Author comments on “Mushoku Tensei”
The author of“Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu“, Rifujin Magonote, gave an interview to the website Anime News Network, in the interview the author tells a little about his experience writing the work and talks about other varied topics. The interview can be checked at the link below on ANN‘s official website:
Below is a translation of the interview, the text may have parts without nexus and adaptations to Portuguese because it was translated with the aid of Google Translate:
You started writing the web version of Mushoku Tensei in 2012, and almost 10 years later, your work became an anime. Did working on the anime change your impression of your original work?
Rifujin na Magonote : My impression towards the original work hasn’t changed because anime and novel are different things. What do you think? No matter how wonderful and polished the anime is, that doesn’t make the original work any better. On the other hand, if the anime was so bad it makes you want to look away, it wouldn’t make the original work any worse.
Mushoku Tensei is sometimes called the “pioneer” of Narо̄-kei light novels. How do you feel about this label?
Rifujin na Magonote : I’m honored, but I also think it’s wrong. When I started writing about Shо̄setsuka ni Narо̄, my work was already deeply influenced by the stories there, so from my perspective, there are many pioneers above me.
Some of the most controversial aspects of Mushoku Tensei are at the beginning, because it starts with Rudeus at its lowest point. Looking back, are there times when you think “Maybe that was a bit much” or “Maybe I should have held back a bit”? Or do you think the balance was right for the story you wanted to tell?
Rifujin na Magonote : I think the balance was right. Being a controversial character, his mountain of regrets makes the act of remaking his life more meaningful.
Of course, I have no problem criticizing Rudeus at the early stage, and it’s up to you to decide if you don’t want to see the story because of that. That said, if there is someone like Rudeus near you and that person changes their mind and tries to start over, I sincerely hope you don’t abandon them immediately.
A relatively large part of Mushoku Tensei is about the sexual lives of the characters, including the secondary characters. Deviant sexual behavior is often portrayed as a natural part of the world. What inspired you to have this kind of focus in your narrative?
Rifujin na Magonote : In Japanese creative works, there are two opposite approaches to describe sexual life: as “sacred” or as “pleasure”. I suppose I got my inspiration because I thought there was not enough representation of the view that reproductive activity is natural for organisms.
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I think that among the instincts of a living being, the desire to procreate is the strongest, even when placed next to the desire to eat. Most living creatures will generally live their lives driven by the natural desire to leave offspring behind. This inevitably goes hand in hand with sexual activity. Basically, it is a natural and important aspect of being a living creature.
Because it is an important part of an organism’s life, it is not wrong to call it sacred. However, it is also true that sex is associated with pleasure. You can also say that it is natural for people to treat sex as pleasure, as long as the pleasure is intertwined with the act. With this in mind, when describing the world of Mushoku Tensei , I sought the middle ground between “sacred” and “pleasure”. That’s the vibe I was looking for.
Incidentally, in writing the opening act of the story, I strongly emphasized Rudeus’ perspective on sex as a pleasure thing. It is natural because he had no experience in his previous life, so the pleasure aspect was the only side he had contact with. Consequently, there may be many people who feel strongly about the pleasurable side. But that shouldn’t be a surprise – you don’t broadcast something sacred for all eyes to see.
Although the story is told from the point of view of Rudeus , Mushoku Tensei also feels like a story where there are other characters who could have been “the main character”. If you could tell the story from any other character’s point of view, who would you choose?
Rifujin na Magonote : Norn, I suppose. I guess each character has their own story to tell, but I think she would be interesting as a character who treats trivial things as matters of great importance.
How much do you think you have changed as an author over time? Are there any significant differences between Mushoku Tensei and some of your more recent work?
Rifujin na Magonote : I don’t think I’ve changed much. But more often these days, when I am praised, I have a compulsive desire to make sure that what I write is adequate, so my writing speed has slowed down.
You’ve always talked about the influence fighting games have had on your outlook, but that’s not a well-known fact in the English-speaking world. Could you explain your relationship with fighting games and whether it has affected your writing?
Rifujin na Magonote : I started playing fighting games when I was 18. At that time, I was not very good at dealing with people. In a fighting game, you compete against other people, so as I got into fighting games in an arcade, I started interacting with people even without knowing their real names. Most of them were older than me; it was thanks to them that I learned to communicate and to have good manners.
But it wasn’t like they were giving me verbal hints, how to do this or that. I tried to imitate the behavior of the people I thought were good and avoided being like the people I thought were bad or who often created problems … Basically, all the common sense stuff that every human being picks up somewhere finally came to me in an arcade when I was about 20. Basically, fighting games are what taught me to get over the minimum bar.
As for how they influenced my writing, in addition to what I expressed above, there is something else. I dabbled in fighting games in my own way, but once I got to a certain stage, I started to think, “I’ve reached my ceiling.” I’m not sure if that’s the case. To put it another way, I thought, “I’m done”.
In terms of competitive standards in Japan, I was firmly in the middle of the pack, but in my local area I was the strongest. But I also knew it wasn’t true that it was impossible for me to get stronger. For example, I could have left my hometown and challenged people who were stronger than me. Despite knowing this, I didn’t want to experience frustration and setbacks, so I ran away from it. Even if the truth is that I really wanted to get stronger.
This feeling of regret was what supported me when I was writing Mushoku Tensei . When I was having a particularly difficult time writing, I thought, “If I go off the deep end here, I’ll be the same as I was then”. It was what allowed me to prepare myself.
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As a result, I was able to write the web version of Mushoku Tensei to the end. If I didn’t have this experience with fighting games, I would have been satisfied at a much earlier stage, and when the going got tough, I would have run away from writing. Needless to say, I don’t think I would have made it to no. 1 ranking, and it wouldn’t have gotten an anime either.
Do you still follow other works about Shо̄setsuka ni Narо̄? Are there any works you would recommend?
Rifujin na Magonote : I wouldn’t say I actively follow them, but when I have free time, I read stories that are recommended to me from time to time.
Here are some of my recommendations:
- Ore ni wa Kono Kuragari ga Kokochi Yokatta (The darkness was comfortable for me)
- Jakushо̄ Ryо̄chi no Seizon Senryaku! ~ Ore no Ryо̄chi ga Nando Kurikaeshitemo Metsubо̄ Surundakedo. Kore, Dо̄shitara Tasukarimasu ka? ~ (Survival strategy for weak territories! ~ My territory will be destroyed no matter how many times it is repeated. How can it be saved? ~)
- Nageki no Bо̄rei wa Intai Shitai ~ Hunter of Saijaku wa Eiyū no Yume wo Miru ~ (The distressed spirit wants to retire ~ The weakest hunter of a hero’s dreams ~)
Do you have any advice for aspiring novelists and web novelists?
Rifujin na Magonote : I hope you can start writingever immediately and post on the web.
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