11 years of serialization without an assistant
――First of all, thank you very much for the 11-year serialization.
AttoThank you very much. However, there are still some “special editions” that depict the aftermath of the final episode, so I don’t feel like “finished!” Even so, I’m glad I was able to complete it safely for 11 years without any major illness.
KawamoI saw my face for the first time in a long time, but it looks very refreshing.
AttoIs that so? (Lol)
KawamoAtto-sensei has been serializing by himself for 11 years without an assistant. Although it is difficult in itself, we would like to ask for the cooperation of regular staff in the production of animation. I think the amount of work was a lot of work, but I continued to serialize it seriously and finished it exactly as planned. I think it’s a “feat”. Respect to you.
AttoThank you very much. If you lift it up to that point, it feels a little strange (laughs).
――How did you come up with the serialization project for “Non Non Biyori”?
AttoI was drawing a loose comedy in my debut work “Koakuma Merengue”, but after the serialization was over, I decided to draw a work that included “healing” in the comedy elements. While thinking about it, many readers came up with the keyword “countryside” as something that would be nostalgic and healed. Therefore, I planned a work set in a village, which is the whole image of the “countryside” that many people have, rather than in a specific area. “Local manga” is popular nowadays, but as a person writing by myself, it is difficult to cover, and since you can use various seasonal stories regardless of regional characteristics, you dare to model the actual area. I didn’t.
It snowed so much that we couldn’t go home from school, and we all had a “rice planting festival”. Because we didn’t focus on a specific area, we were able to incorporate various “countryside stories”.
――As a reader, what did Kawakami find the appeal of “Non Non Biyori”?
KawamoAfter all, there are so many things that make me feel sick with loose and surreal gag. I hadn’t read much of this type of work until I met Non Non Biyori, so I was addicted to its unique taste. I wonder if the elements of the countryside were also set to draw surreal gag.
AttoIt looks like there is nothing in the countryside, but that’s why there are things that can be done. In that sense, it can be said that Director Kawakami’s statement is right.
――What did you keep in mind as you continued the series?
AttoIt’s basically a loose comedy, but that alone makes readers bored. So, I tried to change the glue depending on the time, such as a story that specializes in looseness, a story that heals, and a story that is full of gag. Then, when I read them all together in comics, I tried to make the content balanced, with laid-back and surreal gag.
――How does the teacher think about the material?
AttoBasically, when I was putting out the material, I was lying down all the time and it was like asking God to say, “Something good, come down!” It was mentally tough when working on names, and physically tough when working on drawing.
KawamoI’ve been working alone all the time, so it should be hard. Depending on the time, the density of the picture is extremely high. I think it was really hard to get it done, and it’s no wonder that now that I’ve done it, I have a refreshing face (laughs).
I was lonely when I saw Komari making delicious curry
――Next, I would like to ask you about the main character. What did you keep in mind when creating each setting?
AttoAt the beginning of the series, I didn’t create each character. Because, if you set it too hard, it will be difficult to move it well when you actually draw the name. So, while giving each one a fluffy setting, it feels like it gradually solidified as I moved it by name.
–So that’s it. Did you think about focusing on the youngest Renge from the beginning?
AttoI agree. I was younger than the characters around me, and I was thinking of focusing on a slightly strange child. Certainly, the first story I drew in the original was the second episode. At first, I drew it with the intention of the first episode, but when I showed it to the editor in charge, I was told, “I want a little more introduction to the work.” So I drew the name of the first episode again. So, in fact, the first word Renge spoke was “Nyanpasuu”.
This is the first appearance scene of Renge, which was originally planned to be posted as the first episode. It is a memorable scene in which “Nyanpasuu”, the first voice of Renge, is drawn.
KawamoIn “Non Non Biyori”, I’m pushing for goodwill. There is a delicate childish part and a surreal part created by a unique sensibility, so you won’t get tired of watching it. Even in anime, it was fun to draw Renge.
AttoRenge was thought of as a genius-skinned child with a slightly different sensibility. I wanted to make such a part look like a “strange child” to ordinary people.
KawamoI think that when Renge grows up, he will become a precocious genius artist (laughs).
――What about fireflies?
AttoAt first, I drew it as a common sense person who came from Tokyo, but as I drew it, it gradually deviated from that line. In the end, I became a child with a fairly anarchy part. I’m usually an honor student, but when I find a newt, my tension explodes, and when I get home, I get a childish part. I thought it would be easier to move as a character if you put in such a gap.
KawamoFireflies have extremely high specs, but I think their humbleness is attractive. As I came into contact with the nature of the countryside, my honesty gradually came to the surface, which made me feel interesting (laughs). When deciding on a voice actor, I was conscious of that aspect.
――How about Natsumi?
