Today we have something a little special: an interview with the creator of Hadaka Shitsuji – Naked Butlers, Mito Togo himself!
First off, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us! To get us started, would you mind introducing yourself for your English-speaking fans?
Hello, my name is Mito Togo. I planned, illustrated, wrote––in addition to all sorts of other things––Hadaka Shitsuji. I’m not exactly sure what I’d call my primary occupation at this point (lol). Thank you for having me.
How did you get started making games? Was it something you always knew you wanted to do?
Before I knew it, this is what I was doing. Earlier I said I wasn’t really sure what I’d call my main occupation, but at least in terms of the jobs I’ve been taking lately, you could probably call me an illustrator first and foremost.
Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be a painter or a manga artist or a stage actor, but game developer never really occurred to me back then. It’s kinda like I just started with a love of drawing and then I developed a love of telling stories from theater and eventually it just kind of led me here.
Oh, and of course I was always a nerd (lol).
What was the inspiration for Hadaka Shitsuji? Why butlers?
I wouldn’t really say it had any one thing I could point to as its inspiration. It’s not really that kind of game.
One day, one of my friends who I’d been making doujin works with at the time just––completely out of the blue––said, “Hey, wouldn’t Naked Butlers be a hilarious title?” (lol) And I was like, “And what? A butler comes to wake you up in the morning saying, ‘Good morning, Master.’ in the nude? That’s so stupid! I love it!” I was feeling really inspired so I drew up something of an outline for the concept and ended up getting really attached to it. I guess you could say I fell in love with it. The ideas just sort of kept flowing from there––“Wait. What if they’re not naked from the start, but they’re regular butlers who get naked later? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? And then what about these characters and this kind of story…” I got really serious about making it and, well, you know how that turned out in the end.
I think one of the things that really sets the game apart is how it goes against the grain with regard to many conventional BL game tropes. It was pretty rare to see exclusively seme protagonists in BL games before Tomoaki and framing the more romantic ends as “bad” ends was also pretty unusual. Was that something in particular you were going for? Or is that just where your tastes happen to fall?
I’d say it’s a little of both. Like you said, there weren’t a lot of games with exclusively seme protagonists at the time, so I sorta figured if I wanted that sort of game, I should make it myself. But, you know, it seems like seme-protagonist games aren’t all that rare anymore. It was probably just coincidence, but I do sort of feel like I predicted it a bit, and I’m glad that BL game players have more options now.
Were you surprised at how well the game was received? Did you ever think it would get an English release?
I was completely flabbergasted in both cases.
I’ve always felt like there are some pieces of media that pick their audience.
Even the early concepts had a mixed reception, but I just had to tell myself, “This is what I like and there’s no way there isn’t a single other person who has similar tastes out there in the world!” as I worked, and I still believe that now.
I never in my wildest dreams would have thought my game would be brought over to the west, but if my game is spreading, that must mean there are lots of like-minded people out there and that makes me really happy!
Tell us a little about the development process for the game. As I understand it, you had a rough concept for the game way back in 2008! Did it change much from the original concept?
I adjusted details about the story and the characters a bit as I worked, but I carried out the concept as I originally intended. I can say confidently that I didn’t bend from the main concepts: the protagonist would be exclusively seme, he would be selfish in bed, and the butlers would be butlers to the very core!
Writing and illustrating the game must have been a lot of work. Do you generally have a preference for writing or drawing? Were there any scenes you found more difficult to write or draw?
Generally speaking I prefer drawing, but I’d have a hard time saying I liked doing one more than the other when I was working on Hadaka Shitsuji. I guess the main thing was that since I was drawing the art and writing the script, while I was writing I could add CGs whenever I felt like it’d be nice for there to be one or I could match the script to my drawings after illustrating a scene… it was kind of a mess and probably not the most efficient way to work. But I have to say, writing sex scenes and drawing them is equally fun! (lol)
Was it difficult to find voice actors for a game like this? What was the casting process like? Did you have particular actors in mind from the start?
I left most of the casting to the sound director. I think all the characters’ voices fit perfectly, so I’m glad I left it up to an expert. The one thing was that both Mizoguchi and Aoki were both sub-characters who were older and a bit on the quirky side so I suggested a few names myself and got what I was hoping for. I think all the voice actors really put their heart and soul into it, so all of the characters are really charming.
Is there anything you’re particularly excited or apprehensive about the English release?
I can’t wait!
…Is what I’d like to say, but––and I know this is more guilt than apprehension––the game’s full of my signature terrible puns so I feel kind of bad for the translator… (haha…)
You have my apologies for all the trouble!
Do you have anything else you’d like to say to your English-speaking fans?
Thank you for recognizing this strange work from a far off land called Hadaka Shitsuji! I’m so happy you found the game.
Firstly I must warn you that this is definitely not a typical BL game (lol). For better or for worse, I am proud of this self-indulgent passion project of mine, so to you noble and elegant ladies and gentlemen, it would bring me much joy if you enjoy the game carefully and modestly.
Oh, I guess I’d love it for you to spread the word after all and make more likeminded friends. (lol)
I hope you enjoy Hadaka Shitsuji!