6 November 2015

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●Disney Resort KH event once again exceptional

As we previously reported, on the 3rd Nov 2015, the Kingdom Hearts Premium Theatre event was held in the Cinema Ikspiari at Tokyo Disney Resort in Maihama in Chiba Prefecture in order to celebrate the opening of Disney fan event D23 Expo Japan 2015.

The event was packed with content, such as Kingdom Hearts series director Tetsuya Nomura introducing breaking information and images, composer Yoko Shimomura performing on the piano, and video messages that had been gathered from voice actors.

Here, we will report on the shape of Kingdom Hearts Premium Theatre. There are a few pictures… and a lot of text!

 

[▲Limited edition event items were sold at the Disney Store. Some items were already sold out before curtains up, it was a big success.]

For the opening, after a review of the series made up of promo videos for each title, the senior vice president and general manager of Walt Disney Company Asia and Disney Interactive Asia, Justin Scarpone, took the stage. Scarpone stated that the Kingdom Hearts series has shipped 21 million units worldwide, it is one of the most successful games in the long history of Disney. “Please enjoy this special experience for fans of Kingdom Hearts alone right until the end,” he declared, and the event began.

 

[▲Senior vice president and general manager of Walt Disney Company Asia and Disney Interactive Asia, Justin Scarpone. “As a fan of Kingdom Hearts myself, I was really looking forward to todays event,” he commented.]

Moving on, Kingdom Hearts series executive producer Shinji Hashimoto took the stage. Hashimoto spoke of his gratitude at being able to hold such an event that allowed him to come to direct contact with fans, and mentioned the smartphone app Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ[Key] that began service in September, and “please enjoy with my best regards!” was his firm appeal. “I believe today we will be able to show you new information, so please look forward to it,” he said.

[▲Series executive producer Shinji Hashimoto. “I am at level 88 in Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ[Key]. I didn’t get one of the (limited time) Roxas medals… My family did, though.”]

 

■ Piano performance by Yoko Shimomura and Hiroyuki Nakayama

First on the programme for the actual event was a piano performance by Kingdom Hearts series composer Yoko Shimomura and pianist Hiroyuki Nakayama. They played three songs: Dearly Beloved, The Other Promise, and Musique pour la Tristesse de Xion. Shimomura and Nakayama played fresh arrangements as a two-piano duet. The event-goers listened quietly in rapt attention.

After the performance, Shimomura and Nakayama gave a talk. As they had met during auditions for the Kingdom Hearts piano arrangements album, they had known eachother for quite some time and the pair had the perfect atmosphere for a talk. However, at their first recording session, they performed from midnight til 4am – Shimomura apparently just wouldn’t give the OK, leading to tears being shed in the bathroom (by Nakayama). However, Nakayama met Shimomura’s demands with tenacity, and (Nakayama) looks back on it thinking that it’s thanks to those hardships that today could happen. Music is a vital part of the Kingdom Hearts series. Please look out for Shimomura and Nakayama’s activities from hereon out, too.

 

■Director Tetsuya Nomura also took the stage

After the piano performance came the reveal of the long-awaited new information. As the name of the event, ‘Premium Theatre’, implies, the information was revealed mainly through movies. Series director Tetsuya Nomura also took the stage, and he personally explained the content.

A new world will appear in PC Browser game Kingdom Hearts χ[Key] from the 5th Nov, and smartphone app Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ[Key] will see an ‘Everybody Match with Mickey’ event start from 6pm today (11/3). Also, log in on or after 4am tomorrow (11/4) and you will be gifted a King Mickey KHII Ver (★5) medal.

[▲”We weren’t able to do a rehearsal so here’s my off the cuff take,” said Tetsuya Nomura, confirming the important points on palm cards. Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ[Key] King Mickey KHII Ver (★5) medal gift is available from 4am on the 4th Nov.]

 

■The Latest News for Kingdom Hearts 2.8 and Kingdom Hearts III announced

It continues with the announcement of the latest promotional video for KINGDOM HEARTS HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. Meeting with Aqua in the Realm of Darkness (King Mickey), someone has the missing pages of the Foretellers’ Script and it is the traitor who has it (Mysterious Person) and a barrage of dialogue stirs up anticipation! In the promotional video, it showed a video message from Megumi Toyoguchi who does Aqua, Ryoutarou Okiayu for Terra, and Kouki Uchiyama for Ventus and Roxas. Below you can pick up their comments.

 

Aqua’s Role – Megumi Toyoguchi

The first scene that I’ve recorded as Aqua was: I believe it was the scene with Maleficent and it was my first experience having a conversation with a Disney character. For Disney characters, because you are playing a “larger” role, there is a sense of distance between them and the difference is size of your role. I remember struggling with that for the first time. While gradually doing it, you come to know how to create the character by knowing what express. It became very fun to do.

