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At the Finnish convention Animecon in 2018, Ryukishi07 did a Q&A. Ryukishi teased upcoming works like Iwaihime, a new Umineko episode, and a new installment to When They Cry.

Translated by DiabolusLapis.

Transcript[]

MAJOR UMINEKO SPOILER WARNING
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This article or section contains untagged major spoilers for all of Umineko When They Cry, possibly including the manga. Readers who have not completed the story are advised not to proceed further.

Interviewer: Could you start out with explaining how your career started and how the circle 07th Expansion was born?

Ryukishi07: It’s a very boring story, but I just thought about what I wanted to do with my life and simply decided to try what I wanted to do, and this is what happened!

I: Your career started in doujinshi circuits. What’s it like making games for an audience similar to Comiket?

R: I did work for an audience similar to Comiket happening in August and it’s been very stressful but also rewarding.

I: Wasn’t there another happening in December as well?

R: For the happening in August there’s a lot of time to do work to prepare, but for the happening in December there’s only 4 months to prepare which makes it harder.

I: Could you tell us how your masterpiece Higurashi When They Cry was born?

R: I got an idea from the American movie The Blair Witch Project and thought it’d be fun to make a Japanese version of the movie’s scenario.

I: Higurashi is told through many stories that raise questions about the plot, questions which are then answered in the later games. Where did the idea for constructing the plot like this come from?

R: By drinking Coca-Cola, you get a lot of ideas! *laughter*

I: Which character is your favourite in Higurashi?

R: It depends a lot on when you ask the question because it changes for me all the time, but at the moment it’s Satoko Houjou.

I: 07th Expansion’s games are described as sound novels, where the world of sound plays an important role. How does this affect the writing?

R: For example, you can hear sound in an anime. I wanted to combine anime, manga and visual novels and create my own coherent ”chain”.

I: Your games have been released for various consoles. PC, Playstation, and Nintendo DS. Do you have a favourite console?

R: At the moment it’s either Playstation 4 or Nintendo Switch.

I: The When They Cry series later became very popular and was made into manga, anime and even movie adaptions. How does this popularity feel?

R: I’m very grateful for all the support that I get from everyone.

I: Was it possible to imagine, when making the first Higurashi, that it would ever become this popular?

R: In my dreams I thought it’d be amazing to become that popular, but of course it was still a surprise.

I: Nowadays a lot of visual novels use shocking and horror elements. Do you feel like Higurashi was a ”trendsetter” in that regard?

R: I feel like works like that existed before as well, I don’t feel like a ”trendsetter”. I’m an especially big fan of Kamaitachi no Yoru, it was an inspiration for me because it was also connected to horror, so I wanted to a work with horror as well.

It was presumed that sound novels were mostly based on horror, but nowadays you can find a lot of cute girls in them as well. But even these cute girls can be horrifying! *laughter*

I: After the Higurashi series, there was Umineko When They Cry. What inspired you to write it?

R: I wanted to make a more Western-based story, since I previously made a story based on Japanese country life.

I: Did you have to do any background research for writing Umineko?

R: I went to a small island where there was believed to be a ghost. Of course there was no ghost but I tried to capture the feeling from that island, but since there wasn’t actually a ghost there I had to come up with some white lies in my work. *laughter* It was challenging, since there wasn’t actually anything on that island.

I: What motivated you to show clearer answers in the Umineko manga?

R: Because as the final release, I thought it would make it special.

I: In Umineko there is a character named Yasu, whose persona and feelings are presented to the reader indirectly through the stories she has written. How was the process of creating this character?

R: In “Umineko”, I wanted to depict the confession of the true culprit. However, if you introduce the real culprit and have them explain their motives, it becomes “truth” to the reader. Therefore, we created a character called Yasu to have her explain her motives without depicting the physical appearance of the true culprit.

I: There are apparently plans for a new episode of Umineko, could you tell us about this?

R: There will be a new character, who will be revealed soon, so be prepared for that.

I: There is also a new When They Cry game in the works, could you tell us more about this?

R: It will be more international this time, and there might even be a Finnish character!

