During the recent STGCC12, we were able to meet with TOUMA for a group interview. Due to the language barrier, his interpreter, Hideaki Matsubara, translated our questions and his responses. The following is reconstructed with a voice recording of the interview.
Q: How did you feel about coming to Singapore?
A: I find the weather here to be quite comfortable and the chicken rice here is one of my favorite food. The last time I came to Singapore was 3 years ago. This time, other than coming to STGCC, I also have some business with Akiba no Hoshi.
Q: This is your first time coming to STGCC, how do you feel about this event?
A: Actually, I have attended STGCC before, privately. But It sure has grown to be more exciting and larger than the last one I attended.
Q: Is there anything that you have taken an interest in, at this event?
A: I would like to visit the booths of Hot toys and Akiba no Hoshi. If it is possible, I also would like to meet the Hot Toys’s sculptor team.
Q: When you were starting your business, were there any difficulties did you faced?
A: I started my company 10 years ago. At beginning, I sculpted the figure prototypes personally. As my company continued to grow, I had lesser time to sculpt the prototypes. Therefore, I now draft the design and outsource the sculpting work to others.
Q: How is it like running your business alone. What are the difficulties you faced?
A: I handle all the operations from orders to deliveries. It can be quite overwhelming sometimes. I get domestic and overseas orders, especially from USA.
Q: Where do you draw your inspirations from for your designs?
A: I am always thinking about the character designs. Even when taking the train, if I get a sudden inspiration of a head or body part, I will make a memo of it. Then, when I get a request to make a toy, I would look through my various ideas and try to assemble a design that best fits the request.
Q: You have a degree in 2D visual design. Why did you switch to 3D work?
A: When I left SEGA, I could not compete with so many 2D artists in the market. Therefore, I switched to being a 3D artist. I learnt my 3D skills when I was in junior high. My father had stopped buying toys for me then. I would go to the toy store, take a good look at the toy and then try to replicate it from clay.
Q: What do you do when you encounter a mental block?
A: During my stint with SEGA, I gained a lot of experience in character design. One of the things I learnt was to first create a sort of template for each type of character. With this template in mind, I can flip through my ideas and create characters that would best suit the trait I want.
Q: You have worked for SEGA before. Are there any characters you like from SEGA?
A: I like Sonic the hedgehog.
Q: Are there any games that you are currently playing now?
A: I am currently playing monster hunter on the PSP and 3DS. I often play it together with my 3 kids.
Q: Er… Where did you get your mask from?
A: There is a factory where the professional masked wrestlers would make their masks at. After coming up with the design, I asked the factory to help make it.
– End of interview –
While he was masked, TOUMA proves to be an interesting character and a wonderful person to talk to. I certainly hope to see TOUMA make an appearance at STGCC next year.
Editor note(Tueac): Also here is an announcement, the writer of this piece have officially enlisted into the Singapore Armed Forces today, under the National Service Act of Singapore. We would like to thank him for his contributions to Ani-Culture.net.
Glad he got to talk TOUMA, someone he sees as an inspiration in character design.
Of Cos he will be back with us soon, but here’s hoping he will have a good time in the Army~