Why did you come up with the story?
Ohkawa: I mentioned it the CLOVER interview, but a while back I came up with several different stories using the same characters– and Wish was one of those stories.
Igarashi: Originally Kouryuu was an angel too.
Nekoi: Yeah, yeah! Hisui and Kokuyou were the main characters, and Kohaku, who somehow got involved, was a minor character. There were no humans, and the setting was going to be heaven, hell, or some other world.
Ohkawa: The version where Hisui and Kokuyou were the main characters was a fairly adult-oriented story, so when we decided to cuten it up, I made Kohaku be the protagonist. I presented the story to the Mystery DX editor and they approved it. I asked if they didn’t mind the story lacking a mystery despite the fact that it’d run in Mystery DX, they told me it was fine– since what Kohaku actually IS, in terms of existence, is mysterious. *laughs*
This was Nekoi’s first long serialization, wasn’t it?
Nekoi: I thought I’d never make the deadlines. *laughs* While planning out the storyboard I’d be thinking, “I’ll never make it!”, as I drew I’d be thinking, “I’ll never make it!” …I was constantly hurrying. *laughs*
Igarashi: It wasn’t just that it was your first long series, but also the fact that we didn’t know how many pages we’d have to draw in a certain period. One time it would be twenty pages in five days, but that wouldn’t necessarily be the case next time. It changed every time.
Nekoi: Then I’d panic when I had to draw difficult background scenery, or a particularly elaborate scene. *laughs* Looking back, I can’t believe how much time I’d spend on planning the storyboard and with the drawing. However, I was happy that I was the first one to read Ohkawa’s scripts. *laughs*
By the way, how many pages of script are there per chapter?
Ohkawa: For 32 pages of manga, it’s about 10 A4 pages of manuscript. If it’s less then that, then there isn’t enough to fill a chapter.
Nekoi: I take about an hour reading those scripts. While I’m reading I start visualizing how to break it down into a story-board.
Mokona: You drew the color drawings for Wish very big, didn’t you?
Nekoi: I thought it’d be easier to make the space feel filled up if I drew big and then shrunk it down. *laughs*
Igarashi: And in the illustrations designed for phone cards you’re meant to draw just the face, but you drew the whole body. *laughs*
Nekoi: You guys are giving away all my secrets! *laughs* Those are bad habits of mine.
Aside from the drawings, was there anything you had to take care with?
Nekoi: For the angels and demons there were few constrictions, like with halos or things like that, so I did as I wanted. I had angels with tsuri-me [stereotypical CLAMP eyes– think of Kamui, or Ashura. You know, with the sharp eyelashes], and I even let Kohaku were black clothes.
Ohkawa: My one request was that there not be too much screen tone. With Wish, it was okay if it were white-ish. In that way, Wish resembles our recent works.
What did you use for most of the drawings?
Nekoi: I used g-pens with as little pressure as possible. Then, once the tip had become blunt, I would replace it.
Do you have any remaining impressions of the readers’ reactions?
Ohkawa: Since it was an unusually cute series by our standards of the time, everyone was surprised. But apparently, after the climax, people were like, “ohhh so that’s how it turns out”, and “ahah, that’s just like them”. *laughs*
Had you decided the series’ ending before you started?
Ohkawa: Yes, I had. But it’s pretty much the only work where I thought, afterwards, I shouldn’t have done it that way. I rarely feel like that about works that have already been published.
In what way did you want to change it?
Ohkawa: I regret that the initial, happy part went by so quickly. I should have let it go on for ten or so volumes. *laughs* I shouldn’t have forced the story to take a serious turn, and maybe I should have just let it end with a “and they lived happily ever after”.
Why did you chose not to do that?
Ohkawa: In my opinion, it’s my obligation, like a campaign promise, to follow through with what was foreshadowed and hinted at in the beginning. Otherwise you destroy a portion of the story that the readers were looking forward to.
Your readers enjoy seeing the foreshadowing be fulfilled?
Ohkawa: Yes, I think so. But, now I think that there are some kinds of foreshadowing that are okay if you don’t follow up on. If I ever got the chance to make a remake Wish, like they do with movies, I’d like to re-create the whole story from scratch.
Translated from Japanese by Bell (usomitai).
Interview originally published in CLAMP No Kiseki vol. 7 (Kodansha), released on March 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.