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25 January 2007 @ 10:22 pm
Moon Child Requiem Interview  
Here is the interview from Gackt's novel Moon Child Requiem which I am translating from the official Chinese translation. I've decided to post the interview first as it's rather interesting and gives you some idea of the story. ^^

First, here's a little summary of the novel- Moon Child Requiem written by Gackt, a companion novel for the movie Moon Child. The novel is set mainly in the time after Sun (played by Wang Lee Hom in the movie) and Sho (played by Gackt) have gone their separate ways and explains why.

Sun is now a high-ranking member of the Taiwanese Mafia, Yi Xin Hui, which wants to promote Taiwanese supremacy in Mallepa. Sho is the leader of a small but steadily growing group of people of different nationalities called 'immigrant' who is against Yi Xin Hui, and wants to promote co-operation and harmony among the different ethnic groups in Mallepa. All this is told from the point of view of a character who doesn't appear in the movie; Lin, a down-on-his-luck freelance writer/reporter whom Sun saves and befriends. Lin doesn't know about Sun's true identity until his assistant editor finds out about the friendship and asks him a write a story about the gang wars in Mallepa. Lin accepts the dangerous mission and learns about 'immigrant' and soon becomes friends with Sho's gang members, especially with Jen (played by You, the one with the dreadlocks in the movie!). The story then follows Lin's efforts to resolve the enmity between Sun and Sho.

Other characters mentioned in the interview are;
- Zhou, Lin's friend and bartender of the bar Lin and Sun frequent.
- Zhang, the leader of Yi Xin Hui.
- Fei, the leader of the Shanghainese Yi Xin Hui, (which in the story is based in Japan) which is the original one. Zhang broke off from it and Fei plots to get power back from Zhang.
- Yi-Jie (played by Zeny Kwok), Sun's sister and Sho's wife.
- Kei (played by Hyde), the vampire who raised Sho.

*
Afterword - Interview (w/ Gackt on his novel, Moon Child Requiem)
Translated by Namika (namikala@gmail.com) [namikala]
Edited version, 25th Jan 07
This translation may not be retranslated or reposted or used in any other way without permisson.
Note: This was translated from the official Chinese version of the novel, published by Kadokawa Shoten Taiwan International, and not from the original Japanese. I've tried to keep this translation as close to the Chinese version as possible.




- Now that you have completed your first novel, let's start by talking about your foremost feelings… how do you feel?

"The amount of time I actually spent on this novel, I think should have been about 2 months. I had to travel all over the place, moreover there were various odds and ends to take care of, so sometimes I felt so tired. To tell the truth, I wish I had more time to fully concentrate on writing. I even thought about it during the filming of 'Moon Child'. I feel that to be able to spend some time completing a piece of work, from the point of view of the creative process, it's an extremely fortunate thing. During the writing process, I hoped I had a chance like that (i.e. more time)."



- When we met after you had finished the draft, you said, "Writing is not such a difficult thing." However, when we met again later, you said, "It's so hard. I keep thinking that I have no talent." or other discouraged things like this. Do you mean that before completing the actual manuscript you encountered many difficulties (literally: twists and turns)?

"Actually I wasn't discouraged. It's just that I already had the main plot and content in my mind, so it wasn't at all difficult to write the draft, but the main problem was how to express these ideas. Haven't I always written my own lyrics? Therefore I always get stuck in things (literally: bottleneck) like "In terms of meaning, these words are easier to understand, but in terms of style, it's not refined enough." Yet, if I concentrate too much on this problem, it would result in the opposite problem of writing something in a highly unusual and hard to understand way. I guess this is the area where I encountered some problems. In the end I chose a style that was easy to understand and did not cramp too much of my individual mode of expression. I never encountered any situation where I was completely stuck, or felt "Ah~ No, I can no longer go on writing!"



- There really is not much difference between the draft and the actual story, however the volume has increased threefold. In the end, you used the draft as the skeleton and added flesh and blood to complete the story?

"That's right. In the end, when I was reorganising the plot, I thought, "I must write a story that not only the people who have seen the movie will understand, but people who will read this novel first will get the urge to see the movie." Because I hope that those who read this book and have not seen the movie will be curious to know, "I wonder what sort of movie it is?" I don't want this novel to be something that those who haven't seen the movie will find difficult to understand. I placed emphasis on this and rethought the plot."



- If I haven't remembered wrong, your novel mentions parts in the movie that are incomplete (literally: haven't finished talking about)? When I saw the movie, the part that was hardest for me to understand was why Sun abandoned his friends and joined Yi Xin Hui that he hates? And this novel describes that part in great detail.

