Monday, March 16, 2009

Sadamoto, Kubooka and Colorful Highschool

Today I'll post a short story of my otaku youth and a bit of field work research, too.

In '93 I watched Fushigi no Umi no Nadia and I fell in love with the character designs. Months later, I read in a videogames magazine that a Japanese RPG called Lunar: The Silver Star was causing furor in the US. Thanks to the tiny pic, I instantly assumed that the character designer of Lunar was also Sadamoto Yoshiyuki, designer of Nadia.
I was young and was the pre-Internet era, so I didn't realized of my mistake until years later, in 1995, when Shin Seiki Evangelion was announced.
I became an instant fan of Evangelion because of Sadamoto's designs, and realized that the person who drew the Lunar characters was in fact Kubooka Toshiyuki, who was the animation director of Fushigi no Umi no Nadia.

Left, Fushigi no Umi no Nadia cast.
Right, Lunar: The Silver Star cast.

After that, I more or less followed the works of both Sadamoto (FLCL, .hack series, Toki Wo Kakeru Shoujo...) and Kubooka (Lunar series, Giant Robo, iDOLM@STER...).

When the arcade version of The iDOLM@STER was released, it's aesthetics reminded me of a previously released arcade game also with Kubooka as the main designer and also released by Namco, but at the moment I didn't paid much attention because those kind of games are fated to never see the light of day outside Japan...

Now, obsesed with iM@S, I began to dig for information about that game, called Seishun Quiz: Colorful Highschool.
The game was released in the still unemulated (as far as I know) System 10 arcade board in 2003, but is almost unkown even inside Japan.
As a quiz game, it follow the steps of Capcom's Quiz Nanairo Dreams, but instead of moving randomly in a board game world, in Colorful Highschool you have to specifically date with the girls and make them happy answering correctly her questions.

I don't know why it doesn't became famous, because it really seems like an early iDOLM@STER game but changing the idol part with more traditional dating sim parts, but the main focus of the game is the "events", like the "Communications" in iM@S.
The girls' movements are like in iM@S (they MOVE, and not just change from static pose to static pose) but in 2D, and despite being only partially voiced, the seiyuu cast was well known.

The characters are:
Kanzaki Miku
The transfer student. Kind, modest and pretty much the default main heroine of the game. Asks about general knowledge. Voiced by Nasu Megumi.

Kujou Ayaka
The ojou-sama from a rich family. Intelligent, good at sports and overconfident. Asks stuff from the fashion and trendy world. Voiced by Takahashi Chiaki, who also voices Azusa in Idolmaster.

Shishido Megumi
The tomboy basketball team captain. Genki type. Asks about sports. Voiced by Saitou Chiwa.

Takamura Marie
The intellectual meganekko. Clumsy and otaku, so asks about that theme. Voiced by Ueda Kana (also Tohsaka Rin's voice!).

The game was re-released in 2008 for mobile phones, and there are rumors of a possible Nintendo DS port as a cheap alternative to PSP's iDOLM@STER...

There's not really much info on the net about this game, and most of it comes from the official site (worth checking, specially the sketches of the characters). Also, the user Misokatsu from Nico Nico Douga have uploaded a full playthrough until Ayaka best ending in his list.

EDIT: For the non-NicoNico users, I uploaded the first video on YouTube.


Lightning Sabre said...

Hmm I can totally see the similarities between Nadia and Lunar in the character designs there now. I never noticed it before. But ever since the original Macross, I found out that not all animation matches the original character design. Except for that Macross movie... that was BEAUTIFUL!

Soth said...

Thanks for your comment!

Character designer for animation can be a double edged weapon.
Takada Akemi works improved Urusei Yatsura and Kimagure Orange Road original designs, while Ozawa Kaoru killed the characters in Shingetsutan Tsukihime...
Character designers for animated versions and animation directors are underrated jobs than can make the difference in the final product.