Hello everyone, this weekend we ventured out and and did an interview with Doujin Circle Migiha! As we all know, while Wish and all the products and contents of our campaign are an original story, a lot of Migiha’s influence did come from a Type-Moon influence – both present and attributed in the art and writing of Wish.
We took some time to interview “Jeffrey Manson“, the lead programmer behind Migiha, and managed to get a short Q & A from Shori, and asked some questions about how Migiha became its own studio. The interview has been translated for you by Andrew Prowse, who’s interview you can see in our earlier updates!
First, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself, your interests?
JeffreyManson: I’m a Japanese lover of videogames operating under the name JefferyManson@Ero. I create games that aim to take special care with the game’s world and atmosphere. I mainly play Type-Moon works and fighting games, and I’ve also participated in Super Battle Opera (SBO) tournaments. Aside from video games, I also love Western entertainment such as WWE and TNA. In Superstars, I especially like Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy. As for music, I listen to Marilyn Manson quite often.
How did you get your start as a doujin game creator?
JM: I got my start when Shori thought up the prologue for Wish, or maybe even before that, when I first met him. At the first meetup event I went to after enrolling in university, I happened to get into a conversation with Shori for the first time. I asked him if he knew about TYPE-MOON. He immediately reacted, and we really hit it off from there. I only realized later that he was the only one out of the some dozens of friends I met at school who liked TYPE-MOON. It was a lucky coincidence the first one I talked to was Shori. A few months later, Shori developed what would become the basis for the prologue of Wish. That’s when I started to get into the doujin world.
What a great first meeting! And so that’s how MIGIHA was created?
JM: Yes. We hadn’t decided on a circle name at first, but later, Shori thought of the name 汀 (read as “migiha”), which would later be the main heroine of a later work, Akahatori, and we just ended up using it as the circle name.
So from the start of developing Wish to MIGIHA’s first doujin event, how long did it take?
JM: I don’t remember exactly, but it took us somewhere between 3 and 6 months to complete the prologue. We sold it personally, along with a female friend who was in charge of the music, at an event. The event took place in a baseball stadium, so Shori was actually hiding in the benches. He was pretty nervous about people seeing his work. And whenever we sold a copy of Wish, he would come out and thank the person. It’s a nostalgic memory.
Was that event in Kyushu [where MIGIHA is based]?
JM: Yes, it was in Fukuoka, in a stadium called Yahoo! Dome. The event was called Comic City.
Oh, I see! So, how did MIGIHA go from participating in a regional event to Comiket?
JM: It was nothing special—we just send in an application to Comiket every time and pray that we get selected. The first time we actually went to Comiket, Wish wasn’t even finished yet. But there were many people who bought it in the faith that we’d complete it, and words can’t express my gratitude to them. If they hadn’t been there, we may not have been able to keep selling at Comiket. After our first time there, we finished up and left the venue, we looked up at Tokyo Big Sight’s upside-down pyramid and talked about how we’d like to come here again— it’s a good memory.
At the time, had you ever been to Comiket? Not necessarily as a creator, but as a participant?
JM: Yes, I had. I think it was during my first year of university. That first Comiket was hot, and if I were to make the analogy, there were as many people there as you’d see in Wrestlemania (lol). The term “battlefield” is pretty apt for Comiket. After that, I’ve been going to Comiket nearly every time, helping Shori buy TYPE-MOON goods and setting up our own circle. We’ve been doing it together for ten years already.
That’s wonderful! Earlier you compared the crowds at Comiket to Wrestlemania. Have you ever been?
JM: Well, my little brother has gone to see it twice. Unfortunately, I’ve never been there. I just watch the broadcast every year and the DVDs. I remember being moved by the passion at the time. Incidentally, my favorite is Benoit vs. HHH vs. HBK （・∀・）. That one really impacted my own life. And I like TLC too, of course!
What a fond memory! Do you think wrestling has influenced your doujin projects?
