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Kensuke Tanaka Interview: Famitsu Weekly May 27th, 2018

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Introduction

The following interview comes from within the Weekly Gaming Magazine "Famitsu Weekly (May 27th 2018 Edition)" which was released on May 10th, 2018. Within the interview, Famitsu Interviewer Kitaguchi has an interview with Kancolle's main producer, Kensuke Tanaka. Within the article, Takana discusses in depth about the time an energy he, the seiyuus and his team put together into the Operation Shou-Gou 1 Events (Fall 2017 Event and Winter 2018 Event. From there he moves on to discussing the importance to the song Tsukiyomi and provides an in depth look into his progress with HTML 5 as he works his way into implementing Phase 2.

Finally Tanaka discusses about how KanColle is invovled in many collaborations these days along his experience working with Ootsubo Yuka and Kubota Hikari along with discussing about his past when he was able came to the United States to see the mesueum ship and discussing about his favorite manga series which played a role in inspiration to some of the lines that were to KanColle's Intrepid.

Admiral Kitaguchi's Direct Attack! Interviewing Producer Tanaka!

Pages from the Interviewing Proudcer Tanaka segment from Famitsu Magazine

A Weekly Famitsuu KanColle feature wouldn't be complete without an interview with the game's creator, director and producer Tanaka Kensuke, to round it off! And yet again, there are some curious things sprinkled within... This is a must-read for all admirals!


Making Steady Progress toward Phase 2 of KanColle

Interviewer (I): Thank you as always for your hard work! KanColle has finally reached its fifth year. Congratulations! How do you feel about the occasion?

Mr. Tanaka Kensuke (T): So much time has passed, yet all in the blink of an eye, these 5 years. I didn't dare to dream that Famitsuu-san would still be doing specials celebrating our anniversaries for the third, fourth, and now even fifth time. To the both of you, Kitaguchi-san, and Editor-in-Chief Hayashi, as well as everyone involved with the Editorial Department, but above all to all the admirals that have supported and cheered on KanColle and the shipgirls for five years: I extend my sincerest gratitude. That's the first reaction I have to this all, really: thank you very much!

I: The last events of the fifth year - the two-part event split between fall and winter, the Battle of Leyte Gulf. It ended up being such a large-scale event it was held in two parts. You sure had a lotta mechanics planned!

T: Fall featured a depiction of the First Striking Force (1YB) Third Section, or the "Nishimura Fleet", breaking through Surigao Strait; the winter event just earlier featured the fight of the decisive striking force of Operation Shou I, the "Kurita Fleet", breaking into Leyte, and its support, the last of Japan's Mobile Force, the "Ozawa Fleet". The former featured Vanguard Formation for breaking through the heart of the enemy formation, and, for the sake of replicating the Nishimura Fleet, the new seven-ship "Striking Force" upgrade on the existing six-ship composition system.

I: Not to mention the long-rumored Friend Fleet system made its debut in the winter event.

T: The Nishimura Fleet, having broken through Surigao Strait, arrives battered but ready to help the core of 1YB, the Kurita Fleet, when it attempts to break through Samar into Leyte. I wanted to show such a spectacle, and although there were limits to the system we did what we could to create that atmosphere. In putting that together, I wanted to instill emotion through game mechanics and the flow of the battle, rather than text or movies, depicting Operation Shou I through the choices and compositions of the admirals themselves, in the hopes that that could better express the kind of emotions that ran through the Combined Fleet in that battle as it faced annihilation. While we weren't able to pull off everything we wanted and it was not executed perfectly, nothing would make me personally happier than to know it succeeded in leaving something in the hearts of everyone who finished the Shou-gou decisive battle.

I: So we got many mechanics in Operation Shou-gou, but as the last part of Phase 1 it felt like there was quite a lot of work put into the voices and music as well.

T: Right. Thanks for noticing! While schedule limitations were a problem, we did what we could to record new voices for this battle as well. While there weren't a whole lot, the sense of resolution, the feelings, and the conclusion... I was really happy with how enthusiastic our seiyuu were in performing them. The shouts of Surigao Strait's Saki Fujita, the resoluteness of Iori Nomizu's Zuikaku at Cape Engaño. KanColle comes alive thanks to the numerous seiyuu, the performers that give spirit to it through sound. This is something I've felt countless times since we made the very first version to start service with. I also had quite the fierce struggle with Kaori Ookoshi. When she gets a creative block, she tends to call in the middle of the night! This battle, this sensation, that track, this sound - she really rails at you. In the middle of the night.

I: So that's how the two of you got in sync on what kind of sensation to convey.

