ACen 2015 has now come to a close, and it was a great time. At times it felt like we were having a little mini-07th Expansion festival!
Ryukishi07 held 3 panels, one one each day of the convention. I’ll be posting write-ups of each of the panels in reverse order. I wanted to start with the 3rd panel from today, since it had some of the most tantalizing new info.
Since Ryukishi07 couldn’t take as many audience questions as he’d hoped to in the previous panels, he started this one with a Q&A. He got permission to run the panel long to field even more question’s before revealing more information about his upcoming work TRianThology and another mysterious new unannounced project.
WARNING: Some of these answers contain spoilers for parts of Higurashi and Umineko. If you’d like to avoid them, you can just scroll down to after the Q: and A: parts.
- Before coming to the con, he was worried he’d be mistaken for someone else. However, he’s had an incredibly warm reception, awesome culture shock, and great time at ACen. If he could come every year by train, he would.
- Q: Is it possible that he’ll make a continuation of Higanbana no Saku Yoru Ni, or does he consider the story finished? A: First of all, he said he was glad that someone in Chicago had been able to read and enjoy Higanbana. He has a lot more ideas to work on the series, and he’d love to continue it or write a similar work.
- Q: What was the inspiration for the Hinamizawa virus, particularly the repetitions of “I’m sorry, I’m sorry?” A: The Hinamizawa Virus and the isolation of the village was heavily inspired by Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” lines come from the concept of someone with a mindset that’s so paranoid and on egg-shells that even the smallest thing, like getting a button wrong, could lead them to a tragedy.
- Q: With Ciel-sensei appearing in Higurashi, was it influenced by Tsukihime? A: He considers it more an homage than an influence. Higurashi wouldn’t have existed without Tsukihime.
- Q: Thoughts on Umineko becoming more relaxed in its giving of hints, especially with the EP8 manga? A: He’d been writing Umineko for 4 years. He used the metaphor of a painter’s brush. At first you use it roughly, but eventually you become more comfortable with it. At the start of the series, there was a higher level of anxiety, but as it continues, it becomes more comfortable for the reader.
- Q: What were some murder mysteries that influenced Umineko? A: Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None [Though of course we already knew that].
- Q: How did he come up with the concept of the Onigafuchi swamp and demons coexisting? A: Japanese mythology has many themes of an “other” coming from some faraway place, and he draw from that a lot. [For the record, the translator wasn’t perfect. It took a good bit of explaining to phrase the more abstract questions. This was demonstrated succinctly with this question, as she paused to ask another moderator, “How do you say ‘swamp’ in Japanese?” I don’t meant to be snarky, though, since she was definitely trying her hardest to keep up.]
- Q: Do the Japanese create fan works just like Western fans do? A: Yes, in fact, there used to be a lot of posting of original works on the BBS of 07th Expansion’s website. Also, Ryukishi07 mentioned that he occasionally checks in on 4Chan sometimes (which got quite a reaction from the audience).
- Q: Did Ryukish07 know about the Shkannontrice theory from the start? A: Yes, and he spent a long time explaining it all to Beatrice’s VA for the anime. Also, he purposefully did not explain it to Shannon’s VA, and did tell Beatrice’s that Shannon’s didn’t.
- Q: What is the relationship between Rika and Frederica Bernkastel? A: Bernkastel is composed of all the negative emotions and memories from the Rika that endured 100 years of torment in Higurashi. On a side note, he mentioned that Rika was BT’s favorite character, so he greatly enjoyed making Rika evil to see BT’s reaction.
- Q: How is Ryukishi able to write in such an emotionally powerful way? A: It flows naturally since Ryukishi experiences the story as a reader just as much as an author. In an emotional scene, he’s almost crying as he writes it. It’s actually harder to write the scenes without that passion. Also, whenever you see the faces of his characters twisted with emotion, you can imagine his face doing the same as a writer (which he demonstrated with some great pantomimes).
- Q: What are the strengths and weaknesses of visual novels/sound novels as a medium? A: He thinks it’s the strongest medium out there, since it has the best of both worlds: the depth of prose, wonderful graphics, and you can add film parts as well. It’s biggest weakness is that not enough people know about it, and it’s still a subculture.
- Q: The Higurashi anime introduced yandere to the US. Would he rather people enjoy it for the yandere or the mystery? A: He feels that you should enjoy it however you like. For him personally, though, it’s 10% the yandere and 90% the rest of Higurashi.
- Q: Is there a deeper meaning to how he uses the same character in multiple works, or is it just for fan enjoyment? A: In most cases he likes to think of it as actors in different movies, like Harrison Ford in Star Wars or Indiana Jones. In other cases, like with witches (Miyo and Lambdadelta were mentioned), there can be more to it, but the rest is secret.
- Q: What’s his favorite arc of Higurashi? A: Minagoroshi-hen (Massacre Arc), because of the part where the whole village unites to save Satoko.
- Q: In the end of Umineko EP8, which is the real ending: magic or trick? A: He laughed and said “Whichever you choose is the right answer.” Of course, since you’re a player in the game, he won’t say which is right.
- Q: Now that copyright laws on fan works are getting stricter in Japan, how does he think this will affect things in the future? A: He believes that lots of people are posing as fan works, even though they’re really in it for profit and lack passion [IE, boatloads of Touhou and KanColle merch]. It hasn’t affected him, though, since his fans really are passionate.
After running out of time for questions, Ryukishi07 went on to talk about his upcoming work TRianThology.
- First of all, he pointed out that the 3 capitalized letters in the title represent the 3 different authors involved in the project.
- He won’t give away storyline, but he did want to give away some teaser.
- The 1st world is set in the country side. The storyline involves high school friends who went on a school trip together, eventually dispersed, but then came back together.
- The 2nd world is set in a galge school setting, like ToHeart. The protagonist is a boy popular with many girls, and has a harem story.
- The 3rd world is a Call of Duty-like setting involving war. In reference to a previous panel, Ryukishi pointed out to the audience that “It’s not zombies, though, it’s aliens!”
- Each of the stories can be enjoyed in two ways: individually, or going back and forth between the stories to see all the ways in which they’re connected. It will be a very complex and layered work.
He also went on to give one more secret, not even known in Japan.
- He’s been working on another solo project that will be released in the near future.
- One hint as to what it’s about: “Tiger Festival.”
- He’s been working on it all last year, with lots of sweat and blood put into it.
- Expect an announcement in the next couple of months.
- After revealing this, Ryukishi was loudly “shhh!”ed by Seto-san, presumably his agent or manager. Ryukishi stated that maybe he’d said too much.
In closing, Ryukishi07 asked us to continue supporting his work so he can be motivated to produce more, and mentioned the upcoming Steam release of Higurashi.