Wish, Zombie Short Story “Continue”
N-shi: “Continue” was published afterwards right? (Ryuu: After “Zone”)
Hoshino: After I became an assistant under Kawashita-sensei and understood how to draw manga, the short story I drew was “Continue”.
Y-shi: It wasn’t that hard to produce “Continue”, it was just that it was one page over the limit. (laughs)
Hoshino: Ugh…There was an accident at that time, huh? Afterwards, no matter how I tried to tell Y-shi that “I already counted the pages in the manuscript!” He wouldn’t believe me.
N-shi: To us (Editors), everytime we go back to the editorial department, the fact that the pages are inconsistent will be a big shock to us. (laughs)
Y-shi: Luckily, when we found out, it was in the draft stages. Because of the lessons learnt from “Zone”, we decided to use the drafts as an additional confirmation and counted the number of pages in the manuscript, only to find out “Eh? An extra page?” And frantically counted again only to find out that there were pages with the same page number.
Hoshino: Yeah. Who knew why there was an extra page? (laughs)
Y-shi: At that time, I felt “Can I still trust you after this!”
Hoshino: Exactly! He really said that to me. I remember at that time, he said something like “I should be more alert next time”. And then I thought “Why is it like this?” Then again, Y-shi was the one who said that the draft was okay. “Y-shi, pay more attention.” (laughs)
Y-shi: When in the draft stages, we won’t even count the page number for every chapter!
Hoshino: But…When the draft was done, you gave me a very rare compliment.
Y-shi: It’s because with your case, there is always too much material and they won't be able to fall within the page limit. But with “Continue”, it was within the limit from the start. So I praised you “You arranged it very well!”
Hoshino: That’s true. My task at that time was to plan the story such that it fell within the page limits. But I feel that Y-shi should share part of the responsibility in dealing with extra pages.
Y-shi: Oh right…(laughs)
N-shi: So, what did you do in the end?
Y-shi: In the end, we decided to compress two pages of material into one page on the spot.
Hoshino: But to me, I liked repeating page numbers. (Ryuu: Uh…what? Hoshino, are you trying to cheat your way through…) After I insisted “I didn't want to cut the material.” the meeting went on from morning till night. I remember eating two bowls of gratin (Ryuu: Similar to baked pasta/rice. Check Wiki.) (laughs)
Y-shi: Because it took such a long time to reach a decision , we actually ate two meals each.
Exorcists vs Zombies? First battle with Y-shi
N-shi: After two short stories, next was the serialization draft?
Y-shi: It was because of the good results for the short stories.
Hoshino: I kept using the drafts of the serialization manuscript to express my wish to draw “Continue” to Y-shi! The feelings of wanting to draw zombies… (Ryuu: Now you know why the zombie arc even existed?)
Y-shi: And then I said “No.” (laughs)
Hoshino: Exactly! He even said “ Is this what you mean by ignoring?” Y-shi gave me the impression (while pointing to the manuscript for D.Gray-man) “Please draw this.” He wasn’t even listening. Even so, I continued saying “I want to draw zombies…”
Y-shi: Didn’t you already draw zombies in “Continue”?
Hoshino: Ah. He did say something like that to me, he really did!
N-shi: How awful. (laughs)
Hoshino: In the end, the draft was rejected in the first JUMP’s editor’s meeting but the second draft passed so they decided to serialize “D.Gray-man”. But until just before the meeting, I cannot give up on the idea of drawing zombies. (Ryuu: and thus the time in Road’s Dream World.) So I pleaded with Y-shi that I’ll draw three chapters of D.Gray-man and three chapters of the zombie story and if I make it, please consider okay? In the end, he said “Sure, you can’t manage it anyway.” And approved of it mockingly. (regret)
In the week that was left, I kept drawing but when I came to the second chapter of the zombie story, I was at my limit.
N-shi: Because you were probably dead tired…
Hoshino: I didn’t even have the energy to go crazy because I didn’t make it in time. (Forced smile) Even when I went to my family home, I kept drawing my manuscript without eating or sleeping, I had a feeling “I lost to him (Y-shi)”. And waved my manuscript shouting “This sort of thing!” In the end, my mother tried to comfort me by saying, “Katsura, stop drawing! Y-shi probably had his own considerations.” (laughs) In addition, my cousin (male) said “Just give up.” Therefore, after throwing a fit for a while, I reluctantly gave up.
Y-shi: But then, it was fortunate that that thing (Ryuu: zombie manga) wasn’t finished, because in the end, you had no choice but to draw “D.Gray-man” and it became guaranteed that you WILL draw “D.Gray-man”.
Hoshino: It wasn’t like that! (regret)
N-shi: You’re still very harsh until now.
Long hair? Short hair? A debate on Lenalee’s hairstyle!
N-shi: The character’s designs were changed greatly before serialization! Allen was meant to be a modified AKUMA at first.
