Atlus Character Designer Shigenori Soejima Interview on Projects From 2010 – 2017, Artistic Process

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Persona 4 Arena

Soejima: Persona 4 Arena (henceforth P4A) was the first of its kind in the Persona series. That being said, I decided on some firsts for my own artwork, like damaged clothes and energetic poses and faces. They also have some hard shading, so they look more dynamic.

Do you have any favorite pieces?

Soejima: The main visual from 2011. I’d always wanted to draw Aigis as her body broke down. When I was drawing a broken-down Aigis for the P3 character sheets, Niinou-san (Kazuya Niinou, a game designer at Atlus at the time) would tell me, “A robot isn’t a robot if you can’t tear them apart!” He said it so often that I internalized it. I agreed, thinking, “She’s a robot, and a girl, on top of that. We have to break her! That last bit might be a fetish, though.” (laughs)

Even though I put so much thought into it, in P3 she ended up only losing one part at most, and that dissatisfied me. (laughs) In contrast, P4A was a fighting game, and I was glad to be able to draw her breaking down. I finally got to do it. In the first draft of the art, she was more beaten up, but I revised it because it looked too scary.

The package art was also memorable. Oribe-san drew it, but I worked on the final draft. I wanted some impact at the center of the work, so I added some sparks. I would practice using a flint lighter in a dark room, but getting a good photo was a struggle because there weren’t any good sparks flying out.

You took photos as reference?

Soejima: I pulled the sparks from that photo and used them in the art itself. I’d tried again and again to draw the sparks myself, but they didn’t look good. In the end, I just decided to take a photo and superimpose the sparks from there. (laughs)

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