This is Minase Hazuki. Just as the subtitle of "Closing Episode, Last Part" indicates, this volume continues the previous book as the second half of the final episode, as well as being the conclusion to the C3 C-Cubed series.
Oh dear... I'm so overwhelmed with emotion. I picked up Volume 1 and had a look at the copyright page to see that the first printing was July 9, 2007. In other words, this series lasted for almost six years. In this amount of time, someone starting middle school would have graduated from high school! This totally encompasses all the main arenas of youth...!
Of course, I don't think every reader started following this series from Volume 1's release, but I assume everyone has read all seventeen volumes, which is no small feat at all. The C3 C-Cubed series includes many elements that most readers will have difficulty accepting, like torture tools, mild eroticism or gore, but for its publication to persist until now, I have to say it's all thanks to every reader's support. I'm so grateful to everyone! All I can say is I love you all!
As this is the afterword for the ending, I've been given many pages, so let's chat about a bit of the past.
Looking back again at when I first began writing C3 C-Cubed, that was the time when my previous work, ぼくと魔女式アポカリプス, which I did nothing but stuff it full of my favorite elements, officially received the verdict of "Let's pause here at three volumes for now..." (←a tactful way of phrasing things.) The 魔女カリ series was not spectacular in sales. I was frustrated and felt that I needed to improve my abilities, but in terms of "reconfirming the creative reference point in my mind," this series actually saved me. I finally became aware that I actually like this type of thing.
In that case, I have to make flexible use of this revelation and not let it go to waste, by doing better next time—Thinking this to myself, I proposed my next project, this C3 series. While putting in my favorite elements yet making it acceptable to the majority of people as much as possible. However, I did worry in the beginning: "What if I also put in a lot of comedy... Uh, but, am I able to write comedy...?" To be honest, before doing this, I used to feel quite helpless towards comedic elements! But thanks to everyone, Volume 1 was well-received and when I continued to write with singleminded focus, somehow in the process, I no longer felt daunted, instead feeling "Writing comedy scenes is actually quite fun!" Thanks to writing C3, I've grown too. It's only now that it feels real to me. To avoid misunderstandings, let me clarify first that I still love dark scenes. Rather, when writing, it's those types of scenes which I write the fastest.
Oh right, I mentioned last volume about wanting to write some behind-the-scenes secret anecdotes! Since I'm already reminiscing and this is a rare chance, let me write a bit of behind-the-scenes story for each character in turn.
Although it was very sudden, she didn't actually start out being called Fear! At the plot discussion stage, her name was Malice as in "Malice-in-Box"... As for why the name was changed, it's because at the time, Fushimi Tsukasa-san's The Thirteenth Alice had just been published, so the editor told me: "There's a name collision, you'd better change it..." "B-But there's no collision! The first syllable is different!" I remember objecting like that, but in hindsight, I'm so glad I changed it. Fear-in-Box... didn't roll off the tongue very well... So let's change it to Fear-in-Cube! It's also because of this change that I decided to make the Rubik's Cube a key item. By the way, the colors of the Rubik's Cube in the anime will be different, because the rights are held by a foreign firm, and on the matter of authorizing our use of the original colors, for some reason, they cough cough cough cough.
By the way, before deciding to use the Rubik's Cube, still during the stage of plot discussion, the setting was actually "transforming some of her limbs into torture tools to fight." I actually had a heated debate with the then-editor on this matter, but was tragically vetoed in the end. Thinking back calmly, although the effect would've been quite shocking, I almost made marketability even lower than what it is now...
I think I've mentioned in an interview somewhere that during the idea stage before plot discussion, Konoha was actually the main heroine! A so-called apartment-style story, centered around the demon blade Muramasa who screams "hweh~" and faints at the sight of blood, sharing the same apartment with the Japanese doll works as a hairstylist... Something like that. But then I noticed a fatal flaw in this story.
The heroine... Isn't she a bit too plain?
It's difficult for her to have much variation. Besides, a Japanese sword is basically limited to slicing... This was the kind of small detail that concerned me the most, so I thought in reverse: "It'd be quite spectacular if I set the main heroine as someone who has all the tools including the iron maiden and the guillotine inside her!" Hence, the current heroine was born. As for this child decisively getting relegated to sub-heroine status... What a tragic story. That being said, I do like her very much. I had a lot of fun writing her "warawa" version.
In the initial draft, she was a ordinary person + glasses character who was treated the same as Kana and the others. People who own Volume 1's first print might find on Page 268 a relic that was overlooked! Yes, that was a mistake in cognition, I'm so sorry (long overdue). Of course, the glasses trait overlaps with Konoha, so I changed it, but giving her Gime's Love and Tragic and adding the Lab Chief's Nation backstory happened rather late. I remember it was almost the final draft. The reason for these changes was that I found her a bit too simple in the story.