"It's true that the movie does not give further explanation on this point. The movie was formed by picking out and combining the stories of Kei and Sho. Yet in this story (the whole 'Moon Child' story), those two aren't the only main characters. I believe that in the movie, emphasis was placed on the two of them, because in limited time, the theme of 'Life and Death' is more effectively brought out through the struggle between the people, who are supposed to survive, and death, and through the grief felt by the ones who survive for those who have died. However, in my opinion, this story contains many elements about countries and people. Yet, in relation to the present situation, some parts of the story are very difficult to describe in great detail. Actually, I wanted to place greater emphasis in the movie on the so-called barriers of country. Everyone is supposed to be born as an independent entity, yet in unknown ways, everyone's destiny is to carry the burden of country and race, and they have to live within these various barriers, this is the part I wanted to express. Because the movie was not able to fully express this, therefore I want to use the novel as a medium to convey this, that's why I wanted to write this novel."



- You felt the need to strengthen this story by writing a novel, after filming the movie?

"No. I originally thought that the movie would be able to completely express the story. As during the discussion process we mainly concentrated on the main theme ('country and race'). But in terms of how the movie was realised, this part could not avoid being digested (as in 'simplified') to a point far beyond the original plan. I guess the director (Takahisa Zeze) decided that if the story went as deep as planned, the amount of information would overwhelm and make it difficult for the audience to understand the story? I had the same thought. But at the beginning of filming 'Moon Child', I had already explained to the other participating actors; what was the significance of filming in Taiwan? Why are there so many Asians in the immigrant city 'Mallepa'? The United Nations have not officially recognised Taiwan, yet Taiwan obviously has the economic power of a country. And in Taiwan problems do exist between the native born and foreign born citizens. Wang Lee Hom who plays Sun, was born in America, though he can speak Chinese, yet he is almost completely unable to write it. As a result, when Lee Hom returns to Taiwan, he is regarded as an American, and when he's in America, he's said to be a 'Chinese' or 'Taiwanese'. As the problem of Taiwan's independence is currently such a complicated issue, I feel that it's very suitable as the stage for this movie. We, Asians are said to the largest race in the world, and the distance between our countries is so near, yet we have not narrowed the distance between us, I feel that this is because we don't understand our own history [1], at the same time, there exists so-called diplomatic problems between countries. To be frank, we lack the self-realisation that we are Asians. This doesn't have anything to do with a country's politics, if we could all interact as individuals, it's sure to be beneficial to Asia. I believe that our future is full of hope, and contains rich possibilities. But, if this situation continues, not just Japan, many other Asian countries might face the danger of economic decline. That's why I wanted to use this movie to express the belief that "We must change". Even though, a sense of lost within this (process of change) is inevitable. Yet, if some part of this (belief) was examined as the theme of a movie, it would be a bit too heavy."



"I feel that the city Mallepa, is a snapshot of Modern Asia."



- So, this story is straightforwardly about the 'tragedy' resultant from the conflict between personal friendship and trust, with country, ethnicity and the relationship between countrymen?

"I feel that the city Mallepa, is a snapshot of Modern Asia. What kind of tragedy will happen in this snapshot of Asia? In the story, Sun greatly respects Zhang, the Taiwanese who plans to protect Taiwan. Yet he understands that Zhang, by upholding the belief of Taiwanese supremacy would only cause tragedy. That's the reason why he chooses to use this great power, and aims to co-operate with the other ethnic groups, this is Sun's way of life. Conversely, Sho also understands Zhang's rationale that "Mallepa's present poor situation was caused by the huge influx of immigrants". Yet, the 2nd generation immigrants who were born in Mallepa are no small number either. Therefore, Sho holds the belief that "to treat the immigrants as non-existent is inhumane" to openly confront Zhang. Can Sun be said to stand and be trapped between the two? However, his stand is not that "both beliefs are reasonable", but that in order to achieve his goal, he must rely on strong power before anything can be achieved, or else all meaning would be lost. It's due to this, that he and Sho went their separate ways. I believe that the line in the movie, "Only the Taiwanese can protect this country" originates from the rationale that "the Taiwanese were the ones who created this country". However, if this belief is without the realisation that "this country contains many other people", then the only direction of this rationale is towards eliminating others. If readers of this book can get the important points; "Our future might also face the same problems" "This city is a snapshot of the Asia we live in", I would feel very grateful."



- In relation to the conclusion, do Sun and Sho share the same goal? Concerning Sho's 'immigrant', the latter half of the novel mentions, "To create an organisation composed of different ethnic groups was something no one was able to achieve. However, in truth 'immigrant' was made up of different ethnic groups, moreover their relationship was very deep."

