with a lariat.
Everyone (laughs)
          A lariat?!
Kato A lariat to floor him and then a Kesa-Gatame (*5) to hold it in place.
*5   "Kesa-Gatame" is a mat hold in Judo. One places his waist close to opponent's side and holds the opponent with both arms to deprive of its freedom of movement completely.
Itagaki And you held him until the police came, right?
Kato About 5 minutes, I think. The guy soon stopped struggling, and I was going to let go, but the guy from the store who followed us shouted "Don't! He'll get away!" So I just kept holding him. (laughs)
Itagaki An old guy was chasing him, shouting "Thief!", right?
Kato Yeah.
Itagaki Or you wouldn't lariat a guy on the street.
Kato Something like that. It was easy to see who was at fault, and I got taken to the police station after that to fill in documents and got released around 10:30 at night.
Itagaki Taken and released, sounds like you got caught instead. (laughs)
Kato I returned to the office once to leave all my stuff before I went to the police station. Then, while I was away, saying "Kato got taken by the police" just seals the deal. (laughs)
Everyone (giant laughter)
          You have some amazing experience.
Kato There's more to it. That day, I had an urgent work asked by Itagaki-san to work on my day off, so after getting released, I went back to the office to work, and then Itagaki-san phoned me from his home and said "Oh, that's unnecessary now as I changed the specifications".
Everyone (laughs)
Kato But, I appreciated he was aware what I had to do that day and gave me such a call, caring about me, although I thought "Just why did I come to the office?" first. (laughs)
Kohama To protect the peace of our neighbor, of course. (laughs)
          That's awesome. Not only do you do background art, but also protect the peace. (laughs)


