Akihito Tsukushi & Gonzalez Maruyama Dialogue Interview 01/17/2020


Finally, the theatrical version of “Made in Abyss” opened in theaters today, January 17.To commemorate its theatrical release, a very unique conversation has been realized! The original author of “Made in Abyss,” Mr. Akihito Tsukushi, and Mr. Gonzalez Maruyama, a freelance journalist known for his appearances on the TV program “Crazy Journey.What will Mr. Maruyama, an adventure professional who has covered numerous real-life danger zones around the world, have to say to Tsukushi-sensei?

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Akihito Tsukushi & Gonzalez Maruyama Made in Abyss

-I have heard that this interview was realized at the request of Tsukushi.

Tsukushi: I am the most nervous in my life. ……

Maruyama: Perhaps you have been watching my programs?

Tsukushi Yes, of course!

MaruyamaThank you very much.

Tsukushi, where on earth have you been since the show ended? I’m curious.

Maruyama: Basically, I go all over the place. After the program is over, I mainly cover my own hobbies, such as covering demonstrations in Hong Kong, occult reports from Asia, and treasure hunts. I also went to the Philippines to study English and visited an old Japanese-style building in Taiwan. I have always been mainly in the publishing business, so after the program is over, I’m back to my original activities. It’s pretty much all low-key stuff. I’m not always chasing flashy stories, but anything that interests me.

Tsukushi: With all due respect, I learned about Mr. Maruyama from TV, but I was surprised to learn that there are people like him in the world⁉(laugh).

-Mr. Maruyama, did you know about “Made in Abyss”?

Maruyama: After I received this request, I bought and read all the volumes with my own money. It was very interesting. I think I was able to read them more carefully because I bought them myself. Anyway, it’s a hearty adventure with a lot of substance. The part before departure is also well described. The author did not skimp on the ratio between the life before entering the Abyss and after entering, and spent a little time even before entering.

Tsukushi: I accidentally spend a lot of time on it (laugh).

Maruyama: After all, adventure is fun to prepare for.

Tsukushi: How do you prepare, Maruyama-san?

Maruyama: Surprisingly, I also spend a lot of time on preparation. I try to spend as much time as possible. Even if I only have three days to prepare, I don’t cut corners. I am conscious of doing everything I can. But the difference between the protagonists of the Abyss and me is that we are prepared for the assumption of a safe return, so that’s totally different. What I really liked about this work was Nanachi’s line about information being power. In an adventure, it is more important to negotiate and discuss with the people you meet in the field. So when that line came up, I thought, “Yeah, I know. I also have a story about how I managed to save the day with a hidden gem at the end, and there are definitely stories like that in the field. Everyone is trying to save themselves (laugh).

Tsukushi: At the end of the day, that’s what matters, isn’t it?

Maruyama: The lower you go down, the less human-like the organisms become, but I like the fact that what they are doing is very human-like. It is also good that there are unknown areas in the lower world, isn’t it

Tsukushi: I thought that making the world narrower would give a sense of spaciousness. When something unexpected appears, it emphasizes the spaciousness of the setting. Also, in a small place, people try to see things in smaller units. For example, the area around your feet.

Maruyama: You see all kinds of creative creatures, or rather, living creatures. What was the inspiration for that?

Tsukushi: I use real-life creatures as models. There are quite a few real-life creatures that are unbelievable. There’s a shell called scaly-foot, which is a creature with a lot of iron scales, or something like that, that normally exists. So, the creatures are like, first we put out an outrageous one, and then we delve into how this creature can live, referring to real-life creatures.

              scaly foot

Maruyama: I am mainly based in the city, so I don’t go to the wilderness and rarely encounter living creatures, but I have chased a few unusual creatures, including a white alligator in New York. I also once went to Oregon, North America, to look for Sasquatch. There was a guy who ran his dog up the mountain with a Go Pro on it around 2015, and there was an updated sighting of a Sasquatch there, so here it is! So I went for it. When I wrote that interview for a certain magazine, it was all rejected.

Tsukushi Oh, no! (Laugh)

Maruyama: The content was not coherent, so it was a natural decision for the editorial department. It ended up being a completely different article, “North America’s Newest Cannabis Thing. There was an urban legend about alligators in New York that if they went underground, they would lose their pigmentation and their vision would degenerate. But when I actually dove in, I thought this was impossible.

Tsukushi: Do you mean that this is not an environment in which crocodiles can live?

Maruyama: That’s not what I meant. It stinks. When I say it stinks, I don’t mean it smells like feces. Sewers in New York smell like chemicals.

Tsukushi That’s a harsh one. ……

Maruyama: Everyone throws away so many things that the chemical smell prevails over the stool smell. There is no way a crocodile could survive in that environment! I was thinking, “But there is a creature.

Tsukushi: So there is!

Maruyama: Cockroaches. Cockroaches are very strong.

Tsukushi: They say that catfish and cockroaches are very strong in the environment (laugh).

Maruyama: Also, while watching the Abyss, I thought that children are surprisingly better suited than large adults to go underground (laugh). I often explore places like the Fuji Sea of Trees, but the probability of stepping through trees on the ground there is great for someone of my size. I once had an acquaintance who wanted to explore the Sea of Trees, so we teamed up and went there. One of the people he brought along was a girl, and she was wearing jeans and sneakers, just like you would wear anywhere else. She brought a small bag, and we thought she was making fun of our search. I thought. She was the only one who was fine until the end.



