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ZUN's AX 2016 Panel

This article is a retranslation of ZUN's Q&A panel at Anime Expo 2016, borrowing the Japanese transcript1) and video recordings,2) to fix minor interpreter flubs found in the initial translation3) and provide what had been communicated in Japanese alongside it.


Panel questions (Q1–18)

Japanese Transcript English Retranslation
How were you able to accomplish all these things and make a great fanbase, like ours in front of us, right here?
A1 「ほほぉ、急に難しい質問きたね。一個前のパネルとはちょっと違うね」 “Oho, coming with a tough question so fast. That's a bit different from our previous panel.”
「こういうことを目的としてやってきたわけではないんですよ。結果として好きなゲームを作っていたら、こうなったと」 “It's not that I came here with something like this in mind. It's just the outcome of trying to make a game that I'd like.”
How was your involvement with Amusement Makers shape the way Touhou Project came to be developed?
A2 「急に大学の話…。そうだね、まあ大学のAmusementMakerはゲームを作るサークルだったの」 “We're suddenly talking about university… Yeah, I was in a game development circle named Amusement Makers in university.”
「僕はそもそもゲームが大好きな人間で、まあゲーム、大学でゲームのミュージックを作りたかったの」 “I've always been a person who loved games and, well, I wanted to make video game music in university.”
「そのためには誰かがゲーム作ってるところに行くのが一番良くて、それであの、ゲームを作るサークルに入ったんです」 “The best way to do that was to go where people were making games, hence why I joined a game development circle.”
「まあサークルっていうのは、結局誰かがゲーム作らないとゲームミュージックなんて作れないので、結果僕がプログラムを勉強してゲームを作るようになったと」 “I mean, it's a circle. After all, you can't make video game music if there's no games being made. That's why I studied programming to develop games.”
「そんな感じです」 “That's how that experience went.”
Just out of curiosity, what was your major during university?
A3 「数学」 “Mathematics.”
So as far as you being a math major in Tokyo Denki, how did that influence you as far as the creation of your danmaku?
A4 「弾幕に限らず結構ゲームを作るのって数学大切なんですよ」 “It's not just the danmaku, it's the necessary math that goes into making the games.”
「やっぱりあの、ちょっと綺麗なもの見せようとか、気持ち良い物とか気持ち悪いものとか大体法則があって」 “After all, I have general rules whenever I try to show something beautiful, something pleasant, something unpleasant, etc.”
「まあその結果色々と表現するためには数学が必要だったかなと」 “And, well, I guess I needed the math to help present all sorts of colors as a result.”
「まあ結果論ですけどね」 “But it's a hindsight-based theory, isn't it?”
With mathematics, there's finite answers vs. the world that you created. It's a fantasy elliptical world. How are you creating the balance between the two, and how does these things affect the whole entire Touhou world?
A5 「難しい質問するよね」 “You ask tough questions, don't you?”
「もうね、やっぱあのファンタジーは無限、ようはなんでもできるってことですよね」 “You know, fantasy is infinite too, so the main point is that anything is possible.”
With a fantasy world, there's so many infinite possibilities. Where, as in mathematics, while there is other possibilities, there is a finite answer for certain things. How are those two things balanced between the creation of your universe?
「そもそもファンタジーに限らず、この世は無限なんですよ元々」 “After all, it's not just fantasy, but the entire world is infinite to begin with.”
「それをこう人と伝えたり、何か表現するためには何らかの言葉だったり、絵だったりなんか音楽だったりが必要なんです」 “In order to communicate or express something to people, you need some kind of language, images, music, etc.”
「でそこの中で、ファンタジーを弾幕STGだったり、東方Projectに落とす為には、どっかでこう切ってその断面を今表現できる機械で表現しきゃいけない。そこには数学が必要なんですよ」 “So, in order to inject fantasy into a danmaku shooting game like Touhou Project, there needs to be a way to cut into it and present a cross-section with a tool capable of expressing it. That is where the mathematics come in.”
「大丈夫? 漠然とした内容で大丈夫?」 [To the interpreter struggling]
“Are you alright? Is it fine if I'm being vague?”
「みんな今狐につままれた状態です」 “Everyone looks 'bewitched by a fox' right now.”4)
As far as the creation for music for each character, how does that idea come about and does your influence of the electo(?) have anything to do with it?
