Aoba Suzukaze (
Aoba's small stature makes her look like a middle school student, which is often pointed out by her friends and co-workers. Her hair and eyes are both light purple. She is often shown wearing a suit that she bought during her last year of high school. Although it was supposed to make her look more mature, others comment that her suit makes her look more like a middle school student since it has a strong resemblance to a school uniform.
Aoba has a cheerful personality and is very polite. She strives to do her best for the company. She has a childish side to her, especially when it comes to things that she likes, such as her favorite games. She is hardworking and is loyal to her friends. Due to her earnest personality, she is able to earn the respect and trust of both her colleagues and her superiors in the company.
She is also shown to have a sadistic side, as remarked by Hifumi Takimoto, as Aoba would have liked to see her squirm in embarrassment, and also teases her childhood friend Nene. This is also seen when she 'tortures' a snowman in a hot spring.
Aoba contrasts strongly with Momiji Mochizuki's personality. They appear to be exact opposites in every way, from attitude to physique.
Aoba was raised in Tokyo with Nene Sakura (Aoba's friend since pre-school). Inspired by the first Fairies Story, she endeavors to become a character designer just like Ko Yagami, who became her role model. Since then, she has been a big fan of the Fairies Story franchise.
In her final year in high school, she joins the Art Club to improve her skill so she can enter an art college, before eventually becoming a character designer. She instantly became friends with the club president, Hotaru Hoshikawa. At some point, she learns that Ko began working right after graduating high school. After discussing with her friends and parents, she decides to apply at Eagle Jump, the company responsible for developing Fairies Story, as well as the work place of Ko Yagami.
Aoba was called in for an interview, but appears to have flunked it. In her final days at high school, she receives a phone call and learns that she has been accepted to work at Eagle Jump. Despite having to part ways with her friends, she continues to pursue her dream and begins working at her new workplace.
Her first impressions of Eagle Jump's employees were far from excellent. She finds her role model sleeping half naked in the office, and her co-workers seemed difficult to approach. Fortunately, they all manage to get along very quickly. Due to having little to no experience, she spends her first few days practicing 3D modelling by referring to a reference book. Luckily, Aoba is a quick learner and manages to finish a lot of her given tasks.
At the end of her first day, Aoba learns that she will be developing the third installment of Fairies Story.
After completing most of her given tasks, Ko is impressed by her progress and assigns Aoba to create a 3D model of a villager. She finishes the model, but receives criticism from Ko, who suggests she redo her work. After multiple attempts, she begins to lose hope, until Rin Toyama reveals why Ko keeps rejecting her work. With newfound encouragement, she works on her model once more. This time, she meets Ko's high standards and receives her approval. Soon, she begins creating more villagers for the game.
A month has barely passed, and Aoba finds that she overslept. She rushes to her workplace and nearly arrives in time. Unfortunately, she tripped outside the building, prompting her colleagues to help her. Entering the office, she is greeted with a scolding by Ko, who warns her about being too carefree. She was pardoned after hearing her incident outside the building, but is reminded that she must act professionally.
Her work was also scrutinized when Umiko Ahagon reports errors she found on Aoba's models. This was a relatively minor incident, and was mostly blamed on Ko, who forgot to teach Aoba about modelling errors during her training.
During the beta-testing period, Nene accidentally ate Ko's pudding. Since the two have long history together, there was a chance that Aoba might get into trouble along with Nene. Fortunately, this was mostly Nene misunderstanding the situation, and the incident was resolved without further problems. At some point, Aoba and Nene got into a fight regarding their work and lifestyle. This did not last long, and the two made up later that day.
With her quota of villager models complete, Aoba is given the task to design an important NPC from scratch, unaware that the character greatly resembles herself. She struggles to make progress; she has not illustrated for a while and feels pressured since her character is important to the game's story. In the end, she manages to finish her design, and begins to work on its 3D model.
After some time, the development of Fairies Story 3 has completed. It was then decided that their next work will be an original title: PECO. A competition was held, and Aoba's design has been chosen. This gives her an opportunity to become the lead character designer, a position she always aspired to be.
