Gouhou Drug is the series that ran after ‘Suki. Dakara Suki’, but it has quite a different feel.
Ohkawa: At the time, a major thing we were really into was underground stuff. Things like bondage, seedy environments, tattoos… so, pulled towards that kind of gimmick, the series took on that influence.
Nekoi: There’s a lot of drawings, aren’t there, of (characters wearing) silver accessories.
Igarashi: Nekoi’s always loved silver accessories, but at the time all four of us got quite into it.
There are almost no females in this series; is there any reason for that?
Ohkawa: Up until now all the series Nekoi worked on had girls or angels as the main characters, really fluffy material, so she wanted to try out something more dark. With that in mind, I tried to put in as many males as possible. It’s kind of like the opposite of Miyuki-chan in Wonderland. (laughs)
What led you to the title you chose?
Ohkawa: At the time, I wanted to do something very naughty. (laughs) Our editor was quite against the title “Gouhou Drug”. The correct English translation of the title would be “Legal Drug”, but to emphasize the “justice” nuance, we made it “Lawful Drug”, but the title has nothing to do with medicine. (laughs)
Igarashi: I think he didn’t notice the significance of the leaf in the logo.
Kazahaya has the same last name as Shuichirou Kudou in Wish. Is there any relation between them?
Ohkawa: That’s a secret. (laughs) “Kazahaya” is a name I’ve always meant to use for a character, and I kept it carefully guarded until I got the chance to use it. Come to think of it, I did the same thing with “Kotori” from X.
Igarashi: You did keep the name “Kazahaya” dear. Up until there were only three characters you considered giving it to.
Ohkawa: First was Kamui in X. But then the story evolved, and so I gave him another name with a different meaning.
Nekoi: She also thought about using it in her fantasy novel Yumegari.
Ohkawa: But I didn’t… When I saw the designs for Gouhou Drug, I decided this character was the best suited for the name. Though actually, the kanji I chose don’t actually read “Kazahaya”. (laughs)
How about Rikuou?
Ohkawa: I wanted a name that would connect with “Kazahaya”, so originally I named him “Kuuga” [Air Fang]. Then I found out there was Kamen Rider Kuuga… (laughs)
Mokona: We didn’t like that. (laughs)
Ohkawa: So we came up with “Rikuou”. It’s the name of a motorcycle the Japanese army used during the war. Come to think of it, another character of ours, Fye from Tsubasa, turned out to have a name in common with Kamen Rider 555. Though in that case we left his name as it was. (laughs)
Were Kazahaya and Rikuou easy characters to develop?
Ohkawa: Kazahaya was fairly difficult to manipulate. It always is with high-tension characters. (laughs) I like manga that have characters who don’t speak much. (laughs)
Nekoi: Rikuou was easy to draw. So was Kokuyou from Wish, who’s similar to him. The more [gender-] neutral a character is, the harder it is for me to draw them. Hisui from Wish, who’s somewhere right in the middle, is a challenge for me. Compared to Hisui, drawing Kazahaya was easy.
What did you enjoy with the series?
Nekoi: Gouhou Drug was the first series where we drew all-CG color illustrations. Before that I had barely ever used it. It was good to try out something new and fresh. But when I look at those illustrations now, I can see where I committed the mistakes of a beginner. The things that came out badly jump out at me. And sometimes I’d run out of power on my computer before saving. (laughs)
Ohkawa: We hadn’t meant to use CG, but we thought we could learn how to use it as a tool.
Nekoi: I learnt how to use CG from Terada Katsuya-sensei, Okazaki Takeshi-sensei, and director Takashi Yamazaki-san. What wonderful people. (laughs)
The series is currently on hold…
Ohkawa: The magazine it originally ran in, Shoujo Teikoku (Shoujo Empire), stopped being published. When we heard the news, we decided to get at least three volumes out, so we asked Asuka to temporarily give it shelter. But then Asuka went through a renovation and changed quite a bit… at any rate, we would like to find a magazine that would pick it up for us, and continue it soon.
How would you continue the series?
Ohkawa: We’ve only told 1/5 of the planned story. We were going to continue linking Kazahaya’s and Rikuou’s past while also telling smaller stories. However, the readers must be wondering what we meant to do with this series, seeing how we left off with the exchange with the boy’s school. (laughs)
 “the kanji I chose don’t actually read ‘Kazahaya.’” In Japanese, to the despair of all students (native or foreign), most kanji have several different phonetic readings, making things tricky! (as an example, the kanji that means “person” reads “hito” when it’s by itself, but if you combine it with another characters it becomes “nin.” Or “jin.”) And sometimes, if you want to, you can invent a reading for a word/name. They did this with Watanuki in xxxHolic, whose name means “April first”– his name should technically be pronounced “Shigatsu Tsuitachi.”
 “I wanted a name that would connect [Rikuou] with ‘Kazahaya‘”: The first character in “Kazahaya” means wind, and the name she originally picked for Rikuou, “Kuuga,” started with the character for “air.” “Rikuou,” the name SHE did pick (duh!) means “Land Emperor.”
Translated from Japanese by Bell (usomitai).
Interview originally published in CLAMP No Kiseki vol. 10 (Kodansha), released on June 22, 2005. Original text available upon request.
If you found mistakes in this translation or would like to contribute with translating other interviews, please contact me.