Last year, Tamashi conducted an interview with two members of the Super Imaginative Chogokin design team: Gojima and Yasufuji. In this second portion of the interview, the two talks about some of the design challenges faced with the Kamen Rider OOO figures, along with the upcoming Shin Ichigo and TheBee releases.
But first, a recap of what was covered in the first portion of the interview that was posted last year:
Yasufuji: Now, we are working with Nakashima Kenichi along with the digital expert Ito in a 4 person system/structure. At the current moment, we’re mostly focusing on the coloring, but soon I think we’ll build up inertia. For now, the work process is like, I make a right arm and pass it along… They say, “And now the left arm please.”
Gojima: “In 3 days!” And I’m like only 3 days…? It’s all purely hand crafted, so anyone with a free hand does what they can.
Yasufuji: And when some of those things come up, I think “Nope…that’s not right.” and start fixing it. (giggle) Neither side seems strange by themselves, but when we put them together, sometimes they seem a bit off. When working with solids, sometimes things just have an interesting shape.
Gojima: Basically, it’s just that over and over again. We kept fixing things so much, I moved into Yasufuji’s area! (more giggles)
– The current “Kamen Rider 000″ Series is really popular, isn’t it!
Yasufuji: With the last S.I.C. series, it was mainstream to have retrofitting parts to make different characters, but many of the the hardcore fans said, “We’ll buy the different characters anyway, so you don’t have to do it that way!” (again with the giggles) Recently, that gimmick has been seen as a waste. In that vein, we traded in “retrofitting” for “play value”, The OOO arms and legs can be exchanged to depict scenes from the show. But, we’re worried about how accurate we have to be with these parts. In the show, these effects only last for an instant, so we have questions like, “What is the original shape of the grasshopper hero’s leg?” (Giggle) So, until the first round of TaoToBa go out on sale, we were breaking out in a cold sweat. But overall they were received well, so we were relieved.
Gojima: In an attempt to compliment us, they were called “Gross” on the net.
Yasufuji: In large part the figures were accepted because they were in the 000 motif. Shauta Combo ended up as a big mess.
Gojima: The tentacles on the lower half alone are heavier than the rest of the figure. (giggle)
Yasufuji: With the previous Kamen Rider W series, we were given constrains like “Make the bodies of all the figures the same”, so we didn’t make so many changes with the arrangement of the original bodies. That was a bit of frustration for me. With the 00Z/000 project, the general atmosphere seemed like it was ok to have many arrangements. They were a lot of fun to make, and I think it was extremely good timing for this to come along.
–The especially popular [Tajador Combo?] had a limited Lost Blaze version of the Soul Wave come out.
Yasufuji: They sold out so quickly, so I think it would be better to take net orders so it can actually get into the hands of all the people who want them. “The parts can all be changed, so we’ll wait until the last version.”
Gojima: [Tajador] comes with an ankh in a manner of speaking, and is really popular with the ladies. (more giggles) Incidentally, on the net, one stalwart individual bought 8 [Gatakiriba Combos]. I don’t even have that many! (wave of giggles)
-What will happen with the future of the OOZ series?
Yasufuji: Basically, It’s all up to Bandai. (Yasufuji lets out his first giggle) Thanks to them, Uva was extremely popular. I think I’ll stick with them for a while. Personally, I want to know why Uva came out, but not Anhk? (Yasufuji gives in to the giggles a second time.) Let’s hope there’ll be movement there in the future.
–Moving on, I’d like to hear more about the original “S.I.C. Hero Saga” ongoing series in Hobby Japan’s monthly magazine…
Gojima: I’m the main diorama designer for the “Hero Saga”. (surprising absence of giggles)
Yasufuji: I’m handling the modeling and the character design, but I really leave the rest to him. “Hero Saga” Is a fun job and I really want to do it, but why was S.I.C prototype creation given priority…???
Gojima: The prototypes were made with fine detail, but the diorama was made with a thundering force, so it was really fun to do.
Yasufuji: For example, when using superglue on the prototypes, we put a little bit of it on the tip of a toothpick and dabbed a little bit at a time, but with the diorama we dumped a whole jar of it upside down and dumped a hardening agent on it. Smoke bellowed out and we thought “What fun!!” (rapturous giggles) This project was a great distraction.
Gojima: After that, we made mysterious new monsters that we couldn’t have come up with before.
Yasufuji: Gojima loves monsters. (giggles) I like bikes, so I want to make all the rider machines… but I haven’t had the opportunity yet. So, with the figures we make for the “Tamashi (Soul) Nation” event, I hope to throw my weight around a little.
Gojima: We keep working until they start loading on the day of the event! (guilty giggles)
–In the “Decade” chapter of the Hero Saga, Kabutoro made an appearance, didn’t he?
Gojima: That was because I couldn’t get around to it and I asked my pinch hitter, Matsumiya Kenichi to make it fore me.
Yasufuji: I did the design for it, but… a long time ago there was a sweet character called “Kamen Rider-SD Buttobi Rider”, who was my inspiration.
Gojima: The original was a bit tough to understand. (giggle)
–Looking at the bikes that haven’t gone on sale yet, as a fan, I’m really excited about the changes.
Yasufuji: We made these with the hope of have a few changes. In a way, the sculptors came to Bandai with a presentation, saying “Hey, take a look at these prototypes.” (giggle). Whenever there is a chance, we want to squeeze them in.
–Please tell us about the upcoming “The new Number 1” [Shin ichigo].
Yasufuji: With the 15th anniversary of S.I.C., we are going back to the basics with this item… but, personally, I initially intended to express a vision of what the New Number 1 would be like in 40 years.
–What happens in 40 years?
Yasufuji: I wanted to set it up so Hongo Takeshi continued fighting for 40 years and fought on the front lines with the modern Heisei Riders. If I did that, I would have to do all the background myself. For example, I might have to make all the parts for defeated monsters and personal power ups. They said, “That’s a little too much.” I listened to a few other opinions and the current version is a bit scaled down.
Gojima: This being what it is, I’d say it’s a pretty decent design.
–The new TheBee from the Kabuto series has gone on sale. Will you plunge into the renewal of the Heisei Riders?
Yasufuji: I like the Old Number 2 from Heisei Riders, but actually, the Mukado is the only one that went on sale. I’d like to take it as my next challenge. He might be good for the remodeled Cyclone set. By adding “Remodeled” to the name, we are pretty free to arrange things as we please. (giggles with excitement)
Gojima: I’ve wanted Kyodain for a long time, but with the way things are going now, it seems unlikely. (sad giggle)
Yasufuji: We always put our best foot forward with our designs, but over time our feelings change inside. Those changes bring about new ideas and we want to redo some items… there were some problems with joints… We can’t sell them again with those same ball-joints. At the very least, I want to be able to redo the joints. Of course many old fans say, “We like it just the way it was.” But, times have changed, and we’d prefer to make changes where we have the chance. It’s with the support of the fans that the series has lasted 15 years, and we hope we can keep up that support in the future.