The characters exude distinct personalities, ranging from delicate beings on the verge of disappearing softly to fierce and beautiful beasts unleashing their wild nature. Many fans appreciate the futuristic and stylish mecha designs and cyber typography.

Redjuice is a character designer and illustrator, known for bringing characters to life in works like Hatsune Miku and Guilty Crown. In February 2024, just before their solo exhibition REDBOX under the name of their own company, they answered questions about their daily life, the exhibition, and inquiries collected by TOM from overseas fans.

Through this, we catch glimpses of their artistic stance and their constant commitment to self-improvement.

This interview was recorded in February 2024

Article Contents
Interview with redjuice
Questions from Overseas Fans
What Interests You?
Appendix of Terms

More info on redjuice merch & the REDBOX exhibition


Regarding Recent Developments

Tokyo Otaku Mode: First, could you update us on what you've been up to lately, redjuice-san?

redjuice: Let's see. If we're talking about last year, I worked on projects like IRyS1 and Proseka2, and there are still a few unreleased ones in the pipeline. So, yeah, those kinds of jobs kept me busy. Also, I got back into doujin activities after a while, so I'd say it was a pretty fulfilling year overall.

This year, starting in March, I've been caught up in preparations for my solo exhibition, so that's been keeping me occupied.

TOM: Reflecting on these past few years, including these recent developments, have there been any significant changes for you as an artist?

redjuice: Hmm, over these past few years, I can't say there's been any specific milestone or a complete transformation in my life as an artist... It feels more like I'm constantly updating myself day by day.

TOM: Well then, have there been any changes in your personal life during that time?

redjuice: Over the past 10 years or so, there have certainly been changes. Back when I was working on Guilty Crown3, for example, I was living in Odaiba at the time. However, during the production of Guilty Crown, I moved to Mitaka, near the studio, and then moved back to Harajuku after Guilty Crown ended.

Harajuku is a pretty nice place, but living there can be tough (laughs).
After that, I moved to Kugenuma Beach in Kanagawa Prefecture when the company relocated.

That was around the time when I started getting various job offers as a creator. I was working on anime, and there was a surge in demand for illustrators due to the rise of social games, and there was a period where I was literally getting so much work every day that I had to turn some of it down.
Now, the overwhelming workload has been sorted out, and I feel like I have work that suits me better.

In Retrospect

TOM: Since there may be those who are hearing about you for the first time in this interview, I'd like to hear a bit about your past. At what age did you start drawing?

redjuice: I really started drawing when I was about 3 or 4 years old. I would take a drawing board and go out to the river to draw, or I would copy illustrations from picture books. Also, an acquaintance of mine gave me office copy paper, which was quite valuable at the time, and I used it for doodling. That's from around the time I was in preschool to early elementary school.

I developed asthma around the time I was in early elementary school, so there was a period when I couldn't go out much, but I continued drawing during that time.

It was around the time when the Famicom was released, but my family had banned video games. I bought my first game for myself when I became an adult, haha

TOM: What was the first game you bought at that time?

redjuice: My first game was on PlayStation. I bought various games like Ridge Racer.

Going back to my childhood, I was drawing a lot, especially during elementary school. So, I was pretty good at drawing. I didn't particularly receive lessons from teachers or anything, but my art grades at school were always top-notch.

TOM: What kind of things were you drawing at that time?

redjuice: Hmm, let's see. I was drawing things like superheroes, manga drawings like Dragon Ball, vehicles, animals. I'm not exactly sure, but those are the things I remember drawing.

TOM: After that, how did you arrive at your own style and artistic direction?

redjuice: Well, it didn't happen at once, but I subsequently became who I am now. First, when I was in junior high school, I encountered the work of Mamoru Nagano in The Five Star Stories. He's one of the authors who influenced me.

