My own comments are under parenthesis.
He’ s the original character designer for RL. He’s also a mangaka. There’s a manga he did called Cloth Road that I heard about on Nolife years ago when it got released in France but I still haven’t read it.
The first two pics are the early designs of the main character “An”. He tried drawing an uniform that would fit a Prism Show Club member. He gave her a boyish look and she also wears bike shorts. At that time the director only told him “draw cute girls” as instruction so he just gave them a normal anime style look. It was before the first planning meeting, so he drew these designs quite freely.
The pictures below with the three girls and the quiet looking girl with the bun and the smug looking girl are his Rinne early designs. Rinne already existed in the 3DS game though. These turned like this because he drew these before looking at her 3DS design. After that he saw her game design and changed his design to match.
The colored Rinne girl on the left is actually Juné’s first design. Her dress is inspired from china dresses. I say it’s “Juné'”, but I think the staff wanted to change her name then. It’s a bit confusing. He later says that they didn’t tell him about the story and he learned it by watching the show, but I think they at least told him that Juné=Rinne else he wouldn’t have drawn Juné with the same face as Rinne.
I drew hairstyles like these as the staff told me to do things similar to the game. At that time I didn’t know there would be 7 main characters yet. At that point, the middle one represented the “lovely” style, so it was still at the time when we thought “An” would be the main character. I did write names though lol. The names are different from what happened in the end. While I had various ideas in mind the setting evolved as well.
(Honestly it’s really confusing. I think they gave him a list of possible names and he just stuck them on what design he wanted.)
Right girl is 凉野 An, I think 凉野 is read as Suzuno. Her color is blue.She has normal hair to appeal to normal people.
Middle girl is 美原 Poemu. I think 美原 is read as Mihara. Her color is pink. She has a long black hair which is the most popular style, with a pink color to show prettiness. Her front bangs are long in a way similar to AKB48 idols. Her ahoge is like cat ears. The things in her hair are the P of “Pretty”. The corner of her eyes fall down. Maybe she’s a projection of young girl’s culture.
Left girl is 桜川 Momoko. I think 桜川 is read as Sakuragawa. Her color is orange. She has a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu style bob in her hair. Besides that she has a simple hairstyle that could fit anyone. Her chouchou/シユシュ キ一ピック looks like a crown. (I didn’t know Japanese people used the french word “chouchou” to call these things too. Must be part of all these words related to fashion they use in French because they think it’s cool.)
Her eyes are arched. Her eyelashes are fake. Her guitar is a V sign. She’s a typical genki design anime type.
Bottom is various color variations.
In this page you clearly see how “An” was supposed to be the main character “Naru”.
From right to left:
Ethnic style. 小森 Sana. I think 小森 is read Komori. Something like messy hair or afro looking would have been good too. Her dark skin suggest she’s maybe from India.
(I’m pleasantly surprised dark skin Wakana didn’t have white hair. Black people having white hair is one of the usual patterns I’m really tired about in anime. Plus no one will ever outPirotess Pirotess anyway.)
Sexy style. 長瀬 Airu. I think 長瀬 is read Nagase. She has an エレガンスパーマ hairstyle. Has heterochromia and cat eyes. (If you’re French, the French Cat’s Eye OP starts playing in your head now)
Feminine style. 吉池 Maho. I think 吉池 is Yoshiike. God, her eyes are scary. Otoha was bad even in her early designs. Just kidding just kidding. I like Otoha.
I think he says the three of them all have the same “taste” as Doronjo from Yatterman. I honestly don’t see it besides Otoha’s blond hair.
Cool style. Suzuno Momo. Has tsuntsun eyes.
Pop style. 挪里 Mika. No idea how to pronounce 挪里. Blue and white hair like water would have fit her too.
Lovely style. 永来 Poemu. Dunno what is 永来 either.
Riyou. She’s holding milk.