I: Higurashi refers to cicadas, while Umineko refers to seagulls. Do you already know what the next When They Cry series will refer to?

R: I haven’t decided yet, but I want it to have the same theme, like being connected to plants and rain. It’s still in the works, please wait and be excited.

I: Do you know if the new part will be released in English?

R: If someone is ready to translate, then absolutely. My English abilities aren’t enough for this.

I: What’s your opinion on the games being translated to English and gaining an international audience?

R: I’m very thankful and appreciate that people have been able and wanted to translate my works. I see a lot of appreciation for the translators and they’ve definitely had a lot to work with.

I: You’ve previously worked with Key Studio on their game Rewrite. Rewrite’s art director Itaru Hinoue also visited Finland this year. When working on Rewrite, did the two of you get to work together?

R: Yes, it was our first time working together.

I: Who are your favourite characters from the game TRianThology?

R: There are a lot of characters, but Alice is my favourite.

I: A game called Iwaihime is also in the works. Could you tell us about this?

R: I was asked for a horror work and I decided that since there are primarily two types of horror in Japan, creepy horror and horror that focuses on monsters, I wanted to bring these two types of horror out in the finished work.

I: Video games are very popular today, perhaps more than ever before. How well do you think visual novels are surviving in the video game genre?

R: I hope that it could become as big of a thing as novels, anime and manga, and I think it has a chance, but at the moment smart phone games are more popular in Japan, which makes me a bit sad but I’m still hopeful.

I: Which work you’ve written are you most satisfied with?

R: A very hard question… *laughter* It’s always the one I’ve most recently released that I’m the most satisfied with.

I: How do you stay motivated when writing?

R: At the moment I’m very motivated simply because work is work, but previously my motivation was that I played war video games on the Xbox and when I lost, it made me so angry that I wanted to work! *laughter*

I: You said that your most recent work is always the one you’re most happy with. If you could go back and change something about an earlier work like Higurashi or Umineko, would you change anything?

R: I gave it my all, so there’s nothing I would like to change. If I changed something, that would make it an entirely different story.

A lot of people ask me about going back 10 years in time, but 10 years back in time would mean that the pages would be empty, there wouldn’t be any text yet, which would probably mean playing a lot of games!

I: What other hobbies do you have beside playing war video games?

R: All kinds of killing games!

I: What’s your favourite anime?

R: Girls und Panzer.

I: What’s your favourite game?

R: Even though I like war video games, I also like zombie video games.

I: What’s the best thing about your work?

R: The state of flow, when you’re so focused on your work that you forget to eat and even to go to the bathroom.

I: When you write a story, how do you come up with the characters? Do you get any inspiration from other characters or real people?

R: I want to connect older characters to newer characters, it’s very important to me to make that connection. But sometimes when playing games I just see a character that I think is cute and it gives me inspiration.

I: Have you ever thought about adding your old characters in a new game, like for example having the characters from Higurashi in a new story?

R: Inside my head, these characters are my friends, but now that the work on that story is done, these characters are gone. But if I had to work with the same story, the characters would probably return back into my head.

I: What advice do you have to aspiring writers and visual novel creators?

R: Seriously or not seriously?

It’s important to think of your own style. If you want to make it your job, it’s very important to know what your own thing is.

There are three different styles: liking money, wanting praise from other people, and just liking writing. So if you like writing, but also like getting money from it, that’s very good!

You should consider, even though there are people who write and write and write without making money, money is still a big motivation. And even though you like getting money, you should also want to write because you enjoy it, that’s more important.

I: What kind of stories do you like writing the most?

R: Of course it’s fun to think about women with big boobs, but it’s also fun to think about environmental issues… *laughter*

I: You’re mostly known for writing games, but would you ever want to try making an anime?

R: I don’t think I’m good enough at drawing for creating it, but if someone else would do that I would be very proud and happy.

I: Our interview is coming to a close. Is there still anything you would like to tell the audience?

R: I want to complain about how warm Finland is, I had heard about how cold Finland is and only brought long-sleeved shirts, and then I got here and it was sultry and far too warm, so I would like to say that nobody told me Finland would be warm!

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