From the Manga Artist
A COMMENT FROM THE MANGA ARTIST
First of all, I’d like to offer my sincere congratulations to the staff for bringing us to this announcement day.
I may be the manga author, but at the same time, I’m only the manga author. So I think this announcement is a long-awaited recognition of the efforts of all of those directly involved in the anime’s production, and that’s a relief to me.
As for how I felt when I was first approached about this new series, to be perfectly frank, my reaction was, “What?!”
As for the reason why, well… It’s a bit of a long story… It’s a personal thing that goes back to when I reached my 20th year as a professional artist.
To commemorate that anniversary, a team made a “voice comic” DVD of Fruits Basket’s final chapter.
(It was a prize sent to all the readers who applied for it, and is not for sale.)
- To quote the comments I wrote for the DVD pamphlet…
My editor asked me if there was anything I wanted to do to celebrate my 20th year in the profession, and I kept replying, “No, don’t worry about it; I don’t have anything I particularly want.”
But then one day, on the spur of the moment I casually said, “I’d love to sit alone somewhere and read (well, listen) to the final chapter of Furuba with sound, with voices, and with the song ‘For Fruits Basket’ playing, and bawl my eyes out.” I was being glib, just sort of building castles in the air and not looking for anything to come of it, but it sparked this project.
Just as there were happy or fun times while I was writing Fruits Basket, there were painful or sad ones as well.
There were plenty of times when I cried and thought, “I want to quit Fruits Basket.”
And that’s exactly why with this voice comic, I feel like I’m getting the chance to arrive at the final chapter of Furuba again, but this time without the pressure.
I’m really and truly reaching the final chapter at last. I feel like I can finally relax.
…So as you can see, with that voice comic I thought I’d finally found closure, and brought down the curtain on that chapter of my life. My heart was full of all sorts of emotions.
Later, when the Collector’s Edition came out, I also finally got to feel that I was able to depict the younger generation.
…And a new anime means going back to the beginning.
“What?! I closed the curtain on this and now you want to open it again?!?! (lol)”
I never once felt negatively about the project or thought that I didn’t want to do it, but still, my first thought was “What?!” (lol)
So, I made several requests right off the bat.
One of those was to do it with a completely new team.
Completely new. Every single person.
I told [the producers], if you want to open the curtain again, then please make it all new. Please rebuild the Furuba world from scratch, with new everything.
Another request was to not make the art look too much like my art.
This was partly because my Furuba art is old now, pure and simple, and also largely because I was in poor health back then (you can find more details about that in the afterword to the Collector’s Edition, if you’re curious), so my drawing was awfully shaky. Because of that, I wanted them to rebuild the art as well.
Other than that… Well, it was a mix. On some things I gave them detailed thoughts, and on others I gave them my blessing to do as they liked.
The production staff promptly accepted my requests and worked to meet them, and I’m truly grateful to them all. Thank you again.
They also readily gave me permission to visit the recording sessions sometimes, which makes me so happy. I don’t actually do anything there; I’m just an observer. (Really, I don’t do anything.)
It’s a pure delight, getting to see the reels a little early like that.
Creating art that people can truly care about is an overwhelming challenge. When it happens, I feel as grateful for it as I would for a miracle.
I wish for them to maintain their respect for the previous work, while on top of that creating the kind of work that will newly touch as many people as possible.
I’ll be a viewer just like the rest of you when the broadcast begins, and I’m looking forward to it.