Star style. Amou Juné. I wanted to give her a Versailles/Marie Antoinette look. She’s half french so she has super long eyelashes like in shoujo manga. Has a lot of lights in the eyes. (Juné is from Prism World so she can’t be half french. I think Maria was half French and Juné based her appearance on her so technically she’s half French too. That’s probably why Maria and later Juné had her signature jump with French names (La Flamme d’Amour)
Comments below in green: This was after the first meeting, so I knew there were 7 main characters. They gave me the characters’ personalities too, so I think they were almost done writing all the story then. There’s a lot of characters, so I made their hair the same color as their prism stone style(for example yellow is feminine) but I couldn’t do it for Rinne (Riyou) because she was already made. I was told to “make the main character small”. she’s the one in the middle; I tried to give her a Candy Candy look.
(Aaah it’s true she has the same blond twintails as Candy. That’s cute. I need to rewatch Candy Candy someday. Barely remember it)
Wakana’s (Sana) character setting was decided very late compared to the others, so she’s very different from her final version. Her relation with An (Poemu) that you see in the anime wasn’t decided at all then. I’m glad their relation turned out interesting lol.
Rinne holds milk because they told me she likes hot milk.
From right to left:
Ibara Chisato. Mion wore those clothes. I wanted to give her lipstick. (Mion is dressed like that sometimes in DMF. She looks a lot like Kyouko.)
Yamada Shitsuji with a penguin costume. Someone who has lost his memories and is searching for penguin sensei (AD’s Yamada is called Yamao Yamada so I don’t think they were planning to make them the same. Just saying this just in case someone think “this means at first they wanted to make RL in the same world as AD and DMF!!” or something.)
Shitsujihitsuji. A man with a beard of wool.
Cool’s father. A failed rock star and no-good father-like vibe.
Pop’s parents. Dad has a smiling senbei because maybe he makes sweets senbeis or something.
Lovely’s dad, a poet, and lovely’s mother.
Comments in green:
Right: At that point the parent’s names weren’t decided. Ibara Chisato’s name was decided though. I thought wrongly that her design was supposed to be the same as Asechi Kyouko. That’s why I drew her just like her. Asechi Kyouko was a good character lol. Glasses butler is a prototype of Jin. (Jin ended up being designed by Matsuura Mai)
Bottom: Ito’s dad didn’t change too much. This first version I drew looks too much like a bad guy though lol. He wasn’t like that in the end. I was told he owns a Live House, so I was thinking maybe they live near Shinjiku.
Naru’s parents changed a lot. Her mom was too short. Like if she was drawn by Yoshitomo Nara. Her pendant like thing is octopus leg in a Okamoto Taro like style
(This is the person who invented the idiom”芸術は爆発だ/Art is an explosion”. I didn’t know it was said by a real person, I thought it was just Deidara)
An’s parents look like Himiko and Shibaraku sensei from Mashin Eiyuden Wataru. The father is holding a senbei.
This is Himiko at the left. And Shibaraku sensei in the middle.
You can see now that An is An and Naru is Naru.
Ibara Chisato at the bottom left: I wanted to give her a Lady Gaga feel.
Comments in green:
Top: Naru has horns like ahoge because around that time I saw the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu ad she did for G.U. (She made her hair into a bat, horns etc). I thought at least he’d be in accordance to this year’s fashion lol. And pink with a dark tone like that is the Pretty Rhythm series’ theme color.
Bottom near Juné: I think I should make Juné’s hair curly. Maybe it’s to represent rotating jumps in figure skating (aaah that makes sense. That’s the secret behind the drill hair!!!)
An’s ponytail is supposed to be a P.
Green text: I removed Bell’s heterochromia because it’s not realistic. Just the 7 colors for each fashion type is enough. A friend told me Wakana would look better with her hair down. I separated Naru’s bangs, giving it a music note like curve because the director told me we need to see her forehead. An holds both a sweet and a senbei. I powered up Juné’s hair as the staff told me it’s ok to make it much more spinning.
Right: At this point it was difficult, because I was getting really close to the deadline and also had other work to do but the designs still needed to be polished a bit more. When I draw I first do the body then the clothes. There’s some clothes from the game that will be in the show too, so I drew these to test game clothes on them.
