Shuujin Kaitei is the creator behind the free videogame Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea and its adaptation into a manga. We asked this multi-faceted genius about his secrets and the dark sides of his job!
My name is Shuujin Kaitei. I enjoy drawing and watching movies. Of course, I also like creating my own characters and make them move. I post my sketches and my works on my homepage (http://funamusea.com/).
A story unfolding around the characters
While the sea witch Wadanohara travels back home, she meets one of her old familiars (Samekichi) who blocks her way. This is how the game starts. I made this RPG quite easy so that everyone can enjoy the story.
My initial intention was to make it no longer than six hours, but the details started accumulating and eventually I had enough material for 7-8 hours.
A lot of characters were designed after different sea creatures. Since I picture these sea creatures as quite peaceful, I chose characters that apparently want peace at all cost. There is some violence in the game, though.
I came up with the idea while I was sketching what would become the game characters. I wanted to create a story about the sea for a while, but it all came from inspiration. I wouldn’t say there is a reason behind the making: I just put together different topics, and that was it.
First of all, I wanted my game to have a fairytale-esque atmosphere. I tried to alternate components based on myths and popular beliefs and parts of the story I created by myself. Also, I wanted to make my characters move. In the end, I came up with a game with a sea setting and a witch protagonist named Wadanohara.
By the way, I decided the title (in Japanese, Oounabara to Wadanohara) after I determined the main points of the plot. At the beginning I wanted to add some more violence, but in the end I censored myself.
―― Characters are an important part of Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea. How did you come up with their design and personalities?
I develop my designs in different ways: sometimes I base them on animals, or start from a certain color scheme. Sometimes I chose a motif and go on from that. About their personalities, I tend to decide that part after I make my characters talk in the game or in the manga. There are also times when their personalities change while I’m drawing.
Some of the characters I’ve grown the most attached to are Tarako (cod roe) and Shake san (Mr. Salmon).
The dark side of creation: free games and manga
The first game I made was kind of a joke for 2012 April Fools’ day. I started drawing manga mainly because I wanted to make my beloved characters more dynamic. The first manga I drew was on an Oekaki bulletin board, I think.
Nowadays I’m drawing on a really old graphics tablet. It depends on the situation, but I usually keep a notebook next to me to write down story plots. My production flow is something like: decide where I’m going roughly -> write down the story -> once it’s all set up, I start with the drawings. (I tend to think about the subplots while I’m drawing.)
I’m really happy when I see accesses on my homepage coming from overseas. Thank you very much. I didn’t think foreigners would be interested in my work, so I was quite surprised! Sometimes there are people sending me drawings or telling me what they think of my game. (I use automatic translation when I don’t know the language!) I love this kind of correspondence.
―― Last question: would you like to leave a message for our readers?
Love is an essential part of Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea, but I want my next work to be even more focused on feelings. Even though the story is already completed, I want to create something else where Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea characters make an appearance. I’d also like to create something more extreme (lol).
Many thanks to Shuujin Kaitei! His first manga Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea vol.1 will be on sale from December 26th. Don’t miss it!