"That's right. It's just that their methods are different. Moreover, I think that this story also addresses the problem of male pride. Both Sun and Sho, at one point egotistically believed, "I can no longer go back", but I think this is just their male pride, at the same time it is also male stubbornness, moreover it's what makes men attractive. Of course it's also an expression of male weakness. No matter how strong and brave they appear to be, they still have to struggle hard to survive. Yet it's also because of this, that their final destinations are different… Concerning this part, I feel a sense of "grief"."



- Concerning the part about Japan, it seems to be a reflection on all the ugliness and evil that hatred can bring. Of course this is due to the existence of Fei, a person who is skilled in controlling this type of situation to his own benefit to increase his power. Can we read this as the conclusion of the present situation, at the same time, is it the extreme opposite of Sun and Sho's ideal?

"Lin is the only person who can acknowledge the present situation in Japan. In fact I feel that I share Lin's sense of "guilt". Lin lacks the initiative at crucial moments. It's due to his lack of initiative and slow judgement, that he is unable to stop the worst ending and tragedy from happening. Concerning whether he is able to learn anything from all this and turn it into something positive, I can only say that he is only able to repeat doing the same things. His heart contains this weakness. However, I feel that Lin's situation to similar to any ordinary person's. So I want to say that through his repeated failures and mistakes, Lin grows. To be able to find your position (in life) is very meaningful. Moreover, he continues to try his best to move forward; that is the most important thing."



- Why is Lin still alive in the latter half of the story? I'm sure he must be asking himself the same question. In addition, he must be asking himself, why is he attracted to Sun? Moreover, doesn't he very actively try all sorts of ways to resolve the enmity between 'immigrant' and Yi Xin Hui?


"Lin's way of life is very similar to my past lifestyle. When I was around 20 years old, I never had the sense of being 'alive' either. That was until I met a certain person, and wanted to live like him, did I start to realise that I was 'alive', Of course I was not able to reach my ideal straight away, there were times when I had great struggles. But I had a steady will and I also took the initiative. Later I also experienced many different things, yet it never crossed my mind to stop (going after my dream), moreover, I felt proud of my own efforts. Once a person feels that he is 'alive', he will start to grow, so I feel that Lin's personality is a copy of mine."



-From this point of view, this story can also be seen as the story of the narrator, Lin's growth…


"Doesn't the scene where Lin dreams occur at the beginning of the novel? He sees his glorious self… However, within everyone there is this hidden self. Lin is always saying that he has no interest in himself, yet he still imagines being strong and handsome. He wants beautiful women, wants to be stronger and so on. But in reality, he is not fated to have these things /smiles/. If he remained being the Lin he was before, I think his whole life would have ended just like that. Later, a person like Sun appears, and he is attracted to him, I believe this (attraction) is the shock that comes from realising that in reality there is a person right before him who encompasses all his ideals. At the same time, it is also very important that Lin finally dares to admit his weaknesses and grief. Everything begins from here… In my own life, each time I feel my own weaknesses, I'd only want to run away, and I also won't want to face what I don't want to see. I won't want to face myself, though I hate this side of me yet I'm unable to change it. The first time I was able to face myself was because "that kind of person really did appear before me", this one encounter, was the greatest turning point of my life."



- All the characters that appear in the story have their weaknesses. Lin doesn't think before he speaks, Sun shows his cowardly side to Lin, and even the cruel Fei recounts his tragic past to Lin, whom he's never met before and whose background is unclear…

"I feel that a person like that (Fei) would normally never mention things like that (his past). However, I thought that if Lin is a person with this kind of ability, perhaps this scenario will happen. Hasn't the assistant-editor mentioned before? "You have the ability to make these people like you." This an ability that only an extremely small number of people possess, this ability to attract powerful people, in addition he is able to see others' fragile side. In fact, I currently have a person like that beside me. Actually this person will not purposefully ask anything, neither has he ever mentioned that he wanted to know something, however, for some inexplicable reason, everyone would just go to him and tell him about their weaknesses and problems. However, it seems that he himself has not realised this. /smiles/ Moreover, for me (literally: in my heart's eye), a hero is not a perfect person. He is not at all a hero, and even has many flaws in his personality (literally: soul). Yet, the belief in overcoming these flaws and the will to become stronger, will have some effect on the people around him. I believe that it's these people who are the real heroes. Perhaps it's because this person who can affect others has himself been hurt before, and has a fragile side, that he is able to feel compassion for the people around him? It's this type of person who, for me, is a real hero."



