OZMAFIA!! – CHARACTERS DESIGN ANALYSIS OF THE THREE MEN OF FAMIGLIA OZ

As mentioned in previous posts, inspiration for creating video game stories and characters can come from anywhere. When derived from true stories, novels, myths, fairy tales and similar resources, the game can be freely adapted, yet always preserving the key elements of the original work. This allows the user to identify where the idea for the video game character originates from, but at the same time a new version is provided to pique his/her curiosity. This method is also seen in the otomes, in fact, they are one of the genres that apply it the most, showing the handsome and charming version of the personage in the novel, fairy tale and the like.

A clear example of the above is “Code: Realize”, in which it’s possible to see a handsomer and more courageous version of the Abram Van Helsing originally created by Bram Stoker, or a different but still recognizable Victor Frankenstein, a character made by Mary Shelley from her novel “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus”. To learn more about the design of the characters of “Code: Realize”, you can check my post “Code: Realize – Character Design Analysis” which is divided into five parts to talk about the different love interests of the first series of this otome.

However, there are more otomes that take advantage of existing works and one of them, where the creators had to read many books and fairy tales, is OZAMFIA!!

OZMAFIA!! (オズマフィア) is a video game mainly inspired by the Oz series children’s books written by L. Frank Baum, still also includes elements of the fairy tales of The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderse, ideas of works by Oscar Wilde, characters from English folklore like Robin Hood, etc.

OZAMFIA!! was developed by Dramatic Create and Poni-Pachet. It was first released for PC in June 2013 and then for PlayStation Vita in February 2015. An English version was made for Steam, where it was liberated in 2016.

Although there are many characters and features to talk about, this post is going to focus on the graphic design of the three personages influenced by the Oz series, that is, in: the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow. This is because these men are like the most symbolic love interests since the female protagonist is related to Dorothy, the young farm girl on whom the story of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is centered. Likewise, they can be considered important by virtue of being affiliated with the famiglia “Oz” which is utilized in the first part of the word “OZMAFIA!!”, which is the name of the game.

So, since an adapted character must have some essential characteristics that come from the original work, L. Frank Baum’s books will be very helpful for this analysis. Then, let’s learn more about Oz series and the sexy version of three of its characters!!

CARAMIA (カラミア): THE COWARDLY COURAGEOUS LION

The Don of the Famiglia Oz is the courageous, formerly cowardly, Lion, whose name is Caramia. Of the Famiglia Oz, he is the easiest to recognize just by looking at his appearance.

Caramia
Image from B’s LOG.com

To understand Caramia’s design a bit, let’s remember that the lion mentioned in “The Wizard of Oz” is the African one, whose males are characterized by a prominent mane and a yellow-gold fur. In the case of Caramia, the mane is transformed into messy hair and the fur collar of his coat functions as an extension of it. For the color, since the lion’s mane is typically brownish and tinged with yellow, the designer decided to draw blonde hair and a brown fur collar.

Caramia’s blonde hair comes from the yellow part of the lion’s mane, while the fur collar comes from the brown.
Caramia’s face from toreishigames and the lion photo by Kevin Pluck on flickr

Although the coat is not an outfit that Caramia wears all the time, this is precisely the item that represents the fur of a lion as it has a light yellowish orange color or, curiously, a light “lion” color. The above may sound funny, but the “lion” color was recorded in 1551 and specified in the book “A Dictionary of Color” by Maerz and Paul. The list of colors mentioned in this book can be viewed on the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab page.

The color of the Caramia coat is very similar to the fur of a lion.
Photo from BBC UK

To complete the wardrobe, the designers keep brown, but in different shades and add reds to give life while preserving the concept of warm colors.

The last detail in Caramia are the fangs due to a feline cannot be a feline without them.

Caramia and a lion showing their fangs.
Photo from lionalert.org

AXEL (アクセル): THE QUIET, UNSOCIABLE TIN WOODMAN

Axel is the caporegime of Famiglia Oz. He lacks personal interests and therefore he prefers to follow orders rather than act on his own initiative.

