The Zashiki Warashi of Intellectual Village:Volume7 Afterword
This is Kamachi Kazuma.
Ahh, that’s a relief!! Volume 7 was a continuation of Volume 6, so what did you think? Just like Volume 6, I wrote this as a battle-focused version of the Zashiki Warashi world, but I think the past story in Chapter 6 was the best part. Did you all predict what would happen with the Aburatori? You might enjoy the altered past in Volume 4 in a different way now that you’ve read Volume 7. For example, in Volume 4 Chapter 4 when the Zashiki Warashi said “I’m a little displeased that you’re still around” or at the end when she cried upon remembering that Shinobu had been hostile toward the Aburatori. The meaning in those scenes may change entirely.
And looking at it another way, the Volume 7 Aburatori with such a heart would still kill just as many people as in Volume 4 (regardless of whether he himself is good or evil). That incident did not happen because the Zashiki Warashi had altered history and made him into a villain. The same number of deaths would have happened even if he had remained good. That should help you understand why he agonized so much over his position. Now, he could either be someone who continues killing despite the agony it brings him or someone who enjoys the killing. Which one would really be salvation for him? He was probably truly happy that Shinobu saved him.
I went with a monster baby theme for the Aoandon. She remained indifferently cheerful for such a powerful enemy, she spoke in immaturely pure terms of good and evil, and she acted like she knew what she was talking about despite having only just been born. There were hints here and there, but did you see through it and stick with her instead of pushing her away when she first appeared in Volume 3? Just like the Oomukade in Volume 6, Jinnai Shinobu also offered up his own body to settle things…but the idea of gaining someone’s traits by eating them was actually touched on with the Youkai medicine in Volume 1 Chapter 3. Don’t tell me you forgot all about that! I think it was a pretty gruesome scene, but it was something I couldn’t afford to avoid if I was going to write about traditional Youkai and not the watered-down mascot versions.
You may or may not admit you came to understand how your parents felt once you ended your rebellious phase, but the Aoandon’s violence was stopped by directly imputing that information into her. Your life is your own, but your life is not necessarily the only thing that influences that life. She had that fact thrust before her eyes. …Of course, believing that you perfectly understand your parents’ feelings is another sign of immaturity, so I went a step further and had her growing up by feeling the sadness of not understanding.
Just like with the Aburatori, the backbone to the Aoandon was ridding her of the aspects making her a villain, but I think you should be able to accept that quite easily if you think about how Youkai are viewed in this series. No matter how cruel the story, this series does not judge the Youkai themselves as good or evil.
Also, reducing the fear of a Youkai by learning about their situations and understanding them as people(?) is not just something I made up. It’s (supposedly) actually a logic used for Youkai in general.
I think you should understand if you imagine it for a bit, but Youkai lose their original charm the more you learn about how they work and where they came from. To put it another way, you can investigate them, classify them by their connections to fire, water, or other elements, and try to find a way to avoid them or provide an offering to them.
(Simply put, it might be similar to how the monsters of urban legends cause people to tremble with fear, but then they’re “ruined” by appearing in movies and dramas too often. …The simplest examples in this series probably aren’t the Youkai themselves. I think it would be the human pair of the Illness Magic User and the Venom Clairvoyant.)
The scariest being is the formless monster that lurks in the darkness, so as its outline is gradually revealed, you can sweep away the darkness and conquer your fear. I wrote this story while wondering if this would be the Dengeki Bunko version of the process so many Youkai artists and researchers used in the past.
Meanwhile, Youkai S@ik1 KAzU was something I wanted to do in a Youkai story just as much as the Hyakumonogatari. Adding a new entry to a relatively complete Youkai encyclopedia or archive has a certain romance to it. I mixed together different types of writing in the same name in order to make it seem poorly established and corrupted as a Youkai, but did that work?
