This work was serialized in an unusual way.
Ohkawa: I’ve always liked short stories. It’s because I am not good with long stories (laughs). When the editors of Young Rosé offered it to us, they proposed a few extra pages. But our schedule was very busy at the time, so we chose this solution.
You have chosen romantic relationships as a central theme and that is a departure from what CLAMP had been doing so far.
Ohkawa: Since Young Rosé is a magazine for young female workers, we chose to talk about love and couples. Besides, I suppose we wanted to do something light. For at that time we were doing quite dark series like X and RG Veda (laughs). When I think about it, it gives me a lot of memories. Kakyo (our cat) appears in the cover of the manga when she was small.
Nekoi: At that time she was already bigger in size. But she was a lot cuter if we drew her as a kitten.
Mokona: The first story is from… 1993. More than 10 years have gone by.
Ohkawa: The content, for example, I would rather forget about it (laughs).
After reading it again, what do you think about it?
Ohkawa: It was very amateur… The drawings, the frames distribution, the amount of dialogs… If we were to do it again, we would cut the dialogs in half. For instance, you can tell just by looking at the drawing that the girl is going to a date, but we still explained it with text (laughs). If we didn’t explain everything, we thought we weren’t being clear enough.
Nekoi: My drawing style has changed tremendously (laughs). I couldn’t drawn something like this now.
Igarashi: The chibi characters are also different. Right now they aren’t so chubby.
It was your first manga as the main artist, Nekoi. What can you tell us of the experience?
Nekoi: Since the script was decided, so I didn’t have to worry about creating an original story but, instead, I was afraid I wouldn’t know how to cut my storyboard. The thing that worried me the most was to know if I would make it in time before the deadline (laughs). That’s why I only made 7 pages. Also, when the serialization started, I struggled to create new designs for the characters, since they changed every time. My hands weren’t as trained as they are now.
Ohkawa: Now that you mention it, the scripts were very long, right?
Nekoi: Not very much. We shortened it a little, but they had a good length in general. We had only a few pages so we discussed every point in detail. We didn’t have time to have fun!
Ohkawa: I got carried away and wrote a lot because I love short stories (laughs). I have a tendency of writing more than planned. Specially for the extra short stories in the end of a volume, I often go beyond the number of pages specified. But for Watashi no Suki na Hito, it seems to have turned out well.
Who came up with the title?
Ohkawa: I did. Very straightforward, isn’t it? (laughs). We never changed it. When we were in talks for this project, we had no more than two months before the beginning of the serialization. We had to quickly find a title.
Igarashi: I believe that we came up with the title right after we got the series proposal.
Ohkawa: I think I remember we chose hiragana alphabet for the title because it gave a cute touch. But it’s a very blurry memory (laughs).
Are the different love stories that appeared in the work based on real experiences?
Ohkawa: None that appear in the manga are personal. I couldn’t speak coldly and from a relative distant of my own personal feelings. However, a lot of my friends reproved me for haven written things that they have told me (laughs). The one I struggled to find a topic was the one with the fat cat (Scene 8 – Insecurity). That one is completely fictitious. I ran out of topics to write about so I made the whole thing up (laughs). Only the essays are based on personal experiences.
I believe that was the first time you published essays of that kind, right?
Ohkawa: Up to now, it was the first and last time. Igarashi is still writing for Newtype magazine. I’m not made for it. I might experience again with other topics that I like, but for me it’s difficult to talk about love. I’m fast when it comes to writing, but it takes a lot of effort to start doing it.
Igarashi: Just like “summer vacation” essays (laughs).
Would you draw a similar story again?
Ohkawa: Yes, if we had the opportunity. However, if we were to do it again, the content of the manga and essays would likely be darker. At that time, most of our stories had a darker tone, which is why we wanted to do something that felt sweeter and happier. But I don’t think we could repeat it with the same aspects.
Translated from French by Chibi Yuuto.
Interview originally published in CLAMP No Kiseki vol. 2 (Kodansha), released on October 22, 2004.
If you found mistakes in this translation or would like to contribute with translating other interviews, please contact me.