Voice: Atsuko Tanaka
The female owner of Antiques & Cafe Kurosawa where Yuuri Kozukata lives. She is in possession of a Camera Obscura left to her by a certain person. Having learned Kagemi powers through oral legends and documents, aside from running the antiques shop she also takes on jobs searching for missing items on the side.
She is supposed to be the descendant of a shrine maiden who, after Mt. Hikami's destruction, survived despite being blinded and quietly made a living using Mitori. All that remains is Kurosawa, the name of the family who managed the Black Lake.
Shisei no Koe was meant to be themed around parting from the dead, the pain of living and the meaning of life and death, whereas Nuregarasu no Miko is about spiriting aways... the single theme of the pain of waiting for someone you don't know is alive or dead.
In the initial plan, Hisoka was the main character who would travel to paranormal spots all over the country, taking requests to search for people who had been spirited away, and in the process of doing so would begin to learn of the "Black Lake" that was the origin of the Kurosawa name, the border between this world and the next. At the end of the story, she would search for the spirited away "Yuuri Kurosawa".
In the two endings I thought of for the original idea, Hisoka would pull Yuuri back to this side by repeating the strong words "I won't forgive you," but the moment she learned the pain of Yuuri's emotional scars and forgive her she lost her, in an ending called "Forgiveness", and an ending called "Warmth" in which Yuuri, having reached her mental bottom, begins to want to remain on this side after something so trifling as holding a warm cup of coffee in her hands.
I spent a long time thinking what kind of words someone would say at the end to someone who had tried to save them from committing suicide, and I thought they might be "Forgive me". In contrast, Hisoka says, "I won't forgive you." This is because I thought that, despite not knowing what or why she wouldn't forgive them, these words, like anger or a shout, full of such strong rejection as to be irrational, would be enough to create a connection to this side.
By the way, Hisoka's favourite phrase is, "Sometimes life is merely a matter of coffee and whatever intimacy a cup of coffee affords," a famous line of Richard Brautigan's. These words are ones people, saved by something so simple when at their absolute rock bottom and wondering whether to really go or turn back, will understand well, and I thought they were words that would be effective on people who went to the very bottom, so I wanted to introduce them somehow.
Hisoka's design was intentionally kept close to Rei Kurosawa's. They are both from the Kurosawa family, but when we were designing Rei, Marilyn Monroe's performance in River of No Return left such an impression on me, embodying all kinds of emotions with her gloomy yet sexy body, and I again began aiming to see if I could reproduce that kind of air. Now that I think about it, Rei is a Kurosawa too, and at the end she sees into Reika's emotions.
Voice: Maaya Sakamoto
An assistant supporting Ren Hojo's work as an author. She was employed by him after they were introduced at a magazine company, living at the Hojo house. She is good at creating and sorting data and is left in charge of it, but somehow ended up taking on all of the housework, too, and is now just like family to Ren.
Created due to a request from Nintendo to have a character as Ren's assistant who would act like the Kobayashi to Ren's Detective Akechi. I thought it would be difficult to keep Kobayashi as-is, but I did have one idea. The Kobayashi in Akio Jissoji's "Murder on D Street" is played by an actress called Hitomi Miwa dressed in male clothing, and no matter how you look at it you can only see her as a cross-dressing woman, despite him of course being male... Not only that, but at the end of the film, having been in male costume, Hitomi Miwa puts on an elegant kimono and rouge, giving off a bewitching charm. The Kobayashi in "Murder on D Street" has the inversion of being a woman dressed as a man dressing as a woman, leaving you confused as to which he really is.
Rui in this game emulates that strange charm, and is officially a character whom you don't know whether they're male or female, leaving multiple interpretations open. Even our staff had varying opinions, like, "She's a woman, of course," or, "He's fine as a boy," but if you think reasonably about it, I think she should be a girl. There are men called Rui as well, but Rui was a girls' name that was popular in the Edo period, and I've also heard that it spread when the kaidan "Kasane-ga-fuchi" was created.
Note: the kanji used in the name can be used interchangeably as "kasane" or "rui", written the same way.
