Author Topic: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??  (Read 5116 times)

FaustWolf

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Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« on: March 01, 2008, 02:47:28 am »
In a fit of random nostalgia, I decided to watch some Ninja Gaiden II cinema cutscenes on Youtube. This is the old-school NES/Famicom Ninja Gaiden, not the series as rebooted on the XBox consoles by the way. I remembered from somewhere that Masato Kato was involved, so I kept an eye out for his name in the ending credits. Unsuccessful in my observations, I checked my source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masato_Kato
*Ninja Gaiden (1988): pictures
*Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos (1990): movie director, scenario, pictures
*Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom (1991): director of the action part

Huh. Kato is listed as the movie director, scenario writer, and an artist for the game. The moniker "Runmal" appears in all the right places:



Could "Runmal" be Masato Kato's pseudonym during the 80's? And I wonder why pseudonyms were employed so heavily by video game developers back in the day?

Masato Kato's involvement in such a dusty old game may be a passing curiosity to most, but I find it incredibly intriguing. You see, I can pretty much trace my belief in videogames as one of the greatest story-telling mechanisms to Ninja Gaiden II. It really pushed into new territory -- during one of the cinema scenes we watch the bad guy impale the heroine...and then we watch blood drip from the blade. Dude, I was seven when I first saw that, and I've been turned off by violence ever since. And Kato may have been responsible for that! Kind of reminds you of a certain scene during Chrono Cross in any case, eh?

It's kinda spooky to know that a specific videogame scenario writer has had a major impact on my development as a human being. 

Anyone else care to share, uh, cherished memories of Kato's pre-Chrono works? Or post-Chrono works? Might as well make this a Kato appreciation thread while we're at it.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 02:58:30 am by FaustWolf »

Kebrel

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Re: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2008, 03:26:54 am »
I wasn't ever a big fan of Ninja Gaiden, really. Looking at his works the only other one I have play/liked was FFVII and Princess Maker II both o which are great games.

FaustWolf

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Re: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2008, 11:38:07 am »
Whoah, Kato was involved in FFVII! I didn't even realize this (ha, and it was clearly on the wiki I was looking at), so thanks for pointing it out.

Hey...

Aeris was impaled in FFVII. Masato Kato was on script writing.
Irene Lew was impaled in Ninja Gaiden II. Kato was involved in scenario writing.
Kid is stabbed in Chrono Cross. You-know-who thought that one up.

This is getting freaky. Does Kato have a thing for watching people get stabbed? BUT -- on the other hand, these were some of the most gut-wrenching and emotionally powerful scenes in videogame history, in my opinion at least. As a male gamer, watching the heroine being physically injured invokes ancient protective instincts, making me want to kick some ass next time I get to control the hero -- although I yell at the TV screen because the "hero" was such a klutz for allowing the event to happen in the first place. I guess it's a statement on the fact that we can't control events around us sometimes, and it makes us feel totally frustrated, angry, and useless when that happens.

But this sounds far too sexist for my tastes. How would I perceive things if the main character were in fact a heroine, who is somehow disabled for a time and has to watch her child die before her eyes? Does one have to be a mother or a parent to truly appreciate what the character is going through? I wonder.

In short, I guess I'd like Kato to diversify his victims in future titles.

V_Translanka

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Re: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2008, 12:53:36 pm »
Crono wasn't a diverse enough victim for ya? :P

Anyways, I've always loved the original Ninja Gaiden games. Ryu Hayabusa in general really (he kicks just as much ninja ass in Dead or Alive!). Even though I totally suck at the games...Frustrating platform action gets me every time...V_V My fav thing abotu Ninja Gaiden are those whacked out red 'shadow' power ups Ryu can pick up that follow him & mirror his moves only one step behind him. Very cool concept. Is that in the newer Ninja Gaiden games (I've only played like five minutes of the first XBOX Ninja Gaiden)? If not, it totally should be.

Vehek

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Re: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2008, 01:44:28 pm »
I read Masato Kato only wrote the Lifestream sequence and the Cloud and Tifa scene at the end of disc 2.
Quote from: Procyon Studio interview
FF7, the village where Cloud becomes a vegetable, when he falls into the lifestream, the episode of Cloud and Tifa on the dawn before the final battle
Seems to fit, as his debug room only lets you access those scenes.

FaustWolf

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Re: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2008, 01:48:15 pm »
Wow, interesting point Vehek. I suppose that distances Kato from responsibility for the impalement.

@V: The new XBox Ninja Gaiden games unfortunately lack those uber ninja shadows. It's a damn shame they took them out of Ninja Gaiden III too. And it's a damn shame the SNES trilogy port butchered the music for the most part.

What I'm really angry about is the removal of Irene Lew from the Ninja Gaiden universe with the new games. She was smart, of realistic proportions, a CIA agent, and could hold her own except that one time she got stabbed. But considering she (maybe) had her back turned to the bad guy at the time, and that the bad guy was a demon from Hell, it's understandable. Anyway, Team Ninja decided to give Irene the boot and replaced her with Rachel, who is all leather and boobs. When I think back to the first time I saw Irene come out of nowhere and kick ass Rambo-style in Ninja Gaiden III, I am saddened by the turn videogames have taken with regard to the objectification of women. Characters like Irene and Chun-Li are partially responsible for turning me into a feminist, but once Lara Croft emerged on the videogame scene, things largely went downhill. There are numerous exceptions of course.

