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Takumi on Columbo (Kono Manga ga Sugoi interview)Topic%20Title
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A discussion between Takumi Shuu and mystery writer Ookura Takahiro was posted last week on the Kono Manga ga Sugoi site (a famous annual ranking of popular manga). It had some interesting points, like Takumi talking how "Perry Mason" was an important hint for Takumi to create the "Ace Attorney" series and how Awasaka Tsumao's "A Aiichirou" series influenced "Ace Attorney" (both being comedic mysteries), the usage of something mystic like 'channeling' in a detective story (and the reactions of fans to that), to for example how Arisugawa Alice's "Double-Headed Devil" was a big influence to AA3-5 (both featuring a case happening on both sides of a river). But it was a bit too much to translate all of it.

They also talked a lot about "Columbo", but it was cut from the original interview. But today, this part of the discussion was also added to the site. I am a big fan of the TV drama Columbo,so I just couldn't leave this untranslated.

TAKUMI Shuu (Director, scenario writer of the AA series, Ghost Trick)
OOKURA Takahiro (Lieutenant Fukuie series)

A Neverending Love for Columbo

Takumi: I too love "Columbo". Lots of people urged me to read the "Lt. Fukuie" series, because it was written by someone who loved "Columbo". And that was indeed the case, I found out once I started reading the books.

Ookura: Actually, I only started writing the "Lt. Fukue" series, because I wanted to write something like "Columbo". But doing an inverted mystery like in "Columbo" is difficult, and as the culprit is known from the start, there's little left to hide. On screen, they can do thinks like showing it together with Peter Falk's performance, but in novels, the complete truth is written there right from the start, and there's nothing interesting left. I thought about that problem for 2, 3 years. Then I remembered what my editor said when I was given the job of writing a novelization of "Columbo".
"You can do anything you want, just don't let us know what's going in Columbo's head. Nobody knows what Columbo's thinking, and that's the point." And that's exactly it when you watch him. He might be saying something about his wife, but we don't even know if he really has a wife. Having remembered that, I came up with the style of always describing Fukuie (the protagonist of the series) in the third person and have the crime solved without ever knowing what Fukuie was thinking.

Interview: Mr. Takuma, how do you write your characters?

T: Games are meant to be played by the players, so I am of the opinion that the protagonist should not have a strong, clear-cut personality. As a result, I think I'm doing something similar to what Mr. Ookura just said about "Columbo". For example, I don't touch upon Phoenix' past in the games, and the players don't even know where his parents are. Fans often ask e about the birthdate of a character, or their bloodtype or favorite food, but I don't talk about them on purpose.
On the other hand, my own personality might be shining through my characters... In the game, Phoenix' thoughts are shown as monologue, but those inner monologues are just my own, personal thoughts. So when people say "Phoenix is actually quite sarcastic", they're actually talking about me (laugh).

O: "Detective Conan"'s Conan's inner thoughts are sarcastic too, thinking "Don't you even know that?!". I think it's something like that. I actually like that though. It might be a bit sharp-tongued, but it's a refined sharpness. You can't have a mystery story with a bit of spite. I think Columbo too can be a bit mean too. He is not as nice as he seems and can be a bit meanspirited.

T: Mr. Ookura, what are your three favorite episodes of "Columbo"?

O: When discussing "Columbo", it always comes to this. I am a fan of "Identity Crisis".

T: Whaat!?

O: My no. 1 is "Identity Crisis", no. 2 is "The Bye-Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case" and no. 3 is "Columbo Cries Wolf", of the ABC series.

T: No! Oh, sorry. I'm just surprised at how different our picks are. I haven't seen much of the ABC series actually.

O: Well, of the original run, my no. 3 could be "Now You See Him", "Candidate for Crime" or "The Conspirators". So none of the fan-favorites like "Any Old Port In A Storm" or "Forgotten Lady". What are your favorites, Mr. Takumi?