As for myself, I would like to give my support to the theory that Rui is both male and female, and had somehow or other decided to be a man when she met Ren, and maintained a careful balance in their relationship in this manner, being able to stay by Ren's side, despite his aversion to women, because he thought of her as male, but as Ren became wrapped up in yuukon and began to be charmed by Ouse, she started to have a strong consciousness of her being a woman as well. The name Rui itself encompasses both genders. By the way, the surname "Kagamiya" comes from a place in Toyama.
Note: in this case it is written the same, but read "Kaganomiya".
She is supposed to have begun opening up to Ren whilst talking about stories from the area, since they're from the same place, and she sees herself dressed up as a bride in the mirror, so I searched for a place in Toyama with "Kagami" (mirror) in its name.
Rui is meant to have "just turned up" at Ren's house. At first, Ren was so hopeless that she couldn't leave him alone and started having to look after him, but gradually she moved in with him and started work in an attempt to help him. Initially, Rui's self-sacrificial mentality at taking on his care is meant to have come from warped desires, and she kept secret aspirations of giving herself up to save Ren kept hidden away inside. In the end, only a small amount of this desire is left in her notebook, and she became a character with an incredibly pure personality, as she appears to be.
Voice: Natsumi Takamori
A white-haired girl who appears at Katashiro Shrine on Mt. Hikami. She was originally an Osana Miko from another mountain, but was sent in a box to Mt. Hikami, which sought strong pillars. She has a power of Mitori that allows her to read people's minds simply by looking at them.
The first image I had of her was that of a ghost like the girl from Kyusaku Yumeno's short story "Shiragiku". In "Shiragiku", a fugitive flees into a large house, where he sees a beautiful girl asleep, surrounded by many dolls, in a dreamlike scene; it is a short story that, rather than weak horror, puts you in an even more terrifying, unrealistic situation. It was a perfect match with her sleeping surrounded by lots of dolls at Katashiro Shrine, so I called her "Shiragiku (temp.)", but the name was more popular than I had expected, and her looks were actually made to fit with a white chrysanthemum.
She has a strong power of Mitori, and can tell what people are thinking in an instant. Just like Miu, she is all too familiar with the way other people's minds work, and she cannot die, meaning that she grows tired of existing, and acts more mature than she appears on the outside.
She was put into a box on Mt. Kagiroi, a different mountain from Mt. Hikami, and carried there. On the mountain, getting into a box did not mean that one died, but was more like a sokushinbutsu, where they would be a revered being who would live forever so, unlike historial Zero shrine maidens, her kimono's collar is not crossed right over left as she would be in her burial outfit.
Incidentally, this ghost is the only one who was based on an actual ghost. For more on this, see the ending explanations.
Voice: Houko Kuwashima
A shrine maiden of Mt. Hikami with strong powers. She was selected to be the "Great Pillar" that was to protect the mountain's seal, but her ritual failed, and even now she continues falling through the yomi alone. There is no end to her suffering and solitude from all of the deaths she has taken in.
The first thing to come to mind was the image of a woman, dressed in a bridal outfit, falling eternally through dark water.
In a poem by the poet Mutsuo Takahashi, themed around the Christian worldview, he writes, "Being born into this world means falling from Heaven above, continuously falling as though accelerating in earnest, waiting for a helping hand." This image, at the same time as being incredibly painful and tragic, always stayed in my memory has having beautiful yet sad nuances, and the moment I decided that this game would be a horror themed around water, the image of a woman in a bride's clothes, her kimono sleeves fluttering gently like a flower as she falls through the dark water, sprang to mind.
In the first and third Zero games, the final shrine maiden maintains the normality of the worlds of the living and the dead by enduring eternal pain and suffering. This fifth game is the same, with a character who withstands the pain despite gradually dissolving. In order to give her a sense of pain, we had to combine her black and eroded, miserable bridal form with a beautiful, white version, representing the gap between the two. However, all I wrote with regards to her appearance was, "The kind of woman you would want to marry at first glance," and it took some work to give her form after that.
Voice: Rika Wakusawa
Miu Hinasaki's mother. After losing her elder brother and only relative, Mafuyu, she went to live with a friend of her brother's and worked as a photographer's assistant, but quit upon falling pregnant. She gave birth to Miu alone.
Her third appearance. At the beginning of development we had a producer's request to make her one of the playable characters, but if Miku was a lead character then there were too many things to tell, and I thought it would be difficult to create a story that carried on the past games, so created a child between Miku and Kei Amakura who was called Miu Amakura. Since she was a child of both the Amakuras and Hinasakis, you could expect spiritual power from her.
