Aka Akasaka's Q&A on Young Jump
Q.001: Can you tell us more about the structure of the school uniform that Kaguya and the others wear?
A.001: Putting aside whether or not it could actually be made in real life, all the white parts on the uniform are removable. There is a small fastener on the back side.
Q.002: I always thought the character design was super cute, did you pay special attention to this during the design process? I wanted some tips!! (Lit. I wanted to use this as a reference)
A.002: There were different versions of the design where their hair was down or conversely up and I was very conscious of all these choices. I like all the differences between a normal look and what the final design ended up being.
Q.003: In Ch. 15 [Shirogane Miyuki wants to run away] we see a frame of Secretary Fujiwara saying [Eh? IQ? Its 3!!]. Is this what her real IQ is? Or is it instead what Kaguya-sama perceives her IQ to be? Or could it be that Secretary Fujiwara got IQ confused with something else entirely?
A.003: This is simply Kaguya's imagination of Fujiwara as a total idiot. In reality, Fujiwara-san's IQ is above 130.
Q.004: I'm a student that studies French. I was surprised to see that Fujiwara-chan and Kaguya-sama speak French so fluently. Did Aka-sensei also study French at some point?
A.004: Even in Japanese there are a few things that I'm not totally comfortable with.
Q.005: Aka-sensei, how much time do you spend working per week? Recently with the TV anime airing and the tankouban sale happening in such a short time span, it seems like it would be especially busy....(worry)
A.005: I pretty much use all of my time to make the product so I don't have breaks/vacations like normal people. That being said, I do frequently procrastinate and cause problems for my assistants. That's why I feel like I can't and shouldn't take too many breaks.
Q.006: Among romantic comedies, Kaguya-sama is extremely unique and I've been having lots of fun reading it. I have a few questions for you. First, when did you start to think of the main idea behind Kaguya-sama. Second, what do you think is necessary to make an interesting romantic comedy?
A.006: The inspiration for the idea hit me when I was smoking food. This advice isn't limited to romantic comedies but what's important in a story is that the characters really display what it means to be human. Humans are interesting because they can both be strong and weak at the same time and to be conscious of that will help create more interesting characters. I think applying this concept allows the characters to become more organic and therefore more entertaining as well.
Q.007: Akasaka-sensei what is your fetish?
A.007: I have a hair fetish. My favourite is long, silky-smooth hair. It's pretty hard to draw that so you don't really see that expressed.
Q.008: Up until this point, what is the most troublesome part-time job that President Shirogane has taken on?
A.008: When Shirogane was still a bean sprout, his job helping people move looked like it was hell.
Q.009: Chika is the one in charge of all the coffee in the Student Council. I was wondering how skilled is she at coffee brewing?
A.009: At the level where she can normally do it without any mistakes. Hayasaka is definitely better at it but Fujiwara is the type that can do things above the average level even if its surprising.
Q.010: I want to confess to my childhood friend who I've liked since elementary school. He's a pretty popular guy. On the other hand, I'm a potato (literally potato woman).
The reality of how different we are has really put a damper on my ability to confess and I can't seem to gather the courage needed to tell him how I feel.
I would love some advice from the veteran of love, President Shirogane!
A.010: From Shirogane,
The world has taught me some convenient words for this situation. [Don't be afraid to be an idiot]! If you want courage then for just a little while throw aside the wise and thoughtful side of yourself, aim to become an idiot and just confess!
Q.011: Were there any placeholder titles before finally settling on [Kaguya-sama wants to be Confessed to ~ The Geniuses' War of Love and Brains]?
A.011: There were things like [IQ ~ Wishing for love (aikyuu) ~].
Q.012: Why does everyone in the Shirogane family have light hair?
A.012: Kaguya has black hair so I wanted them to contrast as a pair. This is mostly something I could express because this is a manga, if this was reality I think his hair would only be slightly light.
Q.013: The story has referenced SONY products a few times (Hayasaka talking about the Z Ultra and the depiction of the Z2) so I'm guessing you're a SONY fan. I would be happy if you really are allowed to talk about your love of SONY like this!
A.013: All joking aside, my TV at home is from BRAVIA, my computer is from VAIO and of course I have every PlayStation model. Most of the items that appeared were modelled after things that I owned so of course I owe a lot to Sony Music Entertainment-san.
