Gender: ♂? /♂
Date of Birth: Bearly known
Age: Bearly known
Height: Bearly known/ 170cm (When I’m human)
Weight: Bearly known/ 55kg (When I’m human)
Blood Group: Bearly known
“No matter what, we really wanted people to be stunned when they see what’s hidden inside Teddie for the first time, so we decided to let a beautiful girl come out.”
Teddie’s bear-motif came to be when I was ordered by Director Hashino to design a character with cute visual characteristics, one that you couldn’t possibly hate. I don’t know if this is true, but according to the Director’s assessment “Big, fluffy-soft creatures that look like they want to hug you” are “cute”, so I decided to make it a bear. (laughs)
Since he was always supposed to look like a typical japanese Mascot-Character, I had a lot of trouble with the design in the beginning, until I decided to use toys like celluloid- and kewpie-dolls for inspiration. He ended up looking like a pretty old-fashioned toy due to this. Basically, popular, beloved characters usually have very simple and clean aesthetics. Conversely, if you try too hard to make it modern and add too many details and gadgets, you’ll end up with a design that won’t age well and be outdated way too quickly. The design that we decided to use for Teddie in the end has only two focus-colors and small, round buttons, really reminiscent of old plush toys. Teddie’s head was inspired by visors like the ones on space-helmets. My goal with his design was to make it seem retro-futuristic, like something belonging in the overflowingly hopeful Shouwa-era (Translator’s Note: Shouwa-Era = 1926-1989).
No matter what, we really wanted people to be stunned when they see what’s hidden inside Teddie for the first time, so we decided to let a beautiful girl come out. However, when Naoto’s gender was changed to female during developement, Teddie’s inner body ended up becoming the pretty boy we known now instead. For Teddie’s inner body, I was ordered to draw a “shining, sparkling, beautiful boy”, so I sincerely got to work. My goal was to create “THE Bishounen”, so I gave him a really Manga-esque Firecut-hairstyle and generally made him look like he had escaped from some kind of fantasy-kingdom. The blue eyes and golden hair are meant to underline is unnatural beauty, it’s not like I was trying to make Teddie’s inner body look like a foreigner.
By the way, Kintoki-Douji was designed with the motif of Kintarou-dolls in mind. In order to make it look like a toy of a simmilar line as Teddie, I gave it a blue vinyl cape. By the way, Kintoki-Douji’s Missile is called “Tomahawk”. It’s a pun on the woodman’s axe Kintarou carries. The symbol on the Persona’s stomach is a stylized “AU”, the chemical symbol for “Gold”. This, too, is a pun on Kintarou (Translator’s Note: “Kintarou” means “Golden Boy”). When I came up with design, the staff told me “You can’t just design an entire Persona around nothing but puns!”, but I just said that it’s not me who’s in love with bad puns, but Teddie (laughs). After all, it’s only fitting that a pun-ster like Teddie would have visual puns all over his Persona as well.
When designing Kamui, I had Ainu mountain-deities in mind, since these usually are embodied as bears. I was especially thinking of Kim-Un-Kamui, the god of bears. To enforce this image, I gave it, for example, bear-claws. When Kim-Un-Kamui was being honored, they sacrificed bear-cubs to him by shooting them with arrows. I find it rather odd that one would celebrate the patron-deity of bears by shooting down bears, but that’s why the missile on Kamui is stuck in its back, rather than being held by it, It’s meant to symbolize the arrows used when hunting the cubs to be sacrificed. Oh, and just by the way: The model of the missile stuck in it’s back? Yeah, it’s called “Arrow”.