Fate/Zero:Volume 4 Postface
The re-creation of a so-called established work—is it a good or a bad thing?
To be made into an animation, or a game, or a novel; a sequel, a spinoff… I had once jumped for joy when I heard these news about my beloved work.
During my childhood, I had also greatly looked forward to another meeting with my beloved characters; I looked forward to seeing their heroics again. Until today, these remembrances are all treasures from the bottom of my heart.
But after stepping over the threshold of the new century, when I heard this sort of information about my beloved work, I always furrowed my brow, and my chest was always full of unease.
Of course, sometimes this unease proves to be just paranoia. I also obtained many additional beautiful experiences from those sequels. But what is undeniable is that in many cases, all I feel is disappointment, depression and the incomparable indignation of having the precious memories of your heart tarnished.
This so-called re-creation—is it a good or a bad thing?
The ‘wish’ that it is ‘good’ still echoes in the bottom of my heart until today.
That feeling in the past, of hoping that the story would never end—I have not forgotten it to this day.
But, ‘feeling’ is calling out loudly ‘no’. Definitely nothing good can come out of this. The new producers only borrowed the repute of the original and used it to make money—that is all. The appraisal and reputation will all be shared equally with the original author regardless of whether the sequel is good or bad. In that case, who would be willing to pour their enthusiasm into the work? As long as the quality is passable, just sell a large quantity while the media is still stirring—this sort of situation has already repeated itself countless times. Now, what reason is there to let me optimistically believe that ‘this wish will definitely be communicated to the other party’?
‘Yes’, ‘reason’ very unwillingly says. It is hopeless.
Now, the otaku entertainment form that includes animation, games and light novels is currently producing large amounts of profit as an ‘industry’. Yes, it is already an ‘industry’. Marketing principles are driving the cycle of supply and demand in endless acceleration. In this system where the ideal is that the producer’s benefit is paramount, and there is a continuous supply of consumers, it is extremely foolish to proclaim a work finished when it exists only as a single commodity. A limited number of ideas, in the process of being turned into games, animation, comics, light novels or even made into figurines, from re-releases, to repackages, to anthologies, re-translations and remakes… So-called ecology is recycle and reuse, wringing dry every drop of usefulness from the original work. And the trust of the fans has also been challenged in the process of collecting these countless products.
Because, only the continuation of economic activity that has to do with the original work is the specific proof of ‘enduring love’.
And the problem of degeneration of the original material, caused by recycling and reusing, is as meaningless as asking about the quality of recycled paper. Since the buyer is only going on buying due to inertia, the seller will care even less. Just like that, the dynamism of the economy is stimulated; countless fathers feed their families on the income they gain from this. Will anyone question this?
There is money to be earned from re-creation. Re-creation will bring benefit to all kinds of people. If one were to stand up and deny this public welfare, he will suffer the people’s condemnation, which would leave behind painful memories. He will lose his friends, lose his sponsors, even losing his wage that he uses to put bread on the table. I, who have understood all this, am already a mature grown-up. I have already learnt to watch for people’s moods, to respect the common sense and practices of the industry, to master the traditional virtues of the Japanese that is to smile and say yes.
——Is re-creation a good or a bad thing?
Of course, there is passion poured into this. But even more, it is an economic calculation.
Many sequels have been derived like this, along with many things that profane the original work that are flooding the world.
Walking in downtown Akihabara, I find that I cannot laugh no matter what. Surrounded by so many people who have the same interest, what is that negative feeling that is always entrenched in the bottom of my heart?
At last, I gave up trying to get to the bottom of it. Mm, I’m not good at holding on to those troublesome things. As compared to single-mindedly thinking very hard, it is still action that is more suited to my temper.
As compared to making irresponsible remarks to people, it would be better to make one re-creation that I acknowledge. As compared to those manufacturers, guys who are not involved and only know how to sigh are even more contemptible.
Of course, this is taking a very big risk. Even if one has extreme passion for the original work, if he does not have the skill needed to sustain it and the strength needed to finish it, he will definitely not succeed. And once he fails, the hazard is even more shockingly large. It is not only his reputation that will be damaged; even that which he loves will also be profaned.
But I wrote it anyway.
To me, writing is like raising flowers.
Attracted by the beauty of the flowers, this emotion bore fruit in my heart, and scattered its seeds. Precisely because the seeds remained in my chest, I fervently watered and put fertilizer, dreaming of letting the flowers that once had been now bloom again, and let everyone experience its beauty.
I don’t actually have any ideals or assertions, nor do I detest the ways of the world; much less do I have any uniqueness that merits commendation. It is only that, in my heart there are always seeds that I got from other people. I like shootout films, wuxia films, science fiction films; I like Transformers, monsters of the universe, and western vengeance shows. Precisely because this love has already almost broken out of my body several times, I chose this profession. So this which I do—each time is a re-creation. Since I am like this, then how can I accept that it is denied? If it were possible, I would really like to stick out my chest and cheer loudly for it. Even though this re-creation industry before my eyes is empty of content, and does not know the meaning of shame, and is where parasites run rampant— I still believe that the joy of writing is a noble emotion.
This book of mine, that wasted the entirety of more than one thousand and four hundred pages of paper for the sake of shouting out ‘I love Fate’, is now respectfully set before you.
This is a long and arduous fight. To be honest, I have poured immeasurable effort into this work. But from my perspective, this was all worth it. This is my answer; I hold on to this revelation every moment that I go through the process of creation.
Is re-creation a good or a bad thing? … I think that after today I will not be troubled by this again.
I will gamble everything I have, and continue to write pieces that I am pleased with, and I will use this as evidence to deny all negative influence.
In short, it is like this. This is what the process of finishing these four books has taught me.
Suddenly looking back, I, who had once intended to stop writing right here… who is to say that I was not saved by this work that is Fate/Zero?
Yes, I have derived my answer.
Dear readers, please be at ease. After today I, Urobuchi, will still continue to strive.
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