T: Right. It was fulfilling but exhausting - almost felt like those heated exchanges were cutting my own lifespan short. But I'm really thankful for it. What came out of that was the new song with vocals, "Tsukiyomi", which contains so much of KanColle's five years and the feelings that come with it. I hope everyone listens to it, a song for the Akizuki-class air defense destroyers, as well as for all the shipgirls and admirals.

I: "Tsukiyomi" really hit hard as a theme song for the transition between Phases 1 and 2 of KanColle. Once, when asked, you said "KanColle will last half a year at any rate, and three years and eight months at most", but at this point you've passed that and as of this spring are in your sixth year.

T: That's right. I think I got here simply heading toward as far ahead as I could manage. The game was born from my desire to take the opportunity to ensure the ships and the crews who fought fiercely and sank, into dark seas where none are watching, are known and not forgotten. But many people adored the shipgirls and KanColle, so it lasted far longer than I expected and we were able to keep growing. I can't begin to express how grateful I am. In some ways, KanColle has already more than fulfilled what I set out to do in the early days, but I hope we can strive just a little longer and continue forward. Various preparations are underway for KanColle's next step. About 90% of features have been migrated successfully to HTML5. Reassignments (server migrations) can be won via lottery through the limited time request form we have implemented. I'd like to finish that before this summer. The switch-over to Phase 2 comes after that restructuring. There's a lot coming this year, so we're working to try and complete migration to the new stage of an HTML5 version.

I: So in other words, preparations are well underway for the move to Phase 2.

T: That's right. When we started, I thought the odds of us making it through to the sixth year of war was one in a thousand. As a result, KanColle's ability to wage a sustained war needs improving, or what you might call modernizing. That comes first, after which we'll do a safe, staged migration to Phase 2 to avoid catastrophic issues. Preparations are currently underway.

"This is how Kitakami-sama was born!? Secrets from the Early Days of KanColle"

I: KanColle is no longer confined to the game itself, spreading out through a myriad of collaborations, especially peculiar events like the "Zuiun Festival".

T: I don't think it's... that peculiar, but anyway, while I do want people to remember the lost ships and crewmembers, I also want to take the opportunity made by KanColle to allow people to experience interesting things and delicious food. The key theme of the collaboration with Mitsukoshi-san we plan on holding around the time this issue of Weekly Famitsuu is published is "Japan's delicious food!".

I: Ohh, now I'm interested! Could you tell us more details?

T: Delicious rice, umeboshi, seaweed perfect for meals and onigiri, Japanese tea for after a meal or during a break, and delicious sake for after work! Something like that is the plan, anyway. Of course, this is only possible thanks to the help of all our partners!

I: Goodness, I'm looking forward to it. Incidentally, this special feature has interviews with Ootsubo Yuka, the seiyuu for Ise and Hyuuga, and Kubota Hikari, seiyuu of the new shipgirl Intrepid who debuted this winter.

T: Oh, that's great! I look forward to reading them. Something I remember even now from the initial recordings was how Ootsubo-san made a habit of independently researching all the ships she was assigned. I was really happy about that - I had managed to reach my goal before the service had even started, even if it was with just one person. I was really moved. But she had a lot of shipgirls to voice and was getting fatigued toward the latter half. That's when the miraculous voice of "Kitakami-sama" was born. That special atmosphere of hers wasn't something we were able to easily replicate in a second recording. I remember trying in vain several times.

I: So Kitakami-sama was born from both preparation and exhaustion? How was Kubota-san's recordings?

T: This was our first time having her work for us, but she gave her lines such wonderful warmth! She gave a natural sense of a very active yet gentle woman, resulting in the current Intrepid.

I: There's something a little mysterious about Intrepid's lines.

T: I got to visit the current her when I was a student and was really excited to see the planes on exhibit on her deck. I loved the manga "Phantom Burai"[1] when I was a kid, so I used "Area 88" to represent the work of someone who had a hand in it, Shintani Kaoru sensei. Intrepid, who became a Sea, Air, and Space Museum, was filled to the brim with aircraft on exhibit, so it left quite an impression. One line from the work goes, "How good would it be if this were all a game?" - that nuanced line has stuck with me all these years[2]. It might've had some influence when I got around to making KanColle.

I: I'd love to ask you more about the pieces that came together to create KanColle, but we're almost out of space...!

T: ...sorry, I went completely off track. To all the admirals that have cheered KanColle on and to everyone that's supported it, thank you very much! I hope KanColle can continue to advance in its own style in the sixth year. Thank you! Please continue to support us in the sixth year!

Special thanks to User:-a-nonymous for his translation work

Reference

  1. A story about F-4 Phantom II pilots, illustrated by Shintani.
  2. Intrepid Kai's married line quotes this line directly.