A6 「音楽かー、そうかー。音楽は、僕がずっとゲームが好きだったので、ゲームミュージックが大好きだったんです」 “Music, huh? For music, I've always liked video games, so I've come to love video game music.”
「なのでまあまあさっきもサークルに入るときに言いましたけど、ゲームミュージックが作りたくてゲームを作っているので、なんだろう…」 “So, as I said about joining the circle some time ago, I'm making games because I want to make video game music, so I don't know…”
「音楽は簡単ですね」 “Music is simple, isn't it?”
「なんかもうなんだろう、酔っ払ったりなんかして、イメージを出したものがそのままのものを表現しやすい」 “I wonder what that was now. I was drunk or something, and it's easy for me to present it as is if have a mental image of it.”
So, going back to Amusement Makers, how many times did you meet for these meetings, as far as everyone in the actual club?
A7 「大学のサークルは、まあ週に一回会合がある程度だったんです」 “The university circle only had, to some extent, a meeting per week.”
「だからそれ以外の時間が本当のサークル活動というか、個人でゲームを作って中間報告をするっていうサークルでした」 “So the rest of the time was really group activities. It was a circle where we gave interim reports on the personal games we made.”
Did anyone in the Amusement Makers influence you as far as a game developer, or anyone that challenged your ideas?
A8 「んー、まだ小さいサークルだったんで、あんま無かったかな」 “Well, it was a small circle, so not really.”
「すみませんね」 “Sorry.”
What was the first game you created and how do you feel about it now?
A9 「そうだね……あの、大学のときまでパソコン触ったことがなくて」 “Yes…… Um, I never touched a computer until I got into university.”
「まあ、まあやっぱゲームミュージックを作るにはパソコンが必要だからってことでパソコンを買いまして」 “Now, I bought a computer because, well, you needed a computer to make video game music.”
「まあそれでゲームの勉強をして、最初に作ったのがぷよぷよでした」 “And that's how I would study games. The first one I made was Puyo Puyo.”
「ぷよぷよライクね」 [Following rapturous applause]
“A Puyo Puyo-like.”
How long did it actually take you to create this game?
A10 「あー、2ヶ月くらいかな」 “Ahh, maybe about two months?”
Sorry, what year was this? I'm curious.
「それは95年。21年前? ねえ懐かしい話をしてしまった」 “That was 1995, like 21 years ago? Come on, I just gave you a nostalgic story.”
Because [the] internet wasn't a big thing back then, how were you able to accomplish creating a game within two months?
A11 「まあ大変でしたね」 “Well, it was tough.”
「ただその、誰かやってる人がいるんだから出来ないことはないだろうとは思ってました」 “Nevertheless, uh, I just thought if somebody else could do it, there's nothing I can't do.”
「まあ細かいコト覚えてないけど、まあ飯もあまり喰わずに頑張ってましたよ勉強」 “Well, I don't remember all the minor details, but I just did my best without eating too much.”
Do you think the internet, now, has really shaped the way how video games are made? Are they being created faster? How do you feel about the internet playing a major role as far as video game creation or, the possibilities of what internet can provide vs. what you've experienced?
A12 「適当に答えちゃうよ?」 “I'll answer as much as I see fit, alright?”
「ああ、そんな感じの質問? 本当に?」 [Interpreter reexplaining]
“Ahh, it's a question like that? Really?”
「あの当時インターネットがない時代と比べて、今の時代はあの、僕が大学の頃よりもだいぶ作るのが簡単になってると思うんですよ」 “Well, comparing the days where there was no internet with modern times, I think it's much easier to make them now, than back when I was in university.”
「まあその分、いろんな人が簡単に作るし簡単に発表するので」 “I think it's because more people can produce and publish them with ease.”
「相対的にいいものを出すのって難しいな」 “However, it's hard to put out something that's relatively good.”
「…ですよね?」 “…Isn't it?”
「質問と違うこと答えてるかも」 “I might've answered it a bit differently.”
When you were first creating your games, what programs were you using?
A13 「ああ、C(言語)。このCを訳してもらったらどうなるのか気になったんですよ」 “Ahh, C. …I was wondering if C needed to be translated.”
What about DOS? MS-DOS?
「もちろんですよMS-DOSです。Windowsも使ってるけどね今」 “Naturally, it was MS-DOS, but I'm using Windows nowadays.”
