Fumihiko Tachiki and Daisuke Sato Interview on 12/01

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 fighters sat down with PRIDE FC to discuss the past and the future.




Pride Fighting Championships: Were there any intro videos that you really loved in particular?
Fumihiko Tachiki: Too many. (laughing) In the beginning, it was Don Frye's videos, of course. I have a lot of memories regarding the Fedor and Nogueira series of videos. I'm a Fedor fan. (laughing) I love videos like that, especially when he gets that slight grin.
Daisuke Sato: They all mean a lot to me, too. I always have one or two favorites in every event. The Zatoichi entrance at BUSHIDO was my favorite, though.
Pride: The opening video with the top four fighters at last year's Heavyweight Grand Prix Championship Round was impressive. That video must have had an impact because shows on other TV stations began imitating that style.
Sato: Apparently it did. The theme song was one of Sarah Brightman's opera-style songs. The theme for the videos was big. It would have been fine to keep each fighter's reasons (for fighting) private but this created another, smaller storyline. By doing so, the fans sympathized with the fighters and understood that they were about to do something amazing. It made them look cooler. (laughing)
Tachiki: We've been working together for many years and I still don't know how you come up with all these ideas.
Sato: There aren't that many different patterns.
Tachiki: That just reminded me of something. You speak really quickly. We'll be in the middle of recording the narrations and you'll say, "Wait a second. I'm going to change this." Then you'll come right out with the next words to use. There's no interval. He knows what he wants to say right from the beginning. He'll come up with something I would never have imagined. It seems like he just thought it up but he's very calculating. I think it's because he knows himself very well.
Pride: Sato writes the narration script?
Sato: I write the script and then I have a professional writer rewrite it. Then, once we've gotten that script back, we'll change it on the spot as needed. So there are many stages in the process.
Pride: Were there any videos that you thought were great but the response from the fans was unexpectedly bad?
Sato: There's no response to bad videos so I wouldn't know. (laughing) We're not trying to make them all big successes anyway. Please don't misunderstand. These videos are only intro videos before the fight. They are a package, along with the fight, so I try not to expect too much.
Tachiki: Going from memory, I don't think the piranha (Ryo Chonan) series went over well at the venue. Of course, we weren't trying to make a big hit but I guess that just shows how hard it is to handle real piranhas. (laughing)
Sato: These are pre-fight intro videos, which is which fans pay a lot of attention to them and why we have a lot of freedom. For example, if this were a show where viewer ratings were judged by the intro videos alone, they would be completely different. You can't make the kind of videos we do in that kind of shows.
Pride: So you are just trying to support the fights when you make the videos?
Sato: Of course. One of the things I consider is when the fighter enters the ring and looks at his opponent, how much of Tachiki's narration will remain in the fans' minds. I think about whether they will be able to imagine the intro video when they watch that scene. Or, if the fight stops for a second, will they be able to recall the video and how sympathetic will they be to the fighters? We also try to think about how we can create the video to benefit the fighters in the long-term, like Minowa. Looking at it from a long-term perspective, will creating a character for the fighter be good for the fighters and good for PRIDE. If Denis Kang is just a good-looking guy with Korean citizenship, it's not that special. It's a waste (to present it like that). So, we try to think up ways of presentation that are better.
Tachiki: Denis Kang's video this time was really good. I was happy to be the one to narrate it. There was a certain atmosphere around Kang in the 1st part and then it changed because he wanted to talk about GOZMA. The videos don't normally change that much.
Sato: They make it easy with the matchmaking. Of course, I don't interfere in the matchmaking but I've never needed to, anyway. I always know that I can make it work when I hear their matchmaking.
Tachiki: The interesting thing is that Sato will tell you honestly which fighters he likes. For example, he always says that he likes Tamura and Takimoto when they fight. (laughing)
Sato: Nobody understands me. (laughing)
Pride: By the way, PRIDE has several events planned for overseas next year. Will you make the videos for overseas-use, too?
Sato: I don't know. I'm considering it now.
Pride: Do you want to shock America?
Sato: Yes. For example, I think it would be a good idea for Tachiki to speak English like (PRIDE General Director Nobuhiko) Takada did the last time.
Tachiki: That's a good idea! I might like to try that. (laughing) Because I can't speak English at all.
Sato: "Harroo? Amerika!" If you say it simply, they'll understand. You have to leave a few seconds between each phrase.
Pride: The two of you would probably be a strong tag-team overseas. I'm looking forward to it. The idea for this interview came from many fans leaving messages on PRIDE's Japan website and on Tachiki's blog. What do you think about the messages the PRIDE fans left?
Tachiki: I thought that the PRIDE fans are really pure. It was a little scary because I knew I couldn't I couldn't be careless with my work. I was away for a little while before my return so the fans spoke exactly how they felt (about the return) and I believe they were happy. I think everything's just getting started now.
Sato: I hope they will watch over us. (laughing) No, really. I've already taken a giant risk so I'm asking everyone for their support now. Let's all just get along. (laughing)
Pride: Thank you very much for this interview.