JM: Wrestling had a big impact on how I looked at my own designs, and how I thought about the progression of stories. For example, in WWE, dozens of novelists think up scenarios and stage direction in order to let the Superstars really show their individuality. By watching and experiencing the dramatic plot twists those professionals made up and the well thought-out entrances—I really felt that those things were precious in game production. In particular, I’ve referred to PPV’s lines and terms when thinking of things like what enemies should say to each other. nWo’s “a fatal dose of deadly poison” is one expression I like.
I see, so including the special characteristics of wrestling into doujin games! Now that’s a novel idea. Is that how you you met John?
JM: Actually, I met John via the TYPE-MOON fighting game MELTY BLOOD. The first time we met, we just exchanged a few words at an arcade in Kyoto called a-cho, but I got to be good friends with him from other international tournaments and through mutual friends. And when I first heard him say (without much seriousness) that he wanted to translate doujin games, well, that’s when the roads all opened.
That sounds like him! By the way, I heard you’ve been overseas several times. Did any places leave a particularly strong impression on you?
JM: First America, and then Norway! Las Vegas was gigantic, and Washington had a beautiful atmosphere. And Norway’s idyllic streets! For a Japanese person like me, it was almost like I’d been tossed into the worlds of Studio Ghibli movies like Kiki’s Delivery Service or Howl’s Moving Castle (though each of those based its town on other countries). I was a child at the time, and I remember some college students there being delighted to play with me—the people were great.
And what do you enjoy most about making doujin games?
JM: When making them, probably that feeling you get when the characters come to life. Even if you don’t think of lines or plot twists yourself, it was this illusion where the characters would create words by themselves and perform actions all on their own. It’s the proof that we really did a good job designing them as human beings rather than as mere tools to move the story along. As a developer, it makes me feel like development went really well.
Do you have any advice for people who want to try making their own doujin game?
JM: Just give it a shot! I don’t have much practice myself; just make sure to stick to a “just do it” mentality. After that, there are two important things. The first is to have good friends. Doujin activity isn’t a job, so when you’re with friends that you can really work hard with, it’ll pull the game’s level of completion and polish up. The other one is to have something you’re obsessed with. Doujin activity isn’t a job, so you’re not limited much in terms of contracts, and you can fully express your own fixations. That passion and obsession that only you have are precious fuel for the fire, and it’s one of the best ways in the doujin world to have your memes extend to the world. If you have a strong passion for video games right now, then please nurture that feeling. It would make me happy if this interview helped you.
Any final message for our readers?
JM: Thank you so much for having an interest in our doujin game. Wish and MIGIHA were created from idolizing TYPE-MOON works, so if any of you feel even a little bit the same way, I’d be happy. And I can’t thank enough those of you who have lent us your power in the form of backing the game. I’ll continue to devote myself so that all of you can be proud of our meeting. Thank you so much.
We are so thankful to Jeff for such an absolutely amazing history of the circle and fantastic interview – and we we’re fortunate enough to get Shori to give us a quick Q&A on top of that!
What do you enjoy most about your doujin games?
Giving personalities and visuals to the characters. If you do it right, then when you throw them into your world, they’ll move on their own.
What was your inspiration for creating Wish?
Wish began when I felt like I wanted to depict characters who were able to abandon their own happiness and lives for the sake of someone else.
Do you have a favorite character in Wish? If so, who?
I can’t choose from Saya, Mutsuki, and Rinna. I love them all. It’s strange—people always talk about “one of their favorite characters” as opposed to their “one favorite.” I’d always thought that was a weird way of talking about it, but I’ve since come to understand why people do that.
Those three are the characters I like the most.
The one I dislike the most is Tenka. He gets to be surrounded by those three—it makes me so jealous. Green with envy.
Do you have any advice for people who want to try making their own doujin game?
I always made sure never to lose that motivation of “I want to make this.”
Wish was the first game I created. When I look back, I see many parts that display how inexperienced I was, and I find myself fretting over showing the game to all of you now. But this work is something I created without cutting a single corner—all because I wanted to at the time. Everything that my past self wanted to convey to the readers is firmly captured in this game.
And if this game moves your heart even the slightest bit, then the wish that I put into it will have been granted.