Fumihiko Tachiki and Daisuke Sato Interview

The opening of the November 5th PRIDE Bushido 13 was met with loud cheers at the venue. As the text "Narrator Fumihiko Tachiki" appeared on the screen, the unique intro video was clearly the handiwork of Director Daisuke Sato. While Tachiki and Sato don't appear in the spotlight, they have gained an unusually strong following among PRIDE fans. Both men sat down with PRIDE FC to discuss the past and the future.




Pride Fighting Championships: Are you concerned about the fans' reaction (to your work) at the venue?
Fumihiko Tachiki: I'm extremely concerned.
Daisuke Sato: I've always watched the event outside the venue in the broadcast truck but for the first time in a long time, I went inside the venue to watch the recent BUSHIDO. That feels really good. (laughing)
Tachiki: I was completely shocked by the response at the venue last time. I've always been there to verify my work but there is a part of me that doing what we want to do is what PRIDE is about. If it weren't, it wouldn't be fun. The fighters become more real (to the fans) because we can play around with the intro videos.
Pride: The response differs depending on the video. Sometimes it's laughter and sometimes it's amazement. Don't you feel great when you see that kind of thing?
Tachiki: It makes me happy. Sometimes when I'm in the booth recording the narrations and I read something that's sort of funny,I might go a little too far. I'm the kind of guy that goes as far as I can, right from the start, and Sato is the one that has to keep me under control. He will say something like, "Let's not do this. It's too much. It's going to be a comedy if you make it any funnier."
Sato: Because laughs just aren't necessary in a martial arts intro video. (laughing)
Tachiki: Yes. That's exactly right! (laughing)
Sato: It's okay to laugh before the fight because there are laughs that have nothing to do with fights. Like, "So what if Ninja calls his mother and cries!" (laughing)
Tachiki: Speaking of videos that draw laughter, (Ikuhisa) Minowa has become a series.
Sato: In the beginning, we thought that the style might be considered rude but, we also have a respect for him in that he lives a life that is so unique, people laugh at him, but he doesn't care.
Tachiki: I think the way that you do it is right on target. I'm just along for the ride because I trust that you'd stop me if I went too far.
Pride: How many takes do you have to do with the narrations?
Tachiki: The first run is a test and we record it the 2nd time. Then we all watch it together. That's when we find a lot of mistakes.
Sato: Speaking of which, we re-recorded the narration for the Gomi VS Mach fight on the next day.
Tachiki: Yes. Yes. That brings back a lot of memories.
Sato: I approved it the first time but after I looked at it again, I thought the narration was too strong. That fight was a Championship bout but you also want to see it as a bout between two MMA heroes, right? It needed to be a little lighter. Making it plain would bring out more emotion.
Tachiki: As a narrator, that was a good experience.
Sato: It's difficult work. If you push too hard, it doesn't suit PRIDE and it seems artificial if it's too light.
Tachiki: You have to have some motivation, though.
Sato: Yes, you need motivation. Matches like Ogawa VS Yoshida are too easy, right?
Tachiki: That one was easy to do.
Sato: The tough ones are the ones like Sakuraba. You have to show everything, including the strength and the sadness of it.
Pride: So the method and difficulty changes depending on the theme of the fight and the fighters.
Tachiki: Fedor and his fights of ice. Nogueira and the Rio sun that never sets. I think we've built a style where we can start from there and build communication between them in the video. Of course, it's always trial-and-error.
Pride: Going back to the recent BUSHIDO event, did you invite Tachiki when you made the video?
Sato: Of course. We need him. We I think of narration, I think of Tachiki's voice. PRIDE needs Tachiki.
Pride: I can tell that you two trust each other a lot. It may be difficult because you are both here but I would like to hear you opinion of each other.
Tachiki: He knows my voice, as a narrator, better than anybody.
Sato: Because I'm your biggest fan. (laughing)
Tachiki: He's also dangerous, in a good sense, because I never know where he's going. I think that's his appeal. I would rather stick with Sato than a Director that just smiles all the time. Sato makes you want to discuss the project and make it something more interesting.
Pride: Do you interfere a lot?
Tachiki: Not so much. Sometimes I do the narration and have to convince his to use it as-is.
Sato: That's the way we always work. If one of us thinks it's not working, we don't give up. Even if I think something is good, I will ask Tachiki if it's okay, and he will say let's try it again.
Tachiki: In that case, it's usually just one word that gets changed.
Sato: Sato is considered a genius in the television industry. What do you think?
Tachiki: I think that is exactly right.
Sato: I'm no genius. (laughing) I was just lucky to be an Assistant Director at FUJI TV when they decided to broadcast PRIDE. I have a little skill, too.
Tachiki: They couldn't make these kinds of videos with Sato, though. They have a unique tempo. This sounds silly but the video tells a story.
Pride: (While looking at blog titles on the Japanese PRIDE website) Look, there they have "Daisuke Sato, a god for certain."
Tachiki: I bet everything would go crazy if we both quit at the same time. (laughing)
Sato: What are you talking about? We can't quit. I've already quit one job to be here. (laughing)
Tachiki: Daisuke Sato's videos have a unique rhythm. You only have to watch the first 5 seconds and you can tell.
Sato: Stop, you're killing me! (laughing)
Tachiki: As a narration, this kind of job is the most difficult. PRIDE jobs are the hardest but they are also the jobs that I want to do the most, not because it's work (but because I like it.)
Pride: Okay, now if we could get some criticism of Tachiki.
Sato: He makes it possible for me to create a wider range of images. Tachiki has many styles of voices. Most narrators might have two voices but he has like ten voices. The (video creation) possibilities are great, even on the same card, and I've already got several of his voices in mind when I do it. So when I'm at the stage where I'm creating the video in my head, I think of Tachiki. He's also an incredible figure in the voice-over industry, right?
Tachiki: Don't be ridiculous.
Sato: No, it's true. Do you know how great it feels to be able to control you on cue?
Tachiki: Oh, that's why! (laughing)
Sato: Yes. I think there are probably a lot of people in the industry that are jealous of you.(To be continued)