People probably don't remember, but when reviews for Grand Theft Auto V hit, the biggest criticism was that players weren't allowed to dress Trevor, one of the three main protagonists and a general fuck up, in anime t-shirts. It was an odd oversight by Rockstar Games, a studio known for being detail-oriented, but the modding community has since stepped up to fix this.
35 Anime T-Shirts for Trevor, created by modder Tsukasa Hiiragi, lets you adorn Trevor with form-fitting clothing sporting references and imagery from everything from Sailor Moon to Aria the Scarlet Ammo. (I definitely thoroughly understood that Aria reference immediately, and definitely did not resort to a Google search to determine whether that was made up.)
The modders' name, Tsukasa Hiiragi, is a reference to the main character from the anime Lucky Star, which has been given the gaming treatment a few times. Hiiragi has made a ton of mods for Grand Theft Auto V, most related to anime. One mod adds anime-themed cell phone wallpaper, another swaps the game's weapon textures with images of different vocaloids. It's even possible to make sure Franklin's house is full of anime posters, manga, and, yes, hentai.
His most popular mod, downloaded 563 times, adds anime billboards.
What drives a man to add this much anime to Grand Theft Auto V? I had to find out, and fortunately, Tsukasa Hiiragi was willing to chat with me about his passion.
(This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.)
Waypoint: We're gonna start off with a tough question: what's your favorite anime and why? Take as much time as you need.
Tsukasa Hiiragi: Yeah, that is always the tough question for anime fans the world over. Picking that single favorite show is nearly impossible for most fans, especially with new anime coming out every season. For me, however, after taking some time to seriously think about it, even though I'm more well known for being a huge Lucky Star fan, I'd still have to say that perhaps Clannad is my all time favorite. The storyline, the characters—just everything about it is amazing and quite a tearjerker. It's just a masterpiece of animation.
Now that we've gotten rid of the elephant in the room, how does modding fit into your life? What's your day job?
Does being a neet [not in education, employment, or training] count? I'm actually a home husband—does that surprise you? I can cook and clean. It isn't glamorous or anything, but it does provide me with extra time for my hobbies, which is obviously gaming and anime.
How long have you been a fan of anime? Was there a particular series, manga, or movie that converted you to the church of Japanese animation?
Oh, I've actually been an anime fan since I first saw the Westernized version of Battle of the Planets, which is also known under its classic Japanese title Gatchaman. Back in the late 70s/80s period though, the West didn't really know what anime was, until the breakout hits of Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball educated us. That is also the point where I started to become much more interested, and that hobby just grew and grew.
I found you by stumbling upon a mod that adds 35 anime t-shirts for Trevor. Why does Trevor need anime shirts? Do you think he's into anime?
Ah, Trevor, he's such a character. He really is a mess but an hilarious one with some interesting cut-scenes, one even having him crossdress? While his personality is so out there, I think Trevor could be into anime actually. Yeah, I know what you're thinking: hentai. But also, I think he'd probably be into the dark stuff, School Days, for example. I can really see Trevor watching that. Just don't insult his waifu 'and' husbando, otherwise he just might shoot you in the face.
The mod technically has 35 anime t-shirt options, but let's say Trevor could only wear one. Which is it?
Out of that bunch which I added in that particular mod, I'd say the Hello Kitty T-shirt, for some reason that seems to fit his personality, I don't know why but I guess it's similar to some of the outlandish clothing options he already has.
As far as I know, the GTA series doesn't really acknowledge (or lampoon) anime. What's up with that? Maybe we can ship them some DVDs.
The early GTA series didn't acknowledge it at all, I think mostly because of how old the series is. That did change with Liberty City Stories and the birth of the Princess Robot Bubblegum shorts which I personally think is a great parody of anime in general. Who knows what the future holds for the franchise though....Grand Theft Auto 6: Tokyo Drift edition perhaps? I think a GTA game set in Japan would totally work!
With some rare exceptions, the vast majority of your mods involve adding anime things—posters, skins, clothes, billboards—into Grand Theft Auto V? How'd that end up being your niche?
For the most part, this is how modders usually work, we make something for ourselves, that we enjoy and would like to see in the game and if other people also enjoy that concept for the mod, then great! Being a classic otaku, it's only natural I would head in that direction, but that doesn't really mean I'm only in that niche. I often asked if anyone had any suggestions or requests, and for the most part the requests were all anime related too with a few exceptions being someone requesting a Killer Instinct reskin for one of the arcade machines. I have no real problems in taking any requests provided it's within my ability and skill to make the mod halfway decent.
"It bothers me, especially when people automatically assume you're some weeb trash, but for the most part, if they want to deny themselves of classic anime without even considering the possibility that they just might enjoy it? Then, it's pretty sad."
How'd you get into modding in the first place, and what'd it take to learn the ropes? Were you just screwing around?
I got into modding way back in the mid-90s with Unreal Tournament. I tried to learn the basics, but back then, the modding scene was still young and it was hard, so for a while I enjoyed the fruits of all the talented modders out there, I think my first mods were messing around trying to learn how to reskin for GTA 4 and I managed to create a few basic mods for that.
It was only with GTA V's release that I became more interested in making some interesting mods, but I was actually surprised how many people actually enjoyed my first mod, which added tons of billboards for the downtown area.
I've actually been asked this question before by a few people trying to learn the basics, and honestly, the best learning process is to screw around. OpenIV has evolved into a powerful tool now, and has given the community far greater power to mod the game without damaging the core files, so if something isn't working or even crashing the game, it's an easy fix to remove the offending file and try again.
Do you have all your own anime mods installed at once? Have you turned Los Santos into some kind of anime paradise?
I did, and it was glorious! I had even changed the cinema movies into actual real anime trailers! I only wish I had the abilities and talent in blender to make my own 3D models, which is the next step for me. Simple texture reskins are something anyone can do with time and practice, but actually creating brand new 3D models? That is something I would really love to be able to do.
Anime fans sometimes get a bad rap online, like the way people talk about folks with anime avatars on Twitter. Does that bother you?
It's the internet, so you're always going to get haters and trolls no matter what. I've had my fair share of problems. I haven't had any problems on Twitter, but I've had my Steam account targeted before, which caused me to change to a private profile.
As for the bad rep? Sure, it bothers me, especially when people automatically assume you're some weeb trash, but for the most part, if they want to deny themselves of classic anime without even considering the possibility that they just might enjoy it? Then, it's pretty sad. After all, there are so many different genres these days, there really is something for everyone.
It seems like you're still making anime mods for GTA V. What's next?
I made a couple of mods for Fallout 4, but lately its been a busy time, and I've just been a regular gamer instead of modding. That doesn't mean I don't have my eyes peeled for new projects, however. It's only a matter of time before I go back to updating the mods for GTA V. Let's not forget that it's a safe bet that GTA VI is most likely on the horizon, and any new GTA game is something that I'm sure I'm going to mess around with.
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