- Among all the characters, is Sho the only one whom you described as unwilling to reveal his true feelings? When Sho first met Lin, he told him about his tragic past where his parents died in a riot, yet the impression he gives us is as if it didn't concern him. When Fei talks about himself, his tone is also very calm, yet he gives a sense of his unease (with the past), but Sho's past is as insubstantial and murky as a shadow.


"I feel that Sho is a person who is very vulnerable, with an overly heavy sense of responsibility, and he seriously lacks what only humans have [2], he grew up like this. Only his beliefs continue to strengthen [3] and the will to finish what must be done overrides everything else, in the end he completely ignores the existence of his own weaknesses, [4] this is why he is able to view his past in a detached way. His present self is something he created. I believe Sho's biggest problem is to what degree can he continue to act out this façade of his? It is for this reason that he appears emotionless, and treats everything nonchalantly. Though in reality, he too wants to laugh out loud, he too wants to be happy, yet he's afraid that if he did so he would destroy the image he has created for himself. In the end, Sho has become a coward…"



"For me, a hero is an imperfect person."



- All the characters that appear in this story are so lonely, yet Sun has Lin and Zhou with whom he can feel completely at ease, and Lin has Sun and Zhou, Zhang also trusts Sun like his own son. Fei may not trust in anyone, yet he invests all his feelings in his son. However, only Sho does not have this kind of relationship, or did you omit to describe these scenes?

"Yes. Therefore if you read this novel before seeing the movie, "Moon Child", I'm sure everyone will understand, how important Kei's existence is for Sho. When Sho goes to see the imprisoned Kei, the expression that appears on his face is the same as when he was with Kei. This is the expression of the stupid, useless, reckless Sho of the past. However, when Kei leaves him after seeing this expression, it's as if a huge hole has opened up in Sho's heart, it's as if everything precious to him has been lost and scattered. In the movie, Yi-jie loves Kei, this part is not mentioned in the novel. Sho knew about this, yet still he chose to be with Yi-jie. This too reflects Sho's loneliness… I believe that the story will be very easy to understand, if you approach it in the order of movie, novel, movie."



- Sun is dead, yet Sho and Kei are still alive, though they are now the living dead. What will happen to the two of them in the end? I hope you can concentrate on explaining this point. [5]

"What you're asking is, what will become of Sho and Kei after experiencing all this? If we talk about it in relation to the ending, they have both become vampire-like.[6] Will the two of them meet again in completely different forms? Kei is a vampire who has rediscovered his humanity, but Sho has become a soulless (literally: completely empty) vampire… I think the story will continue from here." [7]



"It would be best, if you approached the story in the order of movie, novel, movie."



*****

[1] : the original text just says 'our own history', but I feel that he meant 'our collective human history' or perhaps 'our collective Asian history' given his emphasis on 'Asia'. Ironically, it is 'history' that has kept and is still keeping China and Japan apart. Anyway, it's a very beautiful ideal~ Gackt's message of peace! ^^ Though he seems more concerned with Asia than the world...

[2]: he doesn't explain what it is that Sho lacks...

[3]: I feel that it means that Sho's personality does not grow.

[4]: he ignores his weaknesses rather than overcome them like the 'hero' in Gackt's mind.

[5]: the interviewer seems rather rude here...

[6]: that's what it says in the text, "vampire-like" not "vampire"

[7]: does this mean that Kei and Sho did not die at the end of the movie? Perhaps they got out of the car at the last moment! As we don't actually see them die at the end, do we? :p

I think it's rather interesting how Lin is sort of modelled after Gackt's past, and how Gackt plays Sho in the movie. I wonder who the person who changed his life is and who this person beside him now who has the ability to make people like and confide in him is ... Gackt's idea of a 'hero' is lovely as well~ ^^

 
 
 
kohaku_chuukohaku_chuu on May 29th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
thank you very much for the translation, it is really informative!!

hmm...the person gackt met and changed his life is described a bit further in his biography "jihaku" -I think we should be very grateful to this person, because he kind of "formed" the gackt we know today..>_<

I kind of thought of hyde first, when he described the person with the ability to make people like him...sounds like stupid fangirling, I know, but he did say (also in jihaku) that hyde is a person he would listen to whatever he says -it sounds kinda similar actually...

well, who knows? keep up that great work!!!*hugs you*
~* Meg *~: Moonchild - moon childrenbohemianbeauty on May 30th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC)
Wonderful! Thank you so much for translating this; I love reading Gackt interviews, he speaks so beautifully.

That last part is very interesting to think on... oh I would love more Moon Child!