The most impressive dialogue is when Aqua says “We are connected” (Note: In the English version, Aqua says “There’s always a way) and it was done very well. There were many times where I had to record and I would be piled with dozens of takes (wry smile). I thought that because I was recording so much, it may have turned out informal but it turned out OK in the end and it was really good. I will always have those memories.

The Kingdom Hearts series are naturally fun games to play and I’m very glad to become a part of it. Before that, I was under the role of Paine from Final Fantasy X-2. Being a character from the Kingdom Hearts series was a different manner and I was happy about it. Actually, when I was playing, I didn’t finish Aqua’s storyline. It would result in sadness when I finish… I would have advanced to the final parts. But since there’s a sequel coming out, I’m getting a feeling that “I might defeat the final boss” now.

Within the three works, there is a new episode. Although I think you are looking forward to the new Kingdom Hearts, I might be looking forward to it more than anyone else (laughs). I think it would be good for me to try it from the beginning… by starting from the beginning, it would be nice to play along the timeline of Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. Though I haven’t recorded yet (KH0.2BBS), I really enjoyed being Aqua and everyone please look forward to it.

 

Terra’s Role – Ryoutarou Okiayu

The first time I’ve voice acted was for a promotional trailer that wasn’t part of the main recordings. “I’m no longer me?” and I also became worried (laughs). When I finally reached the recording production, I was always doing it alone…  As you know, Terra is out on a journey to search for Ven but I have not yet met Ven (his actor Uchiyama-kun). While I was working, I didn’t had a chance to meet him. So when we finally meet, “Oh so you’re Ven.” I linked it to Terra’s personality when I saw Uchiyama-kun (laughs).

The most impressive dialogue was when I was talking to Chikao Otsuka, “What did you do to him?”, it was a line that was also used in the trailer. In that scene, it was meant to be a premonition of what will really happen. In this title, it considers three characters for the storyline. While I was recording, I also had envisioned that the three of us were good friends who were spending time together. I feel like those moments will always last forever and I am under the illusion that the story is still continuing.

I think every Kingdom Hearts fan is waiting for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue next year. Since it seems to talk about what happens with the Birth by Sleep team, I want you to look forward to it. Terra, what happened to you? I really want Aqua to escape. What has become of Ven… I wonder where Uchiyama-kun went (laughs). With that said, please look forward to the next title.

 

Ventus & Roxas’s Role – Kouki Uchiyama

In regards to Roxas, you could say it was like life-sized… For the character Roxas, I was living in a world that didn’t feel realistic and felt the question and wonder of the real world. As for myself in junior high at the time, I somewhat thought of that and it was a similar experience that felt real. I thought about those experiences and placed those feelings into the dialogues. In that sense, I remembered it was easy to capture the mood.

In regards to Ven, it wasn’t myself, I had to force myself to be a bright and lively person. With that said, it’s not really myself. I’m normally more quiet. I feel that I was carrying out a form that was not myself.

This is long story but in one of the series’ titles as a voice actor, it didn’t felt like work. For how difficult it is, I went to the studio feeling like I was going to play, and I remember voicing for the script. During the time of Kingdom Hearts II, Roxas had his best friends Hayner, Pence, and Olette and (the voice actors) we were recording together. It felt like I was going to school and I had fun in the studio. With time passing, my role for the series have been different for different titles in a variety of manners. There were a lot of memories… in the life of one work. It seems the series is still continuing. Because I had a sense of fun being involved, I hope that I am not done yet.

For what’s coming next of the Kingdom Hearts series, I have not been informed of anything but I am also looking to the future the same way you guys are. Thank you in advance for the KH series!

 

■ A making-of Kingdom Hearts III video, too

 

The latest information for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue followed by Kingdom Hearts III. Here are the messages from the voice actors in the video.

 

Sora’s Actor – Miyu Irino

For the past decade or so, there are ways in which Sora and I have grown together, and places in which we have grown differently. I think perhaps those ways in which I have changed and not changed come together in how Sora as a character has changed in the past fifteen years.

I have been working on the Kingdom Hearts series with Mamoru Miyano, who plays Riku, and Risa Uchida, who plays Kairi, since we were in our teens, and I feel we have an incredibly strong bond. They really are like childhood friends to me.

Before I became involved in Kingdom Hearts, I had the general feel of Disney’s Donald and Goofy, but now when I see Donald and Goofy at Disneyland in pictures, I get a different feeling than with other characters. They’re my friends, or something.

I love the story of Roxas and how he exists, and the scene in the latter half of KHII when he melds with Sora had a deep impression on me. I feel an affinity with him, too.

One thing that was memorable was singing “Under the Sea” in the “Little Mermaid” world. Instead of singing karaoke, I’m glad I was able to sing this.

My memories of recording was linked to my memories in junior high school. I feel it’s a special work. In the future when go overseas, I can let you know I’m doing the voice for Kingdom Hearts, I strongly feel that I have a global presence.