Before officially becoming the lead character designer, she must first improve her current designs. While asking for advice, Ko vents her frustration at Aoba, still upset that all her drawings were rejected. Later, Aoba questions if this was the dream job she had in mind, and eventually crumbles. Ko, feeling bad for lashing out, approached Aoba. The two talked it out and, in the end, resolved their issues. As we will see later, this will not be the last of their problems.
Despite being the character designer, she is still inexperienced compared to her seniors. Because of this, she cannot provide much help when dealing with technical topics. Fortunately, she gains more knowledge as she works, and is able to contribute to more discussions.
Student VS Master
To promote their new title, the publisher calls for a key visual. However, it was decided beforehand that Ko will be the one to draw it, and not Aoba, to better sell PECO. Ko is not happy with the decision, and had a fierce argument with their superiors, until Aoba suggests a competition between them to prove herself. All parties agree - with the caveat that Aoba understand Ko will be doing the visual regardless of the contest results - and a deadline was set.
With only one week to complete her submission, Aoba puts in a lot of effort on the key visual, receiving support from her colleagues. Unfortunately, Ko has over eight years of experience as a designer, so there was virtually no competition. Aoba broke down in tears upon realizing that she will lose. Despite this, she continues to finish her task, still in tears as Ko watches on.
As expected, Ko's design won.
The development of PECO has finally completed, and the company promotes the game at an exhibition. During the event, Ko introduces Aoba on stage as the person in charge of the character designs, giving her the recognition she deserves. After the ceremony concludes, Ko reveals that she will leave the company. This shocks everyone, most notably Rin and Aoba, who has conflicting feelings about her leaving, but could not express them. It took the encouragement of Momiji Mochizuki, her intern, to approach Ko and voice her feelings, before finally giving her a proper send-off with her fellow co-workers.
Aoba happily admires her PECO game, with her name credited on the back. Momiji wasks what she is grinning about, and Aoba says she is just happy as she did not expect her name to be put with Kou's, Momiji pointing out that that would obviously happens causes her to into that state again. Hajime asks for Aoba's autograph, but they head to a restaurant with everyone first to talk about it. Aoba cannot come up with one at first, as she is not satisfied with just writing her name, but eventually, she figures one out.
But, she remembers that she had promised to give her first signature to Nene. At that moment, Nene walks in and hears the topic of autographs, but everything she says implies that she forgot that promise, and Aoba is upset by that. Nene apologises for forgetting, but she says she is happy that Aoba became a character designer, Aoba gives her the autograph and Nene is overjoyed to have it.
Later, the two meet Hotaru, who has a lot of PECO merchandise.
The character team decides to use their free time. Hifumi asks if Aoba, Yun and Momiji want to go out to lunch together, but Narumi also joins them. They go clothes shopping together, but end up spending too much time away.
What Makes A Game
Aoba is embarrassed that Momiji gave a good answer to what a game is all about, an experience. Momiji wonders why she is so fixated on games, as she would do designs for other media if given the opportunity. Aoba says that she would not deny that either.
Momiji asks what her goal is now, as she has successfully become a character designer. Aoba simply answers that she will not be satisfied having that role just once.
They find out that Nene and Narumi have been making their own minigame off of PECO, where you eat the other bears to get bigger, Aoba still finds it almost strange how she is a programmer.
Then, Aoba sees a photo of Kou with Sophie, a young girl who is a huge PECO fan, Aoba is happy that her work has reached someone in a faraway place.
Aoba and the character and programming teams go to Narumi's family's inn. Aoba 'meets' her dad via his message arrows, Hifumi is impressed by his style but Aoba tells her to not let that impress her.
With the their things away, Aoba takes a bath with Nene. Aoba points out how cold it is yet the water is extremely hot, so she feels she could stay there forever. Hifumi offers a drink for the two of them, but Aoba cannot drink as she is still underage, whereas Nene apparently can. Aoba does not think it tastes that nice even though she has had only a tiny sip, but Nene thinks that she will get arrested for it.
