Natalie is a Japanese online entertainment news site, so this is an official interview.
PART 1: GENERAL
• Mr. Hikokubo graduated from game-related studies at an anime professional school and started his work on arcade games, involved in the development, planning and management of said games.
He then drifted into more independent work, involved in the development of various games, was hired for Yu-Gi-Oh!, and for a time he was involved in the development of various Ninjutsu for the NARUTO anime series. .
• Hikokubo is a fan of Magic the Gathering.
• He was approached by the producer of the official card game around the winter of 1999.
• Hikokubo was in charge of Duel Setting for the original series (Duel Monsters), and explains that at the time, the card game in the original comic and the official card game had somewhat different rules. Basically, his job was to re-enact the comic Duels in a material that would make it more consistent with that of the official card game rules. Basically, if a scene didn’t work with the official card set, Hikokubo had to edit the Duel script to patch the cards to make it work.
He explains in arcs like the Virtual World Arc that he should be thinking of maps and effects for these Duels, but at the time he was primarily responsible for translating the Duels from the comic book into those from the TV show. .
• Hikokubo was involved with GX later in the pre-production stages, and suggested that for GX they should focus on using Fusion Summons for the GX era. He explains that Polymerization and Fusion Summoning were rarely used in DM’s era, and he felt it was an underused but interesting mechanic unique to Yu-Gi-Oh! Takahashi Kazuki-sensei was extremely excited about the idea.
• Hikokubo explains that GX having Fusion Summons was not a request from Konami, it was all him and the staff. The cards and stories were developed by the anime’s production team, and KONAMI’s official card game staff would consider cards based on the TV show.
• He confirms that there is a back and forth between him and KONAMI staff, that he will use cards suggested and requested by Konami as needed, and over the years the position has had more va back and forth between the two of the evenings.
• Hikokubo explains during GX, when designing the characters for each week, the director and writers would meet with him to come up with the basic idea of the Deck the character would use. These kind of meetings are no longer done, instead he will come up with maps and duels for the director, writers and KONAMI staff, and he will adjust the maps and duels as needed if they are missing a certain Spicy.
• Hikokubo explains that Duel Composition is basically a coordinator’s job for the different parts, but doesn’t think his job requires any special skills. He admits that there are people who are probably more intimidated by the way Yu-Gi-Oh! works under the engine hood, people are better with planning and better writers, but he thinks he’s pretty good at the job, and his “wide but shallow sea of interests” keeps him interested sci-fi, cute/adorable and playful. ideas and maps.
• Due to its wide variety of interests and information, it is able to respond to consultations from staff of each party involved, such as KONAMI and screenwriters, as well as make suggestions and proposals.
• Hikokubo explains that his favorite part of his job is bringing LP to a certain threshold, building the flow of Duels, or just finding that way to make sure a Duel hits 0 LP. He also likes having to think about card names and is excited when the name doesn’t conflict with the names of other copyrighted media to ensure legal compliance.
(An example of this Nash with Silent Honors ARK with his name mimicking Nash who started out as Shark.)
• He explains that building a character’s Deck, for him, often starts with the Ace and he builds it down from there.
• He also likes to see the things he works on appreciated by children, and was a big fan of children imitating the Manjoume! Thunder! vocals (Chazz It Up!) during the GX broadcast.
PART 2: REFLECTIONS ON THE DUELS HE RECALLS IN WRITING
Duel of Monsters Episode 131
• Hikokubo explains that the original clash between Slifer and Obelisk was much shorter in the comics, and he met Yoshida Shin who was overseeing the script writing for the Duel, and explains that Mr. Yoshida wanted the clash between Obelisk and Slifer would be longer and have more pizazz, but he also had to make sure the extended class flowed together naturally in the second half of the Duel.
So he found himself having to keep track of Yugi’s hand size for Slifer to make sure nothing went too far off the rails, but he also had to make sure the Egyptian gods lasted somewhat and didn’t break down too easily. He considers it one of his most difficult tasks, but one he was thrilled with in the end.
There were a lot of Anime Original components but the result was popular, and he and Mr. Yoshida basically pumped their fists to make the results work as well as he did.
GX Episode 140
• The second duel he mentions is Jim Cook against Supreme King Judai. He was very passionate about creating Super Polymerization, and throughout GX he wanted to express the idea of how cool Polymerization was as a card. And that he saw superpolymerization as the culmination and pinnacle of this concept.
• He and Natalie’s interviewer reflect and note that yes, cards like Fossil Fusion and Power Bond were designed to expand the range of ways you can fuse a monster.
• Jim’s Fossil Deck was used against Supreme King Judai with the idea of “searching and digging up the heart of Judai”.
• He likes card names and effects to match the thoughts and actions of Duelists, and he will sometimes need to tweak Duel to make it work in a more symbolic way, and he and the scriptwriters try to keep Duels from being too one-sided. that when a losing character says an impassioned or bullish line, it doesn’t seem natural. So they try to give it a dramatic flow.
5D Episode 33
• The basic idea of Infernity was Hikokubo’s proposal.
• Infernity’s “Handless Combo”, which allows for super powerful abilities when there are no cards in hand, was inspired by the fact that the Y-Gi-Oh! allowed original game modes, such as deck destruction or special victory conditions.
• Infernity was designed to fit the idea of a cool character who was the leader of Yusei’s team, Jack or Crow. And he wanted the character to have a particularly nasty and deadly combo. And he thinks the idea of being able to have a firm game state with 0 cards is something you wouldn’t normally think of.
• Miracle Locus being such a counter-intuitive use was part of this whole aesthetic.
PART 3: TRUE
• Hikokubo considered ARC-V to be a particularly difficult show to do due to the handling of pendulum monsters and pendulum scales, but he considered VRAINS to be particularly difficult.
• A good example is how Soulburner’s Salamangreat Deck uses monsters to re-summon monsters, so he often found it particularly difficult to write Soulburner’s Deck into duels that caused him to lose positions or lose positions.
• He found Extra Link particularly difficult to make and work for the drama, when Mr. Yoshida requested that it be used in certain parts of the story.
• He enjoys building difficult and absurd combos, despite the difficulty that might arise from building them
• He notes that THE DARK SIDE OF DIMENSIONS was quite complicated compared to the special ruleset used in the film, but director Kuwabara tried to make it easier to visually understand what was happening, such as the monsters getting stronger .
PART 4: DUEL RUSH
• As of 2020, Mr. Hikokubo is in charge of the duel composition for Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS, which uses Rush Duel, which has a different set of rules than the official card game.
• A big goal from SEVENS was to more consistently sync that the cards as they appear in the show match the cards you can buy in real life, which was a goal since Yu-Gi-Oh ! GX, but it wasn’t until SEVENS that they were able to make that a cohesive reality.
• Hikokubo does like this with the two most recent entries, he was able to create much more comedic, playful, and wacky cards like he did during Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL
• Hikokubo thinks the big appeal of Yu-Gi-Oh! is the ability to replicate duels from TV shows using the map, something you can’t exactly do with anime mecha toys and figures.