Q.014: Why does the cover of Volume 1 look so much like a horror manga?
A.014: A cute kid being an idiot is a very typical character whereas a scary person being an idiot is more interesting. With regards to the first volume cover, beyond just wanting it to sell well, we wanted to convey that the content within the manga was interesting so we ended up with that design.
Q.015: Secretary Fujiwara uses Twitter and Instagram but if her father used to get mad at her for looking at Shoujo manga wouldn't he stop her from using these as well? Or could it be that they are censored for her instead?
A.015: Even with a father like that, if he ever tried to look at his daughters' phone, they would all look at him like he was a piece of filth. Poor him.
Q.016: Aka-sensei are you also a fellow [Food Aficionado]? (From the ramen chapter)
A.016: I eat a ridiculous amount. The way San-chan eats his ramen is the way I eat my ramen and it is incredibly delicious.
Q.017: When did the members of the Student Council experience their first love?
A.017: Kaguya and Shirogane are both each other's first loves. When he was young, Shirogane had a woman help him study but this person would count more as somebody that he respects and is indebted to rather than someone he was in love with.
Q.018: What was Ishigami-kun's first sexual experience?
Q.019: Did you ever get the chance to talk to the seiyuu's that voice the anime? I wanted to ask what you talked about.
A.019: They all seemed to be worried about how their own performance came across. I thought they all did a wonderful job.
Q.020: I want to know which character is the most fun to draw and who you like to draw the most!
A.020: That would far and away be Kaguya. The fact that her facial expression changes so much makes it fun on the drawing side as well.
Q.021: "I think the subtitle of "War of Love and Brains" hasn't been breathing since fairly early on, what do you think about this?"
A.021: "I think the "Wants To Be Confessed To" part is going to die, so I'd like to prepare a suitable grave for it"
Q.022: About the cover of the comic book. In Volumes 2 and 8, I believe that Secretary Fujiwara shows up on the cover, but why is her hair in Volume 2 pinkish while Volume 8 is whitish?
A.022: "I will use ambient lighting as my excuse. I don't have a template when colouring and paint according to how I feel that day so there will be discrepancies."
Q.023: "I want to know what Jump series Aka-sensei likes!"
A.023: "In works from recent years, I think that Assassination Classroom and Saiki Kusuo are genius."
Q.024: "In the volume 4 extras, it’s written that her chest is a bit exaggerated in the cockroach chapter, but is it exaggerated to be smaller or bigger?"
A.024: "I won’t say anything since I feel bad for Kaguya, but I’ve heard that bras nowadays are made to make your chest look a certain way."
Q.025: "What do you like about Niigata?" (Japanese Town)
A.025: "Nodoguro!" (A type of fish)
Q.026: "Has Kaguya ever been to someone else's house other than Fujiwara's?"
A.026: "Besides Fujiwara, probably the Shijo household? I mean, she doesn't look like she has many friends"
Q.027: "Was Ishigami always so knowledgeable? Particularly with the names of flowers and flower language, does he know a lot about them because he likes them?"
A.027: "His dad is a toy maker but his mom runs a flower shop, and Ishigami helps her sometimes, and learned about flowers then. People have a tendency to find interest in things once they learn more about it."
Q.028: "Who is Shirogane’s favorite rapper?"
A.028: "He likes a poetry reading unit called “MOROHA”"
Q.029: "What is Tsubasa’s full name? (Note: Kashiwagi’s boyfriend)"
A.029: "Tanuma Tsubasa"
#By the way, today's his birthday (August 25th)
Q.030: "Where does the past student council president allegedly sent to Cambodia live now?"
A.030: "He's already back in Japan, and seems like he's got a normal job"
Q.031: "Is Kei good at studying? Also does Kei have a motivation like her brother, who doesn't want to lose to Kaguya?"
A.031: "Kei has grown up seeing Miyuki study, and that along with the fact that she started studying pretty early made her very good at studies. She respects her brother a lot, but she can’t say it honestly"
Q.032: "Does Ishigami's family know the truth of his past incident? It's sad that he was neglected because of that incident"
A.032: "His family knows the truth. Seems like everyone in the Ishigami household really like Shirogane"
Q.033: "You have a lot of interesting ideas in your work, but where do you get that from?"