Left: I drew some expressions where their facial features break down, but they didn’t do it much in the anime.
Bottom: The Prism Shows are in 3D so I drew various angles for the expressions. The 3D quality of the show is really amazing.
(Because the show doesn’t have a lot of comedy, a lot of the funny faces on this page, or earlier in the book in the character’s pages, were never used.)
Right: Naru’s mom is totally different. She’s holding a Surface tablet. A lot of people use PCs to draw now. In the anime she drew directly on the wall though lol. I didn’t see scripts or stuff, I watch the show on TV. Naru’s dad looks like animation producer Yoshida Shouichi, but no one told me anything, so maybe they don’t look similar in the end… An’s mother has a “極道の妻たち” feel to her.
Left: There was still time until Juné san’s appearance, so I made her hair even more curly compared to what I first draw.(or he says the anime changed it, not sure). I was worried of how it will look like in 3D so I only made it long up to her shoulders but it got even longer in the end.
How did you get involved with Pretty Rhythm ?
I randomly went to a toys store and my eyes got glued to a screen that had Watanabe Akio san looking characters. Then I was like “is that really Watanabe san’s drawings? He wouldn’t do that kind of job”. Then I learned about the anime, that was during AD’s run. I recorded it but didn’t watch it. Later when I got into the talks to do the design for RL I bought the DVDs and watched it. I thought it was a little girls anime, but the more I watched the less I thought that. The anime is made by Tatsunoko Pro, and I learned that they’re a subsidiary company of Takara Tommy now(since 2005), I was like “eeeeeh” lol.
Did you actually play the game ?
Yeah quite a lot. I have a lot of Prism Stones too.
Did you see a lot of other adults playing?
Not really. The stones have a Tiddly Winks feel to them that kids like. Like, it feels like treasure when you gather a lot. They’re hard for grown up men to handle though. I was also wondering how the stones hold data. Do they have a chip in or something. So I once peeled off the seals to check.
How many consecutive jumps can you do (I don’t think that’s very important. Might as well ask him if he likes eating mcvities’ tea biscuits at breakfast.)
I think … around 7. Starting 8, the timing gets tricky. I go along with the music’s rhythm for the dancing so I’m fine, but the jumps are difficult. I think kids do it better (from what I saw on Youtube not really.) There’s a lot of kids playing on weekends I can’t compete with. I’m an adult so I use money to buy Prism Stones and compete with the kids’ reflexes lol.
It’s not as easy as in the anime.
The anime got some pretty high scores, they go up to to 9000 carats.
In the bonus dvd of the solo collection the seiyuus san tachi did around 3000 points.
Their scores were low. Uchida Maaya said she has experience and was confident but she scored low lol. You can’t score high unless you do perfect jumps and seems they didn’t.
Is there a character you started liking by watching the anime on TV?
I like when Bell sama looks down on people lol. She did that because she thinks dearly of Prism Shows. If not for characters like that, the show would be boring. I think Bell sama carries the show.
Bell is a cool character so you put sama.
Her voice is becoming cooler too, Tomatsu san’s voice is really nice. In episode 24 when she screams « PRISM RAIIBU » her voice sounds like Berusaille no Bara’s Oscar . (From what I remember I don’t think they sound similar. Maybe he also means a particular scene with Oscar screaming). Recently her voice became more dere but I still think it’s cool. Tomatsu san already voiced a lot of characters that look down on people so it’s nice lol.
Ito didn’t change much from her early design.
Ito looks (personality wise) like a character in one of my manga so she was easy to draw. Our old generation really dislike that fashion of having a strand of hair like that, they want to put it in museums. One thing I don’t like about Ito is when she puts on make up. Her eyes are fine but her cheeks are bad, Maybe there will be a gag scene where they’ll say “you sure you’re supposed to be good at putting on makeup?”. I think she didn’t need it.
What did you think when seeing her in the anime ?
