Somos Kudasai's sister site Mipon landed an interview with writer Jougi Shiraishi, author of the Majo no Tabitabi (Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina) light novel series, which is inspiring an animated adaptation currently airing in Japan.
To begin with, I would like to ask you about the origin of “Majo no Tabitabi: The Journey of Elaina” How was the light novel published? Initially, my goal was to become a professional light novel writer. But just before I started writing Majo no Tabitabi, I had abandoned the idea. I thought I would never be able to debut as a professional. Thinking that I would never debut, I decided to improvise and wrote a story about whatever I wanted. That story is what would become Majo no Tabitabi. It's basically a story full of things I wanted to write about. When it came time to publish my work, I opted to publish it digitally, Kindle. After that SB Creative published the light novel officially. Of course, they could have posted the story on a novel website or tried to submit the manuscript to a publisher. But they wanted to have some evidence that they had written and published something. , and if I published it digitally (Kindle), my evidence would be right there in the online store. This is how things started.
In popularity rankings inside and outside of Japan, Majo no Tabitabi is always at the top. What do you think is the reason why Majo no Tabitabi is so popular? Good question. I would say that one of the most interesting aspects of the series is the depth and variety of Elaina's personality. For example, in episode 7, Elaina goes from looking bored to an expression of utter shock in an instant. In light novels, I can only describe such expressions in words, and there are many expressions that you cannot describe. Being able to see those expressions come to life in the anime was a new and quite fun experience.
When original work is adapted into a manga or anime, how involved is the creator in the production process? Do they tend to offer a lot of input or make requests? For both accommodations; anime and manga, don't try to impose my ideas. Of course, I checked everything as part of the regular production process, but the staff in charge of adapting the light novel to manga and anime is full of experienced people so I didn't want to be suggestive. I only specifically commented on a small part of the content and didn't get too involved when it came to adapting the story and characters.
Regarding the anime, do you think it is as expected? Is the anime being able to tell the story you had envisioned, in terms of plot and characters? Well, it didn't have a particularly strong image, or even no image at all for many things. Yet despite that, the anime staff produced such beautiful images. So honestly, I'm not only satisfied with the outcome of the anime, I'm incredibly grateful.
Let's talk about Elaina, in a tweet from 2018 she mentioned, that throughout history, we see flashes of Elaina's personality that suggest that she “is not just a pretty girl, but actually a crafty and cunning person at heart who comes in. other unreliable personality traits, she's also quite greedy. " In her opinion, is that darker side of Elaina correctly reflected in the anime? Personally, I think the anime minimizes the dark side of her a bit. There is even a chapter, in which Elaina tries to earn some money, that was deliberately not included in the anime. Although there were many chapters that the anime staff probably wanted to adapt, with only 12 episodes, the chapters that were chosen did not focus too much on the darker parts of Elaina's personality or her unscrupulousness with money. You don't see much of her. That's in anime, so people who discover the series through anime and then read the novels will probably be surprised at how dishonest Elaina can be at times.
Was it the director's [Toshiyuki Kubooka] decision to skip the chapter about Elaina making money in the anime? Or is it because that particular chapter was difficult to adapt? I'd say it was the latter. Compared to a chapter in which Elaina's darker personality is fully in focus, there were other parts of the story that were of higher priority, or that we felt were more important to adapt for the anime. I was not directly involved in planning the film. anime series, but I think that was the main reason.
Moving on to Elaina's design, I'm interested in her brooch. Was there something that inspired the design? No, absolutely nothing (laughs). [Miura-san (editor)]: The design of Elaina's brooch was left to Azure-sensei, who is in charge of illustration and character design. She began by reading the manuscript and creating the basic character designs. From there, Azure-sensei sent clothing designs and other details to me and Jougi-san. Together, we reviewed the designs and discussed them, before deciding “Oh, this would look nice. Let's get on with this. " This was the process for most of the details, like the brooch. In other words, Azure-sensei basically created the designs from scratch. She had just debuted at the time we chose him to illustrate the novels, but he was already known for his excellent sense of design when it came to costumes and accessories. Since then, we have given you a great degree of freedom to create designs.