But as a result, she ended up taking on the majority of the bloodshed scenes and painful descriptions in the series! Oh dear~ Having Kirika seriously helped me out so much... She was like a mental stabilizer for me. When rereading this series, if you see Kirika's arm chopped off and sent flying, or deep cuts made in her abdomen, please interpret them as: "Ahhh, Minase must have been especially stressed at the time!"
★Ningyouhara Kuroe, Sovereignty, Sakuramairi Shiraho
These characters are the honors students who essentially performed as planned to the very end.
★Miyama Kana, Hakuto Taizou
I'll confess here that in the beginning, it had crossed my mind: "When should I kill them off~?"
Originally set as just "the enemy's weapon" (until I finished writing Volume 14, I still hadn't decided his future developments), but somehow he turned into a major character, one that became increasingly amusing as I wrote more and more... What a happy miscalculation. Gender? Don't sweat this kind of small stuff.
Anyone who saw the old April plans on my site would know at a glance that her original prototype was that someone from Samurai Shodown II.
I originally wanted to add this character if there was room, but didn't get the chance. By the way, she is a glasses-wearing buxom character... I think. Oh dear, doesn't that overlap with a certain someone?
In the first draft, he was a gallant male knight who teamed up with Peavey to attack... But he was scrapped due to a later decision to make Peavey the main with Mummy Maker in support. In the end, he turned into someone else completely different, with only the name recycled. As a result, I'm the only one who secretly finds this name quite nostalgic!
Although there are still many characters I want to introduce, it'll be endless at the current rate, so I have to wrap it up here.
Anyway—I think the C3 series was extremely fortunate to be able to present all kinds of characters and allow me to write them as I pleased (of course, within the constraints of the story). Let me offer my gratitude to everyone who contributed to supporting this good fortune.
Illustrator Sasorigatame-sama, I am truly awed by you. Every time I look at Fear's character design sheets, I think to myself: "This will definitely work!" Also, there are the countless wonderfully shameless illustrations every time! I think it's all thanks to Sasori-sama's illustrations that the C3 series ended this successfully. I am so grateful to you!
Former editor Kawamoto-sama, we spent so much time discussing back when establishing this series. But I think it's also thanks to that, the series was able to last for so long. I recall we would later have heated debates over the mild eroticism and gore with neither of us willing to back down, but thinking back now, it feels nostalgic like reminiscing about a battlefield in the past. Thank you very much!
Current editor Yuasa-sama, for the second half of the series until the ending, as well as handling various production matters on the media franchise front, you've taken so much care of me. Especially, the first time I went overseas, at the autograph event in Hong Kong. If you weren't there, Yuasa-san, I surely would have perished in a foreign country! (←exaggeration) I might still continue to cause you a lot of trouble, but please take care of me!
Anime staff, Director Oonuma, everyone at Silver Link, Tamura Yukari-san who voiced Fear and all the great voice actors who provided voices to the characters appearing in C3: To be able to see Fear and all the other characters moving and talking on television... It was truly a happy time like a dream or fantasy. I believe that the light and dark parts of the C3 story can be fully experienced through the anime. I am truly thankful to all of you!
Akina Tsukako-sama who was in charge of the comic version: although the time was not long, I am very grateful to you for drawing Fear and every character with cuteness and coolness no less than the original illustrations or the anime. I am so happy to see the cat-eared Kirika short story that I love!
Everyone working tirelessly at ASCII Media Works for this series, even those in places beyond my awareness, if there is ever a chance for me to meet everyone in person, I will definitely bow in gratitude.
Although I've mentioned them already, there are all the readers who have accompanied me to the very end. I started this series with the pathetic objective of "I hope this won't get axed at three volumes again..." To have lasted this long to reach the ending successfully, it's all thanks to everyone's support and encouragement. Please allow me to say thanks again—Most sincerely, thank you, everyone.
So, even though goodbyes are always difficult, I'm almost out of pages. Spending the whole time reminiscing about the past doesn't seem right, so let's chat a bit about the future.
I've already prepared my next story.
The title is Ayuhara Yonami Tends to Get Wet (tentative). If things go smoothly, its first print is expected to be released in early fall of 2013. As hinted by the title, it's an ordinary orthodox story of boy meets girl (who is frequently drenched from head to toe)... I think! At least that's my goal! I would be honored if interested readers are willing to give it a look. Let's all get wet together!
Well then, I hope I will meet everyone again in my next work.
|Back to Epilogue||Return to Main Page|