Originally posted on 13 May 2017
Source: Siren Maniacs, page 162-169

Siren 2 Maniacs - Inspirations

Robert R. McCammon / Fusosha Publishing

A story describing the fight between two aliens - the hunter and the hunted - who have fallen to earth and humans. The book overflows with tense horror elements such as a closed-off space and darkness, but also brings together a unique worldview filled with dry humour, charming characters and vibrant action. The tension midway through featuring an attack by a creature that mimics the appearance of a neighbour in the darkness-shrouded rural town stayed with me in particular, and without this book I don't think the strategy of using light would have made it into the game. (Toyama)

Ryuketsuki (Bloodpire)
Contained in: "Fujiko F. Fujio Shorts Anthology"
Fujiko F. Fujio / Shogakukan

One of the proposal concepts for this game was to attempt to mix in a taste of 60s sci-fi, and the first "gateway" that introduced me to that was Fujiko F's works, which I first experienced in elementary school, and NHK's Boys' Drama series, I think. This work's everyday life hidden within darkness and ending with the world changing at the end are particularly seared into the back of my head. (Toyama)

Darkness Falls
Director: Jonathan Liebesman / 2002 / Sony Pictures Entertainment

I happened to read an article about this in a listings magazine when I was looking for ideas for a game with enemies that are weak to the light, and went to the cinema in Odaiba to watch it. It was really scary to realise upon going inside that I was the only one there (laughs). There are several scenes where the effects are so extreme that you can't help but give a wry smile, but I like it for its helicopter cuts of the town. Things like the depiction of the Tooth Fairy being hit by light and going up in smoke were used as reference. (Toyama)

The Epic of Gilgamesh, or This Unnameable Little Broom
Director: Steve Quay, Tim Quay / 1985

I went to see this movie at the theatre without having any idea what it was based on, but its bizarre impact didn't leave me, and it was what led to me wanting to use Sumerian myths and the poem of Gilgamesh as themes for Siren 2 (even if up until then, all I had known about "Gilgamesh" was from Druaga or Ai Iijima...). The themes of women's beauty and terror physically struck a chord with me, despite it being an epic myth. (Toyama)

The Gift
Director: Sam Raimi / 2000 / Amuse Soft Entertainment, Inc.

The story of Annie, a female fortune teller who is gifted with a special type of sixth sense (precognition). When I saw the intro I thought, "I know! Annie will use her own vision that Donny, a violent man, couldn't do something so terrible as proof that he's innocent and believe in him! This is one of those dramas where an odd partnership search for the true criminal!" but I was totally wrong (laughs). I did want to use a female fortune teller and her partner in my own work, though, which turned into the pairing of Kiyota and Abe. (Toyama)

MMR: Magazine Mystery Reportage
Yuki Ishigaki / Kodansha

During the time I was refining the proposal for Siren 2, I was quite fond of "Beck"'s Shingo Ono, and proposed that I wanted to go with a protagonist who wore cool glasses. As the development team argued over this suggestion... he transformed into a sort of parody of Kibayashi. As the scenario progressed, we also had some fun with his name, where MMR = MaMoRu. (Toyama)

Roommania #203
Dreamcast / 2000 / Sega
PS2 / 2002 / Sega

This game actually had the most influence on Siren 2's presentation, with things like being able to collect the very TV and radio programmes that play within the game and being able to peek freely as time continuously flows. In particular, the opening (?) part with the live action drama made the scales fall from my eyes in the realisation that games could be whatever and however you wanted, which led to the video archives. (Toyama)

Toro to Kyujitsu (Holiday with Toro)
PS2 / 2001 / Sony Computer Entertainment

Just like with the Shibito in the first game, we had decided to put a "powered up" version of the Yamibito in the latter half of the game, but weren't sure which direction to take it in. Then, I heard a rumour that something spooky was hidden in the background of "Toro to Kyujitsu" and, my interest piqued, took a look... And there, peeping through the window, was a giant face! The impact it had was amazing. After that, as I was gathering data I even found images of things like a giant face under a desk, and arrived at the reality that it would be really scary to have an impossibly huge face in an impossible place. This is how Tomoe Ohta Type B, the creature to have plunged the players deeper into terror than any other in Siren's history, came to be. (Toyama)