With the current titles for Kingdom Hearts, there are many titles where I turn around to see a piece of the past. Please enjoy them by all means until the sequel.

 

Kairi’s Actor – Risa Uchida

For Kairi in the world of Kingdom Hearts, I have played the role being aware of her light. Capturing the mood for light has been different compared to before and now. Being in the light, she must be strong, and I believe she has matured. Kairi continued to stay in the light and she is a wonderful kid, and there were a lot of things that reminded me of Kairi.

Xion initially didn’t had a sense of self but gradually gained her own thoughts… it was very difficult to express those ranges because I am not a nobody and I am not being manipulated by someone. However for anxiety, I feel everyone has felt that once. I didn’t know what to think of Xion but I thought it was a good idea to snuggle in loneliness and anxiety… I thought it was very sad.

An important person in Sora’s romantic interest and friendship. While Kairi is the light for Sora, I think Sora must be the light for Kairi. I think Kairi thinks of Riku and Sora as different brothers, and in KHII, Kairi was able to fight with the Keyblade which I believed happened behind Riku. To each other they are important and I admired the three of them growing up together and being committed is especially wonderful.

For the audition, I’ve undergone many stages for the job, the voice’s job was not to sound unprofessional. I had a sense of insecurity for the challenges but I ended up loving the script for for the world of Kingdom Hearts. It was a feeling that I wanted to be able to go into this world and in a way, I’m gratefully happy I was needed to be in the world of Kingdom Hearts. Alongside Kairi, I believe I am also looking forward to growing and thank you in advance.

 

Riku’s Actor – Mamoru Miyano

In Kingdom Hearts, Riku had a long fight against the darkness. He had atoned against it and the courage to confront it. And once he had become accustomed to the light, I believe he had found salvation. Overcoming this experience allowed him to fight with a Keyblade was in fact a big change and there I wanted to play that consciousness.

Riku is a special existence to me because I was working with the Kingdom Hearts series for a long time and it’s become part of my voice acting life. He is growing and I also grow a bit as well. My change was something meaningful.

Riku is admired and dazzled that Sora doesn’t change much. It was very special because Kairi told Sora specifically this in order to connect with Sora.

When I received the day to work for Kingdom Hearts, it was the beginning of a fresh time as a voice actor, and with Miyu Irino-kun, it was a lot of fun performing in the studio, it became a learning experience, and it was an irreplaceable moment for me. I personally thought I was connected by strong ties to Irino-kun as Sora and Riku.

For me, Kingdom Hearts is important to everyone because we love it together. You have my sincerest thanks.

 

In the latest footage of Kingdom Hearts III special to the event, it showed a cutscene of chess and two people having a conversation. “Have you heard of the Keyblade War?” A full version of the conversation was shown. What do they know about each other, it is implied but not spoken, and in the conversation, it seemed like they are rivals… you can feel the relationship between these two. In the action scenes, there were new Heartless, a Nobody that had a sickle, Attraction Flow (special technique triggered under certain conditions), there was a scene of a shotlock type attack like from Birth by Sleep, the new battle scenes were packed.

In addition, Tetsuya Nomura re-emerged and shown a promotional video also special to the event, it was a video of the “making” of Kingdom Hearts. “We were working on the worlds you can go to however I can’t show you the world yet since it’s still in development. I can not show you a new world today but instead I will show something in the middle of production.” (Mr. Nomura)

The development of Kingdom Hearts was done nearly 90% by the Osaka studio and about 10% in Tokyo. It was unveiled in the footage of the Tokyo studio. In the promotional video, it shown the appearance of a nobody had had a sickle. “It’s a new nobody that was included in the promotional video of Kingdom Hearts III. I think fans may know what kind of nobody it is.” (Mr. Nomura) Is it related to Marluxia!?

In addition, Kingdom Hearts III will have a new location taking place in the heavenly map, Olympus, Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep will have you controlling Aqua, effects are gorgeous, lighting processing is added, and introducing these have become a rich appearance.

“Please look forward to the Attraction Flow, weapon transformations, and better party member cooperation.” (Mr. Nomura)

 

■ King Mickey makes an appearance!

A number of latest news were revealed, the place was crowded, and there was also a special video! It featured scenes of King Mickey from the titles, and when the video finished, The King appeared on stage! There were big cheers from the audience for The King! Tetsuya Nomura, and Yoko Shimomura also joined with King Mickey. The three of them were interacting with audience and the situation became a buzz.

 

[▲His majesty aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh]

There was a great excitement when The King sent off. Shinji Hashimoto was on the stage thanking its fans for the 13 years since its series release. He greeted, “Thank you and we will do our best in the future.” It was soaked with the applause of the fans and the event concluded.


[▲After the end, fan comments were recorded (left), as well as cosplayers (right).]

 

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