Axel
Image from B’s LOG.com

Axel is the OZMAFIA!! version of the Tin Woodman after he obtained a heart. The first element that helps to associate Axel with this character are the two columns of buttons on the vest that are intended to simulate the rivets on the chest with which the Tin Man is always drawn. Circular rivets on the ankle belt of the boots give a similar impression.

The buttons on Axel’s vest are similar to the rivets on the Tin Man’s chest drawn by William Wallance Denslow, an illustrator and caricaturist who collaborated with L. Frank Baum to illustrate “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”.
The circular rivets on the ankle belt of the boots are also taken from the illustration of William Wallace Denslow.

Another detail that designers apply to refer to the Tin Man appears as the story progresses. At first glance, Axel has a patch on what could be understood as a wound on his face, but there is a scene where the player can observe that he has many more scars on his body. This is probably because in the book “The Tin Woodman of Oz” there is a part where it’s narrated how the cruel Witch enchants the axe of the woodman because she hated him for defied her. Therefore, the axe slips and cuts off the woodman’s right leg and a few days later, his left leg. Not content with this, one day the Witch seizes the axe and chops the woodman’s body into several pieces. A skillful tinsmith is one who makes the woodman a fine body of pure tin to replace that of flesh.

So, the cut scars are a light way to represent the aforementioned, making Axel the most scarred personage compared to the others.

Axel’s scars.

Finally, this character wears a pendant in the shape of a padlock. It’s true that this item is used to keep things safe but in a symbolic way, some sources say that wearing an accessory with this shape is to keep us safe. Just guessing, maybe Axel seeks to protect that which took him so long to find what, according to the original story, is his heart. Then, the symbolic way of presenting this is through the padlock that he always carries with him.

Axel wears a padlock pendant probably to symbolically protect his heart.

KYRIE (キリエ): THE (NOW) CUNNING SCARECROW

The consigliere of the Famiglia Oz is the calculating and manipulative Kyrie. Despite his gentle demeanor, he is a sadist, mischievous and twisted person. He’s in the smart one of the family as he represents the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz after obtaining a brain.

Kyrie
Image from B’s LOG.com

Kyrie’s most notable clothing items are the blue hat and coat. The first may be inspired by the old and pointy blue hat that is emphasized by the author in the book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. To give Kyrie a more stylish look, this pointy accessory transforms into what appears to be a pork pie hat.

William Wallace Denslow’s illustration shows the Scarecrow’s pointy hat described by L. Frank Baum turned into a pork pie hat for Kyrie.

The rest of the Scarecrow figure has a blue suit, however, in OZMAFIA!! the designers preferred to use this tone only in Kyrie’s coat and to employ other colors in the rest of the wardrobe to avoid monochrome and the monotony.

The blue color of the clothing described by L. Frank Baum is taken for Kyrie’s coat.

Since straw is an essential material in creating a scarecrow, its color is taken to apply to Kyrie’s vest.

Kyrie’s vest has a color similar to straw.
Photo by Austin Wegener on Unsplash

The blue remains in Kyrie’s right eye, respecting what Baum writes in his book where he says that the eyes Scarecrow’s eyes were drawn with blue paint. The left eye has its own story within the video game. Kyrie explains that it changes color thanks to the fact that when he was a Scarecrow, the eye had been repainted over and over again. However, since this color change matches his emotions, he decides to cover it with his hair to prevent people from noticing his emotional state.

Kyrie’s right eye is blue and his left is covered by his hair.

Finally, something that is seen when advancing a bit in the story is how his hair turns black when using a certain power. Obviously this comes from the idea of crows.

Kyrie with black hair.

Well, this post ends here and its paragraphs show how inspiration to create something can come from many places. It is also observed that when one comes across adaptations of existing works, it is fun to discover the differences and similarities. This is even more amusing in the otomes because one meets the handsome counterpart of a character who is known from the books, as is the case with the three already discussed here.

I hope you liked this post, and I apologize for having lost a bit of rhythm in my posts, but I don’t know why I suddenly have so many things to do TT.TT. Still, I promise that I will continue to post as consistently as possible. For now, see you in the next post!!

BIBLIOGRAPHY

I'm a Graphic Designer in love with Otomes and JRPG. I like the interface design area and that's why I really like to talk about this theme. You can win me over with a good videogame Illustration book and a good capuccino.

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