25th Entertainment Division Critiques

Entertainment: A Journey to Hope in Chaos

I have been a member of the jury for the Entertainment
Division since the 23rd Japan Media Arts Festival,
and I was honored to be the Head of the Jury in
this third year. Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak
in 2020, we have been living with the ever-mutating
novel coronavirus.
The Spanish flu pandemic took place 100 years ago.
Although COVID-19 vaccines have been implemented
at remarkable speed, our globalized world with information technology is confused in a different manner
than 100 years ago. Last year, I felt encouraged that the
number of entries increased precisely because of this
situation. Nevertheless, this year’s entries totaled 3,537,
a decrease from last year’s 3,693.
The Entertainment Division had a total of 489 entries,
compared to 626 last time. Every category showed a
decrease: from 130 to 79 in the game category, from
287 to 247 in the video / sound work category, from 69
to 60 in the multimedia production category, from 90 to
61 in the product category, and from 50 to 42 in the web
site / application category. This is particularly prominent in categories that require collaborative production.
Sharing tasks is possible remotely, but my routine game
production makes me keenly aware of the significance
and importance of sharing the same mindset and working cooperatively in a physical space.
However, this situation in turn has brought about
more opportunities to encounter a wide range of works,
from past masterpieces to current popular works, as
well as many independent works. At the same time, the
value of realistic live entertainment is being rediscovered and much sought-after. Staying home also led to
an expansion of the player base of games, which is my
field of expertise, from single-player games to games
for enjoying communicating with others. Regardless of
the situation, or rather, because of the situation, people
yearn for “a trip to a different world.” This is perhaps the
essence of entertainment.
The Excellence Award winner, Cyberpunk 2077, is
a cutting-edge work, realistically depicting the expansion and enhancement of physical ability through 3D
technology. There are two major pioneer role-playing
games: Ultima (1981), which portrays the world from an
overhead view, and Wizardry (1981), a first-person RPG
that emphasizes adventure.
The mainstream in Japan
is third-person RPGs that combine these characteristics. Cyberpunk 2077 is an open-world, first-person
RPG—an orthodox evolution from Western ones. With
technology and inequality at its core, it indeed presents
the trend of the current time.
The Grand Prize winner was Naoki Urasawa presents
Manben neo -Yoshikazu Yasuhiko-. This documentary
TV program covers manga artists at their work sites
closely, focusing on their techniques. This episode featuring YASUHIKO Yoshikazu totally astonished me with
his spectacular drawing techniques. For my generation
who grew up with manga and animation, his techniques
and expressions acquired through his long creative career appeared to be a modern version of KATSUSHIKA
Hokusai, who was a Japanese artist and ukiyo-e painter
and printmaker of the Edo period. Here, I mentioned
two types of entertainment, digital and analog. As time
goes by, new technologies prompt platform and industry development and nurture creators. The Japan Media
Arts Festival is also seeing an increasingly greater number of entries that transcend categories in each division,
blurring the boundaries in a positive sense.
The breath of new-age cross-genre entertainment
works can be found worldwide. At the same time, conceptual works that return to the origins of genres will be
refined as well. Globalization and information technology have made our world more standardized. Amid the
pandemic, people seem to be exploring the importance
of looking back at the past, and securing a firm foothold
in their country, region, and identity.
History has been made in this way and people recollected it, corrected their course, and nurtured culture.
I believe that creators from around the world will continue to produce diverse works and generate many
cultural waves.

TOKITA Takashi
Producer and Game Creator, Square Enix Co., Ltd.
Born in Kanagawa Prefecture, 1966. TOKITA began creating games using pixel art during the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) era as a part-timer in theatrical activities. He worked as a planner and director, and is currently engaged in production work. TOKITA's important work includes Final Fantasy IV, Live A Live, Chrono Trigger, the Hanjuku eiyu (Hanjuku Hero) series, Parasite Eve, and Nanashi no Game (Nameless Game). He is currently a producer in the Second Product Development Division, Division 6 of SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD., and a director at Tokyo RPG Factory Co., Ltd. TOKITA is also involved in teaching the next generation as a member of the Human Resources Development Committee of the Computer Entertainment Supplier's Association.