CLAMP Interview – CLAMP No Kiseki vol. 7 – Suki. Dakara Suki (March/2005)

© CLAMP/ 講談社

© CLAMP/ 講談社

This series is fairly different from your usual style…

Ohkawa: I wanted to leave out as many CLAMP-type elements as possible in both the drawings and the story. We wanted fans who’d been reading our works for a long time to shake their heads and wonder, did CLAMP really make this? The drawings are not as sharp as usual, the character’s eyes are small– though Hinata’s are a bit large *laughs* – and even the title is something we normally never use, something cute…
Nekoi: We kept the character’s names simple too.
Ohkawa: More than that, they’re names that people actually have. Nothing like “Kamui Shirou”. *laughs* As for the story I decided not to, as I usually do, plan out the whole thing beforehand but to have just a broad concept of the plot, and put in what I wanted to when I wanted to. I think about the only thing I decided on was to not show scenes from Asou-sensei’s class. Since he wasn’t a real teacher if I showed such scenes it’d look fake, which would give away the plot. Though I did one time show him returning tests.

Seeing how Asou-sensei was a body-guard, did you do any research on the subject?

Ohkawa: I did do some research, but I used hardly any of it. Pretty much the only fact I used was when Asou-sensei ties his own hand to Hinata’s with a ribbon.
Igarashi: Since I didn’t know what a stun-gun looked like, I researched it like mad. *laughs* All the while thinking, “but you’d die with this much electricity!” *laughs*

Please tell us any memories you have from when you were serializing.

Ohkawa: I have no negative memories from this series.
Nekoi: The drawing process was quick. I’d draw out ten pages in one day and then I’d ink them in. After having worked so hard on Wish I couldn’t believe it how quick it was. *laughs* It’s because the way I drew out the rough sketches is so different.
Ohkawa: Up until then we would draw in parts, so that if the left eye and right eye were slightly distorted, then the whole sketch was off. Starting with Suki. Dakara Suki and ANGELIC LAYER (which started serialization around the same time as Suki. Dakara Suki), the more of an outline we had– a line for the shoulder, the location of the hands– the less distorted the finer details came out.
Nekoi: It’s a way of drawing where by drawing first the silhouette, you end up with an attractive form. It was thanks to this that we sped up our drawing.
Mokona: Our readers may not realize this, but this series was a fairly big turning point in drawing style.

Before this you went through various different styles…

Ohkawa: They said that we had changed a lot with Card Captor Sakura, but what made the difference there was that we used thinner lines– so we actually hadn’t changed all that much.
Mokona: With Card Captor Sakura we still drew in parts, the heads are big and the shoulders are wide. If you made the lines thicker, the drawings would fit in with the X visuals.

Even so, it still sounds like it was troublesome.

Mokona: Oh, there were troublesome parts. *laughs*
Nekoi: We had to keep drawing and drawing until our hands got used to the new method. Kind of like swinging tennis rackets for practice. *laughs* I couldn’t get a grasp of it in Suki. Dakara Suki so the characters’ faces at first look off.

There are many mangaka whose drawing styles evolve with time, but I think it’s unusual to consciously change like you have.

Ohkawa: We could have stuck to the same style, but we chose not.
Nekoi: By drawing in various styles our previous drawings start looking weird, so, in a way, it’s the process of trial and error that leads us to making better drawings.
Mokona: In our older works we can tell that the rough sketch was off just by looking at the finished product. For example, the eyes will be in a place that makes you feel ill. *laughs*
Igarashi: Just as the definition of beauty changes with time, our feelings behind drawings evolves.

How do you feel about this series as you look back on it?

Ohkawa: My original plan was to have the series be three volumes long, with each volume being long enough for one movie. I think it all wrapped up together beautifully. Part of the reason I threw out the usual CLAMP elements in this story was to attract new readers, girls who read normal shoujo manga– and if this worked, then I’m happy — so I think it’s good that we carried through with throwing out our idiosyncrasies.
Nekoi: Since we love manga about love stories, we were glad that we got to make a series like this. On a personal level, I’d have liked to see more on Tomoyo-kun and Kitsu. I think they’ve got enough story for one more volume.

Translated from Japanese by Bell (usomitai).


Interview originally published in CLAMP No Kiseki vol. 7 (Kodansha), page 25, released on March 22, 2005. Original text available upon request.

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