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Ryukishi07 at Anime Expo 2024

After his last appearance at Anime Expo 2015, writer Ryukishi07 made his long-awaited return to Anime Expo. The Higurashi writer remained as energetic and enthusiastic in answering a panel of fan questions. Voice actress Sayaka Ōhara joined him on stage, but more as support rather than part of the Q&A itself.

Before the questions began, MangaGamer announced they were licensing Ryukishi07‘s Rose Guns Days. Unfortunately, no release date information came with the trailer. “I can only speak Japanese, so I thought I needed to catch up on my English, and I tried to convey that in this work,” said the writer. “I incorporated one of my favorite works, like the The Godfather, into this.” MangaGamer will do an HD upscale of the game in Japanese, English, and Chinese.

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Rose Gun Days Last Season key visual
Image courtesy of MangaGamer

To introduce the game, he talked about its setting. Although the game is based in the 1940s, it carries the connotations of Japan in the 21st century, influenced by the U.S. and China. Ryukishi07 shared how he created the 2012 series as a message of how Japanese people view Japan and the language barriers even among Japanese people. The story involves how to get across language barriers and communicate with each other.

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Image courtesy of MangaGamer
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Image courtesy of MangaGamer

For those wondering about the status of 07th Expansion’s Ciconia When They Cry, Ryukishi07 couldn’t answer. “I put it on the hiatus because I don’t know how to proceed with it because of the craziness going on. I’m thinking about the best way to see how that is possible.” He asked the crowd whether he should continue with Ciconia or start a new title. The whole room responded with a unified cheer for both options.

Audience members then lined up to ask their pressing questions about Ryukishi07‘s previous and current work. Many were curious to see how Silent Hill f was progressing, but he couldn’t provide a clear answer. “Unfortunately, I can’t speak about it because the content owner is Konami. But I can say that I’m enjoying it very much, and it’s been fun working with Konami and NeoBards. I’m very enthusiastic about it, and I think it’ll turn out well.”

Most of the questions were from fans of Higurashi: When They Cry and Umineko – When They Cry, and Umineko cosplayers made up most of the attendees in the room. Nonetheless, everyone in the room was curious about how Ryukishi07 came up with his stories. A fan asked if he writes from end to beginning, but his answer was much more complex. “Ideally, I’d like to put in misleads and hints along the way to have the storyline reach that goal, like playing a game of golf.” In reality, he revealed he develops his storylines like “twirling a ball and chain and having it fly to see where it goes.” He explained further that he writes as he goes along, even though he feels you should start with a goal. “I understand there are limits to where I throw, so I aim for the right direction. I’m amazed at where the story is going, and I always wonder how one thing leads to another.”

On the topic of endings, a fan asked why he presented the ending of Umineko so differently in the manga compared to the sound novel. “I intentionally made it vague in the original visual novel game to incite many discussions. I didn’t allow that many hard answers.” Twilight of the Golden Witch, the final episode in the Umineko franchise, was originally released in 2010, while the final game chapter was released in 2015. He felt the manga ending would be the last piece of media for the series. “We had a heated discussion with the publisher and artist on what went on and the answer. Still, I was the decision-maker. I decided the way it came out to be.” Since there was half a decade between the two, he revealed it felt like the last time he could “show the answer.”

Speaking of franchise media and extensions, Higurashi fans were curious about how Ryukishi worked with Studio Passione on the recent Gou and Sotsu anime. “The extent of my relationship with Passione is that I made the plot and handed it to them. I’d be surprised at how my work is translated into storyboards.” The mastermind would describe when Mion kills Rika in Sotsu, using his hands to talk through the scene of Mion tossing Rika’s body into an outhouse. “When the storyboard got back to me, it changed from Mion simply throwing her body down the hole to Rika’s head getting stuck in the hole and Mion kicking the body in.” This violent scene caused many people within Ryukishi’s staff to question if the scene went too far, but Ryukishi was completely fine with it. “In retrospect, it seems from that point onward, Passione broke the barrier and started pushing that envelope.”

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