This article includes major spoilers for 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
A “premium talk event” for 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim was held in Tokyo on 16th February 2020. 130 fans (including this writer) were invited to the event, in which development staff and voice cast members discussed the game.
The event opened with surprise guest Itou Fuu performing the full version of the song Seaside Vacation. This was also the first time the full version was revealed to the public. The song will be part of the original soundtrack to be released on 27th February 2020.
The talk show featured voice cast members Koshimizu Ami (who plays Takamiya Yuki), Tamura Mutsumi (Okino Tsukasa), and Ishii Takayuki (Hijiyama Takatoshi); and writer Watanabe Kouji, and voice actress Motomiya Kanna, both of whom had previously participated in promotional materials for the game. Additionally, voice actress Isomura Tomomi (who had also participated in promotional material before) served as the MC for the event.
The first part had the participants discuss their favourite scenes in the game.
Koshimizu’s favourite scene was the one in which Takamiya and Amiguchi Shuu ride tandem on Shuu’s motorcycle (scene 74), saying that Takamiya really opens up to Shuu in the conversation here, and that she played the lines accordingly.
Ishii’s favourite scene was the one in which Okino has Hijiyama restrained to a chair and does things to him (scene 184). Ishii says that when recording this scene, he started off playing Hijiyama’s as “sexy”, but after the staff deliberated over this the lines were re-recorded as more comical.
Tamura’s favourite scene was the one where Hijiyama is willing to split his yakisoba-pan with Okino (scene 185), saying that it is a rare instance of Okino dropping his cool facade, and also the point where his feelings for Hijiyama change. Tamura also reveals that she was instructed not to change her voice for scenes in which Okino cross-dresses, and though this confused her at first, she grew used to it as the story progressed with Okino cross-dressing for no real reason more and more.
Watanabe’s favourite scene was Sekigahara Ei’s last one (scene 281). He talks about the contrast between how Sekigahara and Fuyusaka Iori behave in Sekigahara’s story, and describes scene 281 as one in which Sekigahara parts with his past self in order to be with Fuyusaka, calling it interesting in a sci-fi way yet also romantic. He proclaims this to be a scene that will leave a mark in the history of science fiction.
Motomiya, who liked Okino in particular, says that her favourite scene was the one in which Hijiyama reads the letter he got from Okino before summoning his sentinel (scene 291). She also says that she liked the poses the main characters use to summon their sentinels, Miura Keitarou’s especially.
The 13 Sentinels Bible
In the second part of the talk show, the Atlus QA team’s bible was shown. Previously mentioned by the developers in interviews, the bible is an Excel document used to keep track of the game’s timeline, which was particularly difficult due to the complex intertwining stories. Voice cast also members noted that as they only had scripts for their characters, there were parts where they lost track of the timeline while recording. When printed out at a size so as to make the text legible, the document spans nearly 30 sheets of A3 paper.
Talking Spoilers with George Kamitani
The third and final part of the event had the participants read out game director/writer/mecha designer George Kamitani’s answers to questions taken from fans beforehand.
The first question was regarding the relationship between Gouto Renya and Shinonome Ryouko. Kamitani says that their relationship post-ending is left to the player’s imagination, and thus has infinite possibilities. As for their relationship before the beginning of the story, he reveals part of the plot that did not make it into the game: That Shinonome was the one who initiated the relationship with Gouto as a way to get her parents to stop trying to seperate her from Sekigahara, whom she saw as a little brother, and also the one to break off the relationship with Gouto once she achieved her goal. Gouto was not interested in romance, but in Ryouko’s actions, because he could not understand them and thus deemed them interesting.
The next question was regarding the relationship between the characters’ bodies and the resets in the simulation, asking if the time experienced by characters in the simulation is real or simulated. Kamitani says that the simulation is entirely in realtime, and that each time the simulation is reset the clones are broken down by nanomachines and remade.
The third question asked what Hijiyama’s reaction would have been to eating hamburg steak. Kamitani wrote actual lines for this, which were performed live on stage by Ishii. It is also revealed that the conclusion to Miura and Hijiyama’s argument over yakisoba-pan and hamburg steak would have been them eating hamburgers, with Hijiyama proclaiming that America is indeed a fearsome country.
The fourth question asked which characters were easy or hard to conceive. Kamitani found Kurabe’s story the hardest to write, as he started on it first back when the game’s system itself was not fleshed out yet. Shinonome’s was also hard for him because he also handled the script to depict changes in her state according to how much medicine she takes, and managing Takamiya’s keywords and Ogata’s trains were tough as well.Amiguchi’s story went the smoothest, and Kamitani was worried that Hijiyama’s skipped too much. He also says that writing Yakushiji’s story left him in a bleak mood, and then he had the most fun with the talking cat Shippo and Kurabe’s friend Shiba.
