We now finally know the official name of all three stories:
Vespio 2438: A far-future science fiction war story. Most likely written by Ryukishi07, since its character art is clearly by him.
Country Girl: A story about high school friends who went on a school trip together, eventually dispersed, but then came back together. Written by Romeo Tanaka and currently being serialized as a manga online.
Gakuen Renai: Set in a galge-like world, with a protagonist who’s very popular with the ladies (incoming trope inversion?)
One other piece of excellent news: the staff page includes musicians from previous 07th Expansion games like Dai, Pre-holder, xaki, and M. Zakky (though still no zts). Because really, these games wouldn’t be half as good without their soundtrack.
It’s interesting how the different stories use totally different character artists (unless Vespio’s outlines are just a placeholder?) I’ll probably be the only person disappointed that Ryukishi07 isn’t drawing all of it. It makes me wonder how all the stories will end up coming together, though. I did notice that the protagonist of Country Girl has a shirt with a stopwatch and rabbit design, clearly related to the whole Alice in Wonderland theme the game hints at.
Moeka Takakura as “the mysterious girl”…I’d assume this is Hanyuu. Which is interesting, considering the theory that the show’s 8 episodes will only cover the Question arcs. Although she could still be worked into the Question arcs for some extra hints to the audience.
The names for the female actors, all from the NGT48 idol group, link to a video of their audition. They’re all multi-character scenes, and I can’t tell which girl is which. But still, it gives one an idea of what the acting will be like.
This Japanese article also has side-by-side comparisons of these and other male characters, some of which are perfect.
As you can see, at least they got the show’s most important character right, so I can rest easy.
The show is still set to air in May, on Fridays at 9:00 PM. I’m looking forward to the inevitable fansubs.
The manga magazine Monthly Shounen Sirius has announced that Ryukishi07 will be writing a new series for them in 2016. Yukari Higa will be illustrating it. The title is currently unknown, and details on the story are scarce, but we can at least tell it has plenty of bishoujo.
It’s possible that this also adapts a TRianThology story, like the just-announced series Country Girl. The art does make me think of that “galge-like” setting. But Country Girl specifically mentioned TRianThology in it’s announcement, whereas this manga doesn’t.
So in total, Ryukishi07 has 4 projects that will be (or have been released) in 2016, including 2 VNs and 2 original manga:
TRianThology (hopefully, unless it ends up releasing next year)
Hotarubi no Tomoru Koro ni
It’s almost hard to keep track of it all! Of course he’s been working on Iwaihime and TRianThology well before this, but there’s a lot of stuff coming to fruition this year.
It’s basically like the trailer for a movie, with a very cinematic feel. On one hand, I find it rather intriguing. On the other hand, it doesn’t get into the story proper at all, and the series won’t be continuing until 3/25/2016. So for me this is a teaser trailer, with emphasis on the word “teaser.”
Disclaimer: If you enjoy reading these scanlations, please consider supporting the official English releases of 07th Expansion manga! Yen Press has published the manga for Higurashi, Umineko, and Rose Guns Days, and they’re all fine adaptations. Hopefully they’ll continue to get enough sales to release new series and spin-offs from Ryukishi07 in English.
The Iwaihime manga adaption has been picked up by the scanlation group Hot Chocolate Scans. They just released the 1st chapter, which you can read here. I won’t give any spoilers, but the end sure takes an interesting turn…
For those who can read Japanese, the Iwaihime VN was also released on Friday, and can be downloaded from DMM’s site. They also have preview CGs, a demo, a free 20-page guidebook PDF, and desktop and mobile wallpapers. The question for me is whether I read the manga, or wait for the VN to be translated.
After reading it, my first thought is “more, please!” On one hand, I worry about Ryukishi07 retreading the same ground too much. Once again we have the setting of a remote Japanese village with bizarre customs (remember Okamikakushi? That didn’t go so well). On the other hand, I’m loving all the fanservice in form of meta connections to Higurashi and Umineko. My main questions are:
If this is an alternate timeline for Miyo(ko), what happened to Hinamizawa?
Is this a world where the supernatural just plain exists, like Higanbana? (And you might say that the supernatural already exists in Higurashi, but I prefer a naturalistic explanation for it, which makes more sense after reading the God Violating chapter released with Higurashi Hou).
Will Miyoko be the protagonist or antagonist of this story? Right now she reminds me of Erika Furudo, coming in to this isolated world of fragile emotions and just upending everything.
I just learned today that 07th Expansion is releasing a manga adaption of a story from their upcoming game, TRianThology, for free online. It’s part of a collaboration between 07th Expansion and Nico Nico Seiga, the manga side of Japanese website Niconico, which is better known for online videos and tons of bizarre memes.
It looks like this manga, titled Country Girl, is based on the first story. Despite Ryukishi07’s other forays into manga, it’s clear that TRianThology will definitely still be a game, since the artist’s comments hope we can “look forward to the game while reading leisurely.”
The 1st and 2nd chapters are posted now on Nico Nico Seiga, and it says that new chapters will be posted on the third Thursday of each month. Unfortunately, it’s only in Japanese so far, though it’s just begging for a fan translation. Skimming through the 72 pages posted so far, it reminds me a bit of Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day. Sort of an “alas, the care free innocence of our youth has been replaced by such jaded cynicism” sort of plot. This is the story written by Tanaka Romeo, so maybe it’ll get as a dark as A Drug That Makes You Dream did (not the best VN out there, but a nostalgic gateway drug for me!).
Even though the Higurashi franchise is well over 13 years old by now, it’s still getting new adaptions and content. The latest one, just announced today, is a live-action TV series. The main cast will all be played by members from the NGT48 idol group (a Niigata sister group of AKB48), who are in auditions for it now. It’s planned to begin broadcasting on May 2016.
You might remember that Higurashi was previously adapted into two live-action movies, which covered the 1st and 6th visual novel arcs. They weren’t critically acclaimed by any measure, but can be a fun watch. This new adaption will be aired in eight 1-hour episodes. I’d assume each episode will cover one of the VN arcs, finally telling the full story in a live-action form. It’ll be tricky to stuff all the VN’s content into such a short run-time; the anime had more than twice as much time, and it even it couldn’t do the job perfectly.
Either way, I’m optimistically neutral on this. Will it probably be bad? Yes. Could it possibly be wicked awesome? Also yes.
Higurashi fans got a little Christmas present yesterday, with the release of a voice and graphics patch for the 2nd chapter of its new release from MangaGamer. Just like with the 1st chapter, the patch adds voice acting and changes the sprites to the PS3 versions by Alchemist. There’s also a voice only patch, for those who’d prefer to play with the original sprites (like me!). You can download the patch here, after getting the game from Steam or MangaGamer’s site.
I want to pause a moment to consider all the wonderful work done by modders and translators, given freely just for their love of the series. Where would we be without people like that?