Please note: As of 01/11/2013, SpotPass functionality in Nintendo Letter Box has ceased. Please see the statement about the Nintendo Letter Box SpotPass service for more information.
It seems Kitai-san can’t say it herself. Imai-san, would you, please? (laughs)
She said it was sort of middle-aged . (laughs)
When I heard that all these guys over 30 had made them...
A group of middle-aged guys over 30 had pored over comic books for girls as research for making the stationery, but to a young woman, it still looked like it was made by a bunch of middle-aged men. (laughs)
So we said, “If you’re such an expert, why don’t you make some!!”
You got dragged into the project.
Kitai-san made some and we took a look, and they were totally different.
It’s true. I realised my artistic senses were completely different to hers when it came to younger people.
But we had polished up our “girl power” as much as we could! (laughs)
It just wasn’t enough. (laughs)
How many types of stationery did you end up with?
We made loads, but we chose the best ones and settled on 42. I think we remade almost all of them.
Kitai-san, did you do all of them?
Oh no. Since it was toward the end of development, I couldn’t handle them all alone, so I created some samples of what kinds of cards are popular now or are popular overseas and explained them in detail to Denyu-sha. Then some absolutely adorable ones started coming in.
The staff making the stationery soon got the knack after beginning to work with Kitai-san.
By the way, how did Nikki, who explains how to write notes , come about?
Pretty much for the same reasons that we created the stationery, but we thought about having a character appear to help users figure out how they should write or to inspire them to write and draw. At first, when remaking the software for the Nintendo 3DS system and adapting it to SpotPass, even we at Nintendo didn’t have a clear idea of what SpotPass was!
That was true then.
I thought we needed to have the users understand better what we still couldn’t quite imagine ourselves, so the launch point was the need for a character to explain things like that in an easy-to-understand way.
At first, we thought of a character who would drift in all of a sudden like a balloon. Later there was something like a combination of a bird and a ghost. That was actually a final candidate!
A bird and a...ghost?
It was actually cute, but it looked pretty freaky. It could write a note for you, so it had something like hands, too. Maybe that was something else middle-aged! (laughs)
I think our lack of comprehension of SpotPass was reflected in that. (laughs)
Your vague feeling of not understanding took the shape of a bird-ghost character. (laughs)
Yes, it was a really distinctive character, so the design of the whole thing was warping around it. For that reason, we took it out in the interim.
We proceeded for a while without a character, but a character to explain how to write notes and how to use the software was necessary no matter what, so we held auditions.
Yes. Since it was for the Nintendo 3DS system, we thought Mii characters would be good and had Denyu-sha introduce a bunch to us.
We decided to choose the Mii character that was perfect for this software.
And the one we chose was Nikki. About that time, someone at Denyu-sha said that I like girls who wear glasses.
Well... (laughs) But pretty much all of the Mii characters in the audition were wearing glasses.
Did you settle on the name Nikki right away?
We were like, “How about Nikki because you can write a diary (nikki in Japanese)? Another candidate was Fumi Kakuyo (“I’m gonna write a letter” in Japanese).
Fumi Kakuyo? That’s incredibly middle-aged ! (laughs)
What’s her name overseas?
The spelling is a little different depending on the language, but they all sound like Nikki when pronounced.
Oh. But they won’t know that it means diary in Japanese.
Who wrote the tutorial messages you get from Nikki?
Why, Nikki of course! I tell her what I would like her to write.
Right. Together with Nikki, we all give it a lot of detailed thought, but she writes the final copy.
We want her to write things that will be useful to people who aren’t sure how they should write, so she drew cats and stars and footprints—the kinds of things that anyone can easily copy. Come to think of it, Imai-san and Denyu-sha did create some sample sentences for what she should say, but they were like a parade of phrases today’s girls would never use! (laughs)
It felt like men trying too hard to sound like a girl. Nikki straightened that out, too.
Like I thought, we guys are lacking in “girl power.”
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