When I last discussed Ryukishi07’s hinted “Tiger Festival” project, it seemed possible that he might be writing for a new Tales Of game. In the days since, Bandai Namco announced the upcoming game Tales of Berseria.
However, another theory might be more likely (and much more obvious). When I first started free-associating, the “Tiger” part made me think of the Japanese doujin retailer “Tora no Ana.” The “Festival” part made me think of some doujin event, like Reitaisai or Wonder Festival. “Could be something there,” I thought, “but nothing conclusive.” Until now, upon learning that Tora no Ana’s holding a special event on June 21st to celebrate their 20th anniversary. The event’s name? Tiger Festival.
What’s more, the 07th Expansion Twitter has confirmed they’ll be at the event. We might not have long to wait before learning everything about this new project.
After hearing the hint “Tiger Festival” for Ryukishi07’s next unannounced work, I couldn’t help speculating wildly about it. I already have a whole page of ideas (most of them insane). One theory, though, is beginning to sound more and more likely.
As a child of the Internet, the first thing I did was Google it. I didn’t have to go past the first page before stumbling upon the phrase in the game Tales of Graces. I’ve never played it, but in one of the game’s comedic scenes, a character takes on the conspicuous fake name of “Tiger Festival.” Interesting connection, I thought, but could still be a coincidence. Then I just learned today that the game’s main villain is named “Lambda.” And so the rabbit hole gets deeper.
Ryukishi07 first introduced himself at ACen by saying he never imagined he’d become a script writer for visual novels. Also, he wasn’t even sure he’d found his true calling yet. Maybe that true calling could be “writer for a JRPG?” After all, his pen-name comes straight from Final Fantasy. Maybe he’ll be fulfilling a long-held dream. Plus, we’ve already seen the addition of game play elements to Rose Guns Days.
I couldn’t say for sure he’s actually writing the next Tales Of game. If so, why would he reference Tales of Graces from 2009, instead of the more recent Tales of Xillia or Zestria from 2011 and 2015? Maybe that game just particularly inspired him. Still, I think there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing a new JRPG with his hand in it. Or maybe we should all get ready for “When the Tigers Cry.”
Edit: A reader reminded me of one other connection between Ryukishi07 and the Tales Of games: the singer Akiko Shikata has done multiple songs for both series. In fact, her EP “Cocoon of White Dreams” is a crossover between Umineko no Naku Koro ni and Tales of Symphonia. Thanks Matt!
An unsolved mystery is an open canvas. It invites endless speculation and debate.
As long as it remains unsolved, it can continue to live. To provide the solution, though, is to kill it.
I loved the ambiguity of Umineko’s original ending. One solution to the series core mysteries was strongly hinted at, but never outright confirmed. I feel like this was the perfect balance between providing closure, while still keeping the mystery alive. Unfortunately, many readers hated it, both inside and outside of Japan.
The manga adaption has spelled out the “official truth” much more explicitly. Ryukishi07 recently did an English language interview with the gaming site APG Nation, and confirmed that “by no means is the manga version an individual interpretation. It is an official answer from me.” It’s hard to say whether did so in response to negative feedback, or intended to all along. Quite possibly the latter, considering his comments in the Higurashi Kai staff room about mysteries without a “solution book.”
Either way, I’m disappointed that Ryukishi07 had to open the cat box. Whether or not the cat has died, the mystery certainly has.
At least I’m heartened whenever I see the small mysteries that remain in Umineko. We can still find some shadowy corners where the light of an “official truth” has yet to shine: solutions of individual puzzles, Erika’s existence, and others.
It might seem irrational to seek out solutions, only to feel disappointed when given one. Sometimes, though, the journey is more important than the destination.