Welcome to the third installment of our Women’s History Month interview series! If you missed the first two installments of the series, you can read part 1 with our localization team here or part 2 our interview with artist Shigeo Hamashima here.
For anyone who may be unfamiliar with Women’s History Month, it’s celebrated in the US, UK and Australia during the month of March to bring attention to the contributions of women in our society. So, in the spirit of Women’s History Month, we decided it’d be a good opportunity to highlight some women creators among our eroge partners and let them tell us about themselves and their work.
This week, we talked to Yuka Kayura, one of Circus‘s artists. She’s in charge of art for the character Otome Asakura in the D.C. Series, among other things.
How did you get into the eroge industry? Were there any specific works or creators that inspired you to work on eroge?
It all started when a friend lent me this game and told me, “This game is awesome! Let’s cosplay from it!” (lol) After that, I played a lot of visual novels with my friend and cosplayed from them. Then I applied to be an official cosplayer at Circus and I was accepted.
I didn’t realize until I’d started at Circus that Naru Nanao had done the art for the very first visual novel I’d ever played. I was so surprised!
How do you think your experience as a woman has informed your work?
I haven’t really given it much thought.
What is your process like? Do you have any particular techniques for getting a feel for a scene or character?
I guess I just read the lines I get and then try to reproduce the scene I imagine on paper? I’m not really sure how to explain it…
What are your favorite kinds of scenes to draw? Or favorite aspects of characters?
I like drawing hair and clothes fluttering in the breeze and stuff like that. It’s a lot of fun to draw.
Are there any parts of the process of producing art for eroge that you find particularly difficult? What keeps you motivated when things get tough?
When I get overwhelmed, I watch some happy anime or read some manga so I can regain my motivation.
Is there a game or other work you’ve worked on that you’re particularly proud of?
Now that’s a difficult question. There’s a lot of stuff I felt really satisfied with as I was working on it, but as time passes all I can see is the things I feel like I should have done differently… If I’m being honest, I don’t think I really have a piece I could really say I’m completely happy with yet.
How do you feel about the censorship and obscenity rules in Japan?
I guess I think it’s more erotic with the mosaics. (lol)
What’s it like working with a team to produce genga for a game? Is making sure everyone’s styles mesh difficult?
I think working with a team is more reassuring than difficult. When you’re working alone, you have to worry about things all by yourself, but when you’re working with a group of people they can help point out issues, and I find that particularly helpful. Also, the colorists work some serious magic and do things that line art alone can’t, so it’s very reassuring!
Since you’re specifically responsible for Otome Asakura in the D.C. series, are there any aspects of her design that you’re really particular about when you draw her––things that have to be just right or it’s not Otome?
I was thinking about this while I was working on the new D.C.II game that’s coming out this year. I think it’s definitely her ribbon. The new game is set after the events of the original and now that Otome is grown up, she doesn’t wear a ribbon in her hair anymore, but it feels a little like something’s missing I guess… She seems almost like a different person without it. It was pretty difficult.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
When I see the finished product lined up on store shelves. Also, I really appreciate it when the players send me words of encouragement.
Are there any dream projects you hope to have the opportunity to work on some day?
I think I’d like to focus my efforts into my own original manga outside of my game related work. I guess this is kind of dreaming big, but I’d love it if one of my original comics got turned into an anime.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to your English-speaking fans?
I’m very happy that my work is available overseas and has been enjoyed by so many people. It’s been nine years since the original came out, but this spring a sequel to D.C.II, Dearest Marriage, with Otome as the lead is coming out.
I think the players who have loved the series for such a long time are to thank for that.
I hope that some day the sequel is translated and you all can enjoy it too. And lastly, I’d like to thank everyone for taking the time to read this.
Check back next week for our final installment in the series when we talk to MILK, singer of Imouto Paradise’s opening theme!
Otome was my favorite character in DCII. Her “otōto-kun” beats (almost) every “onii-chan” out there…
Say MG, wouldn’t the perfect way to thank Kayura-san for this interview be to grant her wish regarding Dearest Marriage? *nudge nudge* *wink wink*
I got to see Yuka Kayura several years ago when MG brought her over as a guest at AX and even got a commissioned sketch of Otome. It’d be great if she would come back again.