However, at that time, I wasn't drawing much. I would doodle on notebooks or loose leaf paper during breaks, but I wasn't particularly part of a manga club or anything like that. I hadn't even thought about becoming an artist in the future.
But through reading works by Mamoru Nagano and various other manga, I started to develop a longing for creativity around the time I was in high school. However, my potential wasn't fully realized at that point.

I started drawing seriously after I started working. My first job was at a machinery company, and I was doing a completely different job, but I wanted to try my hand at visual work, so I moved to Tokyo. Around that time, I got hooked on drawing on online drawing boards, sharing my drawings with others, receiving critiques, and participating in contests. Through all that, I gradually transitioned into doing art as a profession.

However, I don't think I've established my own style. Objectively, there might be something like Guilty Crown, but I focus on what I want to draw at the time and continue to study and update my skills to be able to draw it. That, I believe, is my style.

A memo redjuice made while creating a doujinshi

TOM: Thank you very much. Among the various projects you've been involved in, such as Hatsune Miku, EGOIST4, and IRyS, could you tell us about a project that served as a turning point in your career?

redjuice: There are many, but in terms of Hatsune Miku-related projects, meeting with supercell5 and livetune6 and collaborating with them were significant turning points. Moreover, the emergence of Hatsune Miku herself had a huge impact on creators. The environment where musical and illustrative collaborations could happen on Nico Nico Douga blossomed overnight, and I was able to ride on that movement and take flight.

Another turning point was Pixiv7. Although Twitter (now X) existed at that time, Pixiv was the main platform for sharing illustrations. After gaining visibility there and becoming conscious of being seen by many people, I was able to continuously update myself, which was a crucial aspect in terms of transitioning into work.

REDBOX Solo Exhibition

TOM: Now, please tell me about your solo exhibition, REDBOX.

redjuice: Last year, I established a company called REDBOX, and I felt that I wanted to summarize my past experiences under that name, which is why I decided to hold this exhibition. Additionally, it's also a milestone after establishing the company. I felt the need to reflect on and organize what I've done so far, in order to continue pursuing the career of an illustrator, which I've been able to do somewhat casually through various offers, with a firm resolve for the future.

World is Mine 2024

TOM: The main graphic of this exhibition, “World is Mine 2024,” is a new piece inspired by the illustration provided for the Hatsune Miku song “World is Mine,” released in 2008. Why did you choose to remake this particular piece among your many works?

redjuice: The reason I chose Hatsune Miku as the main graphic is because, as I mentioned earlier, I saw her as the origin of my career as an illustrator. When summarizing my past experiences for this exhibition, I felt that “World is Mine,” as one of those experiences, was the most appropriate motif.

World is Mine (2008)

TOM: Actually, I got to know you through Hatsune Miku's music back then, so “World is Mine” remains strongly in my memory. Regarding the creation of the new version, “World is Mine 2024,” I'd like to hear about any differences from the original and any creative innovations you've implemented.

redjuice: Basically, I haven't changed the design itself. I approached it from the perspective of "What would the illustration look like if I were to draw it now, using the same design from back then?" So, I think there's a difference in the artwork that reflects how I've grown since then. After all, back in 2008 when I drew “World is Mine,” I wasn't yet active as a professional. It's subjective, of course, but I do think I've improved since then, haha.

TOM: This might be a strange question, but could you tell us what Hatsune Miku represents for you?

redjuice: She's a connection to the world of creativity for me. Her character design is catchy, and the VOCALOID system was groundbreaking. At that time, everyone was eager to create something, but there weren't many platforms where everyone could enjoy themselves. Hatsune Miku emerged, providing that platform and connecting musicians, visual creators, and illustrators through collaboration.

TOM: Do you remember the first time you drew Hatsune Miku?

redjuice: Hmm, I think there are drawings I haven't posted on Pixiv, but the first proper one was for livetune's music. Livetune on Nico Nico Douga was quite impactful for me, so that's when I started drawing. After that, it was for supercell.

