Well, where do I even start this time?
I guess first of all, let's take a closer look at the cute(?) little(?) birdie in the top left corner. Maybe you've seen this species before. Maybe even on my Twitter account, as I rave about it and re-tweet images of it occasionally.
It's a Bearded Vulture, also known as Lammergeier or Ossifrage. And this particular one is named Alexis (or Lex for short).
The name is a reference to Lex from the first Jurassic Park movie, whose full name is Alexis Murphy. There is one more reason why I chose it, however. In katakana, Lex is written as レックス ("rekkusu"), which could also be converted to Rex. You know... as in T-Rex.
You might wonder now what a Bearded Vulture is even doing in GENBA. Of course, there is a story-related reason for it, but I can't really get into that due to spoilers. What I can say, however, is that from the beginning, I really wanted to try to implement a bird like this into the story. Birds are the descendants of dinosaurs, after all. And when I first saw an image of a Bearded Vulture, I couldn't help but think: "Yeah, those are modern day Velociraptors, all right!" You just can't get any closer to what actual dinosaurs might have looked like, haha.
Of course, GENBA is first and foremost a murder mystery. However, I also want there to be an educational aspect about it and impart some knowledge about dinosaurs. And having Alexis involved in the story presents an ideal way to illustrate their evolution.
But let's finally move on to her owner: Terano Umou. His first name is comprised of the kanji for "temple" (寺) and "field" (野). His family name on the other hand directly translates to "feathers"/"plumage", which is simply in reference to his interest in birds.
Now, you might wonder why I picked "Terano" as his first name then. This one is actually less about the meaning and more about the sound. "Terano" sounds exactly like the "Pterano" in "Pteranodon".
Quite some time ago, I actually posted an early look at the script where Himatsu is talking to Terano and I guess that scene becomes relevant here, haha. It also illustrates that educational aspect I mentioned above, so if you're curious, you can check it out here.
But yeah, that's the story behind the names.
I had to do quite a lot of research for these two. Not just about Bearded Vultures, but also about falconry, especially Japanese falconry (known as Takagari (鷹狩 )). I've mentioned this on Twitter before as well, so maybe you have seen this tweet and wondered what I was up to. Well, here you have the answer: it was actually even more research for GENBA!
When it comes to falconry, there is a lot to keep in mind, after all.
How do you keep a bird of prey such as Lex? How do you feed it? What's the legal situation? Is it even allowed? What are the guidelines? How/under which circumstances do you get a permit?
This might be a fictional story, but I like to keep everything as accurate and realistic as possible, so I had a lot of reading up to do. It was also a lot of fun and very fascinating, though.
But I guess I should wrap this up already. The last thing I'm going to say is that all of this was also partly influenced by Ace Attorney's Simon Blackquill and his pet falcon Taka (I love these two). And if you want to see some Japanese falconry in action, you can check out this video.
Anyway! Now you've seen all our police investigators and all our suspects. Just based on first impressions, who do you think might be the culprit? Or rather... who do you hope won't turn out to be the killer?
Also, this still isn't the entire cast. But I will keep the remaining characters secret for a bit longer. Even though you might have already seen them, haha.