Let's continue with the subject of clothing. In a recent interview with Web Newtype, you mentioned that you had asked the animation staff not to show the characters' underwear in the anime. The fans abroad were very impressed upon hearing that. Was there any reason you asked the staff for that? I also noticed that the comment elicited a huge reaction. I had given the idea a bit of thought before speaking to the staff, and it really comes down to my belief that I would like things to look and feel as natural as possible. In a lot of anime they choose to show underwear, they tend to be somewhat sexual, like flashes of underwear and things like that. There are many series that do that. But I think if you make the decision to include things like that, you inevitably end up limiting your audience, often to a subset of the male demographics. In more popular and mainstream works that are viewed by all types of people, regardless of age or demographics. gender, it is common not to show underwear. Personally, from the beginning, I had always directed Majo no Tabitabi to a very wide audience instead of focusing on a certain group of viewers.
Several fans are interested in whether Elaina will eventually become romantically involved or fall in love with someone later in the story. Majo no Tabitabi includes stories in which Elaina meets characters who have their own romantic relationships, but will there be someone Elaina falls in love with? Personally, I don't plan to introduce a romantic interest in Elaina. I feel like it would be difficult for me to write from the perspective of a female character in love. Regardless, I never wanted to take the story in that direction, because I feel that a romantic element is not really necessary for Majo no Tabitabi. So there will probably never be a romantic interest in Elaina.
Besides Elaina, is there a character you like to write? I really like a character named Frederica, who appears in volume 8. Her story is one of the ones I like to write the most. Given the nature of her story, it is unlikely that she will appear again later, but she is definitely my favorite. Another character that comes naturally to me would be Saya, who you've seen in the anime. She can be a bit reckless and unpredictable, but I find it easy to write stories for her.
By "easy to write," do you mean imagining events or scenes, or more in the sense of how she interacts with other characters like Elaina? It's definitely easy to imagine the kind of dialogue Saya would have with Elaina. Naturally, they form a kind of "manzai" comedy team, with Saya as "boke" and Elaina as "tsukkomi." (Note: Manzai basically involves two artists: a straight person, known as a tsukkomi, and a funny person, known as a boke. The two exchange jokes based on puns, misunderstandings, and other puns, avoiding controversial topics like politics, sex or current affairs.) However, originally, Saya was just a character that I wrote for volume 1 only, and at the time, I wasn't planning for her to be a regular character in the story. But since then, especially with drama and anime CDs, I'm glad to have her character because it's so much fun to write about her.
What about the locations in the story? Do you have a city or a country that appears in the series that you would like to visit if it were real? The country I would most like to see is one that Elaina visits in volume 13. There is this a hotel that is on the back of a giant dragon , which travels around the world, and visitors can jump in and stay at the hotel while the dragon floats. I love the idea of a hotel where you can stay while moving by yourself.
As for the ending in general, did you already have an idea of how you wanted the series to end when you started writing the novel? I've thought about how I plan to end the series, including setting the ending in Elaina's hometown. When I started, I was funding my own post, so I wanted to end the story in a way that I personally would think is ideal. But now that things are different, I realize it can't be as simple as that, so I'm considering it as I write.
Changing the subject, Saya is like Elaina's apprentice, similar to how Elaina learned from her teacher, Fran. As a kind of teacher, Shiraishi-sensei, do you have any advice for someone who wants to write light novels? I've felt this way since before I entered the industry, but with many stories that are adapted to anime, most of them are titles popular fairly “mainstream”. You end up with a lot of repetition. But it's different with light novels, because it's such a vast and expansive genre, and you can write about whatever you want.
It is true. If you focus on anime series, you will often find repetition. Nowadays, with novels, anyone can publish his work on the Internet, so he has the freedom to write the kind of story he wants, right? Don't follow the latest fashions or the mainstream. Instead, the important thing is that you focus on what you personally want to write.
In closing, is there anything you would like to say to fans who live outside of Japan? As a writer, I have been heavily influenced and inspired by all kinds of content outside of Japan, such as TV shows, movies, or books. So that someone abroad likes my content and enjoys it makes me incredibly happy, both as a writer and as a person. Although there are only a few more episodes left of the anime, I hope everyone continues to enjoy and support the series.
About Majo no Tabitabi
It is a series of light novels written by Jougi Shiraishi and illustrated by Azuru, who began publication in April 2016 through SB Creative publishing house. The publisher published the fourteenth volume on October 14, and will publish the fifteenth on December 10 in Japan.
The play is inspiring a twelve-episode anime adaptation produced by C2C studios, under the direction of Toshiyuki Kubooka and scripts written by Kazuyuki Fudeyasu, which has been on air since October 2.
Original Article: Mipon
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