The English release for the movie Dragon Quest: Your Story from 2019 was debuted on Netflix earlier this year. For those who don’t know what this movie is, it’s an animated film adaptation of Dragon Quest 5: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, which was a 1992 Super Nintendo game by Square Enix.
Even though the game itself wasn’t heavily criticized, despite the fact that it wasn’t able to copy the iconic art style of Akira Toriyama and that it received a bit of backlash for how it ended, the movie adaptation was one of the top 25 highest-grossing films last year in Japan.
In December of last year, however, the novelist for Dragon Quest 5, Saori Kumi, stated that she was going to file a lawsuit against the movie’s production committee for making use of the Hero Ryuka a.k.a Luca in the Dragon Quest 5 film. In more recent news though, it appears that she will be suing not only Square Enix but Toho Co., Ltd. as well.
— くみさおり (@kumisaori) November 25, 2020
If you’ve been a long-term fan of Dragon Quest, you probably know by now that most entries in the franchise have a silent main protagonist who doesn’t even have a name, as he only gets called “Hero.” Dragon Quest 5 is no different.
“Hero” is the general name given to all the main protagonists in the Dragon Quest series, and in fact, this was even the name given to the character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. That being said, this isn’t necessarily the case for spin-off materials based on the video games in the series, as the protagonist usually gets a name like Dragon Quest 5‘s Luca (Ryuka).
This name for the Hero was initially used in the Japan-exclusive novel based on Dragon Quest 5, which was published following the game’s release. Now, this is where the issue lies because this novelization in question was written by Saori Kumi, and she was the one who thought of the name Ryuka. This was later localized to Luca due to the English release of the movie.
In December 2019, Kumi sued the production committee of Dragon Quest: Your Story, only asking for credit as well as an apology. In her most recent lawsuit, however, Kumi also sued developer Square Enix and requested 2 million yen in damages.
In addition to that, she also asks for both companies, namely Square Enix and Toho Co., Ltd., to give her a public apology. This lawsuit was made possible after numerous Japanese Dragon Quest fans kept supporting her cause for many months via crowdfunding platforms.
This situation is indeed very tricky because while Kumi did conceptualize Dragon Quest 5’s protagonist’s name in the novelization, the character has already had a designated design and appearance from the original video game from 1992, which is obviously legally owned by Square Enix.
However, it’s rather disappointing to hear that Kumi wasn’t even given credit for the character’s name. After all, it’s quite clear that the movie stuck with the name Ryuka in an attempt to catch the attention of those who are fans of the novelization.