mitsumaple brought it to my attention that this interview has gone untranslated. So I translated it for you all to enjoy. This will be of particular interest to anyone who is a fan of Kan.
"Arino. Time’s up." If you’ve ever seen the popular CS broadcast show "Game Center CX (on Fuji TV ONE)", you’ll recognize that voice.
Producer Tsuyoshi Kan (49) not only does narration, but he’s also the head of the show that orders “Chief Arino” to play challenging games on each episode.
In the past, Mr. Kan was the head of “Tamori Club” and right now he also is the head of “VS Arashi” and the “Secret Prefectural Citizen SHOW”. However, the show that he “never thought would never keep going this long” has now reached its 10 year anniversary. Since it was his third show to hit serialization, we asked Mr. Kan what his secret was to making a show a hit.
Nikkan Sports: So the show has finally reached its tenth year.
Kan: I never thought it would keep going this long. We originally only had contracts for half a year, so we never knew whether or not the next season would actually happen. When we first started, we had many times where we thought a particular episode would be the last, and we actually filmed numerous moving ending scenes. But now we get the feeling we’ll be doing this for a while (laughs).
Nikkan Sports: This was a very experimental show to you.
Kan: Before this, I had done a show called “quotation marks” where we would interview manga artists from Weekly Shonen magazines. This is, to me, was the game version of that. And when I started thinking of people who really knew a lot about games, Arino’s name came up. The reason he wears a work uniform is because we wanted the audience to have this image of us as some sort of game company, like a factory. But we also wanted it to be us actually going to see game makers and we wanted it to be somewhat fashionable (sarcastic laugh). We thought “Oh, well, no one’s really wearing uniforms like that anyore”. But when we went to go see Nintendo, sure enough they were all wearing uniforms. So we weren’t really that off, afterall.
Nikkan Sports: So in the beginning, interviewing game creators was supposed to be the main part of the program.
Kan: After we started, we realized a lot of the game creators weren’t actually working at those companies any more (strained laugh). The games belong to the companies, not the creators themselves. So by chance we decided to beat Taito’s game “Takeshi’s Challenge”, and it was far more exciting than we thought it’d be. So because of that, we decided that from the next season onward the game challenges were going to be the main draw of the show.
Nikkan Sports: So you decided to change the direction of the show.
Kan: Just editing the footage is rough. And we were worried about whether or not we’d be able to keep a celebrity around for the 10-some-odd hours we’d need. However, both Arino and Shochiku Entertainment (the agency Arino belonged to at the time) were both very cooperative, so we were able to do things like we do today. A lot of very unexpected things happened.
Nikkan Sports: So this show allowed Arino’s personality to really shine through.
Kan: Arino’s partner, Hamaguchi, said that “The darkness deep down in Arino really comes out in that show” (laugh). When we first started broadcasting, Arino was in his 30s. So he wasn’t exactly very thin. But despite this being a comedy show, it wasn’t one of those things where the comedian would make a big uproar and someone would slap him. When left on his own to play games in “Arino’s Challenge”, he would say some very subdued things, but they got funnier and funnier. He has plenty of wit and is good at playing the straight man. He’d say stuff like “Oh, what the heck?” or “But that’s not what this is” in his signature accent. When we watched it later, that stuff was overwhelmingly funny. I guess you could say that our system really brought the best out of Arino.
Nikkan Sports: You also do the narration for the show.
Kan: I’m not very good at it at all (laugh). It is a CS program, so we don’t have very much money. So I wound up reading the narration. When I asked everyone how I did they said “You did good. That’s about what we expected.” But having some sort of villain on the show makes a show easier to watch. I do all of those things. So there may be times where I intentionally try to play the bad guy. When I’m doing narration, I like to think of it as “words from the Producer”.
And then there’s the voice where I tell Arino dramatically, after many hours of challenging a game, that it’s time to wrap up recording. The fact that many people hear that voice as a bit cold is something I planned. I feel like that’s one of the many tiny things we did that made this show popular.
Interview from 10/30/2013, 2:14 PM.
All the art I’ve done for Game Center CX is on display in Japan! The show teamed up with the TV drama series No Continue Kid to create the “GCCX x No Con Kid Cafe,” which opened today in Shibuya, Tokyo. The cafe features a retro-games inspired menu, memorabilia from both shows, and a free-per-play arcade. These photos are from Producer Kan’s Twitter (@kankanp) and the official GCCX movie Twitter (@GCCXMovie)
The cafe runs until February 17. If you’re in Japan during that time and interested in going, here’s the official press release and info on how to get tickets:
GAME CENTER CX x NO CON KID CAFE
Shibuya Parco, Part 1, Floor 7 (15-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya, Tokyo)
Open from January 31 to February 17, 11 AM-10:30 PM (Closed Feb 10)
1000 yen per ticket (comes with all-you-can-play arcade games + one soft drink or beer and candy)
A tag team between the hit drama series NoCon Kid ~ Bokura no Game-shi and Game Center CX! A dream collaboration cafe for all retro game lovers. Play nostalgic games and see items from Game Center CX! Enjoy a menu prepared by Game Center CX fan-favourite Abe, and original collaboration dishes. There’s also special merchandise limited to the cafe! Tickets available here.
A movie based on a show Chad and I watch. It’s such an obscure show, about old-school video games, but it’s big enough here in Japan that they made a movie about it. Go fig.
If you all happen to have a Japanese 3DS, a demo for Game Center CX 3 was released today!