This is the third and last part of the dialogue between HaruChika author Hatsuno Sei and book reviewer Ooya Hiroko. The author talks about the use of social minorities in his works and the next developments in HaruChika. Translated from the article at honto.jp on March 30, 2016.
Longing for an utopia filled with heavy themes
Ooya: HaruChika is a humor mystery which can make you laugh out loud, however, it continues to handle heavy themes such as illness, the elderly and disabilities quite a lot.
Hatsuno: It doesn’t mean they’re “pitiful” just because of that. I hate looking down on them and being satisfied with the status quo. So I write them without that kind of impression. In “Frequency: 77.4 MHz” (included in First Love Sommelier), didn’t the elderly men and women seem like they were having fun? Those people live doing as they please, and don’t involve young people with suspicious philosophical views. Instead of that, they take a philosophic views that make you laugh.
Ooya: In general, “HaruChika” isn’t the only work which pro-actively picks up people who could be said to belong to groups such as the socially vulnerable and minorities. There are also many of them in your dark fantasy works. Or rather, doesn’t it count for nearly all of Hatsuno works?
Hatsuno: Yeah. I think I condensed it in “1/2 Knight”[ref]1/2 Knight features a lesbian high school girl, a cross-dressing ghost, and a gay yakuza member.[/ref] (Shinchousha Bunko). But even if you’re disabled or poor, anyone can become the leading character and live life to the fullest. Even more so they have a very interesting personality…. That’s just an utopia. Novels are made-up, so I think I’m wishing for an ideal while writing. It’s difficult to make the ideal not too overly optimistic though.
Ooya: In each story of “Exit Game” and “First Love Sommelier” they gain a companion one by one as they solve the cases. and challenge the regional tournament in “Fantasy Organ” with their companions: I like the formula of Satomi Hakkenden[ref]Satomi Hakkenden is a Japanese epic novel in 106 volumes by Kyokutei Bakin.[/ref]. No one detestable appears. I wonder if that’s also a fantasy.
Hatsuno: Yeah. The negative portions aren’t the characters. It’s held by the story itself. Within “HaruChika” there are several short stories which end without completely settling the problem or clarifying the suspect. Reading them makes you feel sad. The realistic point is probably that.
A Place for Experiments
Ooya: To Hatsuno-san, what kind of place does HaruChika take among your many works?
Hatsuno: A place for joke experiments of orthodox mystery. I want to be picky of the orthodox mystery regarding that series. … But, it’s worrisome! (lol) However, I want to write mysteries which are original in itself as much as possible, without using orthodox templates like locked rooms.
Ooya: Ah, I think you succeeded in that by a large margin.
Hatsuno: I don’t write “HaruChika” with one idea. If I don’t strengthen it with two or three ideas, I become scared and don’t write. The idea of the memory pillow which appears in “Elephant’s Breath” (included in Exit Game) is only written in one story. But I established it to combine it with the mystery of the color that doesn’t exist. Most stories contain at least two ideas.
Ooya: I see, I see. That was one of the things that got wrung out of the anime though (lol). Is there a work which made an impression on you in HaruChika so far?
Hatsuno: I like every work, but the one I wrote which satisfied me in all aspects was probably “Disappeared Heavy Rocker” (included in “Millennium Juliet”). I started writing that one from complete scratch in the Yasei Jidai serialization. In my situation it became edited throughout, but in the end it fit like a glove, moreover I also settled it on a bad joke (lol).
Ooya: Ah, it was bit surprising. That was unusually more like suspense than mystery solving. A time limit suspense with a taxi jacking with a sense of time. Right right, speaking of unusual, each of the short stories through the entirety of “Planet Charon” also stick to the current of the times.
Hatsuno: I tried to leave out events of the current era as much as possible, but I can’t avoid the internet after all. I tried doing it in one go, by making the internet and virtual reality a theme throughout the entire book of “Planet Charon”. In the last story (same as the book title), I included a bit about the things I am thinking about. It might be a little too romantic.
The Next Development
Ooya: What will be the next development in HaruChika?
Hatsuno: There are still four of those top 10 weirdos left, right? I have to make them appear. Even more so than the wind ensemble club elements! I wonder why I created the top 10 …
Ooya: Didn’t you decide that by yourself!
Hatsuno: That’s right. And I will also write their challenge to the category A in a big ensemble. It means you can enjoy reading how they win and advance in the competition, and if they make it to the district tournament level. I’m also interested in a school trip compilation. But when I went to Shimizu Minami High School I heard that they go on school trips in foreign countries nowadays! I was quite certain it would be Kyoto…
Ooya: I love this series, so please make it so that it won’t end if possible (saying it irresponsibly). At any rate, next year in spring the live action movie adaptation lies in the wait. The leading actors were announced the other day. Hashimoto Kanna-san plays Chika-chan and Sexy Zone’s Satou Shouri plays Haruta. They truly are a gorgeous pair. As the original author, what do you desire for this movie?
Hatsuno: The person in charge blocked my request of wanting to do the theme song.
Ooya: I have the impression they thought “what in the world did he say?”.
Hatsuno: Like an anime, the presentation methods of a movie are different as well. So I told them, if you create it freely, I’m fine with it. It’s okay if it’s not the same as the original work. Perhaps director Ichii’s artist nature will come out more strongly than the anime. I want to separate from the position of being the original author and enjoy it.
In the next HaruChika, those people will take the lead!
Ooya: Well then, please let us know what you plan to do after this.
Hatsuno: I’m going for a drink after this.
Ooya: That was a joke right? (stares intently)
Hatsuno: T-t-this year I will publish a collaborative work of school mysteries from Gentosha[ref]A Japanese publisher.[/ref], using material not written in HaruChika. After that I plan to collect the series stories of Bungeishunjuu[ref]A leading Japanese monthly literary magazine.[/ref]. As for the HaruChika series, a collection of extra short stories will come out. If possible in May, no June… Yeah, it will come out. I’ll do my best.
Ooya: (Ah, at first this guy said “May”, but then he nonchalantly added “June”!) Extra compilation, meaning?
Hatsuno: It will be a spin-off written from the point of view of the characters other than Homura Chika. I had no interest in supplementary work, but I understood after writing “Millennium Juliet” that it was necessary in order to end the series. Each work will have a pair: Kaiyu + Gotou, Serizawa + Katagiri, Maren + Nagoe, and Narushima + mystery person. I can dig deeper whereas it isn’t possible with Homura Chika’s narration. And then I wrote short stories for the specials of the DVD boxes of the HaruChika anime. Here the original anime characters make a small appearances in my stories.
Ooya: But it doesn’t seem like there are many original characters…. Ah, those two! (Indeed, Hatsuno-san nods.) Well, it’s those three works this year…. Huh? Then how about releasing new HaruChika books each year in fall?
Hatsuno: It’s useless if I don’t write while I have ideas. I have to make time somehow and release it in combination with the paperback edition of “Planet Charon”. It will come out. It would be okay if it I can release it… (His voice gradually becomes smaller, and fades out.)