TOM: It's likely that besides Hatsune Miku, other works will be exhibited at this solo exhibition. How were these selected, and could you also tell us how you’d like viewers to enjoy them?

redjuice: Since I had an exhibition last year as well, I have a good grasp of my portfolio. This time, I selected works that I have particular confidence in.
Apart from Hatsune Miku, there will be mainly setting drawings and key visual exhibits from anime works like Guilty Crown. Additionally, I'll showcase my recent original series GIRLS FROM HELL, and I also plan to sell merchandise.
Furthermore, there will be live painting sessions during the exhibition period, and I hope visitors will enjoy these activities as well.

Latest sketch of 「Beatrice」from「GIRLS FROM HELL」

I realized something during my solo exhibition before establishing my company. Initially, I thought that illustrations were something to be passively enjoyed once completed. However, I found that many people actively enjoy my work. In the creative process, there are rough sketches and idea generation before the actual drawing, and I believe these parts are just as important if not more so. I wanted to experiment with the possibility of providing the creative process as content. Also, as an illustrator, I often work in areas beyond illustration, such as character design. Since there's quite a bit of that in my work, I wanted to explore the potential of offering the exhibition as an opportunity to showcase these aspects.


TOM: Could you tell us about the inspiration behind launching your company, REDBOX, in 2023?

redjuice: Originally, there was a company that served as the foundation for REDBOX, and it was through renaming that company that REDBOX was established. As I mentioned earlier, one of the reasons was to have a clear determination to continue working as an illustrator in the future, so I wanted to sort things out once.


TOM: What are your aspirations for REDBOX?

redjuice: I wouldn't say I have specific aspirations, but I want to focus properly on each project and work more efficiently.

TOM: How did you come up with the name "REDBOX" for your company? Can you share the backstory?

redjuice: We took it from the keyword that appeared in the work BEATLESS8, which I collaborated on with Satoshi Hase. In contrast to the "black box" as something whose contents are unknown, "red box" refers to a "product not yet reached by humanity" beyond the singularity that humanity cannot understand. Also, since my name is redjuice, and my first art book was named REDBOX, I decided to name the company REDBOX following that trend.

Message to the Fans

TOM: Finally, do you have any message that you'd like to convey to your long-time fans and followers?

redjuice: I've grown up in an environment where it's not just about the creator's ego but about enjoying things together, so I'm incredibly encouraged by the support from fans and the feedback on my doujinshi written on social media. It's also been motivating to see more people subscribing to my pixivFANBOX9, providing encouragement for my creations. I'd be delighted if those who continue to support me and those who are becoming new fans would subscribe to Fanbox or my YouTube channel.

Due to the pandemic, I haven't been able to attend overseas events in recent years, but last year, I had a great time participating in an event in Melbourne. I hope to visit various cities around the world again in the future. I would be very happy if you could attend events when I'm there.

Thank you for today.

There's more from redjuice on next page! Find out what questions overseas fans asked him! Some of the answers may surprise you!

More info on the REDBOX exhibition & redjuice related products

This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article translated by K Riley.
Interview conducted by A. Morris, T. Morisawa


Questions from Overseas Fans!

Question 1: When distinguishing between cute characters and cool, mature characters, what thought process do you go through?

redjuice: Well, everything is different, isn't it? It's not as simple as flipping a switch to differentiate between them. Within the category of characters I can draw, there are images of cute, cool, and mature characters. Although there are differences between them, there are also aspects that overlap. It's quite a difficult topic to discuss.

If I were to answer with just that, it might come off a bit mean.

If I were to consciously differentiate characters, when drawing cute, beautiful girls, I would make their faces less three-dimensional and more flat and symbolic, while still maintaining balance.

When it comes to male characters, their noses and mouths become more defined, so I become more aware of creating a more three-dimensional form. And when drawing older characters, like middle-aged or elderly people, I don't need to focus too much on the symbolic cuteness. Instead, I focus more on character traits and the anatomical muscles of the face, wrinkles, and the balance of facial features, emphasizing their humanity. For example, I might create a face using triangles, squares, or teardrop shapes, incorporating my experiences and knowledge of drawing into the process. Just talking about this could fill a whole book, haha.

