An Interview with Little Witch Academia Creators
Date: 2017 November 6th Monday [14:46]
Posted By: Joe
The October leg MCM London Comic Con has been and gone, we caught up with the anime guests of honour from Little Witch Academia. They were in town to promote the new game from Bandai Namco - Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time.
We interviewed series creator and director Yoh Yoshinari, series producer Naoko Tsutsumi who worked for Gainax and has worked at Studio Trigger since it started. Joining them was Yosuke Futami producer of the new game.
We start by interviewing Yoh Yoshinari and Naoko Tsutsumi. We then had a separate interview session with Yosuke Futami.
Do you think that Little Witch Academia represents a change in the a traditional anime funding model? With the second short crowd funded by Kickstarter and then following series picked up by Netflix?
Naoko Tsutsumi: I hope it will change the way things work, but it wouldn't be possible without the fans. Their voices have been the most powerful, because if it wasn't for them and Kickstarter, Netflix and Toho wouldn't have decided to invest in it.
Were you surprised at how popular the series is?
Yoh Yoshinari: Yes!
Compared to more modern anime you've decided to animate Little Witch Academia in a more nostalgic style, why is that?
Yoh Yoshinari: Because I like old anime.
Who's your favourite character?
Yoh Yoshinari: I'm telling everyone it's Sucy.
You're telling everyone it's Sucy? So is really your favourite character?!
Yoh Yoshinari: She was my favourite character initially, but now everyone seems to like her, so I'm thinking about changing. I don't want people to think I'm giving special preference to Sucy.
Outside of the work you've been involved in, what's your favourite anime?
Yoh Yoshinari: That's a tough one! There are so many I like, I can't pick one.
Naoko Tsutsumi: I love Zootopia and Evangelion!
Did you expect the series to be made into a game?
Yoh Yoshinari: Not at all!
Are you impressed at how it has been adapted? Some series don't always make that transition well, but from our understand it has.
Naoko Tsutsumi: Bandai have really done their very best with this game. I feel like a fan! I can't wait to play it.
If you could have any witch powers, what would they be?
Yoh Yoshinari: I would like to be able to stretch time! The best would be if I could stretch time right when the deadlines are approaching.
Apart from Little Witch Academia, which other Trigger titles have you enjoyed working on?
Yoh Yoshinari: I've enjoyed all of them. There's one that I would have liked to be more involved with a Pixar short that we made, I would have really liked to have done more with that.
Now we interview Yosuke Futami.
Are you a fans of the original short films by Yoh Yoshinari?
Yosuke Futami: I love Little Witch Academia.
What was your first impression of the series?
Yosuke Futami: I was impressed with the fashion of the anime and it's classic animation style.
Were you surprised at how popular the series became?
Yosuke Futami: Especially in Japan, the television series has started in January and then gained popularity since then.
Are there any challenges adapting anime and light novels into games?
Yosuke Futami: I've tried to reproduce the anime expressions used by Trigger, especially the faces and the comic expressions. They're very difficult to adapt in the game. I'm proud I was able to fully express this the game.
Can it be difficult creating something that will be fun to play as a gamer, but also true to the original material?
Yosuke Futami: Yes, I believe this Little Witch Academia game is very easy to play, especially for Little Witch Academia fans. As for gamers the dungeon has various difficulties so players can enjoy the various levels of difficulty. So many elements are included in the game, some characters can be levelled up with items dropped in the game.
Compared to Little Witch Academia was it easier to create games for Sword Art Online as the world is already based around gaming?
Yosuke Futami: Sword Art Online is based on the MMO, so those core RPG elements can be taken into a game, while Little Witch Academia was more difficult to adapt as a game. Their action as a 2D anime in a 3D world can be difficult to convey.
Do you think a game of Little Witch Academia is the intended progression of the franchise?
Yosuke Futami: Yes, at the moment we don't have any plans to create a sequel, however I created this game with a sequel in mind.
Was it the natural choice to make the game an action type RPG?
Yosuke Futami: At the moment we don't have plans to implement some more RPG elements, we want implement those expanded action adventure elements, such as exploring the town.
Was it challenging making 3D models look like 2D anime characters?
Yosuke Futami: There were so many difficulties! Trigger animation is very gorgeous. It was very hard work to reproduce the anime style in a game along with gorgeous action.
Was it tricky making the movement look animated too?
Yosuke Futami: Trigger animation uses 24 frames per second, if we adapted 24 frames in a game it would be very jerky, so for the game we went up to 60 frames, during development we failed many times to reproduce those frames in the game and we had to overcome that. In some places we intentionally made the movement align with the anime making it a bit jerky instead of completely fluid like you can in a game.
Are there any interesting game mechanics you can tell us about?
Yosuke Futami: Audiences are able to explore the school of Little Witch Academia and some quests, collect drop items and then revisit the levels with the dropped items.
Would you like to work on another Little Witch Academia game?
Yosuke Futami: Yes! I would love a chance to create another game, I'd make a game where Akko and her friends are junior students and they are teaching the new students.
Otaku News would like to thank Yoh Yoshinari, Naoko Tsutsumi and Yosuke Futami for giving such awesome interview answers. Plus Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe and Anime Limited.
Additional thanks goes to ChibiKnight for help with this article.
You can watch the anime series of Little Witch Academia on Netflix. Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time is due out early 2018 on PS4 and PC.