An idea born on a whim I decided to ask for an audience with the lovely ebi-hime because I wondered what was going through the mind of a talented visual novel creator. Thus this interview. Many thanks to the shrimp princess for agreeing to participate. So without further ado here is my brief interview with the adorably twisted one.
1: Origin of the username “ebi-hime” (roughly translated to princess shrimp-shrimp princess).
“It was just a joke between a friend. I kind of wish I hadn’t written the name in Japanese, since it sounds weeby (and I don’t actually set all of my stories in Japan!), but it’s already too late.”
2: How did you get into the visual novel business?
“I have a friend who is very into interactive fiction (not visual novels, though – text only adventure games), and for his birthday a few years ago I decided I’d write some interactive fiction for him. I downloaded Ren’py to make it, since I’d made some silly Vocaloid fanVN with it a while before (which I never finished), and started to write.
The story ended up pretty long – like, 100k words – but it’s also all completely terrible, and I will never release it, ever, ever. But it was working on that that got me into writing VNs!”
3: What is your inspiration when writing scripts for either serious or lighthearted stories?
“I get inspired by lots and lots of different things – other visual novels, songs, movies, books, etc. For Strawberry Vinegar, I was inspired by one particular episode of Card Captor Sakura (I think episode 38), where Sakura goes on a school trip to pick some strawberries. I remember thinking, after I saw that episode, that it was really cute, and I wanted to write something with a similar scene in it… So I wrote Strawberry Vinegar, partially as an excuse to write that one scene.”
4: What is it like working on VNs (Coworkers, schedules, work rates, advertising, sponsoring, etc)?
“I try to work with as few people as possible because a) I have very bad organisational skills, and b) I’m kind of shy… I’m not into the idea of having a large team, with lots of writers and artists, I’d never be able to keep something like that together and I’d get too stressed out.
As for schedules… I don’t really have any schedules to keep, it’s not like I’m being contracted to make VNs to be release for a certain time period. And, because I don’t have any schedules, I’m pretty much like ‘do this, but only when you have free time’ to my artist and musicians. If they take a while to deliver assets for me to finish a project, I just start writing something new while I’m waiting for them to finish.
As for advertising and sponsors, Sekai Project handles most of that for me, because I have no interest in it! I’m such a shrewd businesswoman.”
5: What hobbies do you have when not working?
“My favourite yuri manga would be Gunjo by Nakamura Ching, because it’s dark and unpleasant and I enjoy dark and unpleasant things haha ;; In terms of lighter things, I remember being rather invested into the Konata/Kagami pair from Lucky Star when I was 15 or 16, and I read a lot of fanfic for them. I have fond memories of getting really into one Konata/Kagami fanfic and staying up all night to read it, then going to school the next morning too tired to function, like a zombie. That was fun XD;”