          Next, Kohama-san please. How long have you worked for Itagaki-san?
Kohama We first met when I came to interview at VGS.
          So you've only just started working together.
Kohama Yeah, about 4 months. My first impression was... well, some air or a powerful aura from him. (laughs)
Itagaki (laughs)
Kohama I was very nervous at the interview. I remember not being able to show much of myself. So I have to appeal by playing Mahjong now...
Everyone (giant laughter)
Itagaki It's ok to be unable to play Mahjong. (laughs) Matsumoto said that (*6) just to "play his Shamisen" (*7), but Kohama does like Mahjong, right?
*6   Game Designer crosstalk, Matsumoto's comment.
*7   "play one's Shamisen" has meanings such as "to confuse people's mind" and "to trick others in gamble by telling a lie about a hand he actually has". ("Shamisen" is a Japanese string instrument)
Kohama Yeah, I've been playing since junior high school.
Itagaki I see... the bar's been raised now.
Everyone (giant laughter)
Kohama I just thought to myself, "oh dear". (laughs)
          Onishi-san, tell me your story about Itagaki-san.
Onishi I first met Itagaki-san just 10 years ago.
          Onishi-san has a long relationship too then. What kind of memories do you have?
Onishi I've been in charge of all the cinematics (*8) management so far, but when I first worked with him, I was immediately requested to draw continuity art.
*8   Cinematics are cutscenes to be reproduced in a game. The visuals of those cinematics are created in 3D CG based on a continuity art.
Itagaki How many times did Matsui force you to redraw? (laughs)
Onishi I lost count. (laughs)
          A very tough job then?
Itagaki All our continuity art is drawn by Matsui, he really is amazing. But he has to train up someone to succeed him. So with the words from Matsui "You have to be able to at least draw bamboo being cut by a sword", Onishi started drawing.
Onishi It was only 3 pieces of drawings, but I had to spend an entire week redoing them to meet his requirements.
Itagaki We'd be out of business if 3 pictures took a week. (laughs)
Onishi Sorry. (laughs) But I was really happy being put in an important position from the get-go. I was and still am proud to be the cinematic director.
          A lot of expectation rests on you.
Onishi What's amazing is that at that time Itagaki-san was fixated on real-time movies (*9) rather than pre-renders. Now HD machines have made real-time movies mainstream, but it was really rare those days. I've been working with such a vision to foresee the future in mind so far, which really benefits me.
*9   Real-time movies are using the console's functions to create a movie in real time. Pre-renders are movies created ahead of time with higher-performance machines.
          That's amazing.
Itagaki When he was trying to find a job, he sent his work on a VHS tape, and although it'd have been fine to watch it in the office, I took it home and watched it with my family.
          Your family.
Itagaki Right, and my wife said, "wow, he's amazing!". But for me, it was still "well, he made an effort" level.
Everyone (laughs)
Itagaki But if a student could do so much, it's not possible only with technology, but passion. You made it yourself, right?
Onishi Yeah, it took me half a year to create a 10 minute movie. The PC specs weren't very good back then, and one second of footage took 2 days.
          That much?!
Itagaki To be able to accomplish that, you can't say anything but passion. Skill can be slapped on to someone, but passion is something not obtainable through training. That's why I hired him.
          That's true.
Itagaki Speaking of which, Kubo is pretty passionate himself.
Kubo Me? (laughs)
Itagaki Yup. Kubo always urges me, "You can't win the war with these graphics weapons!"
Everyone (laughs)
Kubo For example, the camera. For someone uninterested, they might say "can't you just take a pic with something that costs $100 or 200?" Someone into photo shooting wouldn't mind laying down a thousand dollars for a lens. Someone who doesn't understand would ask "what on earth are you doing?", but the feelings of expressing yourself are the driving force.
          I see.
Kubo I'm the same, I want to make better pictures. So I go to Itagaki-san to ask him to procure necessary weapons for me and say, "Please buy me a lens, too".
Everyone (giant laughter)
          Kubo-san, are you also a camera freak?
Kubo I've been into it just recently. I like shooting things such as ruins and factories.
Itagaki I know you've been taking photos for textures. The shift lens (*10) I showed you the other day, it is good, right?
*10   "Shift lens" is a lens that allows you to correct distortions by shifting the optical axis of the lens parallel. For example, even if you take a photo of an object on a wall located higher than eye level by tilting your camera, this lens corrects the distortion and makes the photo parallel.
Kubo Yeah, it's awesome.! But, I just can recall that it's useful to make it easier to take photos for texture materials. Maybe it's because I'm a background artist. (laughs)
Itagaki I introduced it to you because it is ideal for shooting textures. (laughs)
          So you can talk with Itagaki-san about camera in detail now.
Itagaki That's right. Actually, it's like waking a sleeping dog. If he says "Itagaki-san will spend more than ten thousand dollars on cameras, and I have the same fixation!", I couldn't argue with it. (laughs) Let me make this excuse though, I bought all the shooting equipments and materials with my personal money.
Kubo I've been doing this since the Playstation era, but things we do change every year. In the past, it was like "how much can I put into such a small resolution" and "how do I make it look 3-D with the least polygons". Now we use shaders instead for current consoles and I ask, "how do I make it look as real as possible?" So, things are totally different now.
          That's a pretty major change.
Kubo The approach is completely different. "I can do this myself so I don't need shaders" is a dead end approach. I'd like to take in as much cutting edge technology as I can to create the best possible graphics rather than going against the flow of time.