What was the first introduction for you, for Windows, when you start actually creating games?
A14 「これはゲームで…だったかな?」 “As for games… what was it?”
「ゲームをWindowsで作り始めたのは2002年の」 “I started making games with Windows in 2002.”
「まあ紅魔郷からですよね」 “Well, that was Touhou Koumakyou, wasn't it?”
Because Touhou Project is very vast, as far as characters, as far as music, as far as the elements of danmaku, what did you start with?
A15 「…どこからねぇ?」 “…Where it comes from, right?”
「まあ基本僕は自分のゲームを作ってるだけなんで」 “Well, basically, I was just making my own game.”
「あのそのあとこうやって広げようと思ったわけでもないです」 “I mean, I didn't even think about it unraveling in such a way after that.”
「だからね、ビックリですよ」 “That's why I'm so surprised.”
Did you think your games would ever be popularized in America?
A16 「これは…これこそインターネットのおかげだよね」 “This is… This is all thanks to the internet, isn't it?”
[Euler's formula is projected on screen]
「ああ、すごいねなんか。打ち合わせからだいぶずれてるけど、やってくれる」 “Ahh, that's amazing. That's way off what we've discussed, but I'll do it.”
「まあオイラーの公式、みなさんが好きな奴です」 “Well, Euler's formula. Everyone likes it.”
This is the one that most mathematicians like right? Is there any reason why this particular equation…?
「画面が見えてないんだよねこっから…」 “I can't really see the screen from here…”
「大丈夫だよね、多分僕が最初言ったのとちょっと違う…でも全く内容は一緒なんだけど表示が違うだけだと思うので」 “That's fine. It might be a different from what I said at first… The contents are exactly the same, but rendered differently, I think.”
「これを説明するとしたら数学では、1があれば全ての数字が表現できるわけです。整数だったらね」 “If I had to explain this, in mathematics: if you have a 1, then all numbers can be represented, if it's an integer.”
「で1だけでは表現できないものを0で。1と0があって、それぞれ関係ない世界から出てきた超越数が3つ入ってる数式ってこれしかない」 “The only number you can't express with 1 is 0. To have 1 and 0, you have to use this numerical formula where 3 transcendental numbers that each come from an unrelated universe.”
「ごめんポカンとするようなこと言っちゃったね」 “I'm sorry if I said anything that made your head go blank.”
So the Touhou Project is very unique in the sense that you've allowed various creators to create their own version of Touhou, how does that process come about, as far as providing them assets?
A17 「んー、これは結構長いよ?」 “Hmm, this is quite long, isn't it?”
「だいたいその勝手に使われている文化が、遠くの日本にありまして」 “First and foremost, there's a culture of using things without permission, in distant Japan.”
「それが同人ってもんなの」 “That's what doujin is.”
「その流れに東方が乗っていたので、まあその同人って流れに東方が乗っていたので、もう当たり前のようになるべくしてなったと」 “Since Touhou was riding on that trend and the trend of doujins, it just seemed inevitable.”
「…あってるのかな?」 “…Ah, is there?”
There's a lot of Touhou characters out there. As far as the creation of those, how does that come about? Did you draw the actual character first? Did you create their particular danmaku pattern? How did your though process come about?
A18 「これはもう日本人的な答え方をしますけど、まちまち」 “I'm gonna answer in a very Japanese way. It all varies.”
「まあもういろんなそのときどきってことです」 “Well, it all depends on the situation.”
「ケースバイケース」 “Case by case.”
Can you provide us a case?
「まあ一番多いのはやっぱゲームなど。元々その弾幕STGにキャラクターを入れようと思った理由は、弾幕に…STGの弾をキャラクターに出させると絶対面白いと思ったの」 “Well, the most common reason are the games and such. Originally, the reason I would put a character in a danmaku shooting game, is for the danmaku… I thought it'd be absolutely fun to have characters come out and shoot bullets.”
「ちょうどそのね、僕東方作った頃ってまだ弾幕っていう言葉は無かったの」 “You know, when I was making Touhou, the word for danmaku didn't even exist yet.”
「だからもう弾がいっぱい出る世界、あれがただ単に多いってだけじゃなくてなぜこういう形をしてるかっていうところまで踏み込みたかったんです」 “That's why, in a world where all sorts of bullets are shot out, there are lots of them, but there's also reasons why they're shaped the way there are, like intimidating trespassers.”
