Amanozako is a monstrous goddess born from Susano-o keeping too much ferocity within himself until he vomited her out. Amanozako herself was said to have a terrible temper herself, and a truly beastly face. She had a long nose, long ears, and incredibly powerful teeth that could chew through swords.
By and large there’s not much to Hanako’s character to really come up with suitable Persona choices, so really the choice came from my association of Amanozako’s long nose and my Shadow Hanako’s clown nose. And I guess Hanako is seen as a rather monstrous figure to most around her.
Like Nobunaga this is a design I’ve been sitting on a while. When I sat down and came up with Personas for everyone (which I basically did all at once) I had a really vivid picture of Amanozako pretty much right away–a short, stout thing that wielded a pair of swords with bites taken out of them (you know, her strong teeth and all). Which is a pretty fun visual I haven’t really seen before. All in all this is one of my favorite Persona designs I’ve done. She kinda looks like a cross between a chicken and shark.
Anyone with a passing interest in Japanese history will know Oda Nobunaga, the infamous warlord of the sixteenth century. A brutal daimyo, he’s known as one of the three unifiers of Japan. He himself was fond of western styled fashion and is often depicted wearing high collars and western styled armor. He was also a major proponent for the usage of firearms.
In Nanako’s entry I kind of had to dance around why I specifically chose to make her Persona to be the daughter of Nobunaga–in truth, I came up with Dojima’s first. In the world of Persona 4 Dojima kind of comes across as the “ruler” of the protagonist’s world, so this Persona seems less like how Dojima sees himself but rather how those close to him see him.
I’m also kind of cheating as Kanji’s two awakened Personas (Rokuten Maoh and Takeji Zaiten) are actually technically based on Nobunaga (they’re both nicknames he had), but I figured I could get away with it as this isn’t actually an “awakened” Persona, perhaps Dojima’s second rank Persona would evolve into something else to give Kanji room (just hypothetically, I don’t plan on designing awakened Personas).
But getting to the Persona’s design–the obvious origin comes from Shadow Dojima’s car wreckage. I took that in the obvious direction–he’s sort of a combination of a Transformer, a shogun, and Samus from Metroid. So he’s made of car parts, or rather mostly things that look like car parts–actual car parts are pretty dry looking and difficult to draw, but I think the general effect came through the design anyway. The gun arms could be seen as a callback to Nobunaga’s usage of firearms in warfare. I also really like the visuals of bullet belts. The flower symbol on his belt is the symbol of the Oda clan, and is the same as seen on Nanako’s Persona, Tokuhime.
The design didn’t change much from my original sketches even all the way back when I first came up with him (again, I actually came up with this design before Nanako’s). So it’s been a long time coming.