An environment created by VGS

          I hear you have a certain fixation for creating an environment for artists.
Itagaki I've seen studios around the world. 360 ones, PS3 ones. And each of them had their own personalities. Some people think Japan and America's difference are simply whether or not the booths are separated by walls or not. But, there are some places in America that are similar to Japan's arrangement. I like to call it the "news press style". (laughs)
          News press style?
Itagaki Newspaper companies are all kinda like that in Japan. Everyone's able to communicate with each other immediately, and there are American developers that have adopted it. After that there are places where it's on a completely different level, and everyone works in an underground bunker almost completely in the dark to focus their attention.
          It is so. I didn't know such a thing existed at all.
Itagaki Sure, of course. Outsiders aren't normally let inside after all. (laughs)
Everyone (laughs)
Itagaki So, when my colleagues came to ask for my advice on our development environment, what I considered first was the monitor.
Itagaki The consumer TV could be LCD, plasma, CRT, etc, and the color difference is inevitable. But the developers' monitors had to be unified or there'd be trouble.
          So the staff's monitors have to be uniform?
Itagaki It's not efficient if all the monitors they use display things in different colors. In the past, we used to unify the final colors with Masmoni (*11). But, it is expensive and just troublesome. Things have become really good now.
*11   "Masmoni" means "master monitor", a standard monitor with high reliability which is used to adjust colors and resolutions of multiple monitors. It's for professional use and very expensive.
          Colors wouldn't match.
Itagaki Yup. And then there's lighting.
          Lighting too?!
Itagaki Other than the managerial space, it's all lighting which professional photographers use for color evaluation. So our staff can adjust coloring properly.
          Lighting for color evaluation?!
Itagaki Yup. And then there's the amount. This crosstalk room has 3 fluorescent lamps, but some places have 2. Dark places are easier to work in after all. But if it's too dark you can't really work in the place, so I balanced it out.
          Colors can change according to lighting?
Itagaki It's obvious, but white things become red if there's a red light. So the color temperature of the fluorescent lamp is extremely important. It's totally meaningless even if you adjust gamma of your monitor when the color temperature of the interior lights is not proper. Just out of the question.
          So attention must be paid to places like that.
Itagaki It's for efficiency. "My monitor wasn't this color" is a common phrase your hear.
Kubo It certainly could happen.
Itagaki Things like that are illogical after all.
          That's right.
Itagaki And then we have to create a space where people can work while relaxed. There's someone who just reads comics, and I have my doubts about him. (laughs)
Everyone (laughs)
          Too relaxed?
Itagaki But I know his reasoning very well. Finished work early so read a magazine. I understand, but think of those around you. (laughs) Some others even watch Nico Nico Douga, but that's ok.
          If the passion is there...
Itagaki Right. Passion, skills, and a fighting spirit are all you need.
          A wonderful environment.
Itagaki In other words, it's much better that I know they are playing. To pretend working all the time is rather counter-productive.
Everyone (laughs)

Image of the desired background artist

          Please tell me what kind of background artist you're looking for.
Kato Someone who observes a lot of things. Someone who can see and knows about the small parts. After that, willpower and stamina.
          Detailed observation skills , what sort of ... ?
Kato It's a creative job, so someone who looks at spots that normal people don't bother to would be able to work it into the job. People who have such a habit would be nice.
          I see. What about Onishi-san?
Onishi Someone with good communication skills. Understanding and carrying out direction quickly affects work results directly. That and someone who challenges everything.
Onishi This company provides a lot of opportunities. You can't just think "I'm a background artist so I can only do backgrounds", you need to think "I will provide game design idea while drawing this BG art" and passionately challenge everything that you come across.
          In other words, the company will take in your passion?
Onishi Yes, exactly.
          Finally, the leader of the BG art team, Kubo-san.
Kubo As far as personalities go, someone humorous. You want to be able to laugh anywhere. Doing the same job with someone who can make you feel fun is important. That makes a far better product after all, I think.
          Laughter is an important thing.
Kubo Yeah, I've played many overseas games, and lately I've been playing Assassin's Creed 2 and Uncharted. As a BG artist, the backgrounds of those games appeal to me to no end.
          That's the "Kubo's Point". (laughs)
Everyone (laughs)
Itagaki Even the interviewer is merging into the company's atmosphere. (laughs)
Kubo These titles all have high end technologies packed into them. The pretty graphics are cutting edge, and just when you think "this is as far as things can go", something comes out and tops it. It's both a shock and pleasure. "So improvements can still be made! Things were possible this way!" kinda feeling.
          I see.
Kubo I see overseas games and feel that this time it's my turn to do something spectacular, and I work hard to let them see what can be possible.
          That's a wonderful spirit.
Kubo I'm not sure if it's because I'm a background artist, but I keep looking at the background while playing a game and get killed. And even when I'm chased by an enemy, I stop to stare at the walls.
Everyone (laughs)
Kubo I want to enjoy these graphical expressions myself and want the user to enjoy them too, and people from the same industry respect each other for it. I want to create my work this way, and I hope to find someone who can share the same vision.
          I see. Someone who gets killed while looking at the background...
Kubo Not that! (laughs) Please don't change my synopsis into something weird!
Everyone (giant laughter)
          And finally, something from Itagaki-san too please.
Itagaki I have a sense of beauty towards pictures, but it's not like I can draw them. Everyone trusts my sense and work under my direction because of it, but first class artists aren't just beings who just obey instructions because you are the director.
          I see.
Itagaki To sum it up, the person who comes should be "someone who likes pictures". And then "someone who can move people with pictures". That's the most important. I think that's all.
          I see. Thank you very much.
Everyone Thank you very much.

Photo: Ryuga Shinno (C)Itagaki Productions.