Session 01 Tsunehiro Uno x Minori Takechi
Minori Takechi（Hereby referred as Takechi）：From this session, we would like to discuss about Gatebox’s vision “Living with Characters” through a dialogue between guest experts from various industries and fields. Our very first talk will be brought to you with Mr. Tsunehiro Uno, a critic, an active critic, writer and the chief editor of the review journal "PLANETS". Thank you so much for coming today, Mr. Uno.
Mr. Tsunehiro Uno (Hereby referred as Uno）：Oh I am so proud and also, I feel a little nervous that I am the first one to be in such a precious moment lol. I am actually very curious and excited to talk to the group of people developing such a wicked and cool product. Thank you for inviting me.
Takechi：It makes me extremely happy from just the fact that you are curious. Rather than creating something that has a meaning in a technological or an academic aspect, we simply pursued what we wanted to create and we resulted in materializing Gatebox. Today we would like to not only exchange opinions regarding Gatebox itself, but would also like to talk about the vision toward reaching the world of living with characters along with the meaning and the value of characters. In addition we would like to investigate the history also.
Uno：That spirit already amazes me! Seriously! I think it is very rare to find someone with such a motivation and who actually makes something, but first of all, what was the reason that you decided to develop Gatebox?
Takechi：Well, before I started creating Gatebox, where was a hardware business which I wanted to do, but that really did not work so well. At that time it really made me think, what is it that I really want to put my passion? This was the time when I got an inspiration that I want to live with my favorite character, Hatsune Miku which I really love, and want to make the dream of living with characters come true.
Uno：So there was a story behind the creation.
Takechi：Yes. However I started off with no clue of the picture or the image of “what is it like to live with a character” and had absolutely no idea what kind of product can make this happen. So everything was trial and error. So I put so much effort, but thankfully that hard work paid off and many people from all over the world which love characters resonated with my vision after the release of the prototype, which lead to production. That was around January 2016. For me, character is something that cannot lack in my life, but Uno-san, what is a “character” to you and how do you see it?
Uno：As a baseline, I believe that in our communication we do not converse by ourselves, rather the communication is only between characters. Human being has various aspects and sides such as subconscious minds, so it is difficult to say that people really do understand themselves fully. In this state, why communication is successfully done? This is because within the community which a person exists in and spends their social life, the “character” of the person and the peers are mutually understood. For instance, in class you may have the studious one, class clown, the cool guy and so on… with such a personalities and characteristics, which makes the communication smooth. On the other hand, these factors can be the reason why bullying happen so there are negative sides also.
Takechi：Very interesting, so in our daily life we only communicate through our virtual fields, which are the imaginary characters.
Uno：Yes Indeed, in addition, our society is only established based on communication between characters. From the world of ancient mythology, people have created common understanding and language through the stories created through characters. Therefore I believe that if characters did not exist, the society or human history would also not.
Takechi：In a way gods and goddesses are “characters” that people imagined right?
Uno：Yes, and some people may feel awkward when somebody says that they truly love the character, but in reverse I think who are opposing to that feeling is weird. Humankind can only fall in love with the “character” and the only difference is that if the character is real or not; to an extreme degree, it is only about having a physical body or not.
Takechi：I strongly agree! So there is an opinion that once Gatebox is released, it is going to destroy the human race, but if we can elevate the quality level of communication with characters to the equivalent of with people, I think importance of having a physical body gets very weak.
Uno：That’s right, and another point. I would like to question how much and how deep do people understand their significant other, such as your wife, husband, your mate… Which one has more depth? The Hatsune Miku fans’ knowledge toward her? The amount of understanding that the creators generated through the creation of content. Which has stronger accumulation of the understanding of the charm? Of course, real physical body has far more amount of information, and has the capability of having a baby and has various possibilities and capabilities that a fictional 2D character cannot do. However there are also opposites.
Takechi：It is important to both get a good understanding of characters and real human.
Uno：For example, “Nyu” created by the robot creator Ms. Nao Kondo. It looks a little frightening at first. It is not like replicant from the movie Blade Runner or is not like Aibo which imitates an animal. Nyu seems like another different living organism. It has a certain level of high intelligence, but the structure of the way of thinking differs from mammals or human being. That way of expression is only possible utilizing robots. It creates this alien fee, this alterity. I believe it is a very unique way of communication method. Also like what I just said, fiction has its own forte in the way of communication such as associating and combining elements in fan fictions.
Takechi：Definitely. Hatsune Miku is a good example. By leaving the character’s setting as minimum as possible to leaving blank space for people to fill in, everyone can use their imagination to expand character expressions.
Uno：Yes, and since she is a fictional character, she can evolve into Black Rock Shooter, or turn into a character resembling a history drama; characters have the flexibility to transform into infinite variations. The important fact is that we need to fully understand the traits of both the real, three-dimensional character with real physical body, human and fictional two-dimensional characters.