This is a record of an interview with Ryukishi07 by Nicole Seraphita of the website APGNation, taking place on January 29, 2015. In the interview, Ryukishi discusses his works, how he makes anime and manga adaptations, and how to become a successful writer. Originally taken from the APGNation site, now archived.
This article or section contains untagged major spoilers for all of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, possibly including the manga. Readers who have not completed the story are advised not to proceed further.
APGNation: Thank you for talking with APGNation. First of all, please introduce yourself to our audience.
Ryukishi07:Hello and nice to meet you, everyone!
We are the doujin circle “07th Expansion.” My name is Ryukishi07.
In Japan, “doujin activities” refers to “amateur” or “hobby activities.”
I am one of those who partakes in such a hobby.
Our works, such as “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni” and “Umineko no Naku Koro ni,” are called Sound Novels (to be read on a PC, with the novel text accompanied by images and music).
There are times I work on the art and game design, but it’s common for me to work as a scenario writer.
(Of course, because doujin activities are a hobby, I’d like to keep challenging myself with things other then scenario for fun)
APGNation: How did you become a writer?
Ryukishi07: In order to express my own inner world, I’ve challenged myself in various ways.
Among these was the technique of the Sound Novel, a synthesis of writing, music direction, and art.
I think that once I expressed myself that way, decided on a work, and face the keyboard, that might be the moment I became a writer.
APGNation: Do you have a favorite visual novel?
Ryukishi07: I would be amiss not to first mention “Otogiriso” and “Banshee’s Last Cry [from Chunsoft] which taught me the groundbreaking medium that is the Sound Novel.
Furthermore, the LEAF works “Shizuku,” “Kizuato,” and “To Heart,” as well as Key’s works “ONE,” “KANON,” and “AIR” must be mentioned just as well.
APGNation: Many of your works are mysteries or have elements of mysteries. What is your personal history with the mystery genre?
Ryukishi07: For me, rather then a mystery, I think of the genre as a “game” between me and our users. (I think of mystery as just one genre within that kind of “game.”)
Of course, there are many classic literary works that belong to the mystery genre, and I also love to read those.
However, in comparison to those who are self-proclaimed mystery lovers, by their standards I’m not even reading, so I can’t proclaim to be a huge mystery lover.
APGNation: In “Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru,” Knox’s Decalogue and Van Dine’s Twenty Rules are a plot point. Do you think these rules are still valid to the mystery genre in modern times?
Ryukishi07: I do think that Knox’s Decalogue and Van Dine’s Twenty Rules should be applied to mysteries from this time period.
Since mysteries are constantly evolving, I also think that it might not be appropriate to apply old-fashioned rules to state-of-the-art mysteries.
However, because these are some of the basic rules of mysteries, I believe that it can’t hurt to at least browse them.
APGNation: There are many of your works that have been adapted into anime or manga. How is it decided as to which works receive adaptations?
Ryukishi07: Basically, we receive an offer from the company, and we accept it.
So far, the availability of anime and manga adaptations of our works is made possible by courteous cooperation with such companies, and for this I am sincerely grateful.
So, for those who are rooting for more anime and manga of our work, I would be happy if you could support the Japanese companies responsible. (laughs)
APGNation: On that note, do you have a favorite anime or manga?
Ryukishi07: There is a wide variety of manga and anime that I like, but when you’ve been in the position of author as long as I have, it’s harder to discriminate.
Because of this, I can feel that every work has its own charm and this inspires me and becomes a motivation for my own work.
APGNation: You worked with Key on the visual novel “Rewrite.” What are your thoughts on this collaboration?
Ryukishi07: I respect Key immensely, and at the time they are my favorite [visual novel] manufacturer, so when I was handpicked to be a scenario writer, I was so overjoyed I could dance!
In carrying out my work to the best of my ability, I was able to make it a valuable experience.
As “Ryukishi07,” it is one of my greatest memories, and I won’t forget it as long as I live!
APGNation: Do you have a favorite project made by fans of 07th Expansion?
Ryukishi07: We are sincerely grateful for all of your activities!
One fan opened a concept café based on our work. It was truly a stunning reproduction of our world, and I still remember how incredibly impressed I was.
Of course, to everyone who has written doujinshi [fan comics] and other creations based on 07th Expansion’s work, I am sincerely grateful. I’ve collected them personally and they are all my precious treasures.
APGNation: Among your own characters, do you have a favorite?
Ryukishi07: I love all of my characters greatly, but if I had to choose one person, it would be Beatrice, who appears in Umineko.
I think that the liveliness of how her personality and facial expressions are constantly changing like a cat’s stand out amongst characters I’ve drawn.
But, at the same time, it’s hard not to consider any character you’re writing as a favorite..
APGNation: The character of Sayo Yasuda in Umineko is interesting. What were your thoughts in Sayo’s creation? Additionally, what were your thoughts on her expansion in the Umineko manga?
Ryukishi07: The secret of the character of Sayo is the core of Umineko’s story, so her inner workings and development were designed carefully and with the utmost complexity.
In the original version, in order to leave room for imagination for the reader to solve the mystery, I chose not to draw Sayo’s secrets in great detail (of course, it’s still possible to grasp, but I didn’t show things in a way where everyone would get it.)
With the manga version of Umineko, however, we considered the work to be a “period” to the “sentence” that is the world of Umineko.
Because of this, when I met with Natsumi-sensei [Kei Natsumi, the artist of the manga adaptation of Umineko’s eighth episode], I asked her to show all the secrets in a way that can easily be understood by anyone.
Thus, all of the episode of Sayo that appeared in the EP8 manga is the official answer to the world of Umineko.
By no means is the manga version a individual interpretation. It is an official answer from me, Ryukishi07.
APGNation: Do you have any advice for English-speaking fans who want to become writers?
Ryukishi07: To understand and express the needs and wants of the public over your own principles and position can be considered “Business Type,” whereas to ignore the needs of the public and write only what one wants to write can be considered “Passion Type.” If you can figure out which one you are as soon as possible, I think you should be able to move forward without losing your way.
If you’re a “Business Type,” devote yourself to calm and calculated work, and even if you make a mistake don’t misunderstand what you’re doing for a hobby.
And if you’re a “Passion Type,” devote yourself to writing according to your desires, writing for the sake of writing. But in exchange, even if no one reads your work, you must never worry about that.
If you’re a “Passion Type” able to work within the schedule of a “Business Type”, you can evolve into an invincible “Perfect Type!”
Am I one of these?
I’m just an old guy who’s a broken down “Passion Type.” (laugh)
APGNation: Thank you for speaking with APGNation. Do you have any parting words for your fans and for APGNation’s audience?
Ryukishi07: Thank you very much for reading thus far!
I am overjoyed just that people abroad are reading my works.
In the future, I will continue to announce works I put my all into. I would greatly appreciate [a continuance of] this relationship [correspondence] with everyone following me.
At any rate, thank you both now and in the future!
If possible… I’d also like to hear the impressions of foreign visitors.
English and Japanese responses are both good, so please do let us know.
Thank you very much for this experience!