Wow, this went from a Kato appreciation thread to a discussion on the relationship between videogames and Second Wave Feminism. Only at the Compendium could something like this happen.

V_Translanka

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Re: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2008, 02:48:12 pm »
Yeah, Chun-Li was a far cry from SNK's fighting game girl Mai...>_>

And then there are all the other cases of objectification of girls Team Ninja's thrown at us, of course...



That's probably the tamest pic of DOA: Xtreme 2 I could find...

ZeaLitY

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Re: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2008, 03:04:18 pm »
Just to edify, Kato wrote the Mideel portion and the entire "Tifa is in Cloud's mind" scenario. He might have contributed elsewhere, but he took credit for those parts especially.

FaustWolf

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Re: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2008, 03:19:31 pm »
Very interesting. The "Tifa in Cloud's mind" part of FFVII's scenario was especially well done IMO. Figures Kato would be involved.

V, pointing out Mai Shiranui as an example is excellent. I guess the trend started well before Tomb Raider then. The fact that when I Google +"mai shiranui" +"king of fighters", the second search return reads "More Mai Shiranui = More T&A", is evidence of the gal's apparent purpose. Team Ninja is by far the main offender though. If Dead Or Alive XTreme Beach Volleyball sold more copies than Chrono Cross, it would be a travesty. I can't find sales numbers on that game, so I can't draw any conclusions on Chrono's ability to compete with pure T&A yet.

EDIT: So I'm searching for pics of Ninja Gaiden to reconnect with old skool memories, and this pops up:


Why must the pugs haunt me so!?
« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 03:32:52 pm by FaustWolf »

V_Translanka

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Re: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2008, 04:52:41 pm »
V, pointing out Mai Shiranui as an example is excellent. I guess the trend started well before Tomb Raider then. The fact that when I Google +"mai shiranui" +"king of fighters", the second search return reads "More Mai Shiranui = More T&A", is evidence of the gal's apparent purpose.

Not to mention her popular in-game battle cry of "Me bouncy!" (I always thought she said, "Mai bouncy!", but w/e...same difference).

« Last Edit: March 01, 2008, 10:39:29 pm by V_Translanka »

placidchap

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Re: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2008, 06:40:41 pm »
But then again, there is something about large supple breasts!

edit:  if video games were only like that back in my day, V_Trans...
« Last Edit: March 02, 2008, 12:40:40 am by placidchap »

FaustWolf

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Re: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2008, 10:21:19 am »
IMHO, a woman's beauty is contained first and foremost in her eyes:



Whether they be baby blue, glassy emerald, sea gray, or starlit ink, they are the window to the soul / inner character, and therefore that part of her body most connected to her psyche and personality. Excuse me while I swoon over Irene some more.



Getting back on topic, anyone know how Masato Kato was credited in Captain Tsubasa, Princess Maker II, and Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water? And most importantly, was any character seriously injured at any point during the plots of these works?

« Last Edit: March 02, 2008, 10:25:13 am by FaustWolf »

V_Translanka

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Re: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2008, 01:11:38 pm »
Why's Vader's saber (that's fun to say!) that color in that pic? Am I remembering it wrong or was it not red then?

FaustWolf

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Re: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2008, 01:21:01 pm »
It's a PLOT HOLE! Where was Yuji Horii when Star Wars was made? I tell ya...

So I'm doing a search on Darth Vader to check on your observation V, and this pops up:


Why must the pugs haunt me so!?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2008, 01:26:56 pm by FaustWolf »

Gamer8585

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Re: Masato Kato: The Artist Formerly Known as..."Runmal"??
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2008, 12:36:41 pm »

Aeris was impaled in FFVII. Masato Kato was on script writing.
Irene Lew was impaled in Ninja Gaiden II. Kato was involved in scenario writing.
Kid is stabbed in Chrono Cross. You-know-who thought that one up.

This is getting freaky. Does Kato have a thing for watching people get stabbed?

Even if he's not responsible for writing all those impalments he's involved with so many games that have them; thats got to say something. Man, I really don't want to see his porn collection.



What I'm really angry about is the removal of Irene Lew from the Ninja Gaiden universe with the new games. She was smart, of realistic proportions, a CIA agent, and could hold her own except that one time she got stabbed. But considering she (maybe) had her back turned to the bad guy at the time, and that the bad guy was a demon from Hell, it's understandable. Anyway, Team Ninja decided to give Irene the boot and replaced her with Rachel, who is all leather and boobs. When I think back to the first time I saw Irene come out of nowhere and kick ass Rambo-style in Ninja Gaiden III, I am saddened by the turn videogames have taken with regard to the objectification of women. Characters like Irene and Chun-Li are partially responsible for turning me into a feminist, but once Lara Croft emerged on the videogame scene, things largely went downhill. There are numerous exceptions of course.

I like leather and boobs (especially boobs)...but seriously I agree that the complete removal of Irene from NG was a bad move. Although AFAIK there is still room for her character to return. No reason they can't have both Irene and Rachel in the game.

Why's Vader's saber (that's fun to say!) that color in that pic? Am I remembering it wrong or was it not red then?

It's a PLOT HOLE! Where was Yuji Horii when Star Wars was made? I tell ya...

There's no "Plot Hole," see Vader was just borrowing another lightsaber while his was in the shop...yeah that's it...borrowing it from Chuck Norris...because Obi-Won is too badass to be downed by any other lightsaber....yeah thats the ticket.

*Carried off by Ewoks to the Rancor Pit*