This is a transcript of an interview with Ryukishi07 that was included in the final volume of the Rose Guns Days: Season 2 manga adaptation. Ryukishi talks about the original RGD sound novel and his reasons for making it.
To close out the conclusion to the manga version of ROSE GUNS DAYS Season 2, we got to sit down with the series' original creator, Ryukishi07, to ask him some questions. There are a lot of fun facts buried in the interview, so please enjoy it!
Q: Ryukishi07-sensei, in creating the PC game ROSE GUNS DAYS, what was at the core of what you hoped to portray?
A: The concept of the "Japanese," which we are seldom aware of as we go through life so blithely. I think the current era is one in which we've forgotten what it means to be Japanese. Shortly before I came up with the concept for RGD, I had the opportunity to visit France and Taiwan, where I got to interact with the local populations quite a bit. I noticed something that really shocked me. They all really loved their respective countries, and it was a given to them that they'd stand up and take responsibility for their homelands if need be. I told them, "If a Japanese person starts saying patriotic things, they're seen as a political extremist, so most of them would never talk about 'loving' their home country of Japan." The foreigners I was talking to were totally shocked by that.
After experiencing that sort of culture shock several times, I decided that I wanted my Japanese readers to think about what it means to be Japanese. One more key point. I also wanted to illustrate to foreign readers how mysterious and, at times, irresponsible, the Japanese are. The Japanese readers, too, could see how strange a country Japan is, but from a different perspective. Those were the concepts that led me to come up with this series and pack it full of so many messages.
As for what those many messages are, I'd feel a bit foolish explaining each one, so you'll forgive me for skipping that part. What I wanted to communicate by writing this story is something that can't really be explained in words, about what it means to live as Japanese people. It's meant to start that conversation.
Q: While creating the noir sensibilities of the RGD world and painting a picture of violence and darkness, what were you particularly careful about?
A: I wracked my mind trying to treat the Japanese, American, and Chinese characters equally. All Americans aren't necessarily "good" or 'bad," and neither are the Chinese. All my characters are scoundrels to some extent, but they live according to their values, and I had to write the story in such a way that readers could sympathize with everyone, warts and all.
In this part of the story (Season 2), the spotlight is on the battle between Primavera and the Golden Dragons, so there's a distinct lack of American characters. I really regret that. Still, despite modern-day Japan and America being allies, China is the big neighbor we can't ignore. Stories about China occupy a lot of the news nowadays, so the ratio of nationalities in Season 2 really isn't that odd, when you think about it.
This next point may seem obvious, but unlike the worlds of Higurashi and Umineko, RGD has no loops, magic, or afterlife. In my other works, it's a simple matter to revive a character who's died, but in RGD, death is absolute and irreversible, obviously.
In that sense, I was aware as early as the concept stage that out of all the worlds I've portrayed, this is the one where death has the greatest impact. That's why I prioritized the pace of the story in the first half of the season; by keeping casualties to a minimum during gun battles, the shock that comes with "death" is relatively mild. That way, the inevitable death in the latter half is all the more meaningful.
The horrors of death are hard to escape in Season 3 and Last Season, but behind it all, I hope readers come away with the messages I intended to communicate.
Q: Throughout the creation process, were there any characters who turned out differently than you expected? If so, how did they end up changing or being revised?
A: Some, yes (laughs). That's easy to see in the case of the first villain from Season 1, Alfred. I originally intended for him to be no more than a small-time arc boss, but I found his strong personality to be interesting, so I kept him around until the Last Season and had him grow as a meaningful part of the supporting cast.
I can't reveal more at the time of this interview, but there are other characters who saw some upheaval in relation to their roles and circumstances as I was writing the story. I actually find it really fun when characters change like that during the writing process. Conversely, when characters have that sort of "perfect" progression that fits neatly alongside the plot, I tend to get bored (laughs). Beyond just being the writer, I'm also the first reader, so I'm delighted when characters and plot elements challenge my expectations.
Q: If forced to say, who's your favorite character? Least favorite? And why?
A: The truth is, I love all of RGD's characters. They all stick to their beliefs and stay true to their cool selves. So even if they are rogues, something about them feels refreshing. If forced to name my least favorite...it would have to be a certain major (laughs). In a series like RGD—filled with so many exhilarating characters—a guy like him comes off as kind of scary. I get the chills just writing him. That said, he'd fit right in in the worlds of Higurashi or Umineko (laughs).
Q: What were you hoping for from Nana Natsunishi-sensei and her mange version of Season 2? Did you get what you wanted?
A: Natsunishi-sensei has the coolest style, so I was hoping that she would take charge and make my story the best it could be! I also wanted to see the sorts of expressions and charm that can only come with a manga version. By those criteria, she earned a 100% perfect score!
Q: What events from the manga version of Season 2 have really stuck with you?
A: I couldn't help but smile with joy at the scenes of the Wandering Dogs living their everyday lives! I burst out laughing when Charles pulls out Nina's bra when doing the cleaning! On that note, I love how Nina is about three times more charming as in the original (laughs).
Q: Any message for Natsunishi-sensei?
A: Thank you so much for taking on the manga version of this tangled web of a story! Despite being the original author, I myself was captivated by the utterly charming Wandering Dogs who are so full of life! I'm so glad I asked you to do this job, Natsunishi-sensei!! I really appreciate it! Love ya!!
Q: Finally, any message for all the readers out there?
A: I just hope everyone takes their time to enjoy the story while reflecting and reading between the lines.
The story is one of the past, starting in 1947. I just have to wonder if maybe, one hundred years in the future... Will the 2047 of our world resemble that of RGD......?