For this year’s Granblue Fantasy anniversary interview, Pash! featured the Lord of Flames himself, Oosaka Ryouta. He talked about his long history with the game, his mentors and friends in the game, and more!
“You can feel the team’s love and care even in the collab events”
Pash!: Granblue Fantasy celebrates its 7th anniversary in 2021. Looking back at the history of the franchise, what sticks out to you?
Oosaka: So much has changed. When the game was new, the players were still trying to figure out how to play and how to have fun, so we fumbled around using what info we could scrounge up from a few dedicated volunteers who were doing testing. Around the 4th or 5th anniversary they really fleshed out the support for new players, so now you can see the GBF Handbook to get an idea of what you should be doing next. On top of that, there are a lot of changes to smaller systems, and stuff like the Unite and Fight Extreme+ Lignoid that you can practice on in Trial Battle.
Pash!: Speaking of Unite and Fight, how did the January run of that event go for you?
Oosaka: Lately I’ve been taking it easy and going at whatever pace I’m comfortable with. I kept up my motivation by setting the uncap of all 10 Eternals as my goal, but I’m finished with that now. Sure, you can use Valor Badges to trade for a lot of useful items, but the crew I’m in is pretty strong so they can carry me pretty far without me having to play very hard (laughs).
I think that speaks to how easy GBF is to play. The people who have goals to work toward can keep pushing for them, and if you’re a top ranker then your Strike Time gets set to 7 AM in the morning and you make a concentrated push for 1 or 2 hours, and to some people that’s just become part of their daily schedule.
Pash!: As a player yourself, what do you think of the GBF journey over the past 7 years?
Oosaka: The collab events stick out the most for me. It’s amazing that they’ve hit so many franchises, from some really big names to franchises that are big hits with an audience older than me (translator’s note: Oosaka was 34 years old at the time of this interview) and some works that make you tilt your head and ask “Wait, really?” On top of that, the entire production is adjusted to match the original work, the CA animations are super high quality, you really feel the pride in their craft when they work on a collab. The production values get higher and higher every year.
For me, there are a lot of collabs from the early days of GBF that I’d like to see come back. I’m a bit of a collector, so there are characters, weapons, and summons that I’d like to get.
Pash!: How was year 6 of Granblue Fantasy in 2020? What sticks out in your mind?
Oosaka: They released a lot of new stuff in 2020, including Replicard Sandbox. I think that Replicard Sandbox added so much, a mid-level player like me has no idea where to start (laughs). Right now, it feels like I’ve gotten pretty far overall in GBF, but when stepping into a new world like Replicard Sandbox, I don’t know what to do. Even if I figure out what I’m going for, the goals are so far away. There are parts of the system that I haven’t really figured out yet either, so for now I just beat up enemies and collect their stuff.
It’s gotten easier to play original Arcarum, so I think it’s a good idea for me to focus my attention there to recruit Evokers. I’ve recruited 4 of them so far, but I’m stuck on Sephira Evolites for now. Every 2 Unite and Fights I’m lucky if I collect enough Valor Badges to buy one Evolite, so that’s the pace I’m going at.
Pash!: In some ways, that could be the most fun time to be playing a game, though.
Oosaka: It’s a real roller coaster of emotions. On one hand, that satisfied feeling of “I finally reached my goals” and on the other hand, the “And now I have to start all over again…!” It’s both fun and painful (laughs)
“Nakamura Yuuichi-san shows me all the strategies”
Pash!: Oosaka-san, could you talk about why you got started playing the game?
Oosaka: It’s pretty simple, really, I started playing because I was cast in the game. I played really hardcore for a year, but back then I didn’t really understand the game’s systems at all. I didn’t refer to any guides when I played, so I didn’t farm the Omega series of weapons at all. I wasn’t even really strong enough to beat the Tiamat Omega series of bosses. On top of all that, I also mixed up what weapons came from the premium draw and ended up foddering them a lot of the time.
Pash!: What was the turning point for you that got you out of that phase?
Oosaka: I was taking a break from the game when I was contacted to take part in a live GBF event. During that event, they taught me more about the game. They told me how to build parties and grids, and I had a “Eureka!” moment. I started playing again, and as I made real progress I got back into the game in a big way. I started understanding the percentages on skills, and I finally knew how to work with grids and summons to get stronger. The first team I really worked on was based around Wind Omega, and at the time it was a big deal to make a wind Enmity grid based around 6 or so Tiamat Bolt Omegas. Leveling them up added about 100,000 damage to my attacks, and because of that, it took less time to beat each boss. It was like I was playing an entirely different game (laughs).