A.033: "In this work, there are a lot of things that you think “I wish things would be this way.” If you run your imagination trying to solve those things, it will become a story"
Q.034: "Please tell me what anime Treasurer Ishigami would recommend"
A.034: "Oreimo (My little sister can't be this cute), SAO (Sword art online), Grancrest Senki (Record of Grancrest War)."
Q.035: "In the manga, it says that Maki is third place for grades, but does she get frustrated whenever she loses to Kaguya? Or is she satisfied with her current position?"
A.035: "Maki-chan is equal to Kaguya in terms of specs, so she can get 3rd place without studying much. She could take first if she seriously tried, but right now she doesn’t have any motive for doing it."
Q.036: "what would kaguya do if shirogane became less busy and his eyes permanently went back to normal"
A.036: "She’ll come to love his rested look as well. Or rather, I think Kaguya’s weird since she likes the tired look, because Shirogane would look pretty handsome without it."
Q.037: "Why did Kaguya start to growing flowers?" (Baka mode)
A.037: "When the winter snow melts and spring comes, the fields are filled with greenery and flowers are in full bloom ... Similarly, flowers bloomed in Kaguya's brain."
Q.038: "How do you decide the character for the cover of the volumes? I noticed tears flowing out once I saw the one for Volume 12... (Tsubame) Thank you..."
A.038: "I never make cover with new characters. I always make sure everyone is familiar enough to say "oh it's that character" before making the cover of the character."
Q.039: "Could you please let me know if you an idea of how many volumes you want the series to have?"
A.039: "While I haven't decided on how many volumes, I will probably go until I either get exhausted, or, draw until Shirogane and Kaguya graduate from Shuchiin regardless of their progress."
Q.040: "What is a Genius?"
A.040: "I think a genius is someone who forges their own paths, and leaves their mark on the world. However, since there's no such thing as a perfect person, for everything they're exceptional at, there's also something they have trouble with."
Q.001: What kind of things can people do for you which would make you happy?
A.001: When people take notice of when I'm nonchalantly putting in effort, I'm so happy I could cry.
Q.002: Each character is carefully crafted with their own unique charm, are they modelled after anyone?
A.002: Regarding the characters' attributes, they were probably inspired by various other characters. However, their inner selves were gradually taken from a lot of real people (ie. IRL).
Q.003: There're still unfilled positions on the Student Council, do you intend to introduce any new council members?
A.003: I'll be introducing them at some point. I've already revealed their surname.
Q.004: How is Kaguya's ribbon tied up?
A.004: Please by all means read "Kagu-Koku!"
*"Kagu-Koku!" is included with the first volume of the currently popular series "We Want to Talk about Kaguya"
Q.005: Please tell us what the Student Council members and other students picked between the choices of liberal arts and sciences!
A.005: It looks like there're still people who don't know what to do. A lot of people have lived according to their parents wishes, so perhaps there's fewer people than I thought who have a firm grasp of their own dreams.
Q.006. Please tell us what they talk about in the Student Council's LINE group.
A.006. "Everyone can see this, so I can't say anything careless!" is the mindset of Kaguya and Shirogane, Ishigami only leaves administrative comments, while Fujiwara and Iino are quite rowdy.
Q.007. I very much like Aka-sensei's choice of words and flow of conversation in the manga, can you tell me what you pay particular attention to when thinking of the lines and narration?
A.007. It's in the same spirit as counterbalancing your steering to the left momentarily when turning right in motorsports*. Before I can say "this is great!", I often think to myself "there's no way this will be that good?"
*Aka's original wording mentions "out-in-out", which refers to the motorsport theory of entering and exiting a turn from the outside edges while approaching the inside during the turn.
Q.008: How did you obtain your skill in drawing manga? Also, how your family react when you told them that you were becoming a mangaka?
A.008: My parents were surprised, but that's because I kept it hidden from them. I acquired my skill in drawing manga from my days as an assistant. Storyboarding like a professional is a matter of accumulating information.
Q.009: I'm interested in what will become of Ishigami-kun and Tsubame-senpai. Will we see what becomes of them by the end of the series?
A.009: I honestly have not decided on this yet. I feel like my characters move and decide things with a will of their own. I'm looking forward to it too.
Q.010: I wanna know the measurements of the heroines! Especially Fujiwara-chan! Ehehe(lol)
A.010: F is for Fujiwara!
* * *
The above is a collection of Q&A answers from Aka Akasaka, originally posted on Young Jump.