I’ve had a rather tumultuous relationship with Ryukishi07’s works the past few years, going from actively hating and slating at any given opportunity to adoring and pouring over Pixiv every few days for art, to going right back again. The dust has settled for Umineko, with fans still on either side of the fence about the ending and the franchise as a whole. Higurashi’s legacy is still carrying on, with OVAs of the fanservice fueled and utterly trashy looking Kira being released. So outside of Umineko Rei, what else is there for Ryukishi to currently work on?
Screens have been released for his latest trainwreck. And what is my response? A shrug. No, I can’t even do that. Quite simply, it’s because I don’t care enough to. The screenshots of Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni have given me the worst sort of feeling to have towards anything – disinterest. At least with disliking something you’re left with some sort of feelings and want to discuss it (even if discussing only means pointing out its flaws).
Until a year and a half or so ago, I was a fully loved up member of the Umineko club. I wore my proverbial badge with pride, feverishly taking part in ridiculous discussions deep into the night about the most inane of theories with the smallest of chances of actually happening. I enjoyed it, and couldn’t ever see myself cooling off the series the way I did. Several things about Ryukishi kept chipping away at me. At the height of my Umineko adoration I wasn’t blind enough to think that he was a wonderful writer or anything. He badly needed an editor, and I’d have preferred if he didn’t write such squick inducing scenes (the ones at Angel Mort featuring Rika and Satoko in cosplay come to mind). But I still liked reading what he wrote.
The mess that was Ookami Kakushi. The blatant self-insert in Umineko, not even trying to hide his looking down on the readers for not being to understand his convoluted mess. All those little incidents slowly caused more and more cracks to form, to the point where I felt like everything would shatter, resulting in me never getting around or caring enough to glue the pieces back together. As of this post, I can shakily say that I no longer care for Ryukishi or any of his series. The colour in my rose tinted glasses has dulled and I’m slowly starting to agree with all the people who bluntly say how shit Umineko is, or how he’s a one trick pony who’s all about shock value. I haven’t read Rewrite but I’ve seen people say that Kotori’s route was the best thing that he’s ever written, so who knows? Maybe there’s no cheap shock tactics there. I imagine that he wouldn’t allow himself to submit something of a woefully low standard when he’s working with a company he loves.
If I am no longer a fan of his, why am I writing this post about his newest work? Compulsion… probably. That and the fact I haven’t been reading anything recently and I wanted to post something to make the blog look a little less empty.
Higanbana is based on a manga authored by Ryu but drawn by someone else and has been serializing for the past year. I hazily remember reading a chapter or two, and not finding it to be anything special. You’re not missing out on anything by not reading it because you’ve surely read something like it before. It takes place in a school full of mysteries, with an equally mysterious Bernkastel/Rika expy appearing. ‘Haven’t I already seen all of this?’, I exasperatedly thought. I had. Just because it’s given a new coat of paint doesn’t mean that it’ll be worth reading. The only way I could see someone wanting to read this is if they’re (still) a fan of Ryu’s work.
I heard that it was going to be a one-shot full of short stories, but it seems like there’ll be more than one installment. The First Night will be released at this year’s Comiket, with the second presumably being released at Winter… Even furthering delaying Umineko’s fandisc.
At the very least I can say his art is after improving. That dignified gentleman above has to be the best thing that he’s ever drawn and there’s a touch of Liar-Soft about him. Ryu still has a bit to go, but the art is a lot better than what it used to be. I don’t even mind the heavily stylized shadows.