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Hanasaku Iroha Character Designer Mel Kishida Reflects on Changing Attitudes Towards Fanservice In Japan

posted on by Kim Morrissy
“I think focusing on fanservice and making it the main aspect [of games and anime] is really starting to change."

Illustrator and character designer Mel Kishida (Sound of the Sky, Hana-Saku Iroha, Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland) has identified a change in his video game work over time: There's less emphasis on fanservice now.

“I think focusing on fanservice and making it the main aspect [of games and anime] is really starting to change,” he said in a roundtable interview with The Gamer. Speaking about his experiences working on the Blue Reflection games, he remarked that compared to the first game, the development team has been “taking a different approach in terms of showing how appealing these characters are without having to rely on fanservice."

Despite the presence of fanservice in the first game, Kishida noted that being "blatantly sexy" was never really an artistic priority. "We just wanted the girls to show a little more character, like you'd take a second glance and your heart would flutter when you saw them.”

Kishida said that when it came to his own personal preferences, he has never been particularly concerned with sexiness either way, but that he simply wants to create things that fans and consumers enjoy looking at. He said that although he draws a lot of female characters in school uniforms, he doesn't necessarily find them or the teen girls wearing them attractive. For him, the appeal is "the memories that are linked to them and the feeling of reliving what it was like to be in school."

He also remarked that "outside of Japan, especially in North America, Europe, and other Asian countries, the way younger females are portrayed is starting to change," and said when it comes to Blue Reflection and the other titles he has worked on, both he and the dev team have sensed that keenly.

"I'm seeing a change in how things are being perceived and the attitudes towards them."

Gust's Blue Reflection: Second Light (Blue Reflection Tie in Japan) game will be released in Japan on October 21 for PS4 and Switch. The game will launch in the West for PS4, Switch, and PC via Steam on November 9. Mel Kishida designed the characters for the game and was also credited as supervisor.

Source: The Gamer

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