A translation of an article originally published at Mantan-Web.jp on December 5, 2015 prior to the broadcasting of the HaruChika anime.
HaruChika Author Hatsuno Sei talks about the anime adaptation, his mystery novel, and Satomi Hakkenden influences
The anime adaptation of Hatsuno Sei-san’s mystery novel HaruChika series (Kadokawa) will start from January 2016. Other than those who are of the same age as the high school protagonists, the original work is also popular with fans in their 40s and 50s. The work is gathering attention in advance of the broadcast. We asked original author Hatsuno-san about his thoughts on the anime and his own writing.
Leaving the anime into the staff’s hands
HaruChika is a mystery depicting childhood friends Homura Chika and Kamijou Haruta; they solve cases while aiming for a spot at the Fumon Hall, the Koshien of wind instrument music, with their wind instrument club that is on the verge of abolishment. Five volumes of the original work are on sale. Tari Tari’s Hashimoto Masakazu-san directs the anime, which is produced by Shirobako’s P.A. Works.
Regarding the anime adaptation, Hatsuno-san happily said: “This is the first time that one of my works receives an adaptation. I would be delighted and honored that there will be an increase of people who take an interest through the anime as an entry point. In this work, I’d like you to know the enjoyment and depth of mystery. And most certainly I’d like you to read the works of other authors as well.” On the other hand, he said that he didn’t know much about anime. “I stopped watching anime when I saw World Masterpiece Theater[ref]World Masterpiece Theater is a Japanese programming block that showcased an animated version of a different classical book or story each year on 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. It originally aired from 1969 to 1997, then resumed in 2007.[/ref] in my high school days. I wasn’t diligent.”
An anime would be boring as a visual work if reproduced faithfully
He said that there was hardly anything he asked from the staff regarding the anime adaptation, “I had the privilege of participating in the meetings with the people of the production company, the director and script writer, and sensed they were excellent people. I left it up to them,” he said. “Scene developments are scarce in orthodox mystery and are concentrated on the conversational scenes. An anime would be boring as a visual work if reproduced faithfully. Printed works and anime are different, so I told them that I wanted it to be based on that and do it freely. It probably won’t be odd if these people do it. I wanted them to do it freely,” he said, trusting the staff.
The character design was done by Namaniku ATK-san who is known for the light novel illustrations of “Chaika – The Coffin Princess”. For example, Chika became a beautiful girl with big eyes, which differs in impression from the front covers of the original works. Regarding the characters he also basically left it up to [Namaniku ATK]. “People who usually don’t read books would get into it from the anime, so it’s good.”
Daring to cut out the romantic component in the novel
Apart from senior high school fans who are of the same generation as the protagonists, his original work also has many fans in their 40s and 50s. Hatsuno-san told us what he keeps in mind while writing. “What I want to read are extraordinary personal experiences, stimulus of intellectual curiosity, truth beyond the reality and mysteries that overflow with an orthodox spirit. However, it becomes difficult (for the reader) to get into (the work) the more I cram stuff in. I cut out the romantic component of Haruta and Chika. I am writing with the premise that these two won’t get together. That might be refreshing. I stamped the work with a mark of the 80s, so I think that people in their 40s and 50s enjoy it as well.”
He talked about the use of a wind ensemble club on the verge of abolishment as a setting. “I was in the judo club during my high school years and have no experience with wind ensemble clubs. The wind ensemble club has a certain aura, and if I had the chance I would have wanted to do that someday. I wanted to experience it vicariously inside my imagination. If I depicted a real wind ensemble club, it would have a large cast. I put it on the verge of abolishment because the characters would be few and the protagonists would be able to move freely,” he explained.
Increasing the companions like in “Satomi Hakkenden”
Apart from the energetic and brave Chika and the sharp-minded Haruta, individual characters appear one after another in HaruChika. Such as Narushima Miyoko who distanced herself from wind instrument music when her younger brother died. And also Chinese American Maren Sei who is troubled about his origin. Regarding the character conceptions, Hatsuno-san clarified: “The characters are born from mysteries and stories. Surprisingly I don’t depict characters to depict characters. That does not mean that it’s a work that is based on a story depending on the character. I’m thinking about the parts that I should write and the points that I don’t write. For example, I don’t write at length about family backgrounds.”
As high schoolers Chika and Haruta continue to solve the cases, Narushima Miyoko, Maren Sei and others become wind ensemble club members. As a result, they increase their companions “Increasing companions is a the greatest enjoyment. It’s a classic element of “Satomi Hakkenden[ref]Satomi Hakkenden is a Japanese epic novel in 106 volumes by Kyokutei Bakin.[/ref]” and the like. I’m taking influence from that,” Hatsuno-san said.
Regarding the anime, Hatsuno-san said: “I’m quite excited about the musical parts such as the wind instrument performances. I sense the production team’s fixation on the realness! I’d like you to look forward to that.” When it becomes animated, we might discover a new charm of the work with the moving characters and the added sound. Regarding the original work hereafter, Hatsuno-san said, “Next time I hope not to take much time to write. I’m slow at writing, but I’m doing my best,” putting attention onto the development of his novel as well.