Hatsushima Undersea Cable Severance Incident
(From the 20/4/2003 morning edition of the Asahi Shimbun)

Following on the tail of the 70s occult, ESP and UFO boom, many mystery shows were created. These had a great impact on the Siren team, too. However, the progression of scientific verification and it being viewed as a sort of taboo following the Aum incident mean that you hardly see any these days. The approach taken by the media to this bizarre incident with an element of mystery to it occurring in modern Japan left a strong impact on me, which led to this game. (Toyama)

Pastoral: To Die in the Country
Shuji Terayama / 1974 / Geneon Entertainment

This experimental film by playwright and poet Shuji Terayama (1935-1983) had a great impact on me as a university student. I used it again for this game as a reference during the process of trying to come up with an external appearance for the Yamibito, but things like its use of richly-coloured filters and the theme of a mother and child's trauma had a profound impact on the game as a whole. (Toyama)

I Am Legend
Richard Matheson / Hayakawa Publishing Corporation

A comically realistic sci-fi horror story which details the loneliness and terror of the last man left alive on Earth after the whole of humanity is turned into vampires by mysterious bacteria. The hunter and the hunted, good and evil, and the truth that comes to light when viewing the world anew from each standpoint... Perhaps people learn of true despair when the ideas they had considered absolute are turned upside down? (Sato)

The Body Snatchers
Jack Finney / Hayakawa Publishing Corporation

A sci-fi classic themed around an alien invasion of Earth. The fear of having people close to you replaced by "something" by unknown beings hits closer to home due to the masterful and peaceful descriptions of the setting. What if not just someone close to you, such as a mother or a friend, was switched with "something" inhuman, but you yourself were without even realising it? This book was influential when coming up with Ichiko Yagura's tragic tale.

Director: Stuart Gordon / 2001 / Pony Canyon

This is a B movie-style adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft's "The Shadow over Innsmouth" by the genius director Stuart Gordon. Darkness perpetually enshrouds the screen, and the air of the port town, from which you can almost smell the drifting odour of rot, leaves you with a feeling of revulsion. The shocking scene in which the true form of the beautiful girl who tempts the protagonist is revealed might be one of the staples of horror (laughs). The true form of this beautiful young girl (her lower body...) is a must-see. (Sato)

Shibito Gaeri
Contained in: "Yokai Hunter Chi no Maki"
Daijiro Morohoshi / Shueisha

Denizens of the darkness, driven from the Earth's surface long ago, return with cries of resentment! This short story, part of Daijiro Morohoshi's famous Yokai Hunter series, is one of his most steeped in Cthulu mythos and sci-fi tones of unknown beings that invade. Beings from a different evolutionary line with a much longer history than humanity existing and humans being struck with terror at their resurgence links to the core themes of Siren 2's worldview. (Sato)

Ryokuma no Machi
Yasutaka Tsutsui / Kadokawa Shoten

This is a young adult sci-fi story by Yasutaka Tsutsui, but if you look down on it because it's for kids, you'll be hit hard by the Tsutsui-style unrelenting horror of the ending. The fate of the boy who serves as the protagonist, having held out against the alien invasion until the end, is terrible and impactful. He is locked up in a cage in a zoo as the "last person on Earth", oggled by the aliens as he laughs ceaselessly, losing his mind... I think that maybe, "justice" is a pretence created by the more dominant point of view. It also influenced the hopeless ending where Nagai's position is reversed. (Sato)

The Little Mermaid
Andersen fairy tail
H. C. Andersen, Eiko Kadono (JP) / Shogakukan

This is the tragic love story of the mermaid princess, a beautiful girl from the sea. She is unable to inform the prince of her love for him due to her voice having been stolen, and in the end she perishes after choosing her love for the prince and sacrificing her own life. I wanted to supplement the drama of Kanae and the young Shu that couldn't be fully told within the main story by creating an archive to pattern Kanae after the "mermaid princess". Reading back on it now as an adult, however, I can't help but be mad at the amazing stupidity of the prince for thinking that it was the princess of a neighbouring country who saved him and deciding to marry her, regardless of the fact that the mermaid princess says nothing (laughs)! (Sato)