Later on, more weight was put on the yuukon aspect of the game, and I began to feel that Miku's partner could, after all, only be Mafuyu, and things settled into their current form. This was because I realised that Mafuyu's actions, in staying by Kirie's side in the ending of the first game, are the same as yuukon, in that they are to strengthen the power of a sacrifice.
Only Rei's part was shown in Shisei no Koe's ending, but just like her, Miku met with the dead and afterwards was left with the pain. It's a shame we couldn't show Miku's ending, but even if we had done the message would've been the same as with Rei, so I don't think it's a bad thing that it was omitted.
In the omitted Abyss of the Horizon, Miku perpetrated the forbidden in the dream with the dead, and after she awoke she had conceived. I'm sorry to any people who were unhappy about the sudden change to a fairytale world you might find in Tono Mongatari.
After giving birth to Miu, Miku had used up most of her life force, and sensed that her time was almost up. At this time, Miku called back the soul of her brother, who was sealing the hell gate along with Kirie, and thought he could later be freed. Deciding to use her remaining time to do this, she left Miu.
Voice: Asaka Imai
A girl who requested Hisoka Kurosawa to use Kagemi to find her disappeared friend. After learning of Hisoka's absense, and unable to wait, she heads to Mt. Hikami alone.
This character was created soon after we decided to set the game at a famous suicide spot. She apparently goes to search for her friend, who disappeared at a famed suicide location, but commits suicide before Yuuri's eyes. She is the first character to die and turn into a ghost.
I thought that the moment she tries to commit suicide definitely causes her to remember the best, most fun moment of her life. Upon further reflection, I thought that perhaps that was when she was in kindergarten, when she unquestioningly believed that only good things awaited her, so when I was creating her graduation ceremony song - the peak of her kindergarten years - I used "Omoide no Album" (Album of Memories), "Hotaru no Hikari" (Light of the Fireflies) and "Kyo no Hi wa Sayounara" (Today is Goodbye) as references, creating the "final song" she would sing.
Voice: Haruka Tomatsu
A student attending the same school as Fuyuhi Himino. She often visited Antiques & Cafe Kurosawa to have her fortune told by Hisoka, but one day went missing.
This character was created because I wanted there to be a person who is rescued by Yuuri, but goes back to the mountain herself.
Initially, the plan was for her to be left alone with Yuuri after being rescued, and you would have several conversational options with her, where you could stop her from committing suicide. I wanted to put down in a game the idea of what you should have said at the end to a person who is beckoned to by death, but the best way to do it always ended with her dying, so in the end we left only one option.
She is kind, and easily swayed by others. Sympathising with Chiaki, a member of her group of five friends, who suggested that they commit suicide, and participated in a group drowning. (As you can tell, the five friends' names - Haruka, Natsuho, Chiaki, Fuyu and Tsuyuno - are seasonal in nature). Chiaki is supposed to have been called to by the ghost of an Isame on Mt. Hikami, so the Isame Mitori video and Haruka and the girls' drowning video shows all five of them holding hands as they enter the water.
Due to Fuyuhi and Haruka's special bond of only the pair having survived, until they could fulfil their promise of trying to die together once more, they spent a sweet time like the day before a lovers' suicide, but Haruka goes to the mountain alone. Haruka took on the final emotions of the dead three when they drowned themselves, and is called to by the setting sun, fulfilling the shrine maiden's role of bringing those final emotions to their end of the mountain. Fuyuhi is hurt that Haruka has gone alone and cannot forgive her, but in Miu's endings you can see the two of them holding hands beneath the Magatsuhi. In the end, the pair are tied together, reconciling, and standing side by side as they watch the Magatsuhi eternally.
Voice: Wakana Yamazaki
A master of the Hajinmon sect of Mugen Tenshin-ryu. A standout even amongst the rest of the clan, she is also called the "prodigy kunoichi". Follows after the missing Tsumugi Katashina.
Voice: Natsumi Takamori
Raised in an unhappy home environment, she attempts suicide repeatedly and is called to Mt. Hikami. A Kagemi request for her was submitted to Hisoka, but her whereabouts are still unknown.