Art by 塩素 on Pixiv
I was already intrigued by Ryukishi07’s new manga series, but now I’m approaching a critical mass of hype. Turns out it will be explicitly connected to the When They Cry series, through the antics of our favorite fragment-hopping voyager witches. Check this translation of background text on the book’s product page, kindly emailed to me by Isae (who has an excellent Higurashi blog and tumblr, check them out!):
“The way to play with this Fragment is very easy. And the conditions for winning are also very simple. If you can escape alive, you win. See? Even for you, this should be easy to play, right?”
“Ah this is nostalgic. The stage of this is the Japanese countryside. Reminds me of Hinamizawa.”
“In that case, I’ll go with this piece. Let’s go, my other self.”
Also, a Japanese fan who’s read the prologue tweeted that the story is a challenge between Bernkastel and Lambdadelta. Takano Miyo is the main character. Higanbana and Rose Guns Days might have had expy characters, but nothing on this level of explicit connection.
It might not be a sprawling epic like the VNs, but I’m glad to see that the When They Cry story isn’t over yet! The meta-fiction setting it’s established has so much untapped potential. I can’t wait to see what new characters get caught up in their immortal struggle against eternal boredom. My question now: can we only expect short VNs and manga in the immediate future, or is this just an interlude before WTC5?
The manga magazine Gekkan Action has just announced a new series written by Ryukishi07 and illustrated by Nokuto Koike. It’ll be called Hotarubi no Tomoru Koro ni (When the Fireflies Burn)…not quite the next “When they Cry,” but close!
The series will be previewed by a prologue in the upcoming Umineko book, Umineko no Naku Koro ni ~The Last and First Gift~. That’s coming out on December 16, according to Amazon.co.jp.
The last manga by Ryukishi07 (Higanbana) was somewhat disappointing, until he ended up expanding its story into a VN. Still, this series looks rather intriguing, even if I know basically nothing about it’s plot. The artist has a cool, mature art style, and it is being printed in a seinen magazine. In an odd coincidence, just a few days ago we saw the first ever English print licensing from this magazine, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.
EDIT: While digging through the magazine’s Twitter, I found some of the original character designs drawn by Ryukishi07 for the series:
Lots of interesting stuff came up on Ryukishi’s AX Panel on Sunday, including the next When They Cry game! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see him again at the con myself like at ACen. But thanks to Isae (who writes an awesome Higurashi tumblr and blog) and an upstanding Anon of 4chan, I’ve been able to record these nuggets of knowledge for posterity.
I should have seen this coming. MangaGamer has just announced that they’ll be officially releasing Umineko in English! The format will be similar to their new release of Higurashi.
- They’ll be using Witch Hunt’s translation, but working with them to improve it.
- It’ll have all the original music.
- Just like with Higurashi, they’ll be using new character artwork not used in the Japanese console version. The sprites in the teaser image are from the Umineko pachinko game, though there’s the possibility those are just placeholders. Either way, we’ll have the option to switch between the original and new sprites.
- Just like with Higurashi, they’ll be releasing it episode by episode.
- It’ll be released on Steam and their own site (I recommend buying from their own site since it has less DRM).
I’d bet 20 to the dollar some die-hard fans will complain about them messing with the translation. To be honest, though, some lines in Witch Hunt’s patch were rather stilted. I’m excited to replay Umineko through this version (even if it takes years to come out). The thing I’m really looking forward to, though, is the many new fans the increased exposure will bring to Umineko.
Some interesting stuff was also brought up in the Q&A of MangaGamer’s panel, which has a transcript from bayoab:
- They might release the Umineko fighting game, Ougon Musou Kyoku, if lots of people buy Umineko.
- “It would be great” if Higanbana or Rose Guns Days were also released in English. That’s a tight-lipped response, but the Japanese versions of those games are still absent from their site’s store, so an official release might be in the pipes for them.
After much searching online, I’ve finally found a video recording of Ryukishi07’s third panel at ACen! It was posted by a user on the Fuwanovel forums. Although there’s no recording for the other two panels, this one probably went over the most interesting information. So if you’re ready for some Ryukishi07 goodness, sit back and enjoy.
Cool little note: The guy asking a question at 2:59 in the 2nd video is me! Ryukishi07 was really cool about it. Although I’m just now realizing the interpreter probably misheard “death” when I send “depth”…ah well, it makes sense both ways.
If you still want a chance to see Ryukishi07 in person, he’ll be a guest at AnimeExpo this July.
Here’s more fascinating stuff from the flurry of information this weekend, with such topics as:
- Why he choose witches as a theme for Umineko.
- Whether he’s familiar with the Rosatrice theory.
- Whether Yasu is a transgendered character.
- The relation between the worlds and characters of Higurashi and Umineko (the translator doesn’t mention it, but it looks he is explicitly influenced by Osamu Tezuka’s Star System).
There’s also an article to go along with it, with some comments and more description of the first two panels. Good stuff!
At the 2nd Panel on Saturday, Ryukishi07 detailed his writing process for Higurashi and Umineko. Continue reading