Contained in: "Tate Gallery: An Illustrated Companion" museum book
John Everett Millais / 1852

A painting by the artist Millais of the death of Ophelia, a tragic heroine from Shakespeare's play "Hamlet". This painting was what came to mind when I was thinking about the scene in which Kanae melts into the sea. The scene is both taboo enough to take the young Shu's vision, but also to become a sweet memory... Maybe the kind of "true beauty" that steals people's hearts away is bred within a silent madness. (Sato)

The Lost Colony of Roanoke

A mass disappearance that occurred on Roanoke Island in North Carolina, USA, in 1590. The only clue left behind was the mysterious word "croatoan" carved into a pillar. Had the islanders been wiped out, or had they vanished somewhere? What does "croatoan" mean? The mass disappearances of the Yamijima islanders is a reconstruction of this unsolved historical mystery with more questions than answers, along with Siren 2's own interpretation. (Sato)

The Disappearance of the Mary Celeste

The Mary Celeste was a sailing ship that was discovered in the Atlantic Ocean in 1872. Though traces of life were found aboard the abandoned, drifting vessel, the crew and passengers had all vanished... When I was in elementary school, I learned of this incident in a book called "Seven Mysteries of the World" and was thrilled by how bizarre it was. After growing up and learning what happened behind the scenes (?), I felt a tinge of sadness. This incident was incorporated into the worldview of Siren 2 and rebuilt as the mystery of the Bright Win. (Sato)

No Man's Land: Gunkanjima
Shinichiro Kobayashi / Kodansha

"Hashima", a man-made island situated in Takashima, Nagasaki. This island, also known by its nickname of "Gunkanjima" ("Battleship Island"), is filled with buildings of cold, bare concrete that stand like a solid maze. Now that its residents, workers at the coal mine, are long gone, the island lies in decay, with light spilling through holes in walls to illuminate the darkness, blocked by the shadows of its ruins. Its appearance calls to mind the historical ruins of an ancient past, or the aftermath of some futuristic, sci-fi nuclear war, arousing the imagination of those who see it. We began creating the visuals for Siren 2 using "Gunkanjima" and this photobook. (Takahashi)

Measurement Survey Collection on Gunkanjima: Appendix
An Empirical Study of Modern Architecture in the Taisho and Early Showa Eras

Yoshitaka Akui, Hidemi Shiga / Tokyo Denki University Press

This is a thick book, totalling about 700 pages, which records everything about Gunkanjima since the closure of its mine in detail. It also contains photos and scale diagrams of the island from the time, so this book would probably allow you to perfectly recreate Gunkanjima. The Hell Steps from the harbour stage are an accurate recreation of the steps on Gunkanjima known as the Hell Steps. (Takahashi)

Haikyo Nostalgia (Nostalgia of the Ruins)
Mayumu Sango / Futami Shobo Publishing

This is a photobook edited by Tohru Kurikawa, an explorer of ruins and author of "Walking the Ruins", who helped us out with the ruins at the time of Siren 1. The photobook, unusually for photographs of ruins, has a colourful tone to it. The binding is pretty, too. We used it as a reference for things like the mine, the amusement park and military facilities. (Takahashi)

Jacob's Ladder
William Blake

"Illusions" and "visions" are words that fit the words of Blake, a poet and artist. "Jacob's Ladder", his most famous piece, is a painting of the dream that Jacob has in the Book of Genesis of the Old Testament. Afternoon and night are drawn at the top and bottom, with spiral stairs that seem to simultaneously lead up into the light and down away from it. We used this painting for reference when designing the pylon, a symbol of Yamijima. (Takahashi)

Director: Clive Barker / 1987

This is a film adaptation by Clive Barker, a genius of modern horror, of one of his own novels. Whenever I hear words like "hell", "other worlds" and "messengers from the darkness", I always think of this movie. I don't think I'll ever escape from under its spell. It served as inspiration for the pylon and the appearances of the Yamibito. (Takahashi)

