The author of The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Young Lady series, Piero Karasu gave us the chance to get some inside views on his writing process and his overall love for isekai. His yuri isekai light novel, which is also known as Tenten Kakumei or MagiRevo, got an anime adaptation in early 2023. The tale follows Princess Anisphia, reborn with memories of her past life, who shuns royal expectations to pursue her passion for magic and invention. Her path crosses with Euphyllia, a brilliant young lady disgraced by a false accusation, leading to an unexpected alliance filled with magical discoveries and a quest to prove Euphyllia’s innocence, challenging societal norms and expectations along their journey.
Q: When and how did you decide to become a writer?
Piero Karasu: I had been working on a series of works for a website called “Shosetsuka ni Narou” (Let’s Become a Novelist), and it was after I had finished writing the book to its completion. To be more precise, at that stage, I was hoping to write a book, but when I was approached by a publisher, I thought, I’ll become a writer!
Q: What determines a good or bad yuri story in light novels, manga, and anime?
Piero Karasu: I believe that what determines the quality of a story is how sincere you are about the story. For example, being particular. What is the purpose of writing the story, and what do you want to convey through it? People entrust or layer various thoughts and feelings into a story. I think it is similar to a wish or a prayer. I think it is important not to be pulled back into our reality at the moment of that layering.
If we are dreaming and are brought back to reality, the dream will wake us up. We must immerse ourselves in that dream. The dream must be a world that is closer to us than reality, a world that we can enjoy, desire, and long for. Therefore, I think it is important to be sincere about the work and the story.
To be particular about it, and conversely, to make the decision to abandon it. After having done all of that, you must be able to believe that the evaluation of the remaining results is a good one. No matter what anyone says, no matter what the public’s evaluation is, we must create something that we can say is good. It would be good if even one person became a fan as a result of your efforts. It would be even better if more people said it was good. But I think the beginning starts with whether or not you can be satisfied with your own efforts. That is why I think it is important to be sincere.
Q: How does Japanese culture influence your writing?
Piero Karasu: I am not sure if it can be called Japanese culture, but the richness of Japan has nurtured me as a person. Since ancient times, Japan has been a place where many things are taken from outside culture, refined, and made better. This teaches us the importance of having respect for the wisdom of our ancestors and the enthusiasm to make things better as we live in the present.
Furthermore, acceptance means tolerance. If we are tolerant of many things, there are many cultures that we can touch. The richness of the heart gives me even more richness. The way of Japanese culture has given me various happiness. I believe that I was born in Japan, and because I was born in Japan, I can admire various cultures. I am most happy about that.
Q: Currently, there are many isekai light novels, manga, and anime. What do you think about this genre? Is it being abused?
Piero Karasu: I love isekai things! (Laughs) It is familiar, dreamlike, and easy to read. I think it fits very well as an everyday pastime. People may feel unknowingly stagnant or constricted in their daily lives. I think that is natural when you are in contact with people other than yourself. It’s not all fun and games. I believe that this is entertainment that can gently accompany such frustrations and can be read with a sense of familiarity and laughter.
I think the reason why there are so many of them is because they are easy to get into as an entry point. If you think of it as a kind of study, it makes sense why the number of isekai stories is increasing. However, if you just write about other worlds, you will be buried among so many other stories. It is up to the writer to write about his or her own personality, his or her own feelings, the ideals he or she wants to portray, a pleasant dream story, and how appealing he or she can make it. That is the difficulty of this genre, and I think it is a subject worth taking on.
Q: Please tell us about the difficulties you faced in writing and how you overcame them.
Piero Karasu: I have been subjected to unreasonable blame due to a misunderstanding and a different reception than I had intended. This misunderstanding was difficult to overcome, and I sometimes doubted whether what I was really writing was any good. Am I allowed to live? Am I worth it? If I am in such pain, I should just stop. Suffering with no relief and no end kills. Just being anxious is enough to kill a person.
So the only way to live is to have confidence in yourself. Just being alive is great. There are people like that. I think they are right. Living is hard enough as it is. So it is great just to be alive. And if you have to create something that makes people happy, it is even more difficult. I am awesome for being able to do that. Understand yourself accurately and acknowledge yourself.
No matter how much you dislike yourself, those who turn away from themselves will never know who they are. He who does not know who he is will not know what to do. This leads to anxiety. If you live with anxiety, you will not be able to believe in anything. It is important to have confidence. To have confidence, you have to start by admitting who you are. It is very painful, but I believe it is still necessary. The strength you gain beyond this self-questioning will be a great asset in your life.
Q: Do you include some of your own character traits or people you know in your stories?
Piero Karasu: No, I do not. But my experience of meeting many people has given me many different character ideas. I think it is very important to observe and deal with many people, including myself.
Q: Do you think artificial intelligence such as ChatGPT will affect storytelling in the industry?
Piero Karasu: I believe that technologies such as artificial intelligence are like the collective intelligence that humans have accumulated up to now. I believe that an optimal solution that eliminates waste and is accurate and faithful to its purpose is one of the correct answers. However, I am sure that one day we will get tired of it. Just as fashions change, there will come a day when we will appreciate the distortion created by human hands, rather than the beauty of the elimination of waste. I think there is nothing to fear. I believe that unless machines become people, there will be nothing that can replace people. I believe that we should make good use of them as good tools and as knowledge to dispel our doubts.
Q: What advice do you have for new writers in creating stories?
Piero Karasu: I can give is, “Don’t stay cooped up, get outside. After you get out, stay in. I have my own world. I think that the world is interesting and unbearable. I love the world I think of. And I hate reality. There are a lot of things that don’t remain as they are. But if I didn’t know that, my dream would lose its outline. Even if I know that shadows are formed, I cannot know how shadows are formed unless I know what shapes of shadows are projected from what shapes of buildings.
If you know why you dislike something you dislike, the reason for your dislike will become clear. If you can explain it to others and make them empathize with it, it will make sense. In order to talk about your world, you must know the world of others. After learning about other people’s world, learn about your own world. The repetition of this process will deepen your imagination. This is surely why many of our predecessors left us the words, Experience many things. But don’t just experience, always ask Why? If you seek meaning and significance, you will naturally see what you are doing and what you must do.
Q: How do you deal with feedback and criticism from readers and editors?
Piero Karasu: I incorporate what I think is good. Of course, there are things that I don’t think I can incorporate. What is important is what I think. I have to be confident and responsible for that answer. I try to maintain a balance so that I do not waver on that point.
Q: What is your favorite anime?
Piero Karasu: My favorite anime are Neon Genesis Evangelion and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. They have a very big influence on me.
Q: Do you have a particular routine or environment that helps you write more effectively?
Piero Karasu: I leave my favorite music playing! If there is a song that seems to fit the scene or theme, I put it on endless repeat.
Big thanks to Piero Karasu for taking the time to chat with me! If you loved The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Young Lady anime but haven’t read the light novel, make sure to give it a go! You can find Karasu-san on Twitter/X, alongside the illustrator for the series Yuri Kisaragi, who shares some amazing artwork.
Yen Press licensed The Magical Revolution of the Reincarnated Princess and the Genius Young Lady (Tensei Ojo to Tensai Reijo no Maho Kakumei) in English – Volume 6 is currently available for pre-order.
Images: © Piero Karasu, Yuri Kisaragi / KADOKAWA / Tenten Production Committee