Shigenori Soejima is Atlus' art director and the person in charge of the look for some of Atlus' most beloved games like the Persona series and Catherine. In a new video profile on the artist, Soejima reveals some of his biggest influences for games like Persona 4 and 5, as well as the origins of Catherine which surprisingly weren't all that erotic as it later came to be.
"At first, there was a Catherine game without that erotic touch," reveals Soejima in a video profile from documentary channel Archipel. "There were ideas such as making it a battlefield where the character would climb on a hill, while discussing this, various people got interested [in erotic themes]."
Soejima says that Catherine director Katsura Hashino and the rest of the team became interested in taking the climbing idea to erotic territory. The only problem is that Soejima never really drew erotic subjects before.
"I had never drawn in an erotic taste thus far... I felt a bit anxious at first," said Soejima. "There isn't anyone who doesn't like eroticism. I never did it at first so at first when drawing, it would strangely become too subtle." Soejima said that he had to start over many times to get a more "carnal" feel to the art.
So, what does Soejima draw inspiration from regularly? When he started he says it was based on the anime and manga of his youth, but as he's gotten older his influences have become celebrities, real people, and fashion magazines. Something very evident by the stylish characters of the Persona series.
"Without looking at specific names, I am often inspired by models in fashion magazines," says Soejima. "A same model may have different clothing and hairstyles varying in each photo... There is obviously the [model's] overall appeal but I am also inspired by the image the person wants to communicate [through fashion] and the attempts to get closer to it."
There is a brand-new remaster of Catherine slated for PS4 and Vita with brand new story and even a third, new "Catherine." As for the Persona series, you can expect two dancing rhythm games based on Persona 3 and 5 featuring Soejima's fashionable teens. Persona 5 was also one of our favorite JRPGs in recent years and you can see our complete Persona 5 guide for walkthroughs and social link guides.