AttoIn the village where the stage is set, incidents like incidents do not occur, so I thought of it as a character that would be the starting point for moving the story. Basically, it was an accelerator that gave momentum to loose stories, and it was very easy to draw. However, I was aware that if Natsumi did something, she would definitely receive the “reward”. If you finish it as it is, the image of Natsumi will be bad, and at the end you will get a good punch line if you are waiting for the punishment.
KawamoIf you overdo it, Natsumi will look ugly. It’s surprisingly difficult to handle. It’s a mess, but don’t overdo it. Still, don’t be quiet. In the anime, I drew it with the balance of strength and weakness in mind. By the way, Ayane Sakura, who played the role of Natsumi, was surprised to see that Natsumi couldn’t do multiplication tables in the eighth stage and said, “I can’t study so much!”
AttoI’m not crazy because I do everything except studying. I just hate studying. I’m a child with a lot of stuffiness.
――What about Komari?
AttoI thought of a set of fireflies, which look like the oldest in the fifth grade, and Komari, who looks the smallest even though they are the oldest. The uneven combination was also easy to compose the story. Basically, I tend to grow taller and often don’t go well, but when I saw the bookmarker’s mother collapsed due to labor pains in the final episode, Komari was the first to move, “I have to call a taxi !!” Yeah. For the final episode, I wanted to show you what seems to be the oldest person.
Komari was the first to take action while everyone was flirting with her mother who couldn’t move due to labor pains. It’s usually childish, but it may be surprisingly solid.
KawamoKomari, who was not good at cooking, made curry deliciously … When I saw the times when I made it, I remembered the loneliness that “a girl has grown up.”
AttoHow to say! (Lol)
KawamoWhen I drew the story of curry in the 9th episode of the 3rd season of the anime, I made it while feeling the loneliness I didn’t understand, saying, “Oh … my small ball …” (laughs).
17 episodes that I thought about the name while being embarrassed
――Looking back on the original manga, please tell us about the number of stories that you are particularly fond of.
AttoIt’s the 17th episode when I first meet Honoka, who came from the city. Until then, gag was the main thing, but since I drew a little good story for the first time, I was embarrassed to think about the name while whirling around (laughs). Since the manga has only 16 pages, I was able to compress the episodes I thought about and manage to draw the encounter and parting of the two in a good way, so I am satisfied with myself.
Renge, who met Honoka of the same age, spends a good time together during the summer vacation. However, Honoka left without time to say “goodbye” because of his father’s work. At this time, Renge experienced something called “parting” for the first time.
KawamoI also like the faint story. I’ve always wanted to talk about that, but I haven’t had a chance. However, the chance came around in the animation production of “Non Non Biyori”, so I enjoyed doing it. After all, the final episode is impressive. I had imagined that my older brother (Taku Koshigaya) would graduate, but not only that, but also the interaction with bookmarks and the arrival of a new season. The development and the way the story ended was wonderful, and the number of pages was amazing.
AttoThere were 48 pages in the volume of 3 episodes, so it was a difficult task to compose. Also, in the final episode, I put in a picture with the same composition as the cover of the first volume of the comic. About a year after the first volume, the composition is the same, and two people are added to the back.
The cover of the first volume of the comic. The composition in the final episode is almost the same, but please check the actual illustration in Volume 16.
KawamoNot only the next generation called bookmarks, but also the fact that her newly born younger sister was released made me aware of the “next next generation”, and I was surprised at the end.
――Finally, do you have a message for the fans who supported “Non Non Biyori”?
AttoThanks to everyone who supported me, I have been able to continue serializing the same work for 11 years. I’m really thankful to you. For manga, the “special edition” that depicts the aftermath of the final episode will continue for a while, so I hope you can keep up with us until the end.
KawamoFrom the beginning to the end of the original manga, it’s hard to get along with each other through animation production, so I feel a great sense of accomplishment that I’ve done it to the end. Not only me, but all the staff at the production site love “Non Non Biyori”, which is why I think it was a good work. That’s because everything was supported by everyone’s support. Thank you for supporting the anime to the end.
- A manga artist who is mainly active in “Monthly Comic Alive” magazine. Debuted in 2007 with “Koakuma Merengue”. After that, the serialization of “Non Non Biyori” started. The work has been serialized for 11 years and has been made into a TV animation. In addition, he is in charge of the character draft for the TV anime “High School Fleet”.
- Shinya Kawatsura
- Kawatsura Shinya. Freelance anime director and director. Previously, he was active in Bee Train, and was in charge of storyboarding and directing for the first time in the TV anime “NOIR”. After that, he was the first director of “Meine Liebe wieder”. In addition, he is involved as a director in works such as “Kokoro Connect”, “Tanaka-kun is Always Dead”, “Magic of Stella”, and “Sagrada Reset”.