It was a night that seemed like any other. ATARASHII GAKKO! were on their way to the studio in Tokyo when suddenly a mysterious energy began pulsing through the air. It wasn’t the positive, upbeat emotion the group was used to. No, this energy radiated everything that the artists stood against—fear and self-doubt, anxiety and worry. With their hearts rapidly beating, their sweat turned cold. They looked at each other and realized that there would be a few bumps and detours before starting their upcoming tour.
But even then, they didn’t realize just how powerful this energy would be. It was more than the group could handle alone. So before embarking on their quest, they sat back and thought … we need help. Lots of help. That’s when it was decided—ATARASHII GAKKO! needed to team up with their fans.
They’re so colorful and creative, and their personalities really shine through each of them.
Step inside QuestAG!
In this realm, a dark gloom hovers over the bustling streets of Tokyo. Sighs of exhaustion, mundane repetition, and fear of the unknown grab hold of the city. Below the surface of all the anxieties and doubts lies a hidden realm—one where wishes and woes are manifested into monsters. These wicked beasts represent the dark side of everyday emotions: fear, envy, laziness, loneliness, and self-doubt, all of which are slowly taking control of the city. But a sliver of hope begins to emerge.
Off in the distance lies a fluffy pink cloud with a divine glow. As it creeps closer and closer, a strange sight unfolds. Beams of light begin to shine while the colors of the cloud rumble and change—pink fades into bright yellow with splashes of orange as potent as a sunset. The cloud reaches its final form as it dissipates and reveals four girls dressed in school uniforms. They radiate optimism and energy, eager to take on negativity in all its forms, including the monsters of fear. They are ATARASHII GAKKO!
Fighting monsters of fear
QuestAG! is an interactive choose-your-own-adventure story that places the user in the heart of the action, developed with the goal of experimenting with innovative, inclusive ways for fans to connect with the artists.
“The inspiration behind this game was ATARASHII GAKKO! themselves,” Tin Mai, 88rising creative director explains.
The art direction and design are inspired by Japanese arcade and vintage role-playing games, embracing the nostalgia of pixel art. Within the choose-your-own-adventure storyline, users are offered complete creative liberty and suggestions to help them along the way. The game interprets whatever fans want to say or do—combining their own creative curiosity with the story that’s already been built. Through the help of the gamified characters, fans can connect with the artists on a personal level as they fight to restore hope and positivity back to Tokyo.
Pushing the edge
With the help of Microsoft technology, ATARASHII GAKKO! is inspiring the future of fan connectivity. QuestAG! was created with Microsoft tools such as GPT-3.5, Microsoft Translator, and Image Creator. The game’s goal is to help fans learn more about ATARASHII GAKKO! and their mission for embracing positivity and confidence. Through this experience, players will also have the chance to reflect inwardly and confront their own negative emotions. For example, while going through one of the missions, Kanon states,
The Dragon of Envy is fueled by hidden desires and covetousness. To weaken it, we must acknowledge and accept our own desires. How do you confront your inner envy?
The fans’ answers are interpreted by GPT-3.5, which then sends back a custom response from the perspective of one of the group members. The AI builds a personalized story that pulls inspiration from the core narrative created by ATARASHII GAKKO! themselves.
Through the experience, fans gain insight into each group member’s unique personality—enabling them to connect with the artists in an interpersonal way. When they reach the finish line, gamers discover surprise content from the group.
Pulling inspiration from various walks of life—Japanese art, youth culture, the musicians’ radiant energy, and more—the story is an extension of the artists themselves, allowing fans to experience and connect with their favorite group like never before.
Behind the school uniforms
ATARASHII GAKKO! is a Japanese pop group that is bringing a fresh perspective to the music industry. They possess an authentic blend of creative energy and youthfulness with a musical style that is self-described as pop-leaning eclectic—allowing for self-expression through movement and experimentation. Each member brings a unique flair to the stage. Kanon is sleek, stylish, and spunky; Rin offers a fun and funky groove; Mizyu provides fierce energy; and Suzuka shines as the wildcard vocalist.
The group wears matching school uniforms to evoke emotions of nostalgia, comfort, and youth culture, while at the same time breaking traditional norms of conformity and discipline through their creative freedom. The name ATARASHII GAKKO! means “new school” in Japanese, which symbolizes the Seishun spirit of living life with open eyes and an open heart. Their mission is to represent a new generation of Japanese youth culture—one that advocates self-expression, pushes against traditional boundaries, and invites more connectivity between them and their fans.
Musicians of all genres experience the same challenges when they start gaining popularity: The more people listen, the harder it becomes to connect with them on a personal level. While touring around the world, it’s difficult for fans to engage with their favorite artists. Venues get bigger and farther away and time grows more precious while rushing from city to city.
Those challenges symbolize a large part of 88rising’s mission. As an Asian media collective, they continuously push the future of creativity within the music industry, building new and innovative ways for musicians to connect with their fans. For ATARASHII GAKKO! that connection comes to life in the form of an interactive story.
ATARASHII GAKKO! encourages all of us to stand out and be our most positive, creative selves. But let’s face it: That isn’t always easy. Life is tricky. Some days we’re on top of the world, and others, not so much. Obstacles in our lives manifest in all kinds of ways. As a collective of outlandish, fun-loving friends, ATARASHII GAKKO! wants to help us overcome our negative emotions by taking us to a new realm.