Pash!: What was your motivation to keep playing?
Oosaka: The biggest one was seeing my damage go up. After that, it was because there were characters I liked. I can talk forever about the characters, but it really gives me a sense of growth to see my damage go up. It makes the enemy’s HP go down faster, and reduces the number of turns it takes to beat it. Reducing the number of turns it takes to beat all of the daily Omega bosses, and learning how to beat bosses in 1 turn, it’s all very satisfying and keeps me motivated.
Pash!: What kind of pace are you playing at right now, Oosaka-san?
Oosaka: I’m taking it pretty easy right now. When a new SSR character joins my crew, I level them up to max, and not too much more.
Pash!: How do you feel about Battle System V2?
Oosaka: I pretty much join the raids during Strike Time and try them out, and chain burst them. I don’t quite understand when the bosses will do their special attacks, so I earn some honors and if something happens to me I kind of feel guilty about it (laughs). I hit attack to unleash my full chain, I reload, and sometimes some of my party members are missing (laughs). Outside of the V2 fights, I still haven’t played the Dark Rapture Hard yet.
Pash!: Do you talk about GBF strategy with anyone else?
Oosaka: I talk to Nakamura Yuuichi and the others sometimes. The strategies they give me are really helpful! Nakamura-san is a really high-level player, so sometimes I feel hesitant about asking him questions, thinking that he might have forgotten it already. He remembers everything, though, and he teaches me about so much. That’s definitely what we’ve come to expect from Nakamura-san. He understands all the little details of the game system.
Pash!: Do you ever get questions from other members of the cast about GBF strategy?
Oosaka: Not too often. I have a decent understanding of the game, but we have Nakamura-san and Katou Emiri-san in the cast. Both of those two are high level players, and they’re really good teachers, so everyone goes to them with their questions.
Pash!: When you’re playing GBF, do you spend more time playing alone or playing with others?
Oosaka: I don’t really have any set groups to play raids with. I play alone a lot of the time. It’s mostly because I think “I don’t want to hold any of my crew back”. When I do play with other people, it’s with other players around my rank who do quests that seem clearable.
At the last Granblue Fantasy Fest, Ono Yuuki-san and a bunch of the others got together and played Ultimate Bahamut Impossible. At the time I hadn’t made any Ultima Weapons and wanted to gather up the materials, but I hadn’t beaten Ultimate Bahamut before, so that was a huge boost for me. I think Ono-san and I are pretty even in terms of playing this game.
Pash!: As a GBF player, what’s been the toughest part of the game for you?
Oosaka: When I was just starting the game, my thoughts boiled down to “do I need higher stats?” so that wasn’t that tough for me. Right now, I’m trying to beat the “Chaos Returns” quests to unlock the Beelzebub raid. I thought “This is definitely impossible alone”, and asked Ono-san for advice. He didn’t know how to beat it either (laughs). I tried with my strongest party, but I could only do about 10% of his health before wiping, so I have to rethink how I fight him.
Pash!: We’re a little surprised that you didn’t talk about how you were stuck at first.
Oosaka: I think it’s because I kept thinking “I’m too new for this” or “I guess I’m not ready for this” at the start. In this case, it’s “I’m strong, so why can’t I beat this yet”. In fights like Luminiera Omega, you can ask for help from other players to beat it, but for solo content, you have to beat it on your own.
Pash!: As a player, what are your goals for the future?
Oosaka: I’m working on the Dark Opus weapons. Right now I’ve managed to get one of them to 5* uncap. I haven’t given it the third skill yet, though (laughs). Once you’re ready to climb out of the ranks of mid-level players, there’s a lot to think about while setting your goals. When you’re a beginner, it’s easy to set your sights on a single quest that gives you multiple things that you need, so that lets you work on multiple goals at once. But now, the materials that I collect go back to zero when I use them, so I have to start all over again collecting that for the next one. It has its highs and lows, and is fun in its own way, so I go into a cycle of collecting what I need, using it, then taking a break and starting to collect again.
“I’d like to see Percival being cool, and a Dragon Knights event”
Pash!: What’s your favorite story event in GBF‘s 7 year history?