Question 2: What was the reason behind choosing your art style? We appreciate the differences from common styles.

redjuice: I haven't consciously chosen my art style. While I can somewhat imagine what people might consider a "redjuice-like" style, I think part of being redjuice is improving with each piece rather than sticking to a specific style. In fact, I enjoy learning new tools and techniques, so for each project, I often research, practice, and create to learn and adapt as needed.

For example, when working on a Japanese period drama, depicting a kimono can be quite challenging due to its complexity. In such cases, I delve into researching the historical background and elements required for the project. I believe it's an artist's job to thoroughly investigate and understand each element needed for a project.

Questions 3: We imagine that you use various tools when drawing. What was the most challenging tool or software to master?

redjuice: Learning how to use tools itself is relatively easy since instructions are usually available in the manuals. Nowadays, there are even Japanese manuals available, but in the past, most 3DCG software was only available in English. While readers of Tokyo Otaku Mode may be proficient in English, many Japanese people, including myself, struggle with it (laughs). In that sense, I had a lot of trouble with 3DCG software that was difficult to use without understanding the underlying programming and backbone. If I were to pick one, I'd say the old 3DCG software I used to use, Softimage|3D, was particularly challenging.

Question 4: When you experience a creative slump or your brush stops moving, how do you break out of it?

redjuice: Well, sleeping is usually the best solution, haha. There can be various reasons for feeling stuck, but for me, the most common cause is mental fatigue, so at times like that, sleeping is really the only option.

I also try to find ways to relieve stress. Taking a walk, doing some exercise, maintaining a healthy daily routine, eating something delicious, etc. I believe health is an essential issue for creators.

Another aspect is what people commonly refer to as a "slump." Personally, I'm not fond of the term "slump," so I don't use it, but it essentially means hitting a wall in some way. It could be feeling unable to draw what you want to draw or feeling like you're not progressing.

Actually, being unable to draw what you want to draw can be a sign of growth. As a result of growing and seeing things you couldn't see before, you may struggle with the gap between what you think you should be able to do now and what you're actually capable of. When facing such situations, I think it's about finding what you can do and improving yourself, which is my way of dealing with slumps.

Question 5: When designing new characters that fit the world of GIRLS FROM HELL, do you usually have a perfect idea before you start drawing, or do you make changes along the way before settling on the final design?

redjuice: It depends on the situation for me. Sometimes, I write down settings and ideas spanning several pages before I start drawing, and sometimes I start with a blank slate and just let the lines flow to shape things. If you want to create a good character, whether you start from visuals or not, it might be interesting to start with some sketches and then develop the character with logic and flesh it out. For me, I make additions and changes along the way as I create.

Question 6: What is the most important thing you pay attention to in character design?

redjuice: First and foremost, there's the premise that you have to draw a person. Then, it's about finding my own fetishes or favorite points and focusing on them. Personally, I like depicting bones, like fingertips, so I tend to focus on bones rather than muscles or fat, and then I build the character from there. However, character design isn't just about focusing on one aspect, so it's important to show the character's individuality in various aspects such as bone structure, leg length, neck length, and so on.

Question 7: When did you start using Blender or other programs to create backgrounds?

redjuice: Actually, I started with 3D art before illustration. When I quit my first job and moved to Tokyo, it was specifically to pursue 3D-related work, but at that time, I couldn’t draw illustrations at all. I couldn’t draw character illustrations for 3DCG movies, which was kind of ironic, haha.

People who went to specialized schools could draw like professionals, and my drawings didn’t even come close to the examples in magazines and books that said, “This is what a character design looks like!” So, I realized I was really bad at it. At that time, I wasn’t particularly focused on getting better at drawing.
In the end, I didn’t fully master 3DCG techniques and gave up, but the software I learned at that time, Softimage|3D, was back in around 2001, so I think I started using 3D software 20 years ago.

