The end of the Dad of Light series.
#87: “Dad of Light: Square Enix Side – Part 4”
Published in 2017/07/06 issue
By the time this column is published, Stormblood will already be in Early Access. As I write this column, I pray that the Warriors of Light will be enjoying themselves!
Now then, here’s Part 4 of Square Enix’s perspective on the Dad of Light drama. This will conclude the saga.
With much trouble, the drama production team managed to finish the screenplay. Their objectives included preserving the essence of it being a true story, alternating between the game and the real world, and breaking away from gamer stereotypes. It was finally time to start filming the live action part.
Much to my surprise, the protagonist was going to be played by Yudai Chiba, an attractive actor that was rapidly gaining popularity (I already knew of him from his tokusatsu work), and the father was going to be played by acting superstar Ren Osugi. Mako Ishino as the mother rounded out the star-studded lineup. I still wonder how on earth they managed to assemble such a cast. *laughs*
The live filming was done over an extremely short period of time, but the filming site was pure, concentrated passion, so all went well. On the final day, the producer, Pii-san, who’d been running around everywhere to make this drama a reality, cried manly tears at his closing speech. I won’t write out the contents, but it was a splendid speech that had me and Maidy-san crying as well.
Right after our celebratory party, the filming for the Eorzea part began. The director for that part was Kiyoshi Yamamoto. I told him I would prepare a test server for them to use, but he went against all common sense (sorry) and said, “No, we’re going to wait for the right weather and time of day, just like we’d have to in reality!” Honestly, I was secretly thinking, “Are these guys insane or something?” (I mean it in a good way.)
Even though the live action part was finished, the drama was only half-done. Since we had to film and edit the Eorzea part, that part was also running on an extremely tight schedule. Behind the scenes, the director for the live action part, Teruo Noguchi, was working with Director Yamamoto to connect the scenes that had been decided in advance and create a temporary offline version. Then at last, Square Enix received the offline versions of the innovative drama Dad of Light, episodes 1 and 2.
The first Eorzea scene was characters talking to each other inside an in-game house. The camera was looking down at the characters from a ceiling fixture. It could’ve been placed at any of the player characters, but that’s not a perspective that you would normally see while playing the game. Basically, that was how they were representing the audience’s point of view.
It’s really hard to express it in words, but basically, I could tell that Director Yamamoto was thinking of Eorzea as just another location where the drama would take place. The first two episodes they created felt very polished, and most importantly, they were entertaining as a drama. The Square Enix staff involved were extremely satisfied with them.
However, there was one part that needed to be changed, no matter what. In my opinion, this was a major weakness that had the potential to destroy the drama’s foundation and drastically lower the audience’s impression of the show. I immediately sent them my feedback via Pii-san:
“The Eorzea part has too many lalafells!”
The Dad of Light drama was supposed to be dispelling the prejudice against online games and gamers. But when you watched these episodes, the only FFXIV characters that appeared were the female miqo’te protagonist and several lalafell girls! This wouldn’t do!
Honestly, I was torn over the feedback. Filming was still progressing, and I felt bad about making them redo it this late in the game. So, I sent a message to Maidy-san to explain what I meant: “I don’t mean to get rid of the Giovi members (Editor’s note: Maidy-san’s free company is named Giovinezza), but add some extras from other races to lessen the lalafells’ overwhelming presence.” Naturally, I selected my words cautiously. I didn’t want Maidy-san to think I was telling him to remove his dear friends from the video… I added, “But of course, I 100% understand that you and the director want to portray Eorzea as accurately as possible!” to my feedback.
I nervously waited for a response, and what Maidy-san sent back to me was as follows:
“Oh, my bad. The scene looked so normal to us that nobody noticed there were too many lalafells loool” – Oiiiiiiiiiiiiii! *laughs*
And so, the director understood and added other races to certain scenes in the first two episodes as per my request. It was no longer full of lalafells. This approach was similar to the concept of “imprinting”: if we lessened the initial impact of the lalafells and later got the audience to recognize Kirin-chan and Aru-chan as “characters” rather than “lalafells”, then we wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore and editing costs would be lower.
…There were many incidents like this behind the scenes, that you would normally never think about. This was just one of many, but for those of you who are about to watch or rewatch the series, it might be interesting to look out for these things while you do so.
To end off this column, I’d like to write about the event that left the greatest impression on me.
This drama was based off of a personal blog. But at the same time, there was a novelization being published by Kodansha as the drama’s “original work.” If the drama was a success and people found out that it was based off of a true story, then there would probably be many people buying this book. But the real “original work” is Maidy-san’s “1-click KILL SS Diary”, which is still freely available for anyone to read because Kodansha didn’t require that he delete the blog posts upon their novelization. Anyone involved in merchandising or sales will be able to tell you how amazing that is.
Dad of Light brought together so many people that cherish the original work. I feel so fortunate that I was involved in the creation of such a wonderful work, no matter how small my part was.