Oosaka: I admit that part of this is because I was involved in it, but “Between Frost and Flame”. It was Percival’s first event as the main character, and you got to meet his brother Aglovale.
Pash!: We remember that Percival in the event was very different from how he normally acts.
Oosaka: Yeah. Until then he had been very focused and unshakeable in his beliefs, and it seemed like the only way he knew to go was straight forward. But in the event you found out about his brothers and his own country, and you saw him vulnerable and confused. You got to see him as much more of a person. You felt like he was a person with a lot of room to grow. Personally, I think he’s become a little bit more of a comic character since “Welcome to Bistro Feendrache”, so I want to see Percival going back to being a cool character. In “Siegfried” you got to see him being cool, so that was nice. After that, I’d like to see more events about the relationship between Dragon Knights. I think it would be fun for something to drive them apart, and the story would start from there.
Pash!: It’s hard to imagine anything driving the Dragon Knights apart.
Oosaka: I don’t think there’s anything that could separate Lancelot and Vane, but we could at least have the two of them split from Siegfried and Percival. It really does feel like the Dragon Knights are inextricably tied to each other, so an event that could drive them apart would be fascinating.
Pash!: Percival’s brothers are very popular too. Tell us what you think about Aglovale.
Oosaka: I think Percival’s feelings toward his brother are simple: he respects and honors him. This comes from how he’s seen how Aglovale does not judge people by their looks or their social status, and how Aglovale has taken pains to learn everything he needs to learn to lead his country. Aglovale presents himself as a person who can do everything on his own, but he hasn’t taken on the entire burden by himself. If he decided everything on his own it would be tyranny, so he looks to the people, and talks to his close advisors before he makes any decisions – it’s close to Percival’s idea of the ideal ruler. Percival thinks “I want to live like him, and I want to be even better than him”. I think Percival’s bar is set at Aglovale, and in “Between Frost and Flame” we got to see Aglovale grow a bit too.
Pash!: And what about the other brother, Lamorak?
Oosaka: I think Lamorak is a completely different kind of person. Part of that is because we haven’t gotten any explanation of what he’s been doing (laughs). But because he’s so different from his brothers, I think you can see different sides of both Percival and Aglovale when it comes to him. From what we know from fate episodes and other appearances, we know that he hasn’t changed much from when he was a kid. But because so little is known about him, that makes me even more excited to see what he’s going to do in the future. In 2020, Lamorak made huge waves in “The Savior of Dalmore”. Every fall, GBF runs a Dragon Knights event, but this year they changed the formula a little bit, and unfortunately Percival wasn’t involved (laughs). I wonder what’s in store for this year…
Pash!: “The Savior of Dalmore” left a lot of room for Percival to get involved, and we’re excited to see it.
Oosaka: Plus, 2020 opened up a lot of possibilities for GBF. You can see what playable characters were like when they were enemies or in other periods of their character arc via the “Fantasy” version, so a lot of things that were previously ruled out are in the realm of possibility now. For example, we could get a younger Siegfried via the Fantasy tag, so dream big.
“It’s easy to get started now, so I’d like you to get into the game”
Pash!: Is there anything you’re looking forward to in Granblue Fantasy?
Oosaka: This may be obvious, but I’m excited to see all 3 Wales brothers in their own event. After that, I’m glad that the new players are getting so much support, but I’d like to see a clearer roadmap for mid-level players and above like me (laughs). From understanding where to get started with the Dark Opus weapons and their level, or how to distribute your EMPs. I’m curious to see what other players do with their EMPs, and it’s expensive to spend the points and then take them back.
System-wise, I don’t really have any requests. I feel like it’s easier to look at the game now than it ever has been before, and if they change things too much then it’ll get confusing. I like how this game is so simple, it doesn’t change too much, and when I have a little free time I can get some game time in. Getting new weapons and summons over time is easy to understand, but if you change the fundamental game systems too much, it’d get hard to follow. I like to keep it easy to understand.
Other than that, I’d like to see what would happen with a 100-player raid or a 100-person party. The enemy would be island-sized and it’d be easy to figure out why it needed so many people to beat it. Also, if we could have it split into certain bands of Rank, you could have groups of newer players band together to fight it – I think that’d be fun.
Pash!: Is there anything you’re looking forward to outside of the games that are already out?
