E3 2016 Persona 5 Shigenori Soejima Fan Q&A Summary

Following the E3 2016 character design talk with Persona series character designer Shigenori Soejima about Persona 5, the summary of the last day’s event which was an hour-long Q&A session with the fans has been summarized.

How much freedom do you have when designing the characters? Do you have free range or are there guidelines you have to follow?

Soejima essentially has free reign when designing characters. Instead of design constraints, Soejima’s goal is to create characters who will be appealing to the players.

At what stage of development does character design begin?

Character design starts during the conceptual phase of development. The first design created is usually the protagonist, since he serves as the game’s poster child.

What characters are your favorite?

While Soejima likes all of the characters, he especially likes those with short hair so one of his favorites is Makoto Niijima from Persona 5. Morgana from Persona 5 is easy to draw and because they serve a mascot character purpose like Teddie in Persona 4, Soejima hopes fans like Morgana.

What do you draw in your personal time?

In order to flex his imagination, Soejima’s personal illustrations—unreleased to the public—are rather different than the ones officially put out by the Atlus brand. Contemplating that “one day I would like to show off what I draw personally,” Famitsu speculates whether we could see Soejima’s different style in the future.

What inspired you to become a character designer?

The fighting games that were popular in the 1990s. In earlier games, where the character was a small pixel that had to be moved, the fidelity was stronger in fighting games. The charm of those characters and their animations made Soejima think that he also wanted to design game characters.

What is one of your most memorable moments being a character designer?

I like it when players enjoy the characters I’ve designed. Soejima enjoys looking at fan art and encourages people to send their work to Atlus.

Anything you are looking forward to here in Los Angeles/E3?

“He’s been really busy throughout this E3 that he really couldn’t spend too much time outside it. Last night was the first time he could enjoy a nice big juicy burger!… He really enjoys and appreciates all of you coming to these live events and that’s what he’s enjoying the most right now.”

What TV shows do you like?

Soejima’s favorite shows are news broadcasts (of Japan and of the world). The reason for this is because it helps him determine what is being sought from games. Additionally, he enjoys children’s shows like Power Rangers and Pretty Cure because they send children positive messages.

The moderator of the panel asked Soejima about his favorite Gundam series, and he responded that it is still the first.

Who would you like to collaborate with?

Because companies embrace a lot of people from the same trade, it’s not often that the opportunity for a collaboration arises. Soejima asks that fans send in their requests for collaborations.

Many voice actors state that their dream is to play the part of a Gundam pilot. Similarly, Soejima would love to contribute to Gundam character design. This was met by a big applause from the audience.

What is your dream project?

Soejima says that his dreams are projects which are loved and talked about by many people. With 2016 being the year of Persona‘s 20th anniversary, Soejima wants to do his best to earn fan support and grow the fanbase for the future. Soejima said, “My dream is to continue following along this path,” to which the audience applauded.

Finally, Soejima said, “I think of the people who will look upon my illustrations, such as the fans I’m meeting at this E3. I wish to make a games that can be shared with all of you and that you can look forward to in the future.”

Translation help thanks to Setsu00 of NeoGAF and Mystic of TRADUKO Soft.


What inspired you to become a character designer?

What is one of your most memorable moments being a character designer?

Anything you are looking forward to here in Los Angeles/E3?

A few more questions were asked during the panel such as “How did you go about designing the playable cast to show off their individuality while still keeping to the established costume setting?” and “How did you go about designing the main personas for each of them?”

Pictures of the Booth

Shigenori Soejima drew illustrations on the booth at the end of the event.

Pictures of the Atlus booth (via @garfep).

Persona 5 is slated to be released for the PS3 and PS4 in Japan on September 15, 2016, with a February 14, 2017 North American release date.

Famitsu, Black Shell Media

  • sillyfudgemonkeys

    And yet no one asked what’s the correct way to spell Ann(e)’s name. smh
    (joking aside, great interview!)

    • PowerGuy88

      the english/western way to spell it is Ann. their names were on a poster at E3

      • sillyfudgemonkeys

        There’s two problems. 1) there’s two different ways to spell her name in English/western aka there’s “Anne” and “Ann” 2) they’ve used both spellings (Ann first back in Sept 2015 like so:

        And then they changed it to Anne in May 2016(LIKE JUST ONE MONTH AGO!)


        And now they changed it back to “Ann” at E3 (this one is western and the previous 2 were japanese sources but still??????):

        They just keep bouncing back and forth between both common spellings (Anne seems to be just a little more common than Ann tho) and it’s kind of a headache…. ;w;

        • twincast

          I seriously hope they stick with “Ann”. She may be a whopping quarter American, but her name is still Japanese – and in kanji, to boot! Japanese knows no silent e’s, and I thoroughly despise using spellings of English names for Japanese ones that coincidentally sound similar. (About as much as I hate ateji.)

          In fact, as a Japanese national, her official (passport) transcription of 杏 simply can’t legally be “Anne”. (That said, as much as I personally prefer this particular transliteration, I’m not 100% sure whether “Ann” is allowed or she actually could only use “An”, and it’s fairly easy to adopt aliases in Japan. :p)

          Not to mention that “Ann” is the actual proper way (as much as there still is such) to spell the English name, anyway; the French spelling “Anne” having surpassed it in popularity only relatively recently.

          And I suffer from (Western) people mangling Japanese names enough as it is (the dubs of P3 & P4 thankfully being almost perfect for a change), the thought of native speakers of languages without (word-final) silent e’s (pretty much all other than French and – thence – English) screwing up even such a simple one annoys me on principle alone. :p

          • Timmy Cinnamon

            Gomenasai, my name is Ken-Sama.

            I’m a 27 year old American Otaku (Anime fan for you gaijins). I draw Anime and Manga on my tablet, and spend my days perfecting my art and playing superior Japanese games. (Disgaea, Final Fantasy, Persona series)

            I train with my Katana every day, this superior weapon can cut clean through steel because it is folded over a thousand times, and is vastly superior to any other weapon on earth. I earned my sword license two years ago, and I have been getting better every day.

            I speak Japanese fluently, both Kanji and the Osaka dialect, and I write fluently as well. I know everything about Japanese history and their bushido code, which I follow 100%

            When I get my Japanese visa, I am moving to Tokyo to attend a prestigious High School to learn more about their magnificent culture. I hope I can become an animator for Studio Ghibli or a game designer!

            I own several kimonos, which I wear around town. I want to get used to wearing them before I move to Japan, so I can fit in easier. I bow to my elders and seniors and speak Japanese as often as I can, but rarely does anyone manage to respond.

            Wish me luck in Japan!

          • MadeInThe90’s

            good luck weeb

          • sillyfudgemonkeys

            I just want them (be it AtlusJPN or AtlusUSA) to a name. Tbh, at first I was leaning towards Anne, but after finding out “Ann” was french, and since there’s a lot of French themes in P5 it fits the best (all the while still retaining her Japanese heritage, as well as being one of the more proper ways of translating it)…just…..why didn’t they just stick with Ann???? ….why did they have to bring “Anne” into it…..;w; …of course Ann does seem like a rebel, and she could be using the “e” cause it’s her way of rebelling (similar to Lisa and her learning canotnese)….*shrugs* I dunno….just please keep it at Ann…. ;w;

  • JB

    Soejima seems like a wonderful person.

  • I love that man. What a beast.

  • Trevor Cook

    Since Soejima likes watching the news wonder if he has heard of the Clinton Crime Family and their “Charity” lol

    • Violetdeer

      Fuck off

  • Yuuki

    nice he also watches or atleast like precure^^

  • Noir

    Sounds like Soejima is a Gundam man :) I like that.