After the bath, they get a delivery of Mochizuki Daires. Yun immediately goes to drink one when Hajime comments that Momo being raised on that milk is why she has big breasts. Aoba laughs at this, but Yun asks her if she does not want on, Aoba asks what she means by this.
Aoba, Hifumi and Nene go to Momiji's farm. She practices milking a cow for the first time.
Momiji wonders if she should tell Narumi how she feels about their situation as she does not want them to fight, Aoba says that she should, she had advised her before to give the final push on something she wanted, if she really wanted to do it.
Aoba says she can do it when she decides to talk to her.
With the trip over, the employees return home. Nenen says she is glad everything has bee fixed now, but Aoba says that it is not like it is okay for her to take over the inn, which means things might not actually be over for them. Narumi thinks that the fact tat they are eve able to talk is enough, for now.
Aoba had ended up enjoying the baths at the inn too muc, and falls ill. She gets visited by Hotaru and Nene.
A few days later, Aoba recovers and goes back to work, she ends up seeing that there are a pile of fruit in the middle of the booth, Momo then offers her milk from her family's dairy, saying that it has lots of nutrients. Hajime says that Aoba will probably get more gifts, Aoba concludes that she better not take anymore days off.
More of Hajime's Rejected Ideas
Hajime does not think she will be able to get another idea through. Aoba asks what other ideas she submitted, one of the was a game where the player turns into a giant and defeat monsters, turn into a soldier and defeat monsters and a 'dance dance' cheering squad; with five-player co-op action. Some more ideas were super soccer, hard-boiled and shooting.
Aoba took a liking to the idea of the cheering squad. However, the idea is too serious, and there are already games like that that are not serious, Hajime's does not bring anything new. Aoba comments that this is tough.
Later, the character and programming team agree to work together to make one of Hajime's idea into a game, Aoba feels like they are doing something wrong, but it feels exciting, she thinks it might not be a good idea to involve Hifumi, she thinks it is fine as long as they do not fall behind on their actual work, Aoba replies that she does not need to force herself.
Aoba admires Ko as her idol, and was inspired to be a character designer by Ko's involvement in the first Fairies Story game. Despite their unusual first encounter, Aoba still holds high respect for Ko and her work, and strives to become her equal.
Aoba soon learns the difference in their standards when Ko rejects her villager model. After multiple retakes, she begins to lose hope, until Rin reveals that Ko has high expectations of her. Revitalized, she works on her model once more, and finally receives approval from Ko. As she continues working, Aoba's standards also continue to rise.
Seeing her progress, Ko assigns her to design an original character for the game. However, Aoba struggles to create an acceptable design. In an attempt to encourage her, Ko shows all the villagers Aoba has created in action. Aoba eventually finishes the character design and it's model.
After the development of Fairies Story 3 has concluded, she learns that Ko was originally the art director for Fairies Story 2, but stepped down due to a new employee quitting under her supervision. She approaches Ko, saying that she is a boss that Aoba looks up to, and encourages her to become an art director again.
Hifumi is a shy person and is Aoba's co-worker, kohai and friend. Because of Aoba's earnest personality and her willingness to become friends with Hifumi, they are now close with each other. Hifumi is often intimidated by Aoba's energy, as well as after discovering her latent sadistic nature.
Nene is Aoba's friend ever since preschool. Despite Nene not being an artist, she still accompanied Aoba as a member of the Art club. Nene cares for Aoba very much, and cherishes their friendship.
- The name Aoba means "green, blue" (青) (ao) and "leaf" (葉) (ba), which is similar to the name Momiji, which means "Red Leaves".
- Aoba's surname Suzukaze means "cool, refreshing" (涼) (suzu) and "wind" (風) (kaze).
- "I'm fine with failure, so long as I know the results were deserved." (Unknown Season/Episode)
- According to an official Fairies Story artbook, Aoba was initially designed to be 20 years old, graduated from a gaming college, and with Hiragana name instead of the current Kanji name.
- Aoba has a pet cat at home