Ono Fuyumi Long Interview Part 1: The Ghost Hunt Series Reprint

This interview with Ono Fuyumi is part of the Ghost Hunt Reprint Commemoration Special Feature. It was printed in the December 2010 issue of the Da Vinci magazine. The interview also includes some photographs of the author herself and her house. I divided the translation up into three parts. In the first part Ono talks about the reasons for the Ghost Hunt series reprint, and the origin of original series.

Ono Fuyumi Long Interview

Ono Fuyumi, author of Ghost Hunt

Timeless edition! The Ghost Hunt series Reprint Commemoration

The reprint of the Ghost Hunt series, long-awaited for by many fans, is about to turn into reality at last. Why did author Ono Fuyumi-san make up her mind about the reprint of the series just now? What are the differences between the old edition and the rewrite? This is a long interview in which we courageously asked about her memories at the time of the series’ creation, and her feelings on putting out the reprint. A large number of valuable remarks are revealed for the first time: a timeless edition!

I was confident that scary things are fun.

The Ghost Hunt series will be put back in print! There were probably quite a few readers who could not believe their ears at this news announced the other day. Though loved by many fans, Ono Fuyumi’s early masterpiece had been difficult to obtain for a long time. The Ghost Hunt series will at last make a complete comeback with the large rewrite of the full work, starting from November of this year. First of all, you probably talked about the particulars at the time of the reprint.

Many readers told me that they couldn’t obtain the Kodansha X Bunko Teens Heart Edition which we call the Evil Spirits series. I talked about redoing it from scratch several times too. However, it wasn’t easy to make it a reality. Every time the topic came up I’d say, it’s up in the air whether I redo it. While I repeated that, steadily some parts turned up which caught my attention… When I wrote it, there were many regulations in my relationship with the medium. And there were many parts that I couldn’t agree with, even though I was writing it myself. If I was satisfied with it back in those days, I would have given up though. And if I thought about making it at least a little satisfactory, rather than rewriting it from zero, it ended up as a hard work.

As a reader who is emotionally attached to the old series, I think I have some concerns over how much has been rewritten. This time the existence of the comic book Ghost Hunt by Inada Shiho-san was on our minds the whole time while Ono-san proceeded with her work.

Inada-san’s comic book edition distilled the essential elements from the original work, and splendidly composed a story out of it. The new complete edition is, in a sense, a novelization of the comic books. Based on the elements which Inada-san extracted, I expanded the story once again. The comic book edition was the only Ghost Hunt in a period when it was difficult to obtain the original work. As far as the author as well as the readers are concerned, you cannot talk about this series by omitting the comic books.

Ono Fuyumi's workplace
The state of the workplace. This is where Ono-san penned several of her masterpieces.
Because of those feelings, the full edition uses Inada-san’s illustrations as well. On the other hand, Ono-san has made careful revisions in the details in the hopes that readers of Toukei Ibun, the Shiki series and The Twelve Kingdoms series, can get into it without a sense of discomfort. As a result of that, the work is reborn into something which is brimming over into a more profound reality.

Though it is a girl’s novel to the very end. The light novel-ish parts have firmly remained. The dividing line of reality greatly differs between light novels, and novels aimed at adults. Because it would turn into a completely different work if I revised it to that point as well.

The Ghost Hunt series is a long series of horror novels, in which first year high school studeny, the young girl Taniyama Mai, and the president of Shibuya Psychic Research Shibuya Kazuya, also known as Naru, go to places where psychic phenomena are considered to occur, and lead the incidents to a solution by means of meticulous investigations. Because of the activities of peculiar spiritualists such as Takigawa Houshou alias Bou-san, the shrine maiden Matsuzaki Ayako, exorcist John Brown and the beautiful medium Hara Masako; and the clever storytelling in which the mystery deepens with each and every volume, and unravels in the last volume, it became an unparalleled entertainment horror work that you can’t find anywhere else.
How did you create this series to begin with?

Anyway, this is something of the past, so my memory is vague. But it started from the idea of ‘Why don’t I use spiritualists and turn them into a squadron?’. I thought it would be amusing to write a story about different spiritualists. I would use them depending on the case. If a ghost appeared, the shrine maiden would show up. If a demon came, it would be the exorcist’s turn. The setting that the spiritualists each have strong and weak points, is a vestige of the idea which was the original form.

Ono Fuyumi's garden
You can see the garden if you look out the window. Plants surround the summer house in abundance.
Shibuya Psychic Research, where Mai is a part-time worker, is a research organization specializing in psychic phenomena. They make use of cutting-edge equipment, such as night vision camera and thermography, and use scientific measures on psychic phenomena. This setting actually has roots in unexpected places.

I liked special television programs about ghosts. I have watched those since my childhood without missing anything. The coolness of bringing in cutting-edge equipment into a haunted house, and investigating it, was probably imprinted by the techniques used in those programs. In the end, they recorded nothing, but the process until they reached the conclusion, truly excited me. I also took influences from Michio Tsuzuki-san’s Mononobe Tarou series[ref]An orthodox mystery which features Psychic Detective Mononobe Tarou as the protagonist.[/ref] regarding Naru’s Ghost Hunter title.



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