The fifth question asked for details on Ida’s betrayal of Shinonome in 2188. Kamitani says that Ida is portrayed with three personalities in the game: As the adult Ida who will do anything to accomplish his goals, as the younger Amiguchi who seems like a flirt but is actually nice, and as the 2188 version of Ida who combines the worst aspects of the other two personalities, competent but a playboy, who can be cruel.
Kamitani says that at the end, with the survivors killing each other, Shinonome might have despaired and asked Ida to commit suicide alongside her, and that Ida would not have agreed to it. His last words to her were probably horrible ones, and Kamitani said that it is hard to imagine how she would have felt after that, left alone as the last surviving human.
The sixth question asks for details on the nanomachines that destroyed mankind on Earth, and whether there is any danger to the nanomachines used in the clones. Kamitani says that Earth was destroyed by aggressive nanomachines emulating the processes of viruses and evolving faster than countermeasures could be taken which spread like a plague. As for the nanomachines used in the clones, Kamitani says that these were necessary for the Ark Project’s final phase and like the internet or energy, they are no more than a tool, meaning that it is up to how they are used.
Kamitani also points out that he based the name of the Innerocitor nanomachines on the Interocitor device from the 1955 sci-fi movie This Island Earth, and that the Universal Control gets its name from the Takemiya Keiko manga Toward the Terra.
The seventh question asks where the simulation gets its personality data for the six million simulated humans, and Kamitani says that they come from data created by the original Kurabe Tamao.
The eighth question asks what happened to the AI made from the previous Hijiyama, which Ida says was installed into one of the sentinels. Kamitani says that there was supposed to be a scene with the death of the AI Hijiyama, which had to be cut, and that it was installed in sentinel 19, which was used by Miura in the final battle. The Hijiyama AI was going to have been unstable, with parts of its personality and memory missing, and would have at the end asked Okino to delete him and protect Miura, and this last wish would be what lead to Miura using sentinel 19 in this loop.
The ninth question asks about Yakushiji’s cooking skills, and if she was good at it to begin with, or if she got better after meeting Izumi in 2025. Kamitani says that Yakushiji was raised by a single mother who prioritised her career, leaving Yakushiji to handle household chores on her own, which included cooking.
The tenth question asks for the reasons behind Okino’s cynical personality. Kamitani says that Okino, from 2188, is a designer baby born as part of a government population adjustment policy, first raised by foster parents and then sent to a facility where he was subjected to character education meant to make him work for the good of the world, and the rebound from this is what lead to his current personality. Kamitani also says that this was also inspired by manga by Takemiya Keiko.
The eleventh question asks why Ogata Nenji’s father Kengo was trying to have his consciousness implanted into a clone of his son instead of a clone of himself, given how since he was able to have an AI of himself created, it should have been possible to have his genetic information saved as well. Kamitani says that this is because Ogata Kengo did not in fact become an AI of his own accord, and that Morimura made the AI after his passing. The AI then later plotted taking over Nenji’s body in the Ark Project. Ogata Kengo’s body and genetic data were no longer available at this point.
The twelfth question asks why the Universal Control does not erase droids and clones when they move to other sectors. Kamitani says that this is because the Universal Control is made to not have control over special items created by the staff. AIs that have moved to sector 0 are perceived as being created by staff, and the droids are created with faked staff IDs, allowing them to operate outside of the Universal Control’s boundaries.
The thirteenth question asks why yakisoba-pan was chosen to be Hijiyama’s favourite food. Kamitani says that initially, Hijiyama was created with two characters in mind: Hijikata Toshizou from the manga Tottemo Hijikata-kun by Suzumiya Wayu, and Kabamaru from the manga Igano Kabamaru by Azuki Yuu. Hijiyama’s favourite food was initially going to be yakisoba like Kabamaru’s, but the game’s system made it so that it had to be food that could be eaten with one hand, which resulted in it being changed to yakisoba-pan. Kamitani also says that lately people have taken to giving him yakisoba-pan, and that he wishes he had made it something fancier that he cannot afford on his own.
The fourteenth and final question laments Shinonome’s fate and asks if she still loves Ida after the ending. Kamitani says that after being scolded by Inaba, Ida finally repents, and that the restoration of the sectors is part of his penance. Amiguchi also has the memories of what happened with Shinonome and Ida, and pities her, but Shinonome, who is strong and tries to resolve everything on her own, does not actually need any of this. Kamitani says that with the great changes to their lives and the passage of time, he does not think that Shinonome, who has such a great driving force, would dwell over the past too long.
The event concluded with the participants and audience singing Seaside Vacation together.
— アトラス公式アカウント (@Atlus_jp) February 16, 2020
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim was released in Japan on 28th November 2019, and will be released in English worldwide in 2020.
Also see: Review- 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim