As promised, I've been conducting interviews with Dragon Quest fans all over the globe as part of a new series I'm calling “Dragon Quest Around The World.” This time around, all the attention is on Flavien Salsmann, who runs the Dragon Quest Fan site, the largest DQ fan community in France.
Austin: Can you tell everyone about yourself? Feel free to promote yourself and any interesting projects you may have in the works!
Flavien Salsmann: My name is Flavien Salsmann and my pseudo is Poppu, which comes from the anime Dragon Quest Dai No Daiboken. I’m a 37 y-o French man and I am the webmaster of Dragon Quest Fan, the biggest French DQ community. I also write scripts for a YouTube Channel dedicated to Dai No Daiboken (The Adventures of Dai) episodes.
Austin: What was the first Dragon Quest game you ever played?
Flavien: My first experience of Dragon Quest was using emulators when I was a teenager. It was probably DQ V on Super Famicom, and to be honest, I quit the game really quick because of the graphics. I had just finished Seiken Densetsu 3 at that time, so I had too high expectations. What a shame, really. Ironically, it became one of my favorite episodes after.
The first Dragon Quest I “really” played was Dragon Quest VIII on PS2. I fell in love with the music, the character design as well as the story written by Yūji Horii. It really was a shock at that time for me. As a die-hard Dai No Daiboken fan, I knew about Dragon Quest, but it was only at this moment I could understand why it was so popular. I immediately started my website.
Austin: Can you share a bit more history about your time with the Dragon Quest series? Any cool stories?
Flavien: This series is really unique to me. My favorite shonen ever is Dai No Daiboken, from which I loved the characters and story. At that time, Dragon Ball was also very popular in France, and since Akira Toriyama was its character designer, Dragon Quest was like a legendary game. Many video game magazines shared pictures of characters as well as the waiting line for Dragon Quest III. So, my imagination has been impregnated by both Dai No Daiboken and these Dragon Quest game scans.
Thanks to my work on the DQFan website, I had the privilege to meet Yūji Horii when the first Dragon Quest Heroes was released in France back in 2015. It felt amazing to shake his hand and tell him personally how good his stories are.
Another cool story is I also met Kamui Fujiwara back in 2014, who is the mangaka of Emblem of Roto. He also designed characters in Tenchi Sozo (“Terranigma”, a SNES game). Since I really liked the game and its manga, it was a very nice moment.
I could also meet a lot of French Dragon Quest fans, during conventions and Nintendo DS events, and the community is really nice. A great thing about doing a DQ website is that you have to push yourself to try each episode and spin-off. That is how I discovered MoriMori, which is my favorite spin-off of the saga.
Austin: Do you have a favorite Dragon Quest character? What do you love about them?
Flavien: I just LOVE how Yuji Horii pictures mischievous and adventurous girls. So, I really liked Bianca in Dragon Quest V. The little girl was adorable and as she grows, she becomes a beautiful and caring woman. Obviously, I also loved Veronica in Dragon Quest XI, because she is unbearable … but so cute at the same time. Other characters are badass, such as Psaro, the female version of the Dragon Quest IV hero, as well as Terry from Dragon Quest VI.
I could spend hours talking about all Dragon Quest characters! I think that Yuji Horii really did a great job on them, and Toriyama’s character design is gold!
Austin: What was the first Dragon Quest game to release in your country?
Flavien: Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland in 1999. However, the first “canonical” Dragon Quest to be released in France was Dragon Quest VIII.
Austin: What is Dragon Quest like in your country? What kind of following does it have? Is DQ pretty rare?
Flavien: It’s a hard question. French Dragon Quest fans are really dedicated to this saga. For example, we pushed very hard [for] Square Enix to release Dragon Quest VII on 3DS, with a petition, discussion with Nintendo during events, etc. Dragon Quest VIII, IX, and XI sold quite well and the series is well known. However, from a more realistic point of view, it’s less popular than Final Fantasy or other big IPs.
Austin: Is there any way Dragon Quest has gotten you to interact with other fans from around the world?
Flavien: Sometimes I share information with the Spanish community, which helped to share some petitions we created (for example to release Dragon Quest I-II-III on Switch outside of Japan with #BringDragonQuest or to release DQ X worldwide with #LocalizeDQXOffline). I also had some discussions with the webmaster of the US Woodus community, but it was really focused on the Dragon Quest saga and how to improve our communication.
Austin: Is there a Dragon Quest game you’re most looking forward to playing next?
Flavien: I’m dying to play Dragon Quest III remake. The game is a masterpiece and I can’t wait for its release. I’m really expecting exclusive content and additional side quests!
Austin: Anything else you’d like to add?
Flavien: Just play the games! If you don’t like RPGs, give a try to [Dragon Quest] Builders, it’s amazing, addictive, and funny. Vive Dragon Quest!