[J-Art Professor 16] “Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World-” Nagatsuki Tappei has Come to Taiwan – He Looks for Inspiration from Butchering Meat
Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World-’s author, Nagatsuki Tappei, was invited by Chingwin Publishing Group (青文出版社) to come to Taiwan today to hold an autograph session at the 2016, 17th Comic Fair. Coinciding with Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World-’s anime adaption climax, as well as the author being unable to forget the Taiwanese reader’s enthusiasm, the publisher promised to invite him again to Taiwan.
“Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World-” tells the story of Natsuki Subaru, who had just left a convenience store and was heading home when he was suddenly summoned to another world. Could this be the popular otherworld summoning?! He could accept not meeting his summoner, but worse greeted him as he was thrown into a life threatening situation after bumping into robbers. At this moment, a mysterious silver-haired beauty and cat spirit saved him from the hopeless situation. To return the favor, Subaru volunteered to help the girl find her item. They managed to find some clues, but Subaru and the girl were attacked and killed by an unknown person… or so it should have happened. When he regained his consciousness, Subaru found himself in the place where he was first summoned to. “Return by Death” – the only ability this powerless teenager was given, reverses time to the start after he dies. Challenging the countless desperations, he tries to save the girl from the fate of death!
“Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World-” was originally published by the author online as a web novel on “Become a Novelist” (小説家になろう). After its popularity as a fictional light novel, the anime adaption was launched in 2016. During the author’s first visit to Taiwan to participate in events, he was worried about his popularity and was nervous. But after receiving his Taiwanese fans’ warm welcoming, he was moved greatly. That’s why he was extremely happy to be able to return to Taiwan again for these events. Before today’s media interviews, Chingwin received an enthusiastic reader’s hand drawn portrait. Nagatsuki Tappei was so happy that he had brought the portrait with him to the interview.
While he was receiving the gift, Nagatsuki was asked by the reader a couple simple questions. One of them was: why did the author have to abuse Natsuki Subaru so much in the work? Nagatsuki replied with a smile, “That’s because it’s more fun this way!” He then went on to explain that he believed a protagonist that has grown stronger by facing adversity is the best kind of character. Therefore, in order for his protagonist to continue growing, he would insert such abuses in the story. Because he likes Subaru, he also wishes Subaru could work hard. But at the same time, he also thinks he has been a bit too nice to Subaru, and may make the future a bit tougher for Subaru.
The talk moved onto his volume 8, and when the author modified his head portrait to a mango ice cream, he stated Taiwanese foods are very delicious. Whether it be the dumplings he ate yesterday, or the beef noodles he tasted during his last visit, they were all tasty. However, stinky tofu had to strong of a smell, so he was unable to try it.
When it came to talking about the light novel, Nagatsuki explained that “Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World-” began as a web serialization, so as long as he was given some inspiration, he could expand on it. However, when publishing a light novel, due to space limitations, he had to express his thoughts, characters, and mood to readers within a word limit. The author believes this was a relatively difficult task for the adaptation.
In regards to this part, he would sometimes debate with his editor because the author wants his personal preferences reflected on the text, while the editor wants to modify the author’s work into a presentable product. As a result, the editor’s opinions are also very important.
Still, Nagatsuki Tappei is not a full-time writer. On weekdays, he would work at a butcher shop in charge of chopping meat, and occasionally as a cashier. Therefore, while he is “handling” those meat products, he would think about the development of the plot. While he shared his experience at work, Nagatsuki grinned and said: “sometimes, while I’m chopping meat, I would shout ‘Natsuki Subaru!’” Aside from writing, he also enjoys watching movies and playing board games.
Why did he decided to embark on the road of an author? He explained that he began his light novel creation journey ever since he was in Japan. Even after he entered society, he continued working on it. When he began working, “Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World-” was not yet a light novel; even after it became a light novel, he was maintaining his work at the butcher shop while writing. He continued on with: “But if I was given the chance, I would love for it to become a full-time job. Though I don’t hate my job at the butcher shop, as moments of inspirations emerge while I’m chopping meat. If the chance arises, I hope to become a professional writer.”
When talking about when the protagonist dies, and where the protagonist revives, the author remarked: “Basically when Subaru is filled with regret and despair, I would think up of a scenario that is most fitting for him to die. After all, it’s not that easy for one to face death. As for where the protagonist revives, because it’ll reveal some spoilers, I can only say… if Subaru can change something at that fitting moment, then he will revive at that point.”
When it came to the anime adaption’s performance, the author stated that the animation production has been given to relevant professionals, and because the focus of the story is relatively the same as the source material, he won’t interfere with the animation company’s approach.
A reporter had asked the author how had conceptualized episode 18’s dialogues, and whether he himself had experienced a similar conversation. Nagatsuki replied by saying he would not have had such negative thoughts. Rather, he described his thought process as: “I went along the lines of ‘if Subaru had had these things happen before.’ By following this train of thought, these ideas will naturally form in my mind.”
In regards to episode 18’s pre-launch advertisement set up in the Japanese subway stations, the editor explained that this episode was very important for the work, therefore they wanted more people to watch this episode and specially set up the subway ads.
In addition, Subaru’s “special” ringtone in episode 19 is based on the protagonist’s character and personality. In the original work, the ground dragon he rode was called “Patrash,” therefore the author used “A Dog of Flanders” music as the ringtone for when the White Whale arrived.
When it came to his favorite seiyuu (voice actor), the author, while smiling, claimed it would have to be Felix’s seiyuu, Hori Yui, based on personal preferences. But if he really had to say, the seiyuu responsible for Natsuki Subaru, Kobayashi Yusuke, has been superb. Because of Kobayashi’s relationship, the protagonist’s personality has been faithfully reproduced in anime.
Who is Nagatsuki Tappei’s favorite character from the source material? The author stated he would not deliberately rank the characters he created, but if he were to say who would be first, it would definitely be the main heroine “EMT!” But if he were to choose a person selected by the King’s Election, it would be Crusch. Although the author is in the EMT cult, because Crusch’s personality is the strongest, he thinks letting her become king would not be a bad choice.
At the end of Nagatsuki Tappei’s event, he declared that he was extremely happy that the people from Taiwan were able to enjoy his work. Because he is happy about being able to create this work, if he is able to share this joy, as well as the interesting places and their charms in this work, he would be even happier.