Saiki Kazu left without speaking a word to his enemy, but he did appear before Sotobori Gaku at the very, very end. That is an important point when discussing his character. It means he did not view Sotobori Gaku as an “enemy” for being a witness to the killing, but then what kind of feelings did he hold inside and why did he give his only warning to that policeman? It would be crass to explain that, so I hope you will discuss it amongst yourselves and breathe new life into Youkai S@ik1 KAzU.
In contrast to the Youkai, Archdemon Tselika was thoroughly evil and I think that is a fairly important point. …Well, there is the academic point that even demons are the distorted forms of the gods of older religions, but I wrote her as the original definition: A being that was created for no other reason than to do evil.
Tselika said that violence is only a tool to draw out fear, so unlike Magic God Othinus from Index or the White Queen from Blood Sign, she was not a powerful character that simply overpowers her opponent. Instead, I made her someone who ruins people with excessive pampering. In this series, the deadly sins are defined as the power to make one abandon their faith, so she was filled with disturbingly indulgent skills in order to go the opposite route of making people double down in the face of violence or oppression.
Tselika’s illusion in Volume 7 Chapter 5 should have been frightening in a different way from the happy world in New Testament Index Volume 9. At the same time, it should have helped you guess just how Perfect Shinobu had broken in Volume 5 Side A. Personally, I think someone who truly had all of their desires fulfilled would be unable to maintain their sense of self. Perhaps I should say some kind of insufficiency is needed to stimulate the motivation that supports the human heart. (Of course, it’s only needed to spice things up a bit. Too much insufficiency and you would probably break.) For example, there is a craving at the foundation of writing.
Of course, Tselika does more than just pamper people. She can also use extreme violence as a tool, so she leaves everything up to physical destruction when she’s pissed. I was hoping to release her as an enemy you would never want to fight, so how do you think I did?
In the past story, Majina talked about the Japanese exorcism ideology of removing and dispersing spirits, but I should have shown that this would not work at all on the Western demons who are dark to the core. The Western demons are not the main focus of this series about Eastern Youkai, but I love thinking about power balances like this.
I also had fun writing a more realistic representation of the nosebleed from arousal cliché. …If you did get a strange nosebleed with no real external injuries, you would normally want to get a thorough examination done.
The Top 5, the Succubus, Tselika, Marguerite, the Aoandon, the Aburatori, and Saiki Kazu. Volumes 6 and 7 had a lot of boss characters showing up, but pay attention because there’s still some foreshadowing I haven’t followed through on yet. For example, the very first volume of the series mentioned that Hyakki Yakou’s previous generation had been assassinated and that there was precedent for a child between a human and a Youkai. What has changed after their ten years in hiding? What will happen when the Ver. 39 and Ver. 40 confront each other? You should focus on their actions as well.
And this time, we finally had a scene of high school Shinobu referring to the Zashiki Warashi as Nee-chan.
But she didn’t know what had happened, so it must have been quite a shock to see him returning home with a bunch of the series’ boss characters.
In the Afterword of Volume 2, I said he could probably win the Zashiki Warashi’s heart by calling her Nee-chan, but that he wouldn’t since he was in his rebellious phase. …Does that mean he’s outgrown that phase after going through that past story and accepting the feelings of the people near him? Oh? Does that mean Shinobu and the Zashiki Warashi’s story is finished and won’t develop any further? If you’re thinking that, then watch out. There’s still a large barrier to go there.
Shinobu still has to cross the hurdle of calling her Yukari.
I give my thanks to my illustrator Mahaya-san and my editors Miki-san, Onodera-san, and Anan-san. There were a lot of characters in Volumes 6 and 7, so that couldn’t have been easy. I suddenly had the full Top 5 show up and then had everyone in Majina’s party. I am truly grateful that they allow me to be so selfish.
I also give my thanks to the readers. I think telling the story of someone’s past twice is getting a bit aggressive, so thank you for sticking with it. …Unlike a normal battle-focused series, I hope you felt some tension because anything could happen in this series, but did that work like I’d hoped?
And I will end this here.
You sit this one out, Hayabusa-kun! You showed up too much in Volume 6!!
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