「そこで出てきたのがキャラクターです」 “That's where the character comes in.”
「なので今キャラクターの作り方的にも、今この場面ではこういう攻撃をしたいからこういうキャラクターっていうのは結構多いです」 “So now, in terms of character creation, there are many cases where a character is called upon if I want to have an attack like this in a scenario.”
「速い攻撃させたかったら速い攻撃しそうなキャラクターです」 “If I want to have a fast attack, I'll make a character that's a fast attacker.”
「そう、気持ち悪い攻撃だったら気持ち悪いキャラクター」 “Thus, if I want an unpleasant attack, I'll make an unpleasant character.”
What's a nasty character?
「これ誰言ったら面白いんだろうな? …紫?」 “Now, who could I say that would make this funny? …Yukari?”
一番好きなキャラクターはなんですか? Who's your favorite character?
「一番好きなキャラクターを訊く!? これはすごい悩むけど…霊夢にする」 “You're asking who my most favorite character is?! I'm really worried, but… I'll say Reimu.”

Guest questions (Q19–33)

Japanese Transcript English Retranslation
When will Mima return from the war?5)
A19 「あのそういう…」 “That sort of [question]…”
「まあまあ機会があれば」 “When there's a good opportunity.”
In the latest game, you had that new Pointdevice Mode where you would reset and you only had one life, as opposed to the old system where it was more arcade-like. Do you think that you'll continue using that kind of game mode moving forward, or was that a one-time thing?
A20 「紺珠伝の話をしてるの? これ大丈夫? これ通訳の人がわからないっていう」 “Are they talking about Touhou Kanjuden? Are you alright? The interpreter doesn't understand this.”
「ああ、一回だけです」 “Ahh, it's a one-time thing.”
タイトーを辞めたときは当時どのようにして決定しましたか? When you quit Taito, how did you decide at the time?
A21 「いまいち日本語よくわからなかった…」 “I didn't understand the Japanese very well.”
「言語が通じないって難しいね」 “It's hard to speak the language, isn't it?”
「僕勝手にそういう質問だと思って言いますけど、あの…タイトーは忙しかったんですよすごい。でなかなかね、好きなゲーム作れなかった上に」 “I think I get the gist of what was asked so I'll answer accordingly, but, um… Taito was awfully busy. And it was hard to make any games that I liked.”
「まあもちろん好きなゲームが売れる自信は無かったです」 “I mean, naturally, I wasn't confident that a game that I'd like would sell.”
「でまあそれでじゃあ自分で作ろうと。それが東方です」 “So I thought, well then, I'll just make it myself. And that became Touhou.”
「これ質問違うのかな?」 “Did I get the question right?”
How do you see doujin culture fitting into new markets and media, such as Steam, iPhone apps, Android Google Play store, Virtual Reality, perhaps? Like, these new mediums that are a bit more broad than what doujin used to be, like, person-to-person communication and Comiket-type events?
A22 「えっとねー、コミケに訊いて?」 “Umm, ask Comiket?”
「僕同人文化に…インディーと差がね…。インディーゲームって多分アメリカでは言うと思うんですけど」 “There's a difference between doujin culture… and indie games… I think 'indie games' are what they call it in the United States.”
「まあそれとちょっとずれた感じのところに東方がいて」 “Then, you have Touhou, which is a little bit off the beaten path.”
「それがこれから先どうなるのかは神のみぞ知る」 “Only God knows what will happen in the future.”
「…そんなんでいいっすかね?」 “…Was that good enough?”
Is the PC-98 series canon at all?
A23 「ああ…オフィシャル。正式でいいの? これでいいの? 正式だよ。」 “Ahh… [it's] official. They said official, right? Is that right? It's official.”
「…難易度高い。イッツルナティック」 [Interpreter unable to translate]
“…High difficulty. It's lunatic.”
「それでいいの? それでいいんだ?」 [Interpreter confirms]
“Is that okay? Are we good with that?”
What is your favorite music instrument that is not a trumpet?
A24 「おー、好きな楽器いっぱいあるけどね」 “Oh, I have a lot of favorite instruments.”
「トランペット以外で?」 “Other than the trumpet?”
「トロンボーン」 “Trombone.”
