How we should live – Girls’ Last Tour: Interview with Tsukumizu

 

 

― Congratulations on the release of the second volume. Do you feel any different compared to the release of the first volume?

Thank you. Let’s see, well the first volume was my very first work published as a book so “I’ve actually become a writer” was something I strongly felt. Being able to release past the second volume, it makes me happy to think that many were able to put their hopes on me.

 

― I would first like to ask about you yourself. Before your debut is it right that you were working on doujin?

I started to write manga during my second year of university. Around the end of university I was invited into a friend’s manga circle. My works from there were uploaded to the internet and someone from Shinchosha noticed, which lead to my debut. So I wasn’t working for very long on doujin. I worked on these sorts of derivative works during university, but ‘Girl’s Last Tour’ is my first original work.

 

― Many manga artists enter the profession through the love of drawing from a young age, but for you this came much later didn’t it?

I originally liked reading novels, so I read a lot during elementary, middle and high school. When I got to my third year of high school I began to enjoy drawing, so I started drawing rather normal moe drawings. This lead me to start writing manga.

 

― So you decided to follow the path of manga, and not novels.

I just started wanting to draw. At university I studied with the aim of becoming an art teacher. So I was somewhat thinking that I wanted to have a job related to art….. Writing manga was just on a whim really.

 

― Though not strongly stated on the surface, ‘Girls’ Last Tour’ holds a strong sense of meaning.

That sort of meaning, I think is something I have inherited from the many novels I have read.

 

― Who’s works in particular?

Murakami Haruki and Ekuni Kaori. I liked Murakami Haruki’s ‘Norwegian Wood’ and ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’ and Ekuni Kaori’s ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ very much. I have read them many times.

 

― ‘Girls’ Last Tour’ is about Chito and Yuuri travelling around through a dystopian world. How did you come up with this story?

When I first started writing manga I was reading Nihei Tsutomu-sensei’s ‘BLAME’, and I found that world really appealing. The world of ‘Girls’ Last Tour’ has been influenced by this.

 

― Military items like the Kettenkrad and firearms appear in the manga. Did you include these due to a previous interest in them or was it more to match the manga?

At the time I was really into war films. I saw the Kettenkrad in ‘Private Ryan’ and thought it would be perfect for the girls to travel around on.

 

― Has the contents of the manga changed very much since its conception during university?

Well, the one I wrote during university was much shorter. It was only after receiving the offer to serialise the work that I added in more details. The prototype for the manga was ‘Bath’ from the third chapter of the first novel. It condenses the appeal of ‘Girls’ Last Tour’ into one story.

 

― Do you have any scenes or stories you particularly like?

‘The Sound of Rain’ from the thirteenth chapter of the second volume. I can write a good story when I have a firm grasp on how it will end. When I’m able to write a storyboard solidly structured to lead towards this ending, it makes me really happy.

 

― When thinking of a story, do you to some extent start with how it might end?

I write it in such a way that I try as early as possible to work out what sort of a story it will be, how it will end and what realisations in regard to certain values I want to implement. There are times where I begin to see how it will end whilst writing, and there are others where I can see it from the very start.

 

― Around how long does it take for you to complete a storyboard for one chapter?

Around 10 days. I start with the aim of completing it in a week, but the setting of the story can change every chapter. I would have to do a sketch of the setting and construct a story whilst making sure the setting matches with the themes of the story, so it’s a lot of work.

 

― A great variety of ruins and buildings appear in the manga. Are these your ideas or are you using something as reference?

The buildings in the manga are rather vague, or rather I draw them somewhat intuitively. I try hard to make sure they look nothing like the buildings of this age or buildings that may appear in other works.

But it really is difficult. Sampling from real life examples results in more solid drawings, so my challenge is in how much I’m able to change these using my own ideas. I draw with the thought that it would be nice if I could create buildings with more creativity and appeal.

 

― There are quite a few impactful two-page spreads. Are there any you have an emotional attachment to?

The spread on the previously mentioned ‘The Sound of Rain’ and also the graveyard scene which you can only presently read on the Kurage Punch site. During a class on modern art, we learned about a sculptor called Richard Serra. I was reminded of one of his works, the one using black slabs, whilst drawing the scene. Other than that there’s the distant view of the city, which took around 20 hours to complete.

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― Do you project yourself onto Chito and Yuri?

They’re not the light and dark inside me, but I get them to do the questioning in my place. With the guest characters Kanazawa and Ishii, there are areas of overlap with me.

 

― In which areas would you say?

Kanazawa travels with the aim of making maps, and Ishii lives with the aim of travelling far away by plane. Sometimes I’m not able to do what I want to do as I’m so busy with the serialisation. I also have my own worries about my future. But even in such days, there are always fun things to do like eating nice food, having a bath or going on a walk.

Where there are people like Ishii and Kanazawa who live with purpose, there will always be those like Chito and Yuri who travel aimlessly, free and easy. Which way of living is true happiness, and is it correct? They are characters that have to some extent been created to ask these questions.

 

― Chito keeps a diary and Yuri takes photographs. Would you say that their role is in recording the world?

That’s not right. Whilst travelling and recording the world’s end might be the usual story, Chito and Yuri do not perform such roles. I think travelling without meaning is a stance I will keep right to the end.

 

― You uploaded a short animation on Twitter, but do you have interest in this as well?

Yes. I like anime, and drawing it myself was very fun. I’m thinking that I might want to make an animated work. It might be difficult, but I want to give it a try. I hold a lot of curiosity towards the idea of expression. Whether that be through illustrations or anime; I like reading poems as well. I touch upon many things thinking about just what expression is.

 

― Do you animate on a PC?

I first make a rough drawing using pencil. I then upload this to a PC and add inking and tones. I use ‘CLIP STUDIO PAINT’. With this I can draw most things, but for my future I’m thinking that I need to ink on paper as well.

 

― What do you mean?

I don’t know whether digital or analogue methods are better, so I want to try both. I have always worked with a PC since starting to draw, so I haven’t done much expression using more analogue methods. I have recently begun to think that it might be better to draw manga using paper and ink.

 

― There are many wanting to move from analogue to digital methods, so it’s quite refreshing to hear the reverse.

The finished product will be on paper so I have begun to question using digital methods. When drawing digitally you can enlarge or shrink the image so it can be quite hard to get a picture of the overall balance on paper. This is what bothers me most at the moment.

 

― Have you thought right to the ending of the story?

Vaguely. Whether there will even be an ending-like ending is still something I question whilst writing.

 

― I would like the two to visit many different places, also for the sentiment that the manga will continue for much longer. Finally, could you please tell me what your goal is, and also a word for the readers?

My goal in regard to ‘Girls’ Last Tour’ is to write something I can be satisfied with right until the final volume.

To the fans, Whilst going about your day, I would like you to notice the virtues in everyday life. If this work could aid in getting people to live happily, I’d be very glad.

Many of my translations, including this one are not commissioned. If you would like to support the blog, please consider buying me a coffee here: ko-fi.com/japanesetranslation

 

Source: http://ebook.itmedia.co.jp/ebook/articles/1507/24/news016.html

 

 

4 thoughts on “How we should live – Girls’ Last Tour: Interview with Tsukumizu”

  1. “If this work could aid in getting people to live happily, I’d be very glad.”

    Oh how you failed on that one, lady.

    Like

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