I thought Ito would fight a bit more with Naru but they got along right away. I felt lonely she wasn’t as what I expected. I wanted them to argue a bit more lol. ((honestly not 100% sure of this translation)
Did you have any difficulties with communicating with the staff ?
No, it was really fun. It would have been hard to design clothes but I only had to do the faces. It was really hard to draw the clothes for the Bell Rose CD cover. The lace on the chests alone took me a day. To think that these actually moved in the anime. Pretty Rhythm’s clothes is hell lol. (He would kill himself if he had to draw for PriPara)
Were you conscious of how it’s a show for kids ?
No. The staff told me “its a kids anime, but we want to make something for big friends(adults) too” . I think that’s precisely why I was chosen, so I wasn’t worried. Also, now when I’m drawing I think about stuff like drawing more hair or making the eyelashes longer to appeal to girls who like fashion.
Which character do you like ?
No one in particular, I like everyone. In terms of who’s annoying to draw, it’s the pair tomos. I always drew them last on my pictures, after drawing the characters, when I was tired and wanted to finish already, so they became annoying lol.
How did you draw this book’s cover ?
It’s a parody of a painting called « Dance » by Henri Matisse. Like, everyone is surrounding Rinne singing Kagome Kagome, and at the end they hold hands. (It’s in times like these, like the other day with the painting in PriPara, that I remember how bad education in France is unless you’re rich and how my middle-high schools sucked and I never learned about stuff like that, though I did know the painting. Also I’m not complaining, still better than being a child soldier or something)
She’s the character designer of RL and one of the animation directors. She’s also the original character designer for Hiro Kouji Kazuki Jin Hijiri Rei and Kou. She once sold unofficial RL merch at fan events too. She’s kind of a fujoshi and likes stuff like Yowamushi Pedal for the guys(I always laugh when seeing Yowamushi Pedal because pédale is also slang for gay in French) but she also likes cool stuff like Creamy Mami, Versailles no Bara, Ace Wo Nerae and Patlabor. She was also the chara designer in Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru, a show I liked a lot. A surprisingly good and not that gay show. Too bad it doesn’t have an ending. The manga is on hiatus as well according to Bakaupdates.
Matsuura Mai’s Interview:
How did you get involved with Pretty Rhythm ?
Someone I know from working on another anime invited me for the job. They told me they would let me be the character designer and one of the animation directors.
What did you think of Okama san’s designs ?
I thought there were cute. I liked Okama san’s drawings since when I was still a student, so I wanted to do it. As expected of him he can do drawings that fit the tastes of children too.
What’s the thing you need to pay attention the most when doing designs that will be animated ?
I’m not the only one who’ll animate, so I need to make sure it’s easy to draw, and leave in the taste of Okama san’s drawings. I was particularly careful for the eyes. It’s aimed at little girls, so I made the eyelashes a bit longer than in the drafts. Besides that, I mainly followed the drafts’ lines. The faces’ expressions in particular were rich and very fitting for animation.
Anything you were careful about for the girls’ designs ?
I got the order from the director to make Juné look like “an adult-like super model”, so her style is completely different from the other girls.
Did you take into account that there would be CG ?
The CG staff’s technology is great, so I didn’t have to particularly pay mind, but I tried at least to make it so there’s at least as less lines as possible compared to the drafts.
What were you careful about when designing the boys ?
Hiro is an idol, so I tried to make his face as much flower-like as possible. After all the boys are the one with expressions that change the most. (according to what I googled 華がある/what I translated as having a flower like face, is an expression that means you have a nice face like a flower, that’s beautiful at any time, any angle, any situation. So she means Hiro is always a bishonen even during his emo facial distortions.)
I heard Kouji doesn’t talk much and had a lot of bad experiences, so I gave him a shadow -like look. He doesn’t know how to express his emotions correctly, but has the most gentle smile.
Kazuki is a street dancer, so I gave him a different feel than Hiro and Kouji. He looks like he moves a lot, like a shounen manga character.
How did you design their child forms ?
