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Relationship Between Character And Human Brought By The Evolution Of Technology 〈Part2〉

Session 02 Nobuko Nakano x Minori Takechi

 
second_title

Changing Expressions By Technology And Unchanged Desires Of People

Takechi: Adding to the discussion about the character culture in Japan, the interesting part is that there are many character in the country. Anything, from a battleship to swords are converted into characters.

Nakano: Resonating to that story, I have been to a sword exhibition in Kyoto, but I was very surprised at people lining up were mostly women. Moe culture was once thought to be only for men, but now that is absolutely not true.

Takechi: Well, I feel that the times are changing.

Nakano: Another interesting aspect about Japanese character culture is the line drawing technique. I think it reflects locality. For example, there are artworks from hundreds of thousands of years ago excavated from the caves of Lascaux in Europe. Mammoth fangs and carvings are all depicted realistically. On the other hand, the impression is completely different with those excavated from Japanese caves. It is more abstracted; making me feel that these cave drawings would develop into line drawings as the visualization technique developed. It was very interesting to see how things are seen very differently between the two groups.

Takechi: That is a great observation. The character culture of Japan has been handed down since ancient times. I think that the method of expressing such characters is also changing as technology evolves.
Specifically, the existence of characters is getting closer and closer. Long ago, myths were created and put on a medium called paper and ideas were spread to many people. After that, film is born. Getting the impression that as if characters were alive by showing them in motion. Now it has become more interactive in media such as games. Now it has further evolved to the point which the character seem to be alive, just existing back of the screen, like Vtubers.

Nakano: That's right, it has evolved considerably. There were also virtual idols that appeared around the beginning of 2000, but It is difficult to say that it was very successful. Compared to those days, we are living in a completely new era; there is a big jump in the flexibility and depth of expression.

Takechi: Right now there are platforms such as YouTube where characters are active, but looking from a technology perspective, the fact that regular people being able to utilize features such as motion capture just with a smartphone, being in this generation has a heavy impact.

Nakano: Some visuals that probably which will not take so long to create using Mac used to be extremely expensive, with SGI computer graphics. The speed of devices’ evolution is incredibly fast and has a great impact. Conversely, I will use an often-used metaphor, the relationship between the soil and flower. Soil, which is the device is evolving but the surface, which is the flower, the popular part has not changed so much. Such debate is going on. Things that were popular 25 years ago are still the same and the same people are on television for a long time, but the part that support them are very different.

Takechi: Anime has also been changed from cell drawings to digital; In fact even the parts that is difficult to understand the advancement have changed so much.

Nakano: I agree. However, there is an impression that the basic form and style which can be accepted by people has not been changed. I think it would be interesting if there is a rule or a tendency.

Takechi: Even if the generation changes, something or experience that people seek may not change at all.

Nakano: In terms of the human desired experience, there are timing when dopamine is released in the brain. When you have the desire of acquiring something, dopamine gets released in the greatest amount when you are expecting results or have growing expectations, but in the situation where things are on a verge of possible and impossible. For example, the person who enjoys horseracing says that the occasion of “Winning big in an impossible odds " is the most enjoyable, thus the person is in a state where dopamine is released. The result, whether winning or losing is not so important. It seems that dopamine is most likely to be released when the expectation of winning is rising.
Applying this to a story, if you can make a person’s expectation to rise, with the sense of hope being large, letting the person imagine that good result may happen, people accept it. Drastically speaking, the authenticity of the story is not so important.

Takechi: So I believe more than the result, the process is important. After I started a business and while I was developing Gatebox, I remember it was incredibly fun. I did not think of if it is possible or not, I just wanted to challenge. When I was imagining about the future vision, that after this something awesome will come to life, that was the best enjoyable time. I created a model of Gatebox from wood, there was a moment which I saw the light of success, making me feel that something tremendously cool will be built, I really felt dopamine released in my brain.

Nakano: Yes, it's great fun even if no one else in the world agrees. I understand very well. The laboratory is a place like that.

Session 02 Nobuko Nakano x Minori Takechi