Kamisama no Memochou:Volume 9 Afterword
The last two chapters in this volume were written four years ago.
There was a value convenient tool in the files, called ‘modified date’. Thanks to that, I didn’t have to think too much to know that the last modification of this 20 paper draft ‘Kamisama no Memochou X’ file was in 2010.
I had an interview when the short story of the fifth volume was released to the market, and when the reporter asked how this series would end, it was the first time I thought of that matter. “I don’t know which volume it will be, but if one day, I would end up writing Alice’s own story, that should be the last.” So I answered. After returning home, I reflected upon my words, and nodded to myself, thinking that yes, that was the case. So, what kind of ending it shall be…so I wondered as I tapped at the keyboard, and ended up with the last two chapters you have read (you might have to read the main story first, so I will have to apologize to the readers who are used to reading the afterword first). I copied these last two chapters almost exactly as it was from four years ago, and wrote backwards so that the plot and ending would smoothen out. It might sound like I had accomplished something great, but the outcome was strangely normal, nothing too fanciful.
There was one part I changed in the last two chapters, the phone Narumi used in the last chapter was clearly written as a ‘smartphone’. The setting in Kamimemo is in 2006, when I wrote the first volume. That was a year before Apple’s iPhone shook the world and changed the telecommunications society completely. There was no smartphone to be seen before then. A modern work has been written for a long time, and there will always be issues when the evolving modern society will differ from the work.
There are three ways to deal with this.
First: To accelerate the timeframe of the work to match reality. This will cause much changes to the plot, and isn’t appropriate for all instance.
Second: To not rectify those flaws, and import modern technology and social trends into the work directly.
Third: To accept that it had deviated, and keep on writing. This was what I chose. There’s a genius hacker in the story who indulges in the latest technology, yet the NEET detective gang communicate through flipphones. I often felt conflicted writing this, but I had no choice.
I remembered that when I changed the ‘phone’ to ‘smartphone’ in the last chapter, I really felt relieved, thinking how I finally caught up to modern times.
And just like that, I finally caught up to the times. I really apologize for making the readers wait three years for ‘Kamisama no Memochou’. If you wonder what I have been doing this time, the answer, as you will know, it that I have been writing other series.
‘Kamisama no Memochou’ takes a lot of time, as long as my career as an author, so whenever Narumi would think “It’s been a year and a half since I met Alice…” I would think “It’s been a year and a half…” and be really nostalgic about it. To a bystander, this might seem really disgusting.
When submitting the fifth volume, I wrote a timeline to determine the order of the various events. I thought I should finish it at this point.
- 1st year in high school, October, Angel Fix Incident (1st Volume)
- 1st year in high school, March, Two Hundred Million Laundering Incident (2nd Volume)
- 2nd year in high school, April, Sarashi Theft Incident (5th Volume, first chapter)
- 2nd year in high school, May, Wine With Impurities Incident (5th Volume, second chapter)
- 2nd year in high school, May, Gardening Club Crisis (3th Volume)
- 2nd year in high school, July, Hirasaka-gumi Conflict (4th Volume)
- 2nd year in high school, August, Prostitute Abduction Incident (5th Volume, third chapter)
- 2nd year in high school, September, Baseball Match (5th Volume, fourth chapter)
- 2nd year in high school, October, Min-sn’s Wedding Commotion (6th Volume)
- 2nd year in high school, November, Gorou-sensei’s visit (end of 6th Volume)
- 2nd year in high school, December, Homeless Attack incident (7th Volume)
- 2nd year in high school, January, Mahjong Parlor Incident (8th Volume, chapter 1)
- 2nd year in high school, January, Compensated Dating Violence Incident (8th Volume, chapter 2)
- 2nd year in high school, February, Continuation of the Angel Fix Incident (8th Volume, chapter 3-4)
- 2nd year in high school, March, Shionji Inheritance Commotion (9th Volume)
…A long one and a half year it has been, both for Narumi and me. I’m not writing this just to fill the pages. If you may use this chance to flip through the prior stories or buy another set of volumes, that will really be great.
Thinking back, when I wrote the first volume, I never thought of the plot, just that I gathered a few interesting characters together, and then write whatever I could think of. If I was to ask ‘why did she jump’, and gave a reason other than ‘drugs’, the story might not be centered in Tokyo. I might use the ‘Ikebukuro West Gate Park’ as reference, and write a mystery based in a rural village like Yokomizo Seisho did, or a horror story that happens in the suburban areas like Stephen King, or a mystery romcom involving a large school. In fact, I did write the third one (with another publisher).
Before thinking the first step forward, I was still troubled by the endless possibilities before me, and found that I was done with the last volume. I really believe I’m destined to write this, or that I’m just unloading something that has been written in the notebook a long time back, but to be honest, being a novelist is a strange profession. I feel this way no matter the work. To put it, I didn’t feel that the words I wrote in the afterword of volume 8 was written by me, but that the story begged for it. Authors often say that ‘the characters began to move by themselves’, and that’s basically it. To note, this thought only occurs after finishing and looking back at the work. It’s really a turmoil to think how the characters should act, and yet after submitting the script, I would forget all the troubles I had. Maybe it’s to convenience myself into writing the next volume. It’s said that women forget the pains of labour after give birth to avoid fear of conceiving more—the same logic might apply here.
So, it’s time to goodbye to Narumi and Alice, forget the pain of giving birth to them, and progress to the next work.
This work ends successfully due to the assistance of many. First, to think the editor in charge Yuasa-sama who supported me until the very end, Kishida Mel-sama who injected life into the characters with his pretty illustrations, mangaka Tiv-sama who’s currently collaborating on a new work with me, the various editors at Dengeki Daioh, and the numerous staff and voice actors who brought this work to a new level. I met the actor and actress who debuted as main characters, voicing Narumi and Alice, and showing up with outstanding performances later; despite no effort given on my part, I still felt proud of them. Finally, to thank no one else but you, the reader of this work. I’ll like to present my utmost thanks here. It’s thanks to everyone that this is a wonderful work. Thanks to everyone.
May 2014, Sugii Hikaru.
- Narumi was voiced by Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, whom you might know of him as the voice actor of Kirito. Yui Ogura voiced Alice. Yes, these were the duo's first notable roles
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