Thie first part of a translation of a dialogue between HaruChika author Hatsuno Sei and book reviewer Ooya Hiroko on the HaruChika anime adaptation and the novels. Originally posted at honto.jp on March 30, 2016.
Talking with that person about books – 6: Hatsuno Sei x Ooya Hiroko (2016/03/20)
In this corner book reviewer Ooya Hiroko talks with writers she wants to talk to. The sixth guest is Hatsuno Sei-san, who is in the midst of breaking out. His series “HaruChika” received an anime adaptation. She asked plenty of questions about HaruChika: from the original author’s impressions of the anime he watched until what happens to HaruChika hereafter.
Impressions of the HaruChika Anime Adaptation
Ooya: The “HaruChika” anime is super popular, isn’t it? What were your impressions after watching it?
Hatsuno: Would it be better to say that Homura Chika is my bride?
Ooya: I’m going to rewind time 10 seconds earlier, okay. Yes, start again.
Hatsuno: It was sparkly and incredibly dazzling (lol). I haven’t touched any anime since World Masterpiece Theater’s Remi: Nobody’s Girl (’96-’97). I had to study after they decided on the anime adaptation of HaruChika. A friend recommended “Puella Magi Madoka Magica” and “Mawaru Penguin Drum” and I watched them. I don’t know if these were the right selections, but various aspects surprised me. Not in a bad way.
Ooya: I knooow–! I also don’t have the habit of watching anime. So first of all I was surprised that anime nowadays is like this as I watched HaruChika.
Working Within the Limitations
Hatsuno: At the very first stage of meetings it was decided that the stories would conclude within one episode. But I think the staff members gave it their best within that limitation. Not even speaking of compressing the long and middle-length plots of the original work, and using methods make people read between the lines, there were also many portions which they dared not to depict. They had worries about whether it could be settled within the limits of the broadcasting. But I enjoyed myself while admiring how well they tackled points: “What to cut down? Where to capitalize on? How to explain it?”.
Ooya: That’s right. Although the original novels are a collection of shorts, each short entangles together many moments. It became considerably abridged by doing them in 30 minutes. But the changes were minimal, weren’t they?
Hatsuno: The fundamental aspects weren’t changed indeed. Besides, isn’t the presentation a characteristic of anime? Something which is written fully on a page in print is drawn completely from an angle in 3 seconds. And I also noticed “spaces” in the lines of which I wasn’t aware of before. They showed me storyboards beforehand, but it is rather I who was illuminated on many points.
Ooya: As a fan of the original I was happy that they used the lines from the original novel. That tone of expression and dialogue is a charm of “HaruChika”. I was excited that it was brought to life just as the same.
Different Presentation Methods
Hatsuno: The presentation methods of a novel and an anime are different, so I told them over and over again to ‘please do it as you like’. But in the end they faithfully changed the direction to restrict to what is feasible in the original work. “HaruChika” is a story of the present, but I once preferred to imagine it as written in the Showa era. I stealthily imprinted the original work with the nature of the 70s and 80s. The director and scriptwriter picked up on that very well too.
Ooya: Was the character design according to your imagination?
Hatsuno: I have no visual image of the characters. The paperback edition and the Kadokawa Tsubasa paperback special editions were there before the anime aired: that makes three different kinds in total. In mystery novels the possibility exists that the protagonist might also be the “culprit of the case”. As a writer I think I cannot have empathy. I was surprised when I saw the drawings of NamanikuATK-san for the first time, but it made me feel some personal – or should I say – rational pride. That’s why I had confidence and left it up to them. If I must say something, I suppose I imagined Homura Chika with short hair.
They told me, “To make Kaiyu appear more.”
Ooya: Ah, it’s like that?
Hatsuno: Yeah, that’s the way it is. The interesting point about that anime is that they didn’t thoughtlessly bring out a girl even though she expresses pureness in fiction. I think that’s where the author’s nature of director Hashimoto came out. Director Hashimoto as well as scriptwriter Yoshida-san have done their best to bring out their originality in small portions within the restrictions to some extent. I made new discoveries within the production and acting. Even on my second or third watch, such as the sighs of the characters, lines which are on the tip of their tongues, and small gestures. As the original writer, I can only feel sorry as they probably wanted to do much more.
Ooya: Well, although it was abridged, the fundamental parts were left in. To an original work it is a happy anime adaptation. How about the responses of the fans and the viewers?
Hatsuno: I don’t have a smartphone and I’m not on platforms like Twitter. Therefore I don’t have many opportunities to ask for responses directly. But the other day I went to Shimizu Minami High School (Hatsuno-san’s alma mater is the model of HaruChika’s location). Fans of the anime told me “to make Kaiyu appear more”. What should I do in this situation?
Ooya: Ah, I thought he was even greater in the anime than after reading the novels. So be at ease and please make him appear more.
Hatsuno: Well, I guess it’s better to let him appear (lol).