Kamisama no Memochou:Volume 6 Afterword
I had mentioned this in many interviews, but actually, I'm not good at writing short stories. I couldn't remember how many of them I wrote, it felt that the time it took for me to finish a short story was the same as finishing a long one, and it was really inefficient.
So this year, in Spring, when the editor-in-charge said, “the manga's about to be serialized, so let's use this time to submit to Dengeki Bunko, shall me?” and I immediately answered,
“But I don't want to write any short stories, you know?”
“So then, what do you want to write?”
I answered that I didn't want to write, but it was interpreted as, anything other than short stories will do. This really was an impressive way to look at things. Left with no choice, I pondered for a little while, and answered,
“Erm, then, let's write a long story of decent length. How about serializing it as four chapters? The time taken will be about the same as usual, I can finish all the manuscript before serialization begins, and read through it first...”
Thinking back about it, it was really embarrassing for me to say without such basis. I was always one without any plans, and never actually followed through with my plans. As everyone could expect, I was last on the submission deadline for two whole months, and only completed this story in 4 parts.
The content of this volume, the 'Hanamaru Wedding' serialized in the Dengeki Bunko Magazine from the 14th issue to the 17th issue, caused every party involved much trouble, and at the same time, a brand new short story is included. It's the first time I serialized a novel in a magazine, and I learned a few lessons, so for the time being, I won't do that again. Right now, I'm reflecting hard on it.
Also, the actual story, when compiled into a book, was divided into 5 chapters, but the 5th chapter was actually a third of the final chapter that was split apart. I tried finishing the work in the 4th serialization, and the final chapter ended up being double in length of the first three chapters combined. Thus, when compling, I did a little tweak to it.
When I submitted the manuscript for the last volume, I said to the editor-in-charge, half jokingly,
“How about we have the serialization end at this particular scene (the ending of what was the 4th chapter), and then have brand new content declaring the case closed in the book itself, ok?”
Actually, that was a little suggestion due to my greed of wanting the easy way out, but I never thought the editor-in-charge would go, “hmm, we can think about it” and really started looking into the possibility. My suggestion might have appeared to leave a distinct segment in the story, but it was really an iinsult to the readers who bought the magazine. So I hurriedly retracted this suggestion.
The Gigolo-sensei who appeared in the short story was a character I vaguely thought up of when writing the final chapter. If there was a moment for this character to debut, I suppose this would be the most appropriate, and so, it seemed decent.
The short story included was about Hiro and his master, and I guess many readers felt that the 6th volume was centered around Hiro in the first place, right? To be honest, before I started writing, I had a concept of having Hiro and Min-san be the protagonists and develop them greatly, but after writing, I found that it wasn't the case.
I recall back to when I wrote the first volume of the 'Kamisama no Memochou' series. Surprisingly, it was 4years ago. Back then, I wasn't used to writing, and needed the editor-in-charge to review the plot progression, and after a few corrections, it was finally completed. Till now, I still remember the long, arduous editing process. For example, at the earliest part, when I wrote about Ayaka bringing Narumi to 'Hanamaru', there was no such character as Min-san. The original version of the ramen shop boss was a grizzled old bear uncle without a name or a part, and when the editor-in-charge saw that, he committed, “lacking in beauty', and suggested that I follow the proposal during the planning phase, and change one of the 3 NEET detective agency members to a girl. However, I refuted, saying, “This is something I definitely won't change.” I also insisted that Tetsu, Major and Hiro had to be male. However, it's true that we're lacking in some beauties in the story, so by process of elimination, I had the bear uncle change into a boisterous big-breasted onee-san with a sarashi around her chest. This was how Min-san was born.
As for that bear uncle, what next?
Well, he didn't get erased in the wasteland of destroyed ideas. In my mind, this bear uncle just went on a trip. The Chinese work in his hand became a rifle, and the apron at his waist became a bullet chain as he starts wandering around in warzones like Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Congo and China or such.
And so, 'Ramen Hanamaru' became a place named because of him, and left for his sake. In that case, I had to write a story of him returning to the ramen shop, a story written for him. Maybe this idea had sprouted unconsciously in my mind.
I wrote this at the beginning of the story, and I shall repeat it again. This volume 6 is a story dedicated to Hanada Masaru.
His life journey was filled with ash, chicken bones, blood and sweat, and where shall it lead to? I hope that everyone would look on until the very end.
Soon after this volume is published, the manga volumes illustrated by Tiv-san will be released. The TV animation is currently in the planning phase. I'm really delighted. Please look forward to further news.
Thanks to all those involved, especially the illustrator Kishida Mel-san and the editor-in-charge Yuasa-sama, Narumi was finally able to welcome his 17th birthday. Please allow me the chane to express his thanks for him. Really, thank you everyone.
December 2010, Sugii Hikaru
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