By Diego Hernandez / April 10th, 2019
The Language of Love is a visual novel releasing at the end of this month! It’s a romantic slice-of-life tale involving a young man and a single mother written by one of the industry’s best. With the days counting down towards release, our curiosity for the story grows. We reached out to the aforementioned talented writer, ebi, with regards to her latest project. Here is the result:
For people that may not be familiar with your works, could you tell us who you are?
Hi! My name is ebi, and I’m a visual novel writer. I [started] writing/coding my own visual novels as a hobby back in 2012. My first projects were pretty bad, (I never released the very first story I wrote.) and as I didn’t have any money I used creative commons art plus music to make my stories. I also used 3D models for the character sprites, which I posed in MikuMikuDance.
I hope the production values of my stories have improved a little since then (and hopefully the writing has, too!).
I particularly like writing romance, horror, slice of life, and historical fiction! The Language of Love is definitely a romantic slice of life, with a little bit of comedy thrown in.
You’ve released Sweetest Monster, Blackberry Honey, and A Winter’s Daydream among a huge bundle of wonderful stories. Could you tell us how you get the inspiration to write so many unique experiences? What was the case for The Language of Love?
I get my inspiration from reading other stories, watching movies, listening to music, and my own [life] experience! Sweetest Monster was directly inspired by Nekopara, while A Winter’s Daydream was more vaguely inspired by a specific VNDB fetish tag I was surprised to know even existed.
The Language of Love, meanwhile, was inspired by Navel’s Shuffle!
Shuffle! was the second visual novel I read, and it was the first I’d read with choices. It’s a pretty standard moege, with a relatively bland MC who has a huge cast of cute girls fawning over him and wanting to marry him. It’s also set in a high school.
Eventually, I got to a choice in a girl’s route during a H scene, which was ‘cum inside/cum outside’. I thought this choice might have some story relevance (all the other choices in Shuffle! had), and I was afraid, if I picked incorrectly, my MC might get the chosen girl pregnant.
But, of course, I was wrong. I soon learned this choice was purely cosmetic, and it only influenced what kind of lewd CG I unlocked during the H scene. A lot of moeges include choices like this in their H scenes, but at the time, I didn’t know any better and treated it as a very serious decision.
I was disappointed this choice didn’t really matter, especially when I deliberated over it for a while. And it made me wonder what would happen if this choice did have an impact in the story. What would happen if the MC, after having all this unprotected sex with these heroines, did get one of them pregnant, and they had to deal with the repercussions?
This thought eventually evolved into The Language of Love. Though The Language of Love doesn’t actually have any choices, this is what inspired me to write a main heroine who’s a single mother, and it’s what I based Kyouko’s backstory around.
Inspiration comes from the strangest of places!
How many versions of the script did you write for The Language of Love before landing on the current version? What was different?
I wrote the base script in 2018, between June and August (I think). When I’d finished it, I shelved it for a while. Then, after a few months had passed, I began to edit it.
I cut out a handful of scenes I didn’t like, added in a few new scenes, tightened up the pacing, and reworded a lot of clunky sentences. I think the story went through three rounds of proofreading before I was more or less satisfied.
I didn’t do any major changes to the story, though. I planned out all the scenes (and some of the conversations) beforehand, so the main structure was more or less kept as-is.
Kyouko and Tama look to be the cutest bundles of joy. Much like the question before this one, how many designs did you go through with the cast?
I had a vague idea of how the characters should look while I was writing the story. The story itself is a simple love story, and I think it’s relatively down-to-earth. There aren’t too many anime tropes, and I wanted the characters to feel realistic. As such, I thought the character designs should be simple to suit the story’s tone. That’s why Kyouko and Tama both have black hair, and Kyouko’s design is very understated.
I had Kyouko’s design hammered out from the beginning, but Tama’s [took] a little longer. I drew a few rough sketches of her, trying out various outfits and hairstyles, before I settled on something I liked. I wanted to incorporate fried eggs into her design at first (because Tama is only a few letters shy of ‘Tamago’, which means ‘egg’… and I also like eggs), but I scrapped it.