Maruyama: She is lightweight, after all. We went out there in high spirits and came back with our breath coming in, but she was able to walk with such lightness that she didn’t step through the trees, so she didn’t lose any of her energy.It was amazing to see how the old men felt that they had no physical strength (laugh). It’s not that she doesn’t have energy, because she’s walking around destroying the terrain!

Tsukushi: They take your feet off the ground, don’t they?

Maruyama: Many trees fell down. Trees in the Fuji Sea of Trees often fall over because they are not rooted. I have been to the Sea of Mt. Fuji many times, but trouble always comes unexpectedly. That’s what was interesting about Abyss as well. The climax starts suddenly, doesn’t it?

TsukushiHave you ever been in a situation where you were backed into a corner?

Maruyama hmmm ……. I have never given up until the end. People often ask me, “What was the worst situation you were in? But I have already solved the problem in my mind because I have overcome all of them. Even so, there were many times when I faced situations where I objectively thought I might die. But in my mind, I just think, “Well, I’ll be okay,” or “If I die, I’ll just die. When I was confronted with a death that might be inevitable, I realized that I was surprisingly unfazed. If it is not a painful death, I think it can’t be helped.

Tsukushi: It’s tough when your imagination reaches the point of suffering, isn’t it?

Maruyama: That’s right. So I realized that I don’t hate dying, I just don’t want to suffer. Dying itself is not a problem. It only ends when I die. I often use as a typical example of a situation in the past where I thought I might die, an incident that occurred on a boat on the way back from a trip to a slum on the island of Migingo in Lake Victoria, Africa.

            Migingo Island

The boat’s engine broke down and we were adrift, but Lake Victoria is the third largest lake in the world, so we could see a storm brewing hundreds of kilometers away. The storm had come this far and it was a question of whether we would be caught in the storm first or if the boat would drift ashore. The pirates would come if we made too much noise, so the locals who were on the boat with us were frantic, and it was almost sunset, so I thought there was a high probability that we would die. So I was thinking about how much suffering is involved in drowning.

Tsukushi: How was that able to be saved?

Maruyama: We managed to drift ashore first. Maybe the storm came a little late in terms of direction. After the ship arrived, though, we now had the risk of bandits. After overcoming the pirates, we had to dodge the bandits.

Tsukushi: So there are thieves in many places (laugh).

Maruyama: It had already been more than a whole day since we had lost proper contact with Japan and we had to get to the airport as soon as possible. We were driving and we thought it was a lie that there were bandits, but it was the middle of the night and there were two cars coming at us at a very high rate of speed. We thought, “Oh, here they come, here they come”, and the driver we hired didn’t even look back, he just stepped on the accelerator as hard as he could (laugh). It was a pretty adventurous experience, even though it was a whole 30 hours or so from the time we drifted to the time we got on the plane. But actually I thought I would be the only one on the boat who wouldn’t die. Because I have a waterproof bag that turns into a floatation device when all the contents are discarded, and I didn’t tell anyone about it (laugh). The director of photography and I were talking about if the boat capsized, one of us would have to survive, so why don’t we each go in the opposite direction? Of course I suggested this story.

Tsukushi Indeed, this kind of person would survive (laugh).

-It is truly “information is power”.

Maruyama: The director of photography and other people on board don’t know about the hidden information I have. I would look through my bag and simulate that I would throw this away first. I’m the only one trying to survive (laugh).

Tsukushi: But isn’t that better than all of us dying?

Maruyama: I am the only one who wants to survive. Each time I have only one companion, who is called the crew member, but I try to survive even at the expense of that person. In return, when I return to Japan, I say to him, “Well, that was tough! and we deepen our friendship (laugh). When I read Abyss, what I thought was the same for me and the girls was that stagnation is defeat, and they never stop moving forward.

Tsukushi: Stagnation is scarier, isn’t it? It’s like if the right timing or opportunity comes along, you have no choice but to go for it. There was a lot of that in Maruyama-san’s programmes, wasn’t there?

Maruyama: I want to make sure I’m prepared, but in my case I sometimes set off even if I’m not fully prepared, so I try to achieve perfection in the process. In the first place, the preparation itself has to be changed on site. No matter how much you do, the field will never be exactly as it should be.

Tsukushi: The world doesn’t always work out the way you imagine.

Maruyama If things were as imagined, there would be no need to go there.Recently, I often think that when I write books about what I do, people say that my work is not coherent or coherent enough. What I’ve come to realise is that the way people of the past generation wrote non-fiction had expectations and hopes for the world, but in today’s society there is no such thing as hope, and summarising is probably nonsense. If you feel that there is no coherence in the way a person writes a book in which he or she looks at the phenomena of the world as it is and expresses his or her impressions, then I think that person has too many expectations of the world. The world is really not coherent, so no one may be saved, and the direction humanity is heading towards may not have a happy ending.

Tsukushi: Whether the world feels rich or not is a matter for the recipient, isn’t it

Maruyama: That’s why I like reading manga and novels, because stories are the best entertainment the human brain is allowed to have. And I think it’s the best tool for developing imagination. If you have an imagination about what the future holds, you can take action to avoid disastrous events. That’s why I think stories are valuable. I really enjoyed Abyss as a story too, so I’ll definitely read the rest of it.

Tsukushi Thank you! It was very helpful to hear a very good story today.

Thank you for watching. See you soon.

Made in Abyss (World’s largest number of translations)


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