Hoshino: Yep. Unlike Robin in “Zone”, the main protagonist was an AKUMA named Allen, his soul was not that of a boy. Y-shi did say that it will not do if it was not a boy during the process of characterization. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman, he also told me “When the main protagonist cries, the level of acceptability of when a boy cries and when a girl cries is different.”
Y-shi: I remembered that I also said that “It’s normal for a girl to cry.” (laugh)
Hoshino: Isn’t it? Because I felt that there was nothing strange about the reasoning, the main protagonist became a boy.
N-shi: I see. Oh yes, wasn’t there a heated debate over Lenalee as well?
Hoshino: Yes, there was! When I was in a meeting with Y-shi, we had an endless debate whether Lenalee’s hairstyle should be long or short. At that time, I decided that Lenalee should make her appearance with a super short hairstyle. But Y-shi insisted “It must be long.” The normal look his in eyes was always listless and had no energy, but this time, he gave off an aura of “I will not give up”, that sort of passion. In the end, Y-shi pulled out (with a whoosh) a DVD of a movie starring his favourite actress with long hair, and pointed at her, saying “I like this type of woman.” But I said “I like actresses who are Asian beauties.” And he said “You don’t understand the hearts of men at all, watch this movie and learn properly…”
Y-shi: I just happened to put the DVD in my bag. (laugh) I wanted to say “Exactly like this!”, “How can you keep clinging on to the image of Asian beauties?” that sort of thing.
Hoshino: Even so, I still said “I prefer eyes which are slanted at the corners” (ryuu: I know Asians consider this as the most beautiful eye shape) and continued debating…in actual fact, the earlier version of Lenalee was meant to be a girl of few words and gives off a hard to approach aura. (ryuu: Female Kanda 0_0) Afterwards, she slowly evolved into a person who thought about her comrades and was easy to get along with. It was because Y-shi said “Draw her with long hair”, which caused some parts of my mental image of Lenalee to crumble…
Y-shi: It’s better that it was changed to the current version, right? The long haired look.
Hoshino: Eh? Why? I still think short hair…I’m happier drawing Lenalee with short hair. I couldn’t accept Y-shi’s opinion at first, and eventually drew Lenalee with long hair, while thinking “What a bastard(Y-shi)” But I kept thinking “One of these days, I’m going to revert her back to my Lenalee!”
N-shi: But ever since I became the editor for “D.Gray-man”, I kept thinking of ways for Lenalee’s hair to grow longer!
Hoshino: Not you too, N-shi!
N-shi: If her hair length is about the same length as in the poster that came with this book, I will still think it’s rather cute, but I don’t think many people would like a super short hairstyle…
Hoshino: What? How…how harsh! It was actually really popular among the female assistants. But the male assistants did emphasise that “Guys like the long haired types better…”
Y-shi: But when you were going to make Lenalee’s hair short in the middle of the series, didn’t I keep emphasizing that “It is better that you do not make Lenalee lose her hair by having it burned off in an epic battle?”
Hoshino: You did say it quite a lot of times…then I said “It doesn’t matter, just let the hair burn off” (laugh) Because Lenalee used a shocking move in battle and fell from the sky, it’s only reasonable that she loses something in the process. And then I thought of “Hair!” In actual fact, in order to become good at designing Lenalee as a character (as well as other characters), I used the people around me as a reference. (laugh)
N-shi: So that means when you designed the mascot Yoshi, you used Y-shi as a model as well?
Hoshino: I didn’t use him as a model, only the name was used. It’s because I liked the rabbit that I sub-consciously drew in the background of “Continue”, so I would draw it in the story occasionally. And I haboured some intent of making fun of Y-shi, so I named this rabbit “Yoshi”
Y-shi: When you’re with your assistants, you would refer to me as Yoshi, right?
Hoshino: Yeah, we would do that. But I will still use the proper name when in the person’s presence. I’m really afraid, of course I wouldn’t address you as Yoshi! Then again, I thought if I named the rabbit “Yoshi”, Y-shi would be really irritated and that would be quite an interesting sight…in the end, he wasn’t that irritated at all, I even that that “Ara?” feeling.
N-shi: And so the plan failed (laugh)
Hoshino: Exactly. I thought naming the cute rabbit, who is opposite to Y-shi, “Yoshi” would be very cute. It was totally different from Y-shi! I wanted to put him in a difficult situation.
Y-shi: Well, it was too bad, I didn’t feel anything at all, because I knew that the rabbit belonged to Hoshino Katsura. The bunny girl in the second chapter was drawn that way too right?
Hoshino: That’s true. I drew it to relieve some of my boredom at first, but I never thought I’ll actually get better at drawing it. Then I drew it in “D.Gray-man without much consideration at all, now it’s a permanent character and I have no choice but to draw it. So I drew miniature sized versions on the coloured pages etc. Now it’s for the purpose of commerating Y-shi. (laugh)