Oosaka: That would be Granblue Fantasy Relink, which comes out in 2022. It looks really good now, and I’m surprised at how far it’s come along since we first tested it out (editor’s note: on the Granblue Fantasy Fes 2019 stage). I’m excited to see what the finished product will look like. I expect it to be the easiest Granblue Fantasy game to control, and it’ll be great to play in real-time with a bunch of other people.
Pash!: To close out, could you send a message to all the skyfarers out there?
Oosaka: Granblue Fantasy has been around for a long time, and there are plenty of players who started before me, who started around the same time as me, and who just started playing. I may have spent a lot of this interview complaining (laughs), but I still enjoy playing this game like I always have. It’s a really good game for beginners, so I hope you start up the game and find a new world of fun opening up to you. I’m going to keep playing at my own pace so I don’t fall behind, and I expect to see new content, updates to the battle system, and even cooler CA animations. I want to keep playing along with all of you, so I hope you continue to enjoy Granblue Fantasy.
As for my message to new players, GBF is a game where you can enjoy the feeling of progress and the satisfaction of completing goals. There are some pain points when you play, but when you get past those, the feeling of satisfaction you get is so good. I recommend it to spice up your daily lives!
Sidebar 1: “Percival is a newbie’s friend!”
Pash!: Do you have Percival in any of your parties?
Oosaka: Percival’s Fire version is a great character for new players, so when I just started up to around when I hit the mid tiers, I put him in a lot of my parties. After a lot of stronger characters were released, Percival received a balance update, and he uses Crests now – which might be a little hard to use for new players. However, he still packs a punch and is easy to use, so I still recommend him to players who’re just starting out!
Pash!: Other than Percival, what other characters do you recommend?
Oosaka: When it comes to fire characters from the Premium Draw, I recommend looking into Shiva and the Divine General Anila. Fire has a lot of characters who have strong buffs for the party and bring outstanding debuffs.
As for characters who’re good for new players and are easily available, Yodarha may be famous for carrying parties with no element requirement, but with so much support for new players these days, I think you can get along just fine without him. So, for fire specifically, I think Athena is great for her ability to reduce damage, or Magisa for her Veil ability, which prevents debuffs from hitting your party. On top of those picks, there are SSR fire characters in the Side Stories section, and I hear that people still use those in Unite and fight.
Sidebar 2: Magisa’s my favorite character!
Pash!: Oosaka-san, who’s your favorite character?
Oosaka: It has to be Magisa! The Holiday version of Magisa is blessed with really great abilities, and she’s easy to slot in! I love Djeeta too. And recently, I’ve taken a liking to Monika. I can’t quite explain why, but she just appeals to me. The way she looks, the way she talks, her voice, everything works together well to appeal to me. I don’t understand it, she hits me just right (laughs). Her Limited version is really powerful.
Pash!: Whose release made you the happiest?
Oosaka: Definitely Holiday Magisa. The art quality in GBF keeps going up. The current version of Magisa looks great, and the old (fire) version of Magisa also appeals to me. The early years of GBF art feel like looking at an illustration in an ancient text and that has its own charm, but the recent art is so good.
Sidebar 3: GBVS and its incredible animations
Pash!: What are your thoughts on Granblue Fantasy Versus, which came out in 2020?
Oosaka: I haven’t played too much, but I did a lot of recordings for it and it really felt like Granblue Fantasy‘s global debut. Each character banters back and forth with the other characters, and that feels so natural that I love it. Characters who never interacted with each other in GBF have dialogue, and everything about their interaction feels meticulously crafted. When Percival’s involved, every fight feels like a sparring match, with a few exceptions. He sees each of these battles as a chance to grow, and it feels like he’s really enjoying it. There are a lot of lines where he says “I wanted to test myself against you”, and Percival is the kind of person who thinks that there are things you can learn via discussion, and many other things you can only learn through conflict.
Pash!: We see a lot of care and love put into the animations of GBVS, too.
Oosaka: You can see that care just in the way that the characters walk. The way they stand idle, the way that their personality is displayed in each animation, it’s all amazing. Percival has a regal air to everything he does, and he looks ready to strike back at any attack that comes his way. In some ways he doesn’t bother defending because he’s so confident in himself.
Outside of Percival, you can see from the way Lancelot stands that he focuses on quick strikes, and Djeeta’s fighting style has the feeling of being a teenage girl in it.