"The Umbrellas" 1991
Christo and Jeanne-Claude

A modern artist who has done things such as wrap an entire museum in cloth, hang a curtain in a valley in the Rockies and set up 1,300 huge, blue umbrellas in Japan's paddy fields. I remembered Christo's works as an idea for the bizarre traces left behind when Yamibito appear. (Takahashi)

Kokushi no Shima (Black Shrine Isle)
Fuyumi Ono / Shodensha Bunko

After the Meiji era, Shinto was brought under systematic government control by a policy that unified the state and religion. Any shrines that didn't fit within this framework were referred to as "black shrines". Yasha Island, an island bristling with windmills and wind chimes, was a "Black Shrine Isle" that secreted one such heretical religion within... This book by Fuyumi Ono, author of "Shiki", which had similarities to the first Siren pointed out, is a notable work containing several shared elements with Siren 2, suh as an island with fanatical customs under the control of a head fisherman, and a secret concealed within the living room of an old family's home. (Akiyama)

Evil Dead II
Director: Sam Raimi / 1987
Distributor: Beam Entertainment

This is an ambitious remake with a large budget of the first film, Evil Dead, a crowning achievement of the splatter genre with which the masterful Sam Raimi made his striking debut. However, the impression it leaves is markedly different from that of the original, a pure horror movie, with its strong comical overtones. The legendary final scene, in which "something terrible" happens to the helpless protagonist, is something that must be seen and compared to Siren 2's "Nagai ending". (Akiyama)

Munakata Kyoju Ikoroku (The Case Records of Professor Munakata)
Yukinobu Hoshino / Shogakukan

This is a comic which portrays the fieldwork of Professor Munakata, an archaeologist who conducts unique research centred around the history of iron, and also a sequel to "Folklore Studies of Professor Munakata". As befitting of the author known for the epic "Yamataika", it is a grand story excellently woven together using a variety of elements such as history, romance, the occult and sci-fi. Its methods of interweaving real life literature and historical archives bears similarities to that used in the works of Daijiro Morohoshi, and several common features can also be found within Siren and Siren 2, making it of great interest. (Akiyama)

PS2 / 2004 / Sony Computer Entertainment

A third person military shooter in which you serve as a member of an elite American army unit, taking on special missions such as counter-terrorism efforts. Mr. Toyama played this game a lot while working on Siren 2, and you can feel its influence in the stages where the (primarily offensive) SDF characters of Nagai and Misawa are active. Mr. Toyama's goal of incorporating several different types of gameplay into the Siren world, used as 2's theme, gave rise to the exhilarating feeling of wiping out your enemies with overwhelming firepower that didn't exist in the first game. (Kobayashi)

Siren: Forbidden Siren
2 DVD set / Price: 6,300 JPY (tax inc.)
Sales: TV Asahi / Distribution: Toho

A film adaptation for the big screen by the genius director Yukihiko Tsutsumi, known for such works as Keizoku and Trick. The story is an original one set on the isolated island of "Yamijima" (夜美島), although it also features an appearance by Mai Takahashi, who played Yuri Kishida in Siren 2, as well as having several things here and there that will put a smile on the faces of those who have carefully played through Siren 2... (Akiyama)

Siren: Eternal Siren
Illustrations/script: Daichi Banjo / Shogakukan

A comic adaptation of Siren that was serialised in the Young Sunday magazine. Here, the setting is the isolated island of "Yamijima" (夜魅島). You can see how the feeling of "Yamijima" was kept between the three media of games, films and comics, with each aiming to create its own take using its unique attributes. Judging by the three-man talk at the end of the book, it seems as the author, Daichi Banjo, worked on it after putting quite a lot of time into the first Siren game. (Akiyama)

Siren Maniacs: Siren Official Complete Analysis Book
SoftBank Creative / Price: 2,300 JPY (tax inc.)

This is an investigative book about Siren that was created using a different stance from standard game guides or reference books. Back then, our two writers pondered together how they could convey the game's unique character through a book, and this was what led them to decide upon the unprecedented style for a game-related book of publishing an untouched version of the handwritten timeline. By the way, those two writers and the designer also worked on Siren 2 Maniacs. (Akiyama)