Kouji was more cheerful when he was a kid. Kazuki didn’t really change. It was when he was in middle school, so his hair wasn’t dyed yet. It wasn’t authorized at his school.
For Hiro it was before he got into Edel Rose, so he has more a pure feel. It also reflects his family situation. (being poor)
How did you design characters that weren’t planned from the start like Kou or Kurokawa Rei (They weren’t planning to show Jin and Hijiri’s father ? First time I hear this)
I decided on their faces from the director’s orders and their relationships with the other characters. Rei is in a position similar to Kazuki(being a street dancer), so I gave him a similar design as well.
There’s a lot of subtle emotions in the show, was it difficult to draw ?
For scenes when a character doesn’t say everything they think, I tried as much as possible to give them an expression different than usual.
Was there anything you needed to be careful of as one of the animation directors ?
It’s a show with girls as the main characters, so I tried drawing the male characters and the side characters as well as possible. I think if other characters are done well, it will make the main characters, the girls look cuter as well. I draw the sub characters with care as there may be people who like them as much as the main characters.
Is there a character that’s fun to draw ?
Otoha and Hiro. They have a lot of bright expressions so it’s fun thinking of how to draw them. For difficult things let’s say Juné’s hair lol.
Is there any scene that left a big impression on you ?
The scene when Otoha hits Bell with her feelings(after being fired and coming back), and Hiro and Kouji’s past. They were both very emotional.
How did you draw the posters in this book ?
The 3rd ending shows the Prism Stone shop girls doing a pajama party. This poster is the same, some kind of pajama party. Then I tried doing it for the boys too.
CG director. Of PriPara as well. I dunno anything about CG so I translated most things blindly. The explanations of terms under parenthesis are what’s written in the book, not what I googled. It’s entirely possible they actually explained a term wrongly.
Comments on CG:
The software we use for the CG is called 3ds max. When we put in the dancing, we use rough polygons only (the software’s response is fast) (top left face). When we do the final operation called rendering, we use a “mesh smooth” model (bottom left face). (I honestly don’t see a difference between the two, so maybe he meant the guitar pic is the mesh smooth. He only says “bottom”)
Top:Facial animation. We need not only to show the expressions but also lip synch (kuchi paku)
Middle: Naru’s whole body.Right is rough, left is smooth. It’s hard to explain but her curves becomes fluffy and it gives off a soft feeling.
Bottom: Ito. Right is normal rendering. Left is rendering with highlight of her outlines and hair. When it’s like in left it’s one step closer to being in the anime.
Top: Juné’s Prism Live in episode 32. The instruments use 8 CG models. It doesn’t reflect all the sounds in the song though. Juné’s scene had her hair and clothes, but also the instruments, it was difficult for people just to make it move.
Middle: Prism Shows dance is made with Motion Capture. However this isn’t enough for the end result to be nice, as the real life dancers can have longer limbs than the characters they do Motion Capture for, etc. We adjust them by hand one by one. Then we readjust the CG movement so it fits with the dancer’s.
Bottom: Hiro’s model was a lot of trouble, we needed to put in a lot of parts for his moving clothes. Left is called the “Biped”, something used to move the character, it’s to monitor the moving parts. You can see the 6 parts of his clothes (the cape like extremities) that are hard to move.
Top: Rinne’s Habataki Rainbow Tail. The glittering effect in the background was made with a software called AfterEffects. Rinne herself and the peacock feathers are all CG.
Middle: The modeling aspect of the cut above. The dancing feathers are part of the CG.
Bottom right: Hiro’s Prism Show. It’s the only one where we made the background and the effects separately. By the way, the animation with how his shirt lifts and you see his stomach was made by obsessive female staff.
Bottom left: A simple preview. CG models are done that way with texture mapping.
Otobe Yoshihiro Interview:
The CG is extremely close to the animated parts, what kind of wizardry are you using ?