When are you going to increase the border wall?6)
A25 「境界? 結界のこと? (質問者の)あのメガネ超面白い」 “Boundaries? The barrier? Those glasses [on the questioner] are super interesting.”
「なんでピカピカ光ってるの? クレイジーな感じで」 “Why are they sparkling? It feels crazy.”
What is your favorite beer?
A26 「おー、この質問はよくされます。ねー、キリン!」 “Oh, the question I usually get. It's Kirin!”
Do you have any, like, sort of, gaming development horror stories?
A27 「おー、真面目な質問」 “Oh, a serious question.”
「んー、ほとんどトラブルの連続だね」 “Hmm, it's almost a series of troubles.”
「んー、なんかねー、毎日自分の思い通りに行かなくて悩むんです」 “Um, I don't know, I have trouble with things not going my way every day.”
「そういうときはもう呑むしかない」 “In such cases, I have no other choice but to drink.”
There are a lot of aspiring developers, producers, in this room. Most of which are actually trying to keep their […]. I know a lot of them have inspiration from you, so if you were to give these people advice, what would you hope encourage them to actually pursuing their own […] projects?
A28 「そんな偉いこと言えないんですけどね」 “I can't say something heavy like that.”
「まあ呑み過ぎないほうがいいかな」 “Well, you shouldn't drink too much?”
「日本の諺で、酒は飲んでも飲まれるな」 “As the Japanese proverb goes: drink sake, but don't drink too much.”7)
Do you have any advice on how to become a one-man team like you are, ZUN?
A29 「あー、まー、これね、皮肉が通じにくいかもしれないですけど」 “Um, well, this might be difficult to convey because it's sarcastic.”
「人と一緒に仕事するのは、嫌になったほうがいいです」 “You should hate working with people.”
What kind of things influenced you in creating games like Touhou?
A30 「ああ、もう…自然?」 “Ahh, already… Nature?”
「いいのこんなんで?」 “Is that good enough?”
「すごいね人の数。改めて思いました」 “The number of people is amazing. I thought it changed.”
Thank you so much for your beautiful work. We especially love the Sealing Club, because they are relatable as outside world people, and we were wondering if there were any plans to make them appear in the game or develop their relationship to anybody in Gensokyo? Any more information about that?
A31 「あれがね、蓮子とメリーってキャラクターなの(通訳に説明)通訳の人が東方知らないから難しいんだよ」 [Explaining to the interpreter]
“Those are the characters, Renko and Merry. It's difficult because the interpreter doesn't know anything about Touhou.”
「まああるかもしんないんだけど」 “Well, there might be, but…”
「まあもう臨機応変に」 “I mean, it's already flexible enough.”8)
「無いことはないですよ」 “Never say never.”
「…ちゃんと伝わってるのかな? いいのこんな感じで」 “I wonder if it's being conveyed properly? I feel like it's fine like this.”
「これ延々と質問やっても大丈夫?」 “Is it alright if we keep asking questions forever?”
「AnimeExpoに怒られないですか?」 “Would Anime Expo get mad at us?”
Because of the inconsistencies in the appearances, I wanted to settle a question, does Aya officially have wings and does Momiji have wolf ears?
A32 「ああ…耳があるの? Oh…知らない!」 “Ahh… do they have ears? Oh… I don't care!”
Do you factor in the color of bullets when you make the characters initially, or does it come in the middle of development?
A33 「色でいいんだね?」 “They're saying color, right?”
「もちろん開発中ですよ。イメージに一番合った色を使ってます」 “Naturally, the middle of development. I use the most suitable color from a mental image.”
"ZUN Panel - Anime Expo 2016" (July 2, 2016). Pastebin.
The phrase “kitsune ni tsumameru” (狐につままれる, lit. “bewitched by a fox”) is just a classic way of saying confused or dumbfounded. The interpreter translates this as “shocked” here.
“When will X return from the war?” is an old meme from the mid-2010s, possibly Tumblr.
This was four months before the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, so Trump's wall was still a punchline.
For those wondering, it's a real proverb: “sake wa nonde mo nomareruna” (酒は飲んでも飲まれるな).
The yojijukugo, “rinkiouhen” (臨機応変), means “depending on the situation, you take appropriate matters” or having an ad hoc approach, which is essentially just being flexible.
zun_s_ax_2016_panel.txt · Last modified: 2024-05-18 14:04:30 by namelessrumia