After settling on rough character designs I was happy with, I sent them to the sprite artist, NekoRina, who is significantly more talented than me. The characters she drew were based on my rough sketches, but I think her designs are a lot cuter!
You teased a couple things on your Twitter for this story. Let’s start with the daily messages, can you give more information about that?
The daily messages are short, unique messages you receive from Kyouko every day when you go into the extras menu. These messages contain comments about the weather, seasonal holidays, Kyouko’s past, etc. Each message is accompanied by a chibi sprite of Kyouko drawn by Mellowbee, who did the art for Aidol and Once on a windswept night.
They’re pretty simple, but I thought they added some nice flavor to the story – and yes, there is a unique message for every day! The short messages clock up to around 9,000 extra words, but I think they were worth it!
The idea was inspired by the Type-Moon visual novel Kagetsu Tohya, which has a very similar daily message system.
In another tweet, a surprise character appeared as a “cheerful girl”. Tell us the story behind that decision and should we expect more Easter eggs in this title and future ones?
If people have read some of my earlier stories, they might recognize the ‘cheerful girl’ as Amu from The Way We All Go, which was my very first commercial VN. I didn’t put too much thought into including her – I just thought it would be cute.
If you actually examine the timeline of these stories, however, the inclusion of Amu doesn’t make much sense. The Way We All Go occurs in the 1980s, while The Language of Love occurs in 2018 (or thereabouts), so Amu should be in her 50s in this story…
Let’s just say the stories are set in parallel universes instead!
This isn’t a solo venture by any means. Can you tell us about the other people involved in the project?
I wrote the story and did the bulk of the editing/proofreading myself (though a few kind proofreads on Twitter did help me search for typos and nonsensical sentences. Thank you, xolf and ozdergecko!).
For the art, I searched the internet looking for people whose art I thought would suit the tone of the story. I found NekoRina on deviantart, and I thought her art was adorable. I asked her if she wanted to work with me, and she agreed. She’s a pretty popular artist, and I think her bright coloring and cute designs are super adorable!
The backgrounds were done by Thaichau from lemmasoft, and the CGs are by Kimiyotosan and Rytha_e on twitter! The UI is by ds.sans, who’s working on his own visual novel, Chemically Bonded, which looks very cute!
The music is by yuzukimasu, who did the OSTs for several of my other visual novels, including Blackberry Honey and Six Days of Snow. Yuzuki is very talented, and I really enjoy working with him!
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious about the mild 18+ content within this wholesome story. Any details you can spare?
There’s a couple of minor fan-servicey scenes in the main body of the story itself, and then there’s an 18+ sex scene near the end of the story. It’s pretty tame and fluffy, but it does depict graphic nudity (plus some explicit text), so it’s probably not suitable for younger readers.
My previous BxG stories that involved 18+ elements (Sweetest Monster and Six Days of Snow) are both quite depressing. These stories feature couples with large age differences and power imbalances, and the relationships aren’t very healthy. The 18+ scenes in Sweetest Monster were intended to be unnerving, as opposed to sexy, and the implied 18+ scene in Six Days of Snow (it doesn’t contain any explicit sexual content) is flat-out depressing.
After writing so many negative stories that feature 18+ content, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to write something sweet and positive – especially as Kyouko’s past relationship was rather ill-fated.
I hope I was able to write something sweet, and maybe a little bit poignant!
Any words you’d like to convey to fans both new and old about the upcoming release?
The Language of Love is a little different to some of my other stories. It deals with some serious themes, but it does it in a generally light-hearted way, and the story as a whole was intended to be uplifting.
I wanted to take this as an opportunity to write a sweet love story with a positive attitude towards sex, so I hope you’ll enjoy it!
If you want to follow the development of this title and many others closely, follow their Twitter!
A Winter's DaydreamAidolBlackberry HoneyEbiEbi-himeKagetsu TohyanekoparaShuffleSix Days of SnowSweetest MonsterThe Language of LoveThe Way We All Govisual novel