T: When I was a kid, I used to record the audio of "Columbo" episodes on a casette tape and listen to them in my room, but the one I listened most to was "Negative Reaction". Looking back, I think it has all the essentials of "Columbo". The surprise ending, but also Columbo being mistaken for a homeless guy, it has everything "Columbo". If I needed to recommend one episode, it would be "Negative Reaction".

O: True, "Negative Reaction" is a very balanced story. There's the nun, and the drunk who starts talking and there were also great guest stars.

T: The Japanese dubbing was great too! (laugh). I originnaly wanted someone like talking like that too in "Ace Attorney" but it was too difficult and I gave up. Oh, and these might be predictable, but I also love "Suitable for Framing" and "Short Fuse"

O: I think that not many Columbo fans would mention "Short Fuse".

T: And I also like "An Excercise in Fatility".

O: That's a good one too. But fans probably like all episodes (laugh)

T: To be honest, of the titles you just mentioned, I don't remember much of "Identity Crisis". It didn't leave much of an impression.

O: Patrick McGoohan directed and starred as the murderer in "Identity Crisis" but it's not really a mystery story... He's just going with it. The trick is really rather simple. But for me, "Columbo" is not about the script or mystery plot, but about the directing and the performances.

T: I see. So as a visual product.

O: Yes, how good it is on the screen. So my list of three favorite episodes is probably quite different from people who focus on the mystery plot.

I: It's been an interesting discussion, but it's about time... Do you have something to say to the fans?

O: I can feel the influence of "Columbo" in "Ace Attorney". For example, there's the thing with the IV drops in "Turnabout Succession", episode 4 of "Ace Attorney 4". I won't go into details, but the part where it goes "the only way you can know about this if you were there at that time", that's a type of logic often used in "Columbo". I definitely got me. Mr. Takumi, I hope you'll make more stories with these kind of reasonings. In my opinion, the heart of "Ace Attorney" lies not in proving your client's innocent, but the process towards that.

T: I'm happy you, being such a big fan of "Columbo", say that. "Columbo" is an orthodox inverted mystery, but lately, you'll see a lot of inverted mysteries on websites with list of "Recommended Mystery Stories". Inverted mysteries are fun as they always have a big surprise waiting at the end, and I am a fan of a lot of inverted mysteries, but I wouldn't want people to think they're the norm.

O: True. Inverted mysteries might be easy to understand for the modern reader, but I'd be a bit disappointed if all the titles mentioned in a list of "Recommended Mystery Stories" would be inverted mystery stories.

T: The real fun behind mystery stories lies in the logic when you connect all the hints and solve the mystery. Inverted mysteries on their turn have their chance to shine because they're the outliers. But if people would first start with inverted mysteries and then work their way through the classics, I'd be happy with that too as a mystery fan. The world of mystery stories is wide and deep. I'd also love it if people would watch the TV drama "Columbo" once again.

Interviewer: Mr. Takumi, Mr. Ookura, thanks for your time.
"One dumbbell, Watson! Consider an athlete with one dumbbell! Picture to yourself the unilateral development, the imminent danger of a spinal curvature. Shocking, Watson, shocking!" - The Valley of Fear
Re: Takumi on Columbo (Kono Manga ga Sugoi interview)Topic%20Title
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It's an amazing find every time a mystery writer is interviewed, and drawing inspirations from Columbo are no exception. It's too bad I haven't a clue what to expect from this drama I've never got around to watching. It makes me so curious, though, so maybe I'll eventually see an episode or two for myself. What would you suggest to a newcomer like me?
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Re: Takumi on Columbo (Kono Manga ga Sugoi interview)Topic%20Title
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"Suitable for Framing" is a masterpiece (and it's very easy to see the series' influence on Ace Attorney in this episode). Personally, I also love "A Stitch in Crime" (with Leonard Nimoy as the guest-murderer).
"One dumbbell, Watson! Consider an athlete with one dumbbell! Picture to yourself the unilateral development, the imminent danger of a spinal curvature. Shocking, Watson, shocking!" - The Valley of Fear
Re: Takumi on Columbo (Kono Manga ga Sugoi interview)Topic%20Title

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how come this guy knows every Columbo episode by heart oO
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