This past Thursday, Tokyopop held another of its webinars – an open to the public live video feed where they announce new information and take Q & A from attendees.
This week they had a special guest – Goda-san – the creator of the popular, Domo. The Tokyopop representatives, Cindy Suzuki and Lillian Diaz-Pryzbyl, were there to speak with him about creating Domo while Tokyopop rep Vy Nguyen collected questions from the virtual audience.
If you ever wanted to learn more about Domo, then this Domo-nar was certainly your chance!
Note: These questions and answers are not a direct transcript but are summarized answers taken live from the webinar. All questions were directed to Goda-san.
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How did you come up with the idea for Domo?
- About ten years ago, Goda-san was busy working on a commercial and trying to come up with ideas. One evening, in the middle of the night, he just stayed up drawing general shapes until they came together as Domo. After looking at it, Domo’s story just started taking shape.
Did you have Domo in mind before NHK approached you for a mascot? (Domo is Japan’s public broadcasting station mascot)
- NHK approached Goda-san first then Domo came together shortly after.
Why does Domo hate apples?
- Domo hates apples because in a side story it was revealed that a prehistoric race that looked a lot like Domo ate fruit that looked a lot like apples and they went extinct. Domo doesn’t want to be extinct so he will never eat an apple!
What do you love most about Domo?
- Goda-san loves that Domo doesn’t speak. Because of this it’s up to the audience’s imagination to interrupt his meaning. He can be a little different to everyone.
Why do you think Domo has become so popular?
- Goda-san said he was really pleased that Domo is as popular as he is – he loves how people around the world just seem to be saying ‘more Domo! more Domo!’. He’s very thankful. It just suddenly hit him one day that Domo is all around the world, and not just with anime/manga fans.
What is Domo’s mission? Is he out to dominate the world or bring peace to it?
- Domo does not have any plans for world domination. He’s just cute and always thinking about how hungry he is. All Domo wants is to be happy so everyday he can say ‘today’s a good day!’.
Goda-san recently took a trip to an American 7/11 and saw the Domo slushies. What did he think?
- Goda-san really liked it and hopes others do too. However, at first he was really worried about getting brain freeze while drinking the slurpie. He wondered, ‘will the brain freeze hurt? will I turn into Domo?’.
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Around this point in the webinar there were some technical difficulties that left viewers turning down their audio to avoid some very loud static. Goda-san took it in patient stride however, giving the webcam a couple pokes for good measure.
After the sound issues are dealt with, Goda-san drew a picture of Domo which was to be included as a prize in Tokyopop’s Domo prize package (which like all Tokyopop contests, was only open to those living in the US).
Goda-san brought out the original Domo used for making the short animated segments, showing off its points of articulation while divulging some information about the show’s creation.
The animation team could work all day, from morning to night, and only get 5 seconds of animation. The Domo animation used a standardized number of frames, which is 24 per second. Stop-motion animation – very tedious!
Goda brought out a large Domo brownie cake before fielding some more questions.
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What is Domo exactly?
- Domo is not a chocolate bar, or a plant, he’s a Domo. ie: A Cat, a dog, a Domo… see?
Do you have a favourite non-Japanese food?
- Goda-san thought hard on this question because he didn’t want to have a boring answer! He does love Indian curry.
Are there any plans to have Domo play on TV in America?
- Domo has already played on NickToons in the United States and on Teletoon in Canada. No news on if it will continue or appear more often.
Is Domo a lover or a fighter?
- Domo is definitely a lover, but his love can sometimes lead to him fighting. Since he occassionally causes trouble he doesn’t always come off as a lover at first.
Did you have a favourite story in the Tokyopop Domo manga?
- Goda-san’s favourite was the story where Domo cooks and when the giant beetle showed up. (Note: These stories are titled ‘Don’t Try This At Home’ and ‘The Ultimate Beetle’)
What is your favourite bit of a Domo memorabilia?
- Goda-san likes all the Domo merchandise, and finds it interesting how there’s different American and Japanese merchandise. He really enjoyed the manga Tokyopop made.
What do you think Domo smells like?
- Tokyopop’s Lillian believes that Domo smells like cinnamon and Goda-san says she’s right because Domo smells different to everyone. He smells like whatever you think he smells like – everyone’s right!
Does Domo have a girlfriend? Will Domo have a girlfriend in the future?
- Domo doesn’t currently have a girlfriend and Goda-san doesn’t have plans for that right now. He’d have to figure out what kind of person Domo’s potential girlfriend would be.
Why does Domo daydream so much?
- Domo daydreams a lot because children daydream a lot; he wants children to emphatize and have that in common with Domo.
How can you tell Domo is a boy or a girl? He’s always naked! Long eyelashes or something?
- Domo’s like a dog where you can’t usually tell at first glance. Besides, until a girl Domo appears, you wouldn’t know what the differences are anyway. But Domo is definitely a boy.
What would happen if Domo and Hello Kitty met?
- They would become friends of course! After a while anyway.
Will we ever see Domo in gothic-lolita clothing?
- Goda-san has no plans for this and it’s probably a good thing. If Domo starts wearing clothes then suddenly his natural form would actually seem naked!
What do you think Domo would think about his own merchandise and slurpies?
- Domo enjoys himself so he loves posters and billboards of himself. He would be very excited to see all of it.
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Goda-san ended the interview with a reminder to viewers about the different meanings Domo’s name has – it can mean thank you, sorry in a kind tone, hello or even goodbye. In that way, he appreciatively thanked everyone and bid them goodbye – thus bringing to a close Tokyopop’s Domo-centric webinar.
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As a fan of Domo, albeit not a hugely knowledgeable one but an appreciator of his unique charms none-the-less, I had fun learning more about Domo during the webinar! The explanation behind Domo’s disdain towards apples was pretty amusing (and a valid fear considering I’d say!) and Goda-san’s good natured answers to the questions in general was fun.
It’s always really neat hearing directly from creators, especially when they’re the creative brains behind something as globally recognized as Domo. It’s easy to forget where big pop-culture faces like his originate from and it feels refreshing going back to the source like that. A thanks to Tokyopop and Goda-san for the enjoyable opportunity!