I think he says that when people usually make CG, they put a pic of the thing they wanna do in CG on screen then just copy it in CG. But then when it moves it becomes super weird. You get problems with their faces, like the chin being too sharp and such. So they morph these parts (make it so they can be altered independently from the model) and fix it. CG director does all the faces himself.
What’s difficult to do ?
You need to see through the « lies of drawings ». You can see pictures of a character’s front, back and side, but you mustn’t forget that they’re a whole body. For example, Naru’s bangs in front of her head, their size will look different whether you look at a close up picture of her face or a full body picture. You need to think of what you’ll use, or if you’ll use a middle ground between the two, and if you pick the wrong choice it’ll lead to further mistakes that can’t be fixed. The hair’s volume is weird, so you may want to add the numbers of strands of hair, but if you get it wrong it becomes a disaster.
The shadows of the faces and hair are very similar to the animation.
If you apply a three dimensional shadow, anime wise it will look bad, so you make the shadow being pushed at the edge of the faces by hitting them with light. In the case of the hair’s shadows, for Naru and Ito, I use texture mapping and draw the shadows on them like one would draw normally, so that it looks like the animation.
For Wakana, her hair is tied up, so I just use normal shading (CG wise gradation)
For Juné the swirling part is done with texture, but the bangs on the sides of her head have real shadow. Depending on how you use all that, the end result can be very pretty.
The finishing touches aren’t done with simple tone shade(the finishing touches to make the CG look like the anime) but with gradation in accordance with the costumes, put in the processing like a lame (google tells me a cloth made from gold or silver thread, I still don’t know what he means though) and do the changes in accordance to the order.
How are the dance scenes made ?
We use motion capture, and put the movements of the actors into CG data, and fix things by hand one by one. Except for Naru’s, An’s and Ito’s My Song dances, which were made from scratch by hand in the screen.
This means no one did this IRL for Motion Capture.
Juné’s scene was a masterpiece.
She’s a character that’s called super amazing in the show, so if it didn’t show that, it would have meant the story has failed… So it was made under a lot of pressure. Plus, the other characters’ dance scenes are 1 minute long, while Juné’s is 2 minutes long. When we were making it, I was at work the whole time lol.
For the Prism Live parts, I wanted to synch the instruments movements as much as possible, so I studied the guitar etc. I learned about what finger’s position will lead to what sound when playing sax etc.
How about the lip synch?
All of the facial animations are done by hand. Simplistically speaking, the movements are the lyrics without changes, but when there’s continuous sounds like “aaaa”, they close their mouth once. It looks more like they’re singing that way.
The boys’ shows are impressive too.
Like Hiro’s right. We wanted to give the boys’s shows in the series a weird feel to it. It wouldn’t have been good or felt like boys’s shows if they were serious .The clothes are impressive too. Character Designer Matsuura san likes clothes that move in the wind like that, for Hiro there’s his cape like thing, his tie, chain, etc. It killed the CG team. It was a lot of trouble as we made them move by hand. It was a special occasion though so we did our best lol(The boys don’t have many CG shows)
Anything else you had trouble with ?
There’s a lot of movements, so the muscles need to be well defined. If the shoulders move, the muscles need to move too, Same for the knees and elbows.
It seems it’s a pretty hard job, are you alright ?
The show is interesting, so the more I do, the funnier it gets. These past three years, I’ve always felt like that. Usually I’d feel fed up after 3 years, but that’s not the case at all here. I only felt fed up a bit when doing Juné lol. Now’s not the time to be burned out.
With this, I finished reading&translating everything I was interested about in this Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live Anime Official Guide Book. Not gonna translate anything else from the book and won’t post anymore scans. If you want to see the rest, like the characters’ pictures, or the architectural plans of the character’s rooms, etc, buy the book. I’m not fond of being a “moralfag” like how the kids call it now. I’m totally okay with 3DS pirating for example, as Nintendo is doing some really stupid things with their region-locking. Pretty much the main reason why I don’t have a 3DS. But it’s totally different than ripping a game or something like that. There’s absolutely no way I’m gonna spend 10 hours of my precious life scanning a whole book and hurt my wrists.