First of all, thank you punishmentxsin for the commission!
This time we have a short Kaneko Kazuma interview on the newly released (back then) Akuma Zensho in the eighth volume of the Sega Saturn Magazine, revealing something totally unexpected about Hachiman, with Mothman being cute and Kaneko’s gang. What do you mean what gang.
The Demon Artist, Kaneko Kazuma
SS: First of all, can you please tell us what made you say the ‘Akuma Zensho’ could be completed precisely because it is the Akuma Zensho?
KK: I can draw pretty big character CGs on the Mac, but once they are in the game, they end up really small. That’s why there are details like face features, clothes or accessories I pour a lot of effort into, but are impossible to reproduce there. The Akuma Zensho uses high-resolution models, so they’re all vividly clear now and that’s great.
SS: Demon data, profiles and fusion recipes are also provided. That is pretty detailed.
KK: That’s right. The one in charge with the monster data, Isogai, is the model for the T-shirt detective from Devil Summoner (laughs). So, this time he took over all data single handedly. We wanted to write more, but the character limit was pretty strict. I, for one, had some more things I wanted to say, so I was really happy when Softbank revealed the release date for the Devil Summoner book (laughs).
SS: Any favourite monsters this time?
KK: Hachiman in Devil Summoner, or should I say, The One God in Megaten. So, The One God is the God of Hebrews and there is a theory that says he became known as Hachiman in Japan. That’s why I interpreted him as a big guy. Everyone is familiar with the usual Hachiman, but in reality his original form is perhaps The One God! I really like that concept.
SS: Anything else?
KK: I really got into Sumerian culture while working on this, and found out that in their mythology there is a planet with an elliptic orbit outside the solar system, number twelve or so. It’s really popular among occultists and it is said monsters hail from there. Inaruna, who shows up in the final part of Devil Summoner was inspired by the Sumerian goddess Inanna. There are many mother goddesses all over the world, like Ishtar or Kali, but Inanna feels like the mother of them all. They all differ from region to region though, and it seems Inanna became Ishtar at some point too. If we put it like that, if feels like Sumer is the origin of God, so I paid special attention to it. In the beginning, I was actually thinking about focusing on ghost types, but I got distracted by the other mythology halfway through (laughs).
SS: Any favourites among the low level demons?
KK: Those would be Ba and Mothman. In Egyptian, the soul is called Ba, while the flesh is called Ka…
KK: Yes, in the past. Well, you see, Ba turns into a bird, the spirit leaving Ka as a mummy behind, until it will decide to come back. That’s the custom that led to the creation of mummies. I drew Ba keeping that in mind, as a rather spirit-like bird. So while playing and being told ‘You’re a Summoner, I’m the great Ba’ I ended up liking him (laughs). In Mothman’s case, there’s an urban legend about the red-eyed, hairy Mothman chasing people. Also, there are UFO sightings every time he shows up, so all kinds of rumours show up, like Mothman being an alien robot or something along those lines. He’s such a charming guy. He also sucks the blood of the people he attacks, but there are no people attacked. There are, however, people who saw him attack others. Strange, right? (laughs) I love cute monsters, so I originally thought I’d make him cute too, similar to Doronpa from Obake no Q-Tarou. I really, really love Q, so this time it was Doronpa’s turn. I want to do something based on Uko too… There’s also Demiurge. There is this movement named Gnosticism, a type of secret society; one of their concepts was that the snake who imparted knowledge onto Adam and Eve was actually a wonderful being, so he’s a rather high level angel.
SS: How have you drawn the monsters so far?
KK: I’m the one who does the rough sketches, including the design and the colour, while three or four people from the staff help me with the finishing, so we end up like Kaneko Kazuma with the Ghostwriters. Lately, they’ve been doing everything, the illustrations and everything else. That is why this is the official name. Everyone in the staff is talented, so they should make their official debut one of these days. I intend to become like Komura Tetsuya (laughs).
SS: Like a Kaneko Family….
KK: Right, right. Ah, it sounds so nice. Thank you (laughs).
SS: Thank you as well for spending your time with us.
01. Isogai is Isogai Shougo, system planner and scenario writer for several Megaten games (system: SMT: if…, SMT: Devil Summoner; scenario: Akira’s path in if…, Soul Hackers, Nocturne, Strange Journey);
02. The character is Isono Shougo, a police detective nicknamed ‘T-shirt’ because of his fondness for T-shirts, even in the middle of winter. His nephew, Kurouri Tsutomu, nicknamed Akuma-kun, is also based on Isogai;
03. Apparently the Japanese do consider Inanna a mother goddess. Idk man;
04. The planet he’s talking about is probably Nibiru.
05. Kaneko’s explanation for Ba and Ka is really simplified and not that accurate, and since I’m not an expert in Egyptian mythology, I’ll let wiki do the talking.
06. ‘The great Ba’ is an ore-sama in the original…