Question 8: What was the most challenging project you have participated in so far?

redjuice: It’s hard to narrow it down to just one, but… if I had to pick, it would be the trilogy by Itoh Project.The schedules were tight, and I had health issues in the middle of it all, which made it difficult to gather references and have meetings with the directors. It might be hard for others to understand, but having three different worlds coexist within me simultaneously was extremely tough.

Question 9: What did you want to be when you were a child?

redjuice: I wonder. I don’t think I wanted to be an artist, at least not initially. Since I was good at drawing, my elementary school teacher used to tell me that I might become a manga artist or a painter in the future. But I also thought being a painter might be tough to make a living from.

So I ended up going to a technical school10 and got a job at a machinery manufacturer, becoming an engineer. But becoming an engineer wasn’t really a dream of mine. There was this technical high school with a high entrance rate, and tuition was cheap because it was a public university. So, I just went there because I could get in, without any real ambitions. I was a pretty dull and unambitious kid, to be honest, haha. It’s almost unbelievable that I’m drawing now. I didn’t even tell my classmates from technical school that I draw, so when I told them at our reunion ten years later that I draw, they were like, “Seriously?” and were quite surprised, haha.

Question 10: How long does it usually take you to draw something?

redjuice: According to the logs on my YouTube channel where I upload my live drawing sessions, it can take as short as from waking up in the morning to going to bed at night to finish a piece. For doodles or fan art, it might take around 6 to 8 hours, but for more detailed work, I spend 2 to 3 days on it. So, generally, I'd say about 20 hours for a single illustration. However, for longer pieces, it can exceed 100 hours. For things like 3D work or illustrations with many characters, it tends to be around 100 hours or more.

Tokyo Otaku Mode: Personally, I'm curious, which illustration that you recently worked on took over 100 hours?

redjuice: The recent one was for the music video of “CRaZY” in Project Sekai. It involved multiple characters, each with a unique style, so I had to gather a lot of references, which took over 100 hours to complete.

We're not done yet! redjuice dishes the details on his favorite games, manga, and more on the next page! Go on, keep reading!

More info on the REDBOX exhibition & redjuice related products

This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article translated by K Riley.
Interview conducted by A. Morris, T. Morisawa



What Interests You?

Tokyo Otaku Mode aims to support the feeling of "SUKI" (liking) which is considered essential for otaku around the world. This time, we would like to hear about redjuice's SUKI. First of all, please tell us your favorite anime and manga.

redjuice: Actually, I don't watch anime that much. I read a lot of manga instead. Lately, before going to bed, I've been reading Made in Abyss on my Kindle. The art style is heartwarming, but what happens in it is quite brutal...
I also read many other manga. I subscribe to about 30 titles that are currently being serialized. Some of them include Shadow House, Call of the Night, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Chainsaw Man, and Ninja Slayer. I also enjoyed Tsugumi Project, even though it has finished serialization. I'm a big fan of Panpanya's manga as well, such as Guyabano Holiday, An Invitation from a Crab, and The Second Goldfish.

Recently, I felt like reading Fist of the Blue Sky. I find comfort in its easy-to-understand characters and story development. Also, despite being quite grotesque, I find Oni Goroshi interesting too. I have over 2,000 manga stored on my Kindle, so the list could go on forever.

TOM: Next, please tell us about your favorite games.

redjuice: I've been playing the Earth Defense Force series, from 3 to 6. I think Earth Defense Force is the game I've spent the most time playing in my life.

Recently, I also completed another game, DEATH STRANDING. I bought DEATH STRANDING masking tape from the official store and stuck it on my suitcase when traveling abroad.

Additionally, there's a game called Q REMASTERED, which is based on physics simulation. It's quite interesting, so I've been playing it lately.

