In some ways, Tsuneo was the least problematic of the main cast. He had a well-defined role, he had a well-defined personality and he definitely had provided us with a lot of good material. In many ways, he would be the least changed of them, but still required some work.
Tsuneo at heart was a fanboy, albeit a smart one. He was the one who liked a series for its themes and concepts and bigger ideas, not because it was full of, say, giant robots blowing stuff up. He also had a nice thing going where he would be a fan of the obscure, the off-beat and the alternative, stuff that might not be easily recongised and, as such, provided an opportunity to do some jokes that wouldn’t work otherwise; his love of Brain Powerd being a very good example.
Likewise, his tendency to get easily riled worked well for us, with Tsuneo’s rants becoming the stuff of legend and running gags. Many times he would explode outright, which lead to extreme measures to get him under control. Other time, he would be the opposite, acting as the voice of reason and the mature one (despite being the second youngest of the cast), helping reign in the others when they went nuts or were veering wildly off-course. “Don’t go there” was as much a catchphrase as many others.
What didn’t work?
For the most part, Tsuneo’s only real problem was his relative isolation from the rest of the cast. He was intended to be a ‘cool brooding loner’ in his original background, which in turn meant that he didn’t interact as much with the others as he could. Furthermore, his clashing personality meant that it was hard to find reasons for him to want to relate to his more colourful and wild companions. Likewise, as fun as the rants were, sometimes they detracted a bit too much from what was going on.
Tsuneo was probably the most in need of a make-over. His look, the whole ‘spikey-haired Japanese guy with a sword and a jacket’ thing that he had going was so painfully nineties that it burned. His redesign is a ‘cleaned up’ version of that look, updating it to make it more contemporary and modern with the added advantage that it shouldn’t age as badly or as rapidly.
The biggest change was in his personality and background, however. By making him friends with Rick, we gave him someone he could relate and connect to, trading in the cool loner thing for something that gave him more opportunities to interact with others. The result is that he’s a lot friendlier and more approachable and interacts better with his fellow riffers. Likewise, by making him friends with Rick, we gave him a big hook for interacting with the others and maybe being a bit more level-headed.
What’s stayed the same?
Tsuneo’s still the smart guy fanboy of the team; he still likes the same things (adjusting for being a little more modern) and still will get riled up at blatant stupidity and illogic in a fic. However, he’s going to be a lot calmer and a lot less prone to exploding all over the place. He’s also still the ‘smart guy’ in many ways, and will still be the one most likely to latch onto the obscure.