TOM: Thank you. Please tell us about the music you usually listen to.

redjuice: I have several favorite playlists, but when I'm working, I usually listen to Apple Music stations based on specific genres. While I used to listen to a lot of Vocaloid music in the past, lately I've been more into EDM and electronic music. I often listen to artists like Porter Robinson, Madeon, Xilent, and Prodigy.

I also enjoy listening to video game soundtracks like CHRONO CROSS and ACE COMBAT, and sometimes I revisit the music of my student days, such as Linkin Park and Bon Jovi. For more recent artists, I find Bruno Mars quite uplifting.

As for Japanese artists, I listen to YOASOBI, SEKAI NO OWARI, and Kenshi Yonezu.

TOM: Do you collect anything?

redjuice: I collect keyboards for my computer. Currently, I mainly use a keyboard called REALFORCE, and I also have keyboards from Keychron, HHKB, Corsair, and Logicool in my collection. Some of them have been modified with different key switches and keycaps. Since it's convenient to attach a keyboard on top of a graphics tablet, I often opt for compact keyboards. Initially, I purchased keyboards for practical reasons, but over time, I've found it difficult to distinguish between practicality and personal interest.

TOM: Finally, could you share some channels of content creators you often watch?

redjuice: I occasionally watch live streams of VTubers, primarily centered around Hololive, but I prefer edited videos. I enjoy content related to technology, physics, mathematics, and space, as well as videos on martial arts, architecture, and mechanical engineering.

I also watch gameplay commentary videos of the games I play, and generally, I tend to watch recommended videos. I watch Yukkuri videos and content related to SCP. In terms of entertainment, I watch THE ROLAND SHOW11 as well. Initially, I wasn't interested in hosts and such, but I found their content intriguing. Looking at it this way, I have quite a diverse range of interests. When it comes to discussing YouTube videos I watch, I could go on endlessly.

We're very gracious to redjuice for taking the time to answer our questions and yours! We hope this interview helped you learn more about this incredible creator, his talent, and that it got you pumped for his upcoming character designs and projects!

More info on the REDBOX exhibition & redjuice related products

This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article translated by K Riley.
Interview conducted by A. Morris, T. Morisawa


Appendix of Terms

1 IRyS: A virtual YouTuber affiliated with Hololive Production whose character design was handled by redjuice.

2 Proseka: Proseka refers to the smartphone game app Project Sekai: Colorful Stage! feat. Hatsune Miku released by Sega. redjuice was in charge of the illustrations for the event song "CRaZY."

3 This is an original television anime series from Production I.G that began airing in 2011. redjuice was responsible for the character drafts.

4 This refers to a fictional music group featuring the heroine Inori Yuzuriha from the anime Guilty Crown who also served as the vocalist. The group continued its music activities even after the anime ended, producing numerous hit songs. Their activities ceased in 2023. redjuice was responsible for the image illustrations.

5 supercell is a collective of creators, including redjuice, who are composers, illustrators, designers, and more.

6 This is a solo music unit by the musician kz. They have released numerous songs using Hatsune Miku as the vocal source. redjuice was responsible for the cover illustrations of two of their albums. They also collaborated in the BEATLESS project, which was expanded across various media.

7 Pixiv is an illustration communication service where users can enjoy posting and viewing various works such as illustrations, manga, and novels.

8 BEATLESS is a science fiction novel by the author Satoshi Hase. redjuice was responsible for the illustrations. Subsequently, it was adapted into various media forms such as manga and a television anime.

9 pixivFANBOX is a fan community designed to support creators' creative activities.

10 In contrast to typical education provided in high schools before entering society, technical education, including practical training, is provided in technical high schools to train future engineers.

11 THE ROLAND SHOW is a YouTube channel established by the person referred to as the "Emperor of the Host World," ROLAND.

More info on the REDBOX exhibition & redjuice related products

